Hesitancy, but no pause

March 21st, 2009

I think I have made it through the night.  [[God, I hope so.]]  The similarities of dusk and dawn, to the casual observer like me, could be playing tricks on me, but I do not have time to question it.  Thus, with hesitancy, I say “Moving on…”

The workload of the last two months of my undergraduate career is astonishing.  Not that I’ve been slacking off, I just seem to have amassed extra work all at the same time for no apparent reason – other than, possibly, not paying close enough attention to the syllabi in the midst of crisis.  Alas and alack.  [[Knowing that other people are in the same workload situation, I have to wonder, “Why?”  As much as I want to get a PhD, I sincerely doubt that much good can come of these “character-building” exercises in sleep deprivation and hyper-stress.]]  But in spite of this, the thesis seems to be going along decently.

Chapters 1-4 are mostly finished, to be shuttled off to the Editor for corrections.  I’m not entirely pleased with certain phrases and paragraphs, and need to really think about how I present certain arguments.  I want this crafting to be perfect.  But of course everyone says that – and what special person am I to actually get time to stop for two hours a day?  I could only perform that feat of magic in high school, when my extracurricular load was ten times worse than now.  (Yes, I do indeed know how to stop time.  See me for details.)  The due date is strict, and I will stick to it.

Chapter 5 is also progressing, since I’ve reviewed all my notes, and am currently in the final stages of acquisition.  The more I ruminate, the easier a time I’ll have writing this last meaty section.  This chapter will argue that Haitians had become embedded into Quebec society by 1995, in spite of such a short germination (30 years, roughly).  It is evidenced through the religious establishment, as well as the cultural output (books, poetry, academic writing) of the Haitians in Montreal.  The way I see it, the first section will discuss religion, because it is a bridge between the two national cultures and is often referenced by historians of Haitian immigration to Quebec.  Missionaries were sent to Haiti from Quebec, and taught the generations of upper classes (in French, not Kreyol); theologians from Haiti studied in Quebec, and returned to Haiti (eg Jean-Bertrand Aristide).  Etc etc.  There are places for Haitians to worship as a community (in a Catholic Church, and in “cultural heritage” vaudou ceremonies) as well as with the greater community (in other religious denominations and in public fairs/festivals).  The second section will discuss the cultural evolution of Haitians in Montreal, since literary production is an easy way to look at how Haitians felt within their new society.  Critics have already examined the progression of themes in immigrant works, and others have examined the progression of themes in native Quebeckers’ work throughout this period, roughly 1960 to 1995.  All I need to do is retell the story, pulling data from the many Reports on Haitians’ and immigrants’ integration into society (unemployment, education, pay rate, etc).

And Ch 7 should be fairly easy to craft during my final editing stage, since it summarizes the conclusions of my work and synthesizes/predicts future behaviour.  I can’t wait to write this chapter, since it means I get to watch a TV show again that makes me laugh so much I have to pause the video constantly.  (I wish it had an English subtitle option, but no…)

So there.  I’m slowly slugging through coursework, and thesis work.  Things will get done, and, as I’ve heard so many times now, things will get better.

Thank you, Life, for easing up.  Much appreciated.

Suitcase and etiquette

February 13th, 2009

I came to a realization this week, or rather, I came to an analogy.  My thesis is like a suitcase.  An overstuffed suitcase.  In fact, I think there’s even a kitchen sink stuffed into this suitcase, so overstuffed is it.  I’ve been writing my second chapter, in which I examine the development of Quebec national identity over the years.  After slugging through an entire (mental health) day with this section, I found that I couldn’t say everything I wanted to in 12 pages.  Twelve.  And I wanted to say more.  And this is a background chapter – not the meat of the thesis!  Oy.  I never thought I’d be able to be accused of wordiness/verbosity.  Seriously.  On the positive side, I think I did an okay job at stuffing every bit of pertinent information into the prose, while also making it understandable.  (That can be verified in a few days when I go back to make Round One of revisions…)  But, like I said, it made me think of the paper like a suitcase which I’m trying to cram full and still get it checked on the airplane, without going over the poundage limits, for free, both of which seem impossible in today’s day and age.

While I was writing this suitcase, I got really frustrated with the authors in the field.  Now, I know that I know what I’m talking about.  I started the work on my thesis topic two years ago, after freshman year.  (Yes that makes sense if you’re me.)  I’ve read tons of literature on this stuff, taken two courses that are near or direct hits on my topic (“French Canada” and “Intro to Caribbean History”), done an independent study on Canadian history (thanks, Dr. Blouet) and lived in Montreal.  But when footnoting the background information to my actual project becomes a problem, there’s something wrong with the existing literature.  Everyone had something different to say about how Quebec has evolved – diverging so far as to say that the Catholic Church did and at the same time did not have a heavy hand in influencing early nationalism.  So far as to say that French Canada (Quebec, really) did and at the same time did not urbanize, modernize, and industrialize at the beginning of the twentieth century.  So far as to say that Maurice Duplessis, the leader of a very conservative nationalist party that controlled Quebec government directly before and directly after the second world war, was at the same time well-intentioned and an evil backward person.  Um…  I don’t think that interpretations are supposed to get that diverse, even in a field where modern political/ideological biases heavily affect the way authors look at the earlier time period.  Some wise wisdom was bequeathed to me: Pull out what you find to be constants, and, for the rest, make your best judgement.  If things get really rough, make a note of the dissonance and move on.  Moving on…

So, I finished Chapter Two, and made a considerable effort today on Chapter Three.  By that I mean, I wrote the chapter from my head and will, perhaps tomorrow evening at work, start going through it intensely and footnoting.  I have one major goal for the chapter:  I have to cite Carolyn Fick.  There’s no real reason I should, since she writes about Revolution-era Haiti and admitted herself that she wouldn’t be any help to me.  But I met her in Montreal, and she took me under her wing, and for that I am very grateful.  (She met with me, accompanied me at a conference at McGill, introduced me to fabulous people, and checked in on me throughout the month… Above and beyond what any random acquaintance should do, especially a busy woman like her.)  So I want to cite her.  I guess I actually have two goals for the chapter, the second one being more academic and goal-oriented.  I want to be able to explain to the reader with authority why Quebec identity evolved the way it did, compared to how Haitian identity evolved. …

Alright, let me try to clarify.  In Quebec, there haven’t been any “real” instances where the French Canadian population was repressed.  I’ll concede that the early period, from Conquest (1760) to Confederation (1867) was a little rocky.  I mean, there was the whole Acadian expulsion thing… but then there was the whole Rebellion thing too…  For the most part, Britain adopted an accommodationist approach to the French habitants.  Accommodationist meaning the British accepted and enabled the French to continue practising Catholicism, speaking French, and also using their own civil code.  It wasn’t until after Confederation that the English Canadians started to completely ignore the French Canadians’ wishes (although I’m quite sure people would disagree with my statement).  And even then, “repression” is too strong a word – the English Canadians were seeking the same national unity that the French Canadians in Quebec were, just oriented to a higher political structure: the entire country (not the province).  So Quebec national identity has really grown up in relative wealth – there haven’t been many oppressive measures taken against them.  They were allowed to assert their independence in a calm, orderly fashion by taking greater control of their economy, immigration policy and language policy in the mid-twentieth century.

Haiti’s case is different.  Slaves, in the modern sense, are not allowed to assert their cultural diversity and develop sub-societies of their own – that is seen to detract from productivity.  Haitian religion, language, and even political mannerisms are all bastardizations of French colonial imports.  Vaudou, the “national religion” (most practised), combines several types of African belief systems and gods with certain Catholic motions.  [[Check out Maya Deren’s “Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti”, an early documentary complete with the beheading of chickens and I think goats…]]  Kreyol, the “national language” (most understood), adopts French terminology in an African grammar structure.  (Seriously, if you know French well enough, you can sit through a Kreyol Catholic mass and understand everything; reading is somewhat easy after a while; you just can’t necessarily respond in Kreyol.)  There was real repression in the case of Haiti’s national identity development, not just “unfairness” like in Quebec’s case.  And, once Haitian slaves got control of their own government, more repression helped create the rest of their identity.  Corrupt, patronage-led governments encouraged Haitians to rely on family and friend rather than official programs, because these blood linkages were more constant than the regimes were.  (Seriously.  Haiti has averaged a coup/insurrection/military or peasant uprising once a year since 1804, just about.)  And inconsistency in which language and religion were the “official” one of Haiti allowed them to keep practising vaudou and speaking Kreyol, while the elite could also be Catholic and speak French.  It kept changing so much that there was no way to fully habituate Haitians into one or the other.

So, I don’t know if there’s space to say all that, but I think it’s something worthwhile.  Now you know.

Finally I want to leave you with an etiquette lesson.  This week I presented my thesis to an audience for the Honors colloquium.  I was the second person of a two-person panel.  After sitting through an incomprehensible and very abstract (and overly long) presentation, about two-thirds of the audience left, the first speaker and his advisor included.  Now, I know this might be a common occurrence in professional conferences and in non-professional settings.  But it is still rude.  Just like you don’t clap between movements of an orchestrated work in concert, you don’t leave the room until the entire session is done, whether or not you’re interested.

So, for the weekend: Footnote Chapter 3.

For Monday/Tuesday: Elaborate and footnote Chapter 1.

By Wednesday: Send to unsuspecting victims for disapproval.  Cope with criticism.

Grad apps are death

November 19th, 2008

My first final deadline for graduate school applications is the 1st of December – and my thesis chapter is not finished. Oops. After revising outlines and reviewing notes, I think I’ve managed to destroy several sections of the first copy. I have a much clearer idea of how I’m arguing certain points, especially when it comes to using statistical analyses, which should help make the paper sound more intelligent. Sifting through all the sources, rewriting notes and staring into space while pondering what I’ve just read are all critical to my “process” for writing this giant paper. Unlike Bones, I actually like time to sit and wonder about these subjective things. (Maybe if I were a real scientist, I would have a quicker reaction time to analysing data.) As far as my style edits went, I can’t tell if the prose has become more interesting. The sections will be reviewed by my advisor, and I’m sure she’ll leave some comments about it.

I’m resentful of graduate school applications at the moment, because they are rushing me. And they cost so much. Sheesh.

By the way, there are spies everywhere, many of them with red hair…

I can’t say I’ve made much progress on anything other than editing the draft. I need to delve deeper into the various databases and search engines to see if I can find a nice book or two that will help illustrate the general immigration trends in Quebec from the early twentieth century to present. I need to be able to contextualize Haitian immigration and talk about why certain immigration policies or certain reactions would have been important in the history of immigrant relations there. However, no-one seems to have written a general immigration history about Quebec, and the Canadian ones seem geared toward women, youth/second-gen, or policy matters rather than just description. It feels like the more I write, the more sources and facts I want to check up. The researching never stops! I wish time could stop so I would be able to get through all the articles and books I need to read…

Short and sweet this week: 1) Revise chapter for grad apps [[Sent for edits…  We’ll see how that goes.]] ; 2) Find some immigration books/chapters/articles [[Check! Now to read them…]]; and 3) keep on trucking. Hopefully I will get comments back for the chapter, and otherwise won’t soil the beauty of a Real Vacation (to grandmother’s house we go…)

Wilmington is inspirational

October 20th, 2008

This week’s progress was definitely hampered by the excitement of a softball tournament all the way down in Wilmington, NC.  Barring the six-hour drive (turned to seven by a dinner break) and wanting to play ball, it rained so much on Saturday that we could play no more than one, sopping wet game.  [[Btw, we played two more games on Sunday, lost em both but had a blast and fought hard.  And, happily, got back home just as dusk was setting in rather than midnight.]]  Being the nerd I am, I eschewed wonderful team bonding time for listening to interviews on my iPod [[I figured out how to put them on it!  Yay for me!]] and spewing out a couple of pages of my thesis chapter on the political participation of Haitians in Montreal.  I grant that much of it is written in blue, indicating areas that need more work or question that I need to pursue further.  But I wrote it.  And I am proud.

When I got back, I realized that my initial love for GIS was only half-baked.  Think of it as an infatuation with someone you don’t really know, but think you really like because they’re pretty or something.  Today, working with Stu again [[I am so grateful for him.]] I realized that GIS is quite limited in what it can show easily/quickly.  I was happy with my maps before, but Stu told me today that I should use a different way of illustrating the data than the way I’d done it on my own.  And they’re better for it.  This rush of work is just killer since I want to take the time now to make GIS do what I want, but I can’t.  The chapter is due Wednesday.  Time is not on my side at the present.

Today I also answered some of my blue questions by working through some more data sets in SPSS, discovering all the lovely correlations between voting outcomes by party and the proportion of immigrants or Haitians in an electoral district in Montreal.  I conclude that immigrants, again, are quite likely to vote against the PQ and separatism, while there is no conclusive story to tell about the correlation of Haitians to the same vote outcomes.

Goals for this week are simple, after having written both a book review [[The book was Georges Woke Up Laughing (Duke, 2001) and made me partially upset when I found out what they used the last chapters for.  I won’t give it away, but I do recommend the book.]] and a partial thesis chapter, and while facing another long week of laboring in the mines.  1) Finish chapter six by answering the questions I’ve marked and by meeting with Cindy on Friday.  2)  Chill out, or rather – do all the other crap on my to-do list like learning an entire concert of music in five days, and actually doing the homework for other classes.

Now, it starts.

October 15th, 2008

So, I made a decent amount of progress on last week’s goals even though I can’t cross them out as completed.  First, I discovered that I could draw out a lot of interview data from handwritten notes, isolating less than four hours of recordings to listen to rather than eight.  There’s a long car ride this weekend that I can spend doing the rest.  Good.  And I spent two hours with Stu last Friday learning how to use the GIS program to get maps made.  I plan to spend a couple hours tomorrow before class in the computer lab playing with that.  He says that the hard part is done, since most of the data I need is already in.  I know how to put more in, should I need it (I probably will).  Good good.  I’ve isolated a few chunks of primary research that I want to hit in the chapter I’m working on, but haven’t had the time yet to actually draw conclusions from it.  And, in spite of having a lot of research done, I have only a vague idea at this moment of what secondary research I will use to back up my ideas.  But no worries.  Likely that vagueness is just because I don’t have the research list in front of my face.

At this point, I know that (in spite of what some people said in interviews) immigrants had a definite impact on the last Quebec referendum on independence.  I am curious to know how strong that correlation is.  [[The answer is .725/-.725 for the influence of immigrant population on the Non/Oui votes.  Ridiculously correlated!  As for Haitians, not so much… .081/-.081.]]  Lucky me, we’re doing statistics tomorrow in class! [[Check that off the list.]]  Also, I know that Haitians from the earlier waves of migration had a more pleasant experience and a generally more positive view of their integration into society.  Later waves were less impressed, due in part to racism, recession, and issues of Quebec national identity that caused Quebeckers to lash out.  Part of this divide in how Haitians perceive their time in Montreal is due to the type of job and language skills that they arrived with.  Regardless, it seems that Haitians are able to participate politically and many choose to do so.  There are a number of  “activists”, a decent group of government workers, and still another set of actual political representatives for a variety of parties and at every level of government (local, provincial, federal, and suprafederal*).  It will be interesting to see how I force myself to draw a distinct, solid conclusion from the data.  I have an idea, but I can’t phrase it yet.  Oh well, I have a week…

So, goals: 1) make maps [[I think this is mostly done, for now, but I can’t bring myself to cross it off the list]]; 2) code interviews [[Pretty much done!  Enough to know what I’m talking about]]; 3) brush up on bios of political candidates/reps; 4) review primary sources; 5) write chapter six!

