Monday, 16 May 2011

The PhD Challenge

Emory University asked their PhD students to translate their research into 100 words understandable by ordinary people. It's a tough call: PhDs are very specific and not configured for laymen.

So history PhD Leah Weinryb Grohsgal’s “Reinventing civil liberties: religious groups, organized litigation, and the rights revolution” becomes an exploration of how Jehovah’s Witnesses helped spark the modern civil rights movement and shows that “religious liberty, far from being an afterthought, was integral to the 20th century transformation of civil rights”. 
Here's my attempt.
Original title: Constructions of Masculinity in Four 1930s Welsh Novels in English (Lewis Jones's Cwmardy and We Live, Richard Llewellyn's How Green Was My Valley and Gwyn Thomas's Sorrow For Thy Sons)
It wasn't my preferred title, which started with a quote ('"There's something wrong with us blokes"…') which was a bit clearer.

So: These books are about South Wales mining communities of the 1930s, in which unemployment destroyed familiar ideas about what it meant to 'be a man', while fascism and communism provided complicated new models: these novels highlight the opportunities and difficulties of being a man in this strange cultural and historical moment.


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