Search the Lounge


« Most Amazing Thing I Read On The Internet Today | Main | Morison v. Rawlinson »

March 27, 2012


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Charles Paul Hoffman

One of the tragedies of farming out training of law professors to other departments/Ph.D. programs is that law schools don't usually have anything remotely similar to this.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

It's clear that some of those are just far too long!

Charles Paul Hoffman


Depending on how old they are, a lot of them are probably single-spaced and hand-typed, meaning 100,000 words (about typical for a contemporary doctoral thesis) could end up being 400+ sheets of paper. If printed today, they would look a lot smaller.

Patrick S. O'Donnell

Yes, I know (being 55), as I've browsed through the dissertations from Religious Studies students at UC Santa Barbara. Still, I'm certain a fair number of them are far too long (there's a kind of anxiety at work here that results in this).

Alfred Brophy

There was something really cool about that room -- I got there a little early, so I had the chance to pull a few off the shelf and flip through them. I'm not sure they're too long -- dissertations are great for collecting all sorts of data; you know, the things we leave on the cutting room floor when our editors say, "this book doesn't need to have everything you've ever learned about the topic!"

Eric Fink

When I was a sociology grad student at U Chicago, I once earned some extra money by moving all the bound dissertations from one room to another. There was something absurdly thrilling about handing the original works by some of the grandmasters of the discipline. It felt almost like handling the scrolls at Qumran.

David J. Garrow

I'm totally with Al on this: I've already found such collections both inspiring and fascinating, e.g. Princeton's collection of bound undergraduate theses (which may well not be in OCLC). But then I'm a product of an undergraduate program which required, and subsidized, serious undergraduate theses, e.g (this is right up Al's alley!) "Changing Law: A Biography of Arthur T. Vanderbilt" (Rutgers U.P. 1976), and, with apologies,

Alfred Brophy

I hadn't realized how many departments have dissertation rooms. The only other one I think I have ever seen is in the University of Chicago's history department. Makes me think that we could, perhaps, have a series of these photographs!

David J. Garrow

I've seen a good many of these over the years [my 8th word up above was supposed to be "always," not "already"--sorry], and I don't think they're at all exclusive to history departments--think anthropology. Most such ones I've seen feature only 'basic black' as opposed to 'Carolina Blue' bindings, though, so I wouldn't expect too much color-scheme variety!

Alfred Brophy

David--congratulations on the Selma book; I hadn't realized that emerged from your honors thesis! That's fantastic.

I love the Carolina Blue covers. You can tell how long the dissertations have been there, roughly, by how much they've faded. One (perhaps disloyal?) alum had the dissertation bound in black. I remember seeing a small room in the History of American Civilization program with recent dissertations -- it was a nice resource (this was in the day before UMI had recent dissertations up on the net -- heck, it was before the net) and made me feel better about the prospects that one day I, too, might finish. However, given that the tradition had started more recently -- and that American Civilization is a fairly small program, there were just a few shelves of dissertations in that room.

The comments to this entry are closed.


  • StatCounter
Blog powered by Typepad