As I get toward the end of an exciting but small project on a contemporary Irish novel and a Medieval genre, my thoughts turn toward the next project and the next.
To begin I have some questions roiling in my head about Gaeilge, social media, and globalism. I will have to think about how to manage a project with so many moving parts. What sort of methodology might I use? After years of studying the language and two trips for in-depth study, one in the Donegal Gaeltacht, am I finally going to put my Irish language learning to some scholarly use? I imagine working to integrate how language learners navigate their attempts through connections to native speakers and place, but the social media aspect seems important. Tweeting as Gaeilge agus tweets ag léamh i nGaeilge combines with watching the Lurgan Colaiste videos on youtube (http://lurgan.biz/ and @TGLurgan) to create something global and Irish. Now, I need to imagine what can we study and learn from it.
An analysis of the “Wake me Up” as Gaeilge video can offer some starting ideas. The video combines Irish language lyrics to a popular song with a number of conventional and popular global forms such as ballet dance, and black light face paint and white clothing stylized from clubs and raves. Yet, the director(s) weave in tin whistles and other traditional Irish instruments, Irish step dancing, and images of freckled youngsters, creating a distinctly Irish feel. The global success of the video and the subsequent visits to the Late Late Show and cameos from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis suggest that the video struck a transnational nerve.
As I tweeted earlier in the semester, I’ve long wanted to document and theorize the professionalization that happens in the Graduate Scholarship classroom. Now that we have integrated social media into that professionalization, it seems the right time to use those connections to investigate what if anything happens over the first semester of a graduate program, especially in relation to the course those students take together. Of course, taking on the Graduate Directorship makes this possible scholarly direction even more timely, since my time for the foreseeable future will involve just this sort of work. Naturally, I want to study whether the efforts we make with students create dividends, and if so, what kinds of outcomes. In specific, I am curious about “forcing” students to use twitter in a professional setting.
If I am going to do this kind of research, and John Jones’ JBTC article provides a lovely methodology to tweak, then I need to think about IRB approval, data gathering timelines, and a long term project plan, so that I have longitudinal data from my time as Graduate Director – teaching the introduction to the professions course.
Now, all I need to do is conduct the research and write the results.