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I passed my PhD comps on Monday, which means that I now possess a second MA (whatever) and have reached that rarefied state of ABD (hurray!). It was not a terrible experience -- I had colleagues who had terrible experiences, but I did not, and my advisor probably deserves all the credit for protecting me from the slings and arrows of outrageous faculty. (They tell you, when you're a baby undergraduate, that finding a good advisor is the most important part of getting an advanced degree in the humanities -- and this is very true.)

Two highlights!


PROFESSOR #1: "So in your exam, you talked about the bad parts of being a slave on a Caribbean sugar plantation. But what about the good parts?"

ME: "The good parts? Of being a slave? On the type of plantation with the highest rate of slave mortality?"

PROFESSOR #1: "Right. You talk about the black majority and relative autonomy -- but what else? What is there specifically about sugar that benefits slaves? Something not true for coffee, tobacco, or cotton? What is it about sugar?"

ME: "Well. It can be...eaten."


PROFESSOR #2: "So...imagine you are a Spanish colonial administrator at the end of the seventeenth century...who lives for 125 years. What do you think about the Bourbon Reforms?"

ME: "Well, ooookay..." [blathers randomly for five minutes]

PROFESSOR #2: "What I find interesting is that, in your answer, you sound almost creole..."

ME: "Well, I've been there for 125 years! I've developed local loyalties! I've gone native!"

PROFESSOR #2: "..."

Date: 2012-04-24 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]

So, do you defend your dissertation when it's complete, as well? Or is it all over besides the writing?

Date: 2012-07-13 05:15 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Long-delayed answer: but yes, I do defend my dissertation in a few years, so there are a couple more hurdles to jump hurray.


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