(Become—not are already—books.) To judge by the manuscripts that scholars send to publishing houses, the majority of the theses for which the Ph. is awarded are still highly limited enterprises—confident treatments of narrow subjects, making claims to boldness but doing so by means of elaborate reference to the work of others.The average dissertation wears its confidence and its insecurity in equal measure. ” It isn’t the dissertation I want to shake, of course, it’s the dissertation’s author.
Encouraged by the response, Pat sends off the manuscript, fresh from the defense. To scholarly publishers it seems that for generations, dissertations have been built on a surprisingly simple formula.
thesis and is congratulated by the supervising committee. “You must publish this, Pat, and soon,” one committee member says, and goes on to suggest two or three publishing houses to which Pat might now write. The pages, which appear not to have been disturbed, are accompanied by a note. The tenure system, with its demand for book-length publication in the face of increasingly unattractive odds?
Disagree with some aspect of received opinion about your topic. This isn’t to say that dissertations aren’t valuable works of scholarship.
Each year graduate students complete interesting, provocative, even groundbreaking dissertations.
You might, of course, arrange an informal committee to spur you on, but it will be a committee of your own making, probably friends and colleagues corralled into reading drafts and chapters.
As they read your work, they will be weighing both their words and the strength of your friendship.
Their advisors are encouraging fresh subjects, as well as fresh approaches.
Each year dissertations appear that will become books.
Many factors militate against a dissertation becoming a book.
Yet some dissertations do, and many of these have the potential to become quite good books, a potential they often do not fulfill. Each is by the same author, each contains many of the same words and ideas, each is unpublished. In the evenings, and on weekends, you’re working on the book based on your dissertation.