Writing

To advance the aim of getting down to four 50-page chapters, I have been bringing printouts to review on campus for the last couple of days. The change of scenery has certainly been accompanied by a change in feeling and thinking, and I am starting to feel the emotional distance from the text which is […]

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Avner Cohen provides a great summary of writing history (here under the particular limitations of studying Israel’s nuclear arsenal): The narrative I offer, then, is by nature incomplete and interpretative. Like all narratives, it is not written from God’s-eye view; rather, it is a story told through incomplete human and archival sources. Cohen, Avner. “Before […]

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I got an insight on dissertation writing from the Spycast podcast’s interview with former vice presidential daily intelligence briefer Dave Terry: This isn’t a be-all-end-all book. It’s a tailored 300-page briefing for senior faculty members. That perspective should help lessen the pain of cutting carefully researched content. It’s not that it’s bad, it just doesn’t […]

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Today I received and began reading George Hoberg’s new book: The Resistance Dilemma: Place-Based Movements and the Climate Crisis. The usefulness is threefold. It speaks directly to my concern about how the environmentalist focus on resistance isn’t a great match with building a global energy system that will control climate change. It references much of […]

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As an organizational and accountability mechanism, I am going to post more often about the progress of my work on the dissertation. At present I am working on three immediate tasks: Producing a version of my 68-page political opportunities chapter that fits in 50 pages (maybe even shorter eventually because some much longer chapters also […]

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There’s a cliché that you should never ask a PhD student about their dissertation in conversation and, based on my experiences since my project officially began in June 2018, there are several reasons why this is sound advice. In short, the PhD and dissertation process is frustrating to hear described and, when a student is […]

A very good blog post on what to expect from a PhD program (and especially what the university itself won’t tell you): So You Want To Go To Grad School (in the Academic Humanities)? Two paragraphs which are especially informative for people who don’t have recent personal experience in a PhD program: The most important […]

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I have heard the theory that every time we remember something it is influenced by our thoughts, feelings, and beliefs at the time of remembering. That implies that the memories we think most about are the ones that have been most distorted from their original form. An exaggerated version is in effect for stories recounted […]

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Writing a PhD dissertation in collaboration with my committee is in some ways the hardest thing I have ever done. To begin with, the full draft is by far the longest single document I have ever written – far too long to be able to keep the entire contents in my mind at once, unlike […]

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Researching social movements — where relevant information is often on social media, or the websites of NGOs, universities, or corporations that reorganize them frequently — link rot is an acute problem. Increasingly, the default way to let a reader see the source you’re referencing is to provide an internet hyperlink, and yet there is no […]

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