Friday, April 24, 2015

Good News/Bad News: Kalamazoo Paper Version

Here's the way my week has been:

Monday: Good news! I've finished a draft of my Kalamazoo paper! Cut it down so it's a clean 10 pages.

Monday afternoon: Bad news: The panel has four people on it, rather than three. So I need to cut 2.5 more pages somehow.

Tuesday morning: Good news! I managed to cut another 2 pages. It's gonna run about 17 min rather than 15, but that'll have to be that. The argument is tight, and I have a great conclusion. I'm satisfied. Even pleased. It's not quite a mic-drop, but it's good.

Wednesday morning: Correspondence from a distant colleague about my paper reveals that an Eminent Scholar Overseas made this very topic the centerpiece of a series of hour-long lectures he presented back in 2013. Nothing published, but they made quite a splash, apparently. And his major conclusion (after having four hours to develop it, rather than my measly 15 minutes) was apparently the same as what I struggled my way to over the past semester and was going to present as my Big Reveal in three weeks.


Is it too late to fake my own death?


Sapience said...

Yeah, that basically happened to me this week too. I didn't have a whole draft done, but I had it finally pinned down as an argument, and was doing some follow up research on minor points... only to discover that a book published two months ago essentially makes my argument for me.

La Fletcher said...

I'm more in favor of the "tragic death in the family" excuse, myself. ;)

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

This happens to Shakespeareans all the time. Just do your paper and say, "I've only just become aware of this other person's work on the same topic. For the expansion of this paper, I will be looking at his/her work in order to improve my own into a book/article/whatever your plan is."

It sucks being scooped, but hey, this proves that you're idea was a good one, and if you had to cut so much, then there's lots more to say/do with it. Now, you just have more resources and you can take a slightly different angle. It'll be a challenge, but also, might do good things for you if you take on the famous person's argument and run with it in another direction. Good luck.

Fie upon this quiet life! said...

*your. Stupid phone.

PhysioProffe said...

If the other person hasn't published yet, then how have you been "scooped"?

Anonymous said...

Ouch. In sympathy... During the time between when I wrote my dissertation proposal and when I presented it, one of the portions of it was the focus of a paper that appeared on the preprint server.

So I dropped it. In retrospect, I probably should have done it anyway; that was a confirmation of its timeliness, and he did it from an entirely different angle with an entirely different set of data. What I had intended would have built on it, and we could have helped each other.

This was years ago for you, but I have only just found your blog, and have been laughing and crying my way through bits of it. Glad you wrote it.