*Btw:  I made up the word suprafederal to designate Michaelle Jean; she’s the Governor-General, an appointed representative of all of Canada with no formal place in the legislative, judicial or active executive body.  Historically, her position is to mediate relations between the Crown and the Colony (I think).  Now, …  I’ll have to look that up.

Moving on

October 6th, 2008

I had a few good chats this week that made the organization of my thesis quite clear, at least to me. I think I even explained it well to a professor.

So, two things are obvious to me now. First, there are gaps in my research. I do not know much about Haitian national identity as it evolved separate from my case study of Haitians in Montreal. (Quebec national identity I’ve got down.) I’ve checked out a massive textbook called Written in Blood to help me understand Haitian history, and as a result, Haitian national identity. Another book I’ve got somewhat mentions what I want to know, but I’m not sure if I want to trust the authors without corroborating their claims. That sounds really petty of me, but there are some other things in their book (it’s a co-authored book on Haitians in NYC) that make me question the way their bias leans. There are other gaps, but that’s the biggest one I see right now.

The second thing that is obvious to me is that I have a lot of work to do in a short time. I got lazy, or actually busy with life (moving, other research, relaxing for a change so I could attack this semester…) and didn’t transcribe all the hours of interviews that I accumulated in May while doing field work. That was a BAD move. Hopefully I can find some software that will help me, but I doubt there will be anything cheap that can handle English, French and some Kreyol mixed together. Oh well. I did it to myself. At least having to listen to the interviews makes me get acquainted with the data again. And I can run away to Montreal in my living room, or office, or other various places without the expense of a flight. It is almost painful to go through the sound files and hear the conversations, because I realize how much fun I had there.

So, goals. This time, I have a major one for a few weeks: *finish the chapter of my thesis on Haitian political participation in Montreal. This requires some smaller goals for between now and the weekend after Fall Break: 1) transcribe interviews (code); 2) map data using GIS and analyze with SPSS (meeting with Stu on Friday morning); 3) understand which notes aren’t going to sound repetitious in the chapter I’m working on based on the outline I’ve made for the previous chapters. [[Note:  I had a meeting with my advisor, and we decided that I should write both a chapter and my introduction.  The introduction is small, and mostly just needs to be edited for clarity since a lot of the details will get explained in later chapters.  However, the mound of work in front of me is going to make transcribing all those interviews such a hassle.  I’m hoping some transcription software that Scribble found for me will work out.  Minor problem: the interviews are a mix of two languages.  So we’ll see how that works out.]]  That gives me two weeks to write and edit the chapter. With help.

Why, you might ask, am I already writing my thesis? It is only October! However, graduate schools and the NSF Graduate Fellowship Program enjoy seeing what applicants can write and how well they analyze primary sources. Since I am insane and applying to grad schools now, I need to apply for funding through the NSF and its deadline is 6 November. So, moving on … I have a lot of work to do.  [[And GRE: ready or not, here I come!]]

Umm… oops?

September 19th, 2008

So after my interviews and literature review, I was under the distinct impression that ethnicity did not play a major role in voting patterns, especially in the case of Haitians.  There was a lot of backlash from the community when Jacques Parizeau, then leader of Quebec and  the Parti Québécois, stated infamously that it was “money and the ethnic vote” that lost Quebec its independence.  But now, with my initial data sets compiled regarding 1) general election voting results; 2) referendum voting results; and 3) ethnic composition by voting district, I have to revise my beliefs.

