Saturday, August 28, 2010

A PhD in Pictures

"Nostalgic love can only survive in a long-distance relationship."
- Svetlana Boym, The Future of Nostalgia

With the arrival of my bound dissertation recently in the mail, several months after I submitted it (and that came several months after my successful defense), I think its finally time to move on from my PhD experience. A couple years ago, I blogged about the end of coursework. It was definitely surreal.

But now just feels a little different. The following is a series of photos (in some cases, the few that are left) which will always remind me of my grad school days. It is deeply affective, and so more detailed descriptions probably wouldn't do. Maybe one day I'll go back and add more specifics.

Anyway, a rare image still left from my first year in grad school (Spring 2002):

My old Oklahoma State office (circa 2002), with Scott (my desk was just to the left of this picture):

CRAS--if you have to ask, you just don't get it:

After OSU, I left for Wayne State in Detroit, MI, for a year (2004-2005). This is a copy of an old postcard I have from 1942 Detroit: I have newer picture somewhere. The English department where I worked is located on the 9th and 10th floors of the Maccabees Building today:

I left Detroit in 2005 to attend Indiana University. For a long time, I kept this other turn-of-the-century pic from Detroit on my desk at home as a reminder (this all makes sense if you read 'Islands of Detroit'--please, please, do so):

A shot of where my first office building from IU was originally located (2005-2006), before it was demolished. An added bonus? I took this picture the morning before my PhD Oral exams (early 2008):

My First SCMS Conference in Vancouver, BC (early 2006). Me, Sarah and Jenna at the train station. Such fond memories:

The building in IU that we moved into at the start of my third year (2007):

The view from my hotel room at SCMS - Philly, 2008:

A few months later, I finished my coursework, wrote and defended my exams, and packed up and left Bloomington for Chicago (May 2008):

A spontaneous reminder in late 2008 at a coffee kiosk at Harper College, Illinois, that I needed to get back to my dissertation:

I did a lot of research in the microfilm room at Northwestern University (2009-2010)--a lot initially for my dissertation, but I also did a lot later for my research assistant position. So much time locked in this room:

Spring 2009: a long day of revisions, this time on my Cinema Journal article (also a version of chapter 7 in the dissertation):

Halloween Weekend, 2009--my hiding away in the awesome Holidome in Columbus, Indiana, forty minutes east of Bloomington, as I frantically proofread all 300+ pages of the final defense copy of my dissertation, before handing copies to my committee on the following Monday:

The Mitchell Domes in Milwaukee, WI--A childhood nostalgic detour (as a native of WI). I went there twice in recent years, once in Nov. 2008 after I finished the first draft of my dissertation; once in Nov. 2009 after I finished my defense copy:

My full committee, moments after a successful defense (December 2009):

SCMS, March 2010: Wandering the LA Bonaventure just before my 8am presentation:

Graduation Day, May 2010--the view from the floor:

Premature Enlightenment?:

A dissertation, August 2010:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Dissertation Now Available

The dissertation version of one of my current projects, A Frown Upside Down / The Affective, Cultural and Convergence Histories of Disney's Song of the South (2010), is finally available through ProQuest Dissertations. This is more or less the version that I completed and defended last December (I have since made more revisions).

A link to the abstract and preview can be found here--if you have access to a university library, I believe you can retrieve the full text of the dissertation by logging in to the library's database, going to ProQuest and searching for it through there (there is no direct permanent link that I know of, sorry).

I will only say for now that I don't like the abstract in retrospect--its too narrowly focused on what at the time I thought was the project's biggest scholarly contribution. But looking at it now, I feel it misses the scope of many other historical and cultural issues I'm trying to examine.

Having conceived the idea back in 2002, then researched it for another five years, and then actively worked at it for over three years, I am very proud of this work--its easily the best thing I've ever written, and I think many different audiences in time will find much of value (and provocation) in its pages. When the project is brought to its final resolution, I will take more time to reflect on the process of writing and revising it, and on what I feel its ultimate contributions may be.