The General Shape of Things

Originally this blog was created because, well, I wanted to finish my dissertation in a timely manner, stay on a productive work schedule, etc. It was a means of self-discipline, really, because for many people, the Ph. D. is something that just stretches on and on, and I started at an advanced age, it was my second career, and I just wanted to get on with it and git her done. And it worked: I got the Ph. D. done, and now it’s going to be published as a book, and I have, if not a real tenure track job, at least a job at a good college where I get to be called “Professor.”

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The Finish Line

I defended my dissertation on Thursday, August 2nd, 2012, upstairs in Dickinson Hall on a lovely summer afternoon in the middle of lovely Princeton. It was a very enjoyable and stress free occasion — Dirk Hartog, Sean Wilentz, Mark Fernandez, and Peter Silver (present from Maine via Skype) were the committee, with Mark and I having flown up together from New Orleans the day before on a terrible blow-lunch storm-tossed flight, but a good night’s sleep cured all that. Even though it was midsummer and Princeton was in that lovely nothing-happening-here mode, a few friends including Dael Norwood, Jessica Lowe, Matt Ellis, and my parents were in attendance. Later that day we had a very low key cocktail party at Sean’s house. And then a couple days after that, I flew off to Marin County, California to join God Street Wine and jam with Bob Weir! I’m not going to pretend I don’t think that may be the coolest post-PhD wind down of all time. And yes, I am now a Doctor of Philosophy. Not the most useful kind of doctor, I will admit, but nevertheless.

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Off to Loyola

The dissertation is in the hands of readers; I will be defending the Ph. D. on August 2 in Princeton; between now and then I will be moving my family to New Orleans where I will start teaching in the history department at Loyola University.

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