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Thursday, May 9, 2013

That's Mister Corneille to you!

Well, my dissertation defense was yesterday.....and I actually passed!

I might blog about the process a little more later, but for now, a few comments:

First, I hope I don't become one of those people who insists on being called "doctor."  That's for health care professionals, not historians.

Second, there were a few very last minute hiccups.  At the time (about 36 hours before the defense) they seemed very momentous.  Now, they seem inconsequential, amounting only to a few small and very doable revisions to the dissertation.  That part of the experience, and the very poor way I handled it, is still a little raw for me to go into much more detail.  But I might blog specifically about this later.

Third, this experience is one example that although liberal arts professors probably have a certain ideological disposition that blinders them in favor of certain conclusions and analyses and against others, they usually (at least in my case) do their jobs fairly.  I won't go into detail, but I framed my dissertation around a set of ideas that three of my five committee members, and perhaps all five committee members, are predisposed to disagree with.  And while they criticized my use of these ideas, they based their criticism on the very real fact that although I discuss those ideas in the introduction and conclusion of my dissertation, I don't bring them up or demonstrate their applicability in the remaining 500+ pages.  In other words, they set aside their ideological biases and treated me fairly.