Contributed by Anastasia Dukova, TCD.
In 20 words or less tell us why you decided to do a PhD? Really to follow untold stories and themes and to present them in a way that is relevant and useful today.
Anastasia’s Diary: Pursuing a PhD has opened doors to me to all the archives and repositories I could find good reason to visit. The prospect of endless records and the sense of excitement that I just might be the very first person to look at them since their compilation still is incredible.
Although I am Russian, and studied history in Canada, I felt a strong draw to study Irish history. I was introduced to Irish history when I studied British history at university in Toronto. I was always drawn to the subjects least familiar to me. Irish history was as strange to me as the sound of Gaelic language, which I made a go at as well, although it is hard to believe that now!
My first year in Dublin lead me realize how much there was to read that was of interest to me, and of relevance to my subject. I spent most of my time ‘catching up’ on Irish historiography. After lots of reading, I came to thinking of my subject in relation to other countries and cities, and so I came up with a comparative model. To ensure I cover as many aspects of my research as widely as I can, I chose to travel to Queensland, Australia (the University of Queensland, Brisbane, where I undertook my research is the photo above) and so search the archives that are oceans apart, quite literally. This had made for a great experience. It keeps the research ‘real’, travelling allows me to meet academics from opposite sides of the globe and hear their perspective on my methodology and topic. Additionally, travelling introduces me to myriads of new sources, which keeps the mind alert and the outlook fresh. I suppose this approach to my research should not have come as a surprise to me since I had grown-up and studied history in different parts of the world. As a result, I find this comparative framework fulfilling, it strengthens my project and provides great opportunities both academic and personal.
In third year my excitement turned to worry. I started to wonder was the material actually endless? After visiting a museum in hopes of just getting a wider visual picture of my subject I discovered a whole additional archival collection. I began to think ‘this just might never end!’ I am concerned about not having enough time and space to write about everything I have uncovered. Wouldn’t the world stop turning if this incredible story was never told! And so I am anticipating the coming of the fourth year with some trepidation but with butterflies in my stomach as well.
Anastasia’s working PhD title is: “Crime and Policing: Dublin, Brisbane, and London, 1850s – 1900.”