I think, now, that immigrants indeed affected the yes: no ratio in a district in the 1995 referendum on Quebec’s independence.  Whether or not Haitians are complicit in this has yet to be determined.  The data are not clear enough for an initial glance to suffice: voting results are not broken down specifically by one’s ethnicity.  I’m still not sure how to tackle this murkiness.  I have a meeting on Tuesday afternoon with Stu Hamilton [[Thanks, Matt!]] to talk about map-making using my data sets.  Hopefully this will help me organize my thoughts.

When did Thursday get here?

September 11th, 2008

I suppose it’s appropriate to revise my weekly goal now, since, apparently, Thursday got here. A few days ago, I wrote that my goal was to step back and look at what I’ve got for research so far. Check. Thanks to a few class assignments allowing (forcing?) me to re-order my working bibliography and a successful meeting with my thesis advisor [[Cindy Hahamovitch – trust me Katherine, I wish you’d posted that comment last fall when I was searching for someone to take on that role!]], I have a better picture of my data set. So now, about an hour before my world history class, I can sit munching M&Ms in Swem while trying to tackle a major problem I found.

When I first collected elections results and socio-economic data on Montreal voting districts last May, I decided to only use voting districts from the more “Haitian” parts of town. I have no idea why. I think it was something about being able to just use the final tally from all of Quebec to compare the referendum votes of Haitian Montrealers to general Quebeckers, but this, I realize, is not an effective comparison. In fact, it’s quite lazy. The fatigued college student in me is going “Keep it! It will work!” while the author who understands the challenges of publication is leading me by the ear to the workbench.

Here’s the problem of it: voting districts change. I forgot how much work it took to just write down numbers last May, because it involves more than numbers. First, I have to look at the history of every single voting district and see how they got combined and extracted over time – there are seventeen left to do after getting data on the original group of about thirteen. Then, I have to decide which name to use in the table when things combine, i.e. decide which is dominant. Finally, I get to take down the numbers for five general elections and two referendums. That’s a total of 30 districts x 7 elections = 210 numbers, roughly. Small, but significant when it’s such a tedious task.

After that, I have to compare socio-economic data for all the districts and see if there is a correlation between relative ethnic makeup and voting trends. According to Jacques Parizeau, the leader of the PQ and the premier of Quebec during the 1995 referendum, I should see a correlation between “money and the ethnic vote” and a rejection of independence. More likely, I will find a relative pandemonium during the 1995 referendum.

Okay, now the really geeky part is I want to make a map. I love maps, in general, but I think having a map of voting trends versus ethnic makeup would be a good illustration of my thesis paper. I have no idea how to do this. To make it even more complicated, what I want to do is shade the map on a multi-colour scale among the main parties and then draw a general border on the most “Haitian” parts of town. (As if it were problem enough, I don’t think the socio-economic data break down by exact country of origin…) I’m sure it’s possible, because they have them in high school textbooks and use them in voting studies in the US, sometimes resulting in purple states. We’ll see what happens.

So, new goals: 1) take down the voting district data and add it to the table [[Done! Except the referendums; they’re in my notebook but not on my computer.]] 2) Read Rouse article and first chapter of Migration Theory [[Done!]] to begin solidifying a thesis statement that doesn’t sound so wishy-washy.

