Archive for April, 2011

It’s official: I am now ABD. My oral exams went swimmingly, and I can now be considered a colleague by those with PhDs. All I have left to do is finish off my prospectus and write a dissertation.

Of course, saying that “all I have left” is my dissertation is much like saying that after Normandy, all the allies had left was to defeat Germany. Saying “just” a dissertation is tantamount to “just” an arctic expedition, or “just” a trip to the moon.

Okay, maybe it’s not THAT bad. But it isn’t something I should go into lightly. That, I think, is fair. (more…)


I started this blog in October 2007. When I did it, it was because my advisor and friend Bradley Dilger suggested that it would be a good way to organize my thoughts and keep in mind what I glean from anything I read. He suggested that I write little reviews of everything I read, both as practice for writing reviews and just to keep my memory somewhere I can read it.

Seemed like a great idea at the time. And it was; the number of papers I have written with the help of my blog, the number of theories I have come to understand better, and the number of times I’ve turned here for inspiration is really pretty high. But recently, I’ve found another purpose.

I was asked by my current adviser to write a Literature Review for my prospectus. Not everything I’ve ever read, but a good grasp on the subject, enough to establish that I know the field. And that’s what I did. Putting it together helped me to organize my thoughts and to identify the main themes of my project, which in turn will help me finish off my prospectus.

At first, it was a daunting task. How could I do all that? How could I go through all the things I’ve read and synthesize them into a literature review? Then it hit me: I already have. That’s what this blog IS. Suddenly, the task of writing a Literature Review was less about a ton of writing and organizing and more about a synthesis and structuring of what I have already written. It’s not cheating: I wrote it to begin with. I didn’t write it for a publication, I wrote it for my own edification. That has always been pretty explicit, I think.

The end result was that in two days, I was able to put together about 30 pages of Literature Review. This blog has, once again, paid for itself. (Not that I pay for it)