I have some great news: on Friday, 28 January 2011, at 1 PM, I passed my PhD comprehensive exams. This means that I advance to become what the department calls a PhD Candidate. Many thanks to everyone who has kept me in their thoughts and prayers!
What does it all mean?
Well, first of all, what it doesn’t mean is that I already have a PhD. So no, I am not Dr. Justin Tse yet, although the people who work at academic journals seem to like to address me that way (which is flattering, but terribly misleading!). I’m projecting to finish in 2013, after which (hopefully) I’ll really have a PhD.
What it does mean is that I am now provisionally qualified to do research at the PhD level. The provision is that in about a month, I need to submit a PhD dissertation proposal (a prospectus, as they’d put it in the States). A dissertation is basically the integrated book that I need to write by the end of my PhD. A dissertation proposal details the topic that I will write my PhD dissertation on, the fields that I will engage, and the approaches and methods I will use. So that is forthcoming in March, and it will have something to do with Christians from Hong Kong in the Pacific region. Details are being thought out as we speak!
Over the next month, my plan is to work on a few things. First, there are several conference presentations that I want to squeeze out of a combination of these comprehensives and some work that I’ve been doing in collaboration with Dr. David Ley and Dr. Claire Dwyer on No. 5 Road in Richmond. Second, there are some articles on religion, Asian Americans, and Hongkonger Christians that I want to see if I can draft this month. Third, there is the dissertation proposal itself, but I’ve gotten used to thinking about this because of all the grant proposals I had to write from August to October 2010.
So it’s going to be a busy month, but what I can say is that the comprehensives have given me a bit of a boost in terms of knowing literatures on geographies of religion and secularism, Pacific geographies of migration and ethnicity, and urban geographies in the Asia-Pacific a lot better. Now the task is to see if we can put legs on the literature.
Many thanks to everyone who has supported me thus far! There’s still about two more years to go, and I’m excited for the real work that is to come!