Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Crisis of Thesis Phase: Environmental Criticism in Indonesian literature? #1

Good day everyone! Today is just another Sunday morning. The sun shines so bright out there, it had no clue about raining. It's pretty good for going out with friends or just having fun. But that's not works on me. I have tons of books to read. 

Since December 2012, the 7th semester was over. I had been doing good on that semester, my all final papers and exams were done. Five subject results were already in, I passed them with good scores. My latest major GPA for 7th semester is 3.80, which is the highest score I had get in the past 3,5 years studying in Uni. And my accumulative GPA from 7 semesters I have been trough is just stable, 3.65. In the end of semester, after knowing those results, I'm  relieved. Phuifff...

But wait!! It not happens for so long!
Then the day goes by, and finally I'm entering on 8th semester right now. A sorrow moment would come. Where those cheerful moments gone by? why are soooo fast!!
by arriving on the 8th semester, it means I have to focus on my thesis. (ugh, really?) 
I often heard that 4 years studying as graduate student, you will be judged only from your thesis. And people often said that the thesis-phase would be the scariest thing ever happen in your Uni life. I can't argue more. That's true. I couldn't stop for panicking. I'm not calm. That wasn't me. I'm worried a lot. It drives me crazy. And no wonder if I die young caused by a heart attack. Or, someone please kill me! 

So, here I am today, struggling for my thesis. I need to reading a lot about my thesis subject because it is just beginning. 

The thing I'm asked most often these days is "What is your thesis about?"
Okay, be aware for this question, if you ask this when I'm having good mood I will explain it gladly. BUT if you see me when I'm on bad mood, don't dare to ask this question. Clear?

Well, so usually I just give a short answer, like this "It's about ecocriticism or environmental criticism on an Indonesian literature text."
By answering this question, it means I had to look back how come I could choose this subject.

So, let's flashback when I'm reading the latest masterwork of Dee a.k.a Dewi Lestari, its title is "Partikel". Have you heard about this novel? I like this novel as much as her other novels too, but I'm not a big fan of hers, not like in a freaky way. No way. I think it is good for my thesis, because if I was her fan I will ended up by giving subjective statement of her work. Which is forbidden in academic writing. Yeah, you already knew that. 

I think there is something on "Partikel" and I had to dig it up more deeper. But, from which aspect? At first, I thought about naturalism or romanticism, but then I found a book about environmental criticism. Since knowing there is such an approach like environmental criticism, I dig it more and more deeper about this theory and as an approach for literature works. 

So, what is ecocriticism?
Ecocriticism is a literary Discipline which seeks to examine the intersections of culture, literature, and ecology. Through ecocriticism, we can examine all literature (books, films, music, television, business, all elements of culture in general) and natural processes to help us interpret our relationships to nature, the natural processes themselves, and human conception of "the natural world." 

You might wonder why am I interested with this subject?
Environmental crisis must be not a new thing for you. I bet you already often heard it. Across the world, people are debating such topics as sustainability and global warming. In the most general terms, the earth doesn't seem to be doing so well, and something must be done to promote healthy, useful, and productive ecological concepts and efforts. Ecocriticism, in its most basic terms, seeks to break down barriers and concepts of nature found in culture and replace them with hard data. Just as Literary and Philosophical disciplines have helped to change our culture in past decades (see: feminism and women's rights, diversity and multiculturalism, the beat generation), ecocriticism seeks not just to save the environment, but to change the way we see and interpret the world around us – to save the environment in our minds so that we are better equipped to save the environment in our backyards.

After a short digging about this subject, I threw this subject to the floor. I let my friends know it, and see what's their respond. Sorry to say, but I got not much, since this is also new thing for them. I was soooo afraid to talk about this to my lecturers, I'm afraid of rejection, because we never study about it before in our classes.

Then, in a rainy day, I ventured to ask my academic adviser, I told her my idea for the thesis, I got the tone of positiveness of her. All of she said is just up to me. And I went to another lecturer, asking about his opinion, he said my topic is fine. So from two responses, I make sure to myself, this is gonna be my topic thesis. 

After founding a topic, I found another two problems about my thesis-concern so far, which are:

#1. The Sources
Tell you the truth, finding ecocriticism in my city was pain in the ass. I have visited bookstores and libraries all over Jakarta. Guess how many books I got?
Those are only 2!!! okay, breath on!
Then, I don't give up. I'm looking on the internet, and got plenty of articles, international journals, and  e-books, those sources are creditable because its already published and written by the expert scholars from reputable universities. I didn't stop there. Next, I'm listing the scholars and I have trying to get in touch with one of them. I have sent messages to some professors  and lecturers in few different cities, like Utrecht, Glasgow, LA, and Nijmegen. So far, all of them had replied my messages and giving good respond. They are gladly to share sources I need due my thesis. What a kind of them :) 
Anyway, even I already got quite enough sources, but still I want more and more sources. The problem is I couldn't get some enough printed books in here. In my city, Jakarta. 

Then this 1st problem brings me to another problem.

#2. English 
Since all the sources I've got is written in English. It's not casual English like I often to use, but it's written in academic English.  So I need to read it by double-efforts. Translating and understanding. My English is not good enough for academic purpose. Even I could write this post in English, doesn't mean my English skill is better. IT IS NOT, trust me. I don't want to grumble in here, so despite of this difficulty, I try to see it from other perspective. I think reading those sources in English is not all that bad, I could improve my English skill. Hoping after this thesis-phase is over, I would get a better score for my TOEFL, and could apply scholarships abroad. That's my biggest wish. 

Beside those problems, I'm also sick of people's question about "How's your thesis going?"
And my answer usually, "Ugh.. Um.. well.. yeah, it's going..." 

Now I'm in the phase where I'm working out on thesis proposal. 
I am having so much trouble in writing of my proposal. I don't know exactly why. I feel like I'm stuck, I understand this topic, but my head and hands wouldn't synchronize so well. And it is really irritating. I seriously only have like few pages about its draft, but I need make it into an really-serious-academic-thesis-proposal should be. I would really like to finish it very soon so I can submit it before 20th February 2013. 

I wish my proposal is approved with positive feedback, which would make such a  great relief. And I still wonder who my thesis adviser will be. And if I already get the thesis approval, which means I would up to the next stage of crisis. Analyzing the novel. So welcome another new stage of crisis on my thesis phase! 

NB: If you have some articles, e-book, soft-copy, papers, anything related to ecocriticism in literature, don't hesitate to contact me! I would really appraciate your help. And also if you are lecturer or a student in Literature and Environment, I would like get in touch to discus this thing, because this term is such a new world for me.

and if you are one of my lecturer, I think this post might the best explanation of my idea about the thesis, because I'm not good at explaining things, especially when it comes to my topic thesis. 

1 comment:

Sathish said...

Its quite interesting blog about environmental thesis.