Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Angry Archie advises

From College Misery, July 26, 2011

Why your dissertation sucked, or will someday suck.

But on a serious note, the article does point to a fairly pervasive problem with the way that advisors and committees handle grad students and their dissertations. I've always tried to be honest, sometimes brutally so (I know, real fucking surprise there, right?) when I've been on a committee. And, of course, I'm always straight with my advisees. But when I'm not the lead advisor, I have often found that my brutal but honest advice gets drowned out by the colleagues who want to be all fucking positive. I hate those fuckers, and I hope that someday they get hit by a bus with "you're doing a GREAT JOB crossing the street" written on the front of it.

One thing the article doesn't address is the fact that English (the author is an English proffie) and History are almost the only disciplines left for which a book is still the central exhibit of the tenure file. Indeed, in some fields a book can be seen as a black mark, or pointless in comparison to journal articles. He also doesn't address the fact that at lots of English and History departments, including where he teaches, one can now substitute a certain number of refereed articles for a book. Still, I like Cassuto's columns. His advice is generally thoughtful and solid.

And for all you grad students and junior proffies out there, go buy the book he mentions. It is an invaluable tool, which I highly recommend.

Anyway, here's the fucking flava:

My last column centered on the new difficulties that graduate students face in turning their dissertations into books. Some readers responded that plenty of dissertations shouldn't be revised into books in the first place. Indeed.

and here's the fucking link.

Did I get it right this time?

OK, so sue me, but this makes me think of "Katie," if only because in one of "Katie's" RYS posts she bragged about how her committee told her that her dissertation was already good enough to be a book, which is how she had always known that she was a star.

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