“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Sunday, December 12, 2010

How to Get That Elusive Academic Job 9—the interview (how to talk about turning your diss. into a book)

They will ask you what your next project is. Have an idea! Your next immediate project is to turn your dissertation into a book.

Do you understand the difference between a dissertation and a book? You do? Then skip this post.

You don't? Don't you realize that a book is a PRODUCT that you sell in a shop? And that a dissertation is a TRANSITIONAL OBJECT that turns you from a student into an expert?

So you have to think how you're going to turn your dissertation chapters into book chapters. Don't just say “spruce them up and put in some more arguments.” Have a REAL idea of how this will happen. Work backwards from the assumption that, whatever they say, everyone knows the genuine difference—a diss. chapter is a factory for producing ONE aspect of your eventual expertise. A book chapter is a journey within the BOOK as single OBJECT that takes you from A to not-A (or even to B). It's a progression. Not show and tell. Figure it out from there.

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