I met with my mentor, Professor Lauren Carruth, on the 27th of August from 1240 to 1300. Over the course of our discussion, we spoke about a multitude of topics. We discussed the different potential routes my research could take and also discussed the existing literature in the field.
We began with discussing the sub-topic areas within my large research area, which is wartime sexual assault. I mentioned that I wanted to present a comparative analysis of case studies. Professor Carruth suggested that I also consider concepts like the connection between low intensity conflict and political insecurity, the use of rape as a weapon of war, and further sexual violence and rape as public health issues. Other possible ideas include looking at sexual violence as an occupational hazard and focusing on the vulnerability of men in times of war, with a focus on Yemen and Afghanistan. Towards the end of our conversation, Professor Carruth recommended some other examples I could look at, like the Dadaab Refugee Complex in Kenya and the use of sexual violence in Darfur. Additionally, she suggested that I look at the work of Dyan Mazurana, a researcher who focuses on gender-based violence in conflict.
My meeting with Professor Carruth provided significant clarity to my research process, which I am very grateful for. With her recommendations and ideas, I have continued to read more about my topic subject and have come across even more ways that my research could take. However, I still do have many concerns. While I am very interested in my research topic, I do worry that my lack of previous contextual knowledge will prove to be a problem, as I have discussed with Professor Carruth. My major concern with this is being able to truly narrow down on a research topic. Despite this, I am optimistic that I will figure this out as time passes this semester.
In the short term future, I hope to continue to read about the subject of my research and learn more about the topic. Additionally, I hope to gain some clarity about what direction I personally want to take with my research. I am also beginning to think about research methodology and do believe that my research paper could be a small-n research paper. Nonetheless, I think that I will be able to have more concrete plans and goals for my work as I continue to learn in SISU 206 and 306.