I passed comps, and am now ABD!

After months of reading nothing but history books, I have passed both my written and oral exams and can now be called ABD (all but dissertation for those of you who are smart enough to avoid academia like the plague!)! I am now ready to start working on my dissertation… I am so happy, I am like John “Capt. Jack” Barrowman, with not one, but two shake weights!!! Look at him go!!!


Congrats! What’s your specialty? It says the Cold War on your profile, but that still seems vague.

Congratulations Mindysan. I would love to hear more of your adventures in book-larnin’ Please tell more. What was it like? what did they ask? Were they confrontational or collegial?

Especially would love to hear about where you intend to take your thesis. I think everyone would.

Congrats! Have you got a restaurant lined up for after the PHD is awarded?

(sorry! honestly, congrats!)

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Wonderful news! Congratulations!

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I’m looking at the recording industry during the Cold War… I’m still fiddling with the direction this is going to take. it will probably be about globalization, the changing economy (from steel to information, is that how Eben Moglen put it? Tangible vs. intangible commodites?), and identity formation. I think it’s going to be about the intersections of US projection of power and how corpororations take advantage of that. I want to make it more of a “long duree” type project and cover the whole of the Cold War. I’m not sure how it’s going to be structured yet (either chronological, looking at first jazz, then rock, and finally punk/postpunk) or thematic (not sure what that would look like, actually, but maybe looking at a few different aspects of the recording industry?). it’s still a sort of vague project, but I have some ideas for questions kicking around. I think once I write my prospectus, it’ll be easier to articulate how I want this to look. But that’s some generally ideas I have kicking around my noggin’ right now.

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You can see what I replied to Abe about my work.

The whole thing was a nice sort of torture. My adviser kept saying things like “ritual scarification”. I think his was especially tough, too. For the written portion I had a total of 8 questions for 3 fields-- and I think over the 3 days I wrote about 60 something pages (that’s double spaced, though). In weeks before, I did some practice writing and that was another 50 or so pages, I think. I think between practice and the exams themselves, I wrote more than I did for my master’s thesis.

The defense wasn’t too stresssful - at least once I got there and started talking. The hardest field was Islamic world, (the 3 fields were US 19th/20th century, transnational, and Islamic) as the guy doing that is a known hardass (but he’s an amazing scholar and the only guy I’ve met in academia who I’d call an actual radical, actually, but he’s an old school punk and is out to save the world, too). That was kind of rough, but everyone seemed really happy with my answers for the most part, and they especially were happy with my essays… After my adviser went to the local cd/record/comic shop and then bought me a beer. My adviser is an amazing guy. He just published his book on the recording industry and copyright this year (Democracy of Sound - he starts one chapter by talking about the show What’s Happening!). I’m not sure how BB hasn’t picked up on his book, actually… But the department in generally is full of some pretty excellent professors who I think for the most part care about their students and really go out of their way to help them. It’s a good department, actually, and I’m happy to be there. I really don’t think I’d get a better education if I had gone to some more elite uni. I really do like the fact that we actually have to teach for our admittedly shitty pay. We do get like the university minimum, and do a fair amount of work for that. And we get no other support really (our grad organization hands out grants for conference/research travel, but it’s not much and the uni offers a grant for dissertation writing, but it’s for all departments and it’s only like $1000).

Okay… this is turning into a dissertation… :wink:


It’s funny, cause it’s true! But instead of restaurant work, it’ll be poorly paid adjuncting with no hope of promotion or stability, no benefits, and a 6/6 course load…

Wait, why am I doing this again?

ALmost as thrilling as my salaryman life then.

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We’re all insecurely employed now. I think that the future of labor is going to in the model of independent contracting, via temp services or contracting companies.

Unless we decide, you know, to get rational about health care and pensions I am afraid you are right.

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No one wants to have rational discussions anymore, sadly. Everyone just wants to have their biases confirmed and throw poo at the “other” side, facts be damned. We no longer have political discourse in a democracy, we have grade-school name-calling in a plutocracy.

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