Random inspiration

September 9th, 2008

I realized today in the middle of doing some other class’s reading that it would be really easy to argue that Haitian Montrealers/Haitians in Montreal/haïtiano-québécois have a distinct nationalism that has developed out of their experiences as Haitians and as Montrealers without leaning one way or the other. Admittedly, I need a better, deeper look at the mass of literature that theorizes about nationalism, but the basics for a nationalism are met by the group I am studying. They have their own language, or actually languages – bilingualism is almost a rite of passage for Haitians in Montreal who need to know both Krèyol and French. They have their own literature, as witnessed by the massive output of poets and scholars ranging from basic fiction (Dany Laferrière) to poetry (Robert Berrouët-Oriol) to literary and political commentary (Joël Des Rosiers). They have their own history, which straddles that of Haiti and Quebec as well as combines the two in a history of Haitiano-Quebec relations, outlined especially in Lyonel Icart’s “Haïti-en-Québec: Notes pour une histoire”. (He’s a Haitian Montreal, too.) They also have their own religious practice, both vaudou (I learned not to call it voodoo, thanks to Prof. Le Glaunec) and Roman Catholicism – again, straddling and combining the two places. Common social sense, myths about Haiti and Quebec, an economy, political representation and most importantly radio broadcast representation* further solidifies Haitians in Montreal as their own particular “nation” within a nation within a state.

[*Radio is the primary form of media communication in Haiti proper, in part due to the high rates of illiteracy and the ease of device sharing among the high numbers of lower-class citizens. Thus radio representation in Montreal is a distinctly Haitian concern, but within the context of CBC/Quebec radio becomes transformed.]

The problem I see with this theory is that it is almost too easy. I also don’t think I want to categorize the group as its own subset. To do so would imply that they haven’t truly integrated into Quebec society, when for the most part they have. Just because you remember your roots doesn’t mean you love them or respect them or believe in them more than you do your current home. Perhaps even more importantly, I don’t think I could solidly justify this theory within the limit of a hundred pages, especially when I first have to give the background of my research question and then go into details comparing the two places (Haiti and Montreal/Quebec).

At least this is worth thinking about, and might spark some debate within my own paper.

Trying hard

September 7th, 2008

As far as my Monroe project went, I’m not exactly sure what happened. I sent back a much better draft to my advisor, but haven’t heard anything in almost a week. Granted, the deadline was last Friday. I sent my copy to her four days ahead of time… I wonder what happened.

On the honours thesis front, I can’t say I did much. I had high hopes to get some notes written from the several unread articles still lurking on my computer and on hard copy in my office. The small goal for this week was just to revise the outline and summary I made for my advisor. (Thinking our meeting was a week earlier than it was actually scheduled for, I had just hastily organized my thoughts from an outline I made last May in Montreal.) Taking more notes should have allowed me to re-immerse myself in the content of my project. Unfortunately, because registration and luck did not intersect for me this year, I instead had to catch up on over 200 pages of reading in less than two days on top of reading for my other classes. Then there was registering for a GRE, research on the grad school front, fatigue, a tropical storm, and more work at work than I had anticipated for this week. I can joke and lay blame elsewhere, but honestly I should have been better at prioritizing and managing my time.

The new small goal (for today) so I can catch up to myself: finish taking notes on two articles that are already up on my screen [[done!]]. One article is on literature, focusing on Émile Ollivier, one of the best-known “haïtiano-québécois” authors, but it branches out to discuss others of the same geographic background (Haitians in Montreal). It gives some good information about such authorship as well as some good references if I have the time to do a broader (and stronger) literature review, in the sense of reading books and articles by these Haitian Montrealers to find common themes that might help me understand my topic better. The other article is somewhat curious. Written by a Haitian Montrealer (whose brother I met and spoke with), it tells the history of Haitian-Québécois relations with a fairly positive attitude so far. I know from my time in Quebec that Haitians are quite accepted in society, at least by now, because of this history and the cultural links they share – religion, language and an independent mind-set. I can’t tell whether to count this as a secondary or a primary source. [[I went with primary…]]

The actual small goal for this week: step back and see what primary documents I already have, and what secondary sources I have. This should allow me to understand the gaps that still puncture my data set, and how much work I have left for September. By the end of the month, all the articles and documents I have should be able to be added to my working bibliography, where no un-read articles are allowed.

[[Addendum: Since I have another assignment – increasing my bibliography by 1/3 – I guess that has to be the new goal, as well as read for two classes.]]