I haven't written for a while on where I'm up to in terms of the PhD thesis (you know -- the reason why, ultimately, this blog exists!) I'm nearly at the (nominal) half-way point, and I think it's coming along ok. Last month I finally completed a draft of chapter 2 (the evolution of the knock-out blow, 1932-1941), which along with chapter 1 (the origins of the knock-out blow, 1893-1931) and the (very preliminary) introduction, adds up to 29500 words. It took me much longer to write chapter 2 than I expected, partly because I was tutoring in 2nd semester, but also because there are just so many sources: it's twice the length of chapter 1, despite covering only a quarter as many years.
So now I am working on chapter 3, logically enough. This is on defence panics and high technology. By "defence panic" I mean something very much like a moral panic, except that the focus of anxiety is an external threat to society, instead of an internal one -- phantom airships (for example) rather than mods and rockers. It seems to me that in the early 20th century, (largely) media-driven defence panics were a prime means by which public opinion on the threat of bombing was influenced, transmitting and amplifying for a wider audience the warnings of the airpower experts I've examined in chapters 1 and 2. The connection with high technology is that very often defence panics hinged upon the predicted impact of some new technology -- gas being the prime example.
Other objectives for this year include getting a couple of papers out (one probably based on chapter 2), attending a conference or two, and getting over to the UK -- by hook or by crook!
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