Coffee, sandwiches, and bibliographies: the blocks from which theses are made

Hertford College, Oxford

There was a talk in Corpus Christi today that was a kind of grad student slam dunk. Organized by Cinnamon Carlane and given by Henry Shue, the talk was on the ethics of climate change. Firstly, it involved free sandwiches (fully 2/3 of which were vegetarian). Secondly, as with most of Professor Shue’s talks, it involved the distribution of a comprehensive bibliography. With a thesis upcoming, you can never have too many articles of assuredly high quality to include in your discussion and, perhaps more importantly, your bibliography. Thirdly, the room was packed with people interested in environmental politics: an elusive variety of student who seem to be spread across every program and department, and only come together under unusual circumstances.

Shue’s moral argument is, of course, very well thought out and compelling. The biggest flaw, I think, is that he is not focused enough on the policy course that would be required to deal with climate change effectively, and the secondary moral phenomena that arise from that. That said, being able to make a strong foundational case that climate change is a problem upon which we are morally obligated to act may be an important step in the generation of the requisite level of political will.

Those interested in this stuff will probably appreciate knowing that Professor Sir Nicholas Stern is talking about his report on the economics of climate change in the exam schools, this Wednesday at 5:00pm.

Author: Milan

In the spring of 2005, I graduated from the University of British Columbia with a degree in International Relations and a general focus in the area of environmental politics. In the fall of 2005, I began reading for an M.Phil in IR at Wadham College, Oxford. Outside school, I am very interested in photography, writing, and the outdoors. I am writing this blog to keep in touch with friends and family around the world, provide a more personal view of graduate student life in Oxford, and pass on some lessons I've learned here.

5 thoughts on “Coffee, sandwiches, and bibliographies: the blocks from which theses are made”

  1. Thesis related: indexing.
    On balance, probably best avoided. Even if you have revised, proof-read, re-revised, buffed, polished, manicured etc your thesis, if you add an index this might leave the assessor wondering why you didn’t devote that ‘extra’ time into reading further sources/exploring an issue further within the text.

    However, I know little of examiner’s minds and how much they might be swayed by the helpfulness. I’m sure more informed heads can give more valuable feedback.

  2. Monday view: Cheap solar power poised to undercut oil and gas by half

    By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    Last Updated: 11:31pm GMT 18/02/2007

    Within five years, solar power will be cheap enough to compete with carbon-generated electricity, even in Britain, Scandinavia or upper Siberia. In a decade, the cost may have fallen so dramatically that solar cells could undercut oil, gas, coal and nuclear power by up to half. Technology is leaping ahead of a stale political debate about fossil fuels.

  3. I have not excactly been shy about projecting my feelings about the Wadham food ‘situation’, nor have I hidden my (bordering on extreme) enthusiasm for British condiments. In all seriousness, however, Oxford food establishments leave much to be desired, especially for the dissertation-writing, exam-taking student. My older friends know me as a twelve-year militant vegetarian (read, no fish) sometimes vegan (for three years or so!) nutrition crusader, nearly draconian about eating local produce and organic food when possible – laced with medicinal spices like chilli, garlic, ginger, and the like. Unfortunately, the depressing Wadham kitchen, my busy schedule, and UK prices (not to mention the funerary-looking vegetables at Sainsbury’s) forced me to give in to eating nutritionally devoid food (like the famous ‘thai schnitzel’ at Wadham) with a side of chips.

    However, ladies and gentleman, I have now discovered a way to have cheap, healthy, and FAST lunches! Presenting, the Bento Box:

    “Bentō (弁当 or べんとう?) is a single-portion takeout meal common in Japanese cuisine. A traditional bento consists of rice, fish or meat, and one or more pickled or cooked vegetables as a side dish. Containers range from disposable mass produced to hand crafted lacquerware. ” (Wiki).

    I have adapted this for my purposes, gleaning ingredients from the (life-saving) Asian grocer towards the train station. Yesterday, I had a Bento lunch of raw sugarsnap peas with a light soy dressing, a lovely green nest of seaweed ‘life’ noodles with high-protein flower, pickled sushi ginger, miso soup, and tofu with crispy roasted seaweed. This meal took approximately 4 minutes to make, probably exceeded 15 grams of protein, was packed with vitamin A and C, and cost about 35 p.

    Today on the menu was (pictured above) sticky rice, sliced advacado, steamed silken tofu, crispy roasted seaweed with sesame (the black bits), pickled sushi ginger, and a wasabi-soy dressing. This took ten minutes (because of cooking the rice), was loaded with protein, and cost about 40 p.
    For ideas/inspiration on these simple and super-healthy lunches, check out a mom’s take on it, helping her children develop healthy eating habits while also avoiding the horrors of ‘school lunch’:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *