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A Year in the City (PhD Marks)

When I got back on Friday, the markers reports for my doctorate had arrived, and they were pretty sweet.

Here's how it works: You don't get marks, really, rather you get one of five recommendations, numbered 1 to 5. The first is "The thesis merits the award of the degree", and fifth is "The thesis does not merit the award of the degree and does not demonstrate sufficient ability by the candidate for a resubmitted thesis to merit the award". I had three markers, and one gave me a 1, and the others gave me a 2, which is "The thesis merits the award of the degrees subject to minor corrections as listed being made to the satisfaction of the head of school". Those corrections? Typos.

(That laughter you can now hear is every editor, publisher and proof reader I've worked with. I'm an absolutely terrible proof reader and cannot be trusted to work my own stuff. Frankly, I think the comments are very minor--a page on both those examiner reports, but you know how it is.)

Outside that, however, the reports were really positive, and I'm all good in passing and being award the Doctor of Philosophy. Party tricks ahoy. Now, while there is about eleven pages in all for the three examiners, I'm going to quote some of it below so you can all know my brilliance. Plus, A Year in the City took me four fucking years to write, and it's just joy to get good words back on it. Seriously.

So here we go:

"This is a highly original work. I would begin by congratulating the candidate for pursing a project such as this with such audacity (and the supervisors who let him off the lead)."

"This is a beautifully written novel and quite different; it's not easy to do the different thing effectively, but Peek has achieved this and produced a narrative that is readable, interesting and intriguing in a rhizomatic way."

"The creative writing amply demonstrates its immersion and deep consideration of significant issues about Australian history and culture, particularly as they relate to the history and culture of Sydney--its multiculturalism, its genesis in dispossession and the questions of race and whiteness that dominate its history and underpin its imagination. The thesis overallmakes strong, interesting links between land ownership, race and migration as a way of both theorizing the city and representing it in a work of fiction."

"This is a bold project that utilises a variety of genres, including the postcard, historical fiction, and magic realism, or more particularly, the magic in realism, to produce a multi-layered representation of the city in time, image and cultural resonance. It is a wonderful digging exercise, from the sands of Bondi Beach into the genealogical landscapes of the past, and back to the contemporary frictions and fractures of the present."

"It is refreshing to read a novel that does not, in any obvious/predictable way, have an overall plot structure and that works on a micro-narrative level. for me, each mirco-narrative worked on its own as well as working as part of a larger story. Ie. it did not seem like a collection of short stories (one possible reading); it seemed like a novel held together via its themes -- primarily racial and spatial."

"...the novel begins to read like a thematically linked collection of short stories, rather than as a cohesive (if fragmented) novelistic text. There are stories that contribute more successfully to the mosaic effect than others; they are shorter narratives -- those that suggest slivers, or moments, of story and event."

"The elaborate and extensive use of footnoted information brings many of the characters into credible 'being' in interesting and innovative ways. This abbreviated characterisation technique works for me but I can also see how this might be irritating for readers."

"It was a weird reading experience, but I purposely didn't read the exegesis until I'd read the narrative(s). Hence, I positioned myself as an ordinary reader and academic examiner; as such, I found the novel compelling, thought-provoking and (the most important criteria in my opinion) interesting."

"A Year in the City is also an ethical work, with the writer being aware of his subjective and ultimately authoritative position without ever turning the work into an unhelpful and unnecessary act of autocriticism; which is ultimately self-defeating in that the only way out of such dilemmas is not to do the work at all. Writing about race relations, both creatively and critically in Australia can be a fraught area of production."

"In conclusion, the work is not only highly creative, it is a 'good read', which may not be the most sophisticated response to a doctoral thesis, but it is in the end an important one... I wish the student the best in the future, hoping he continues with his research and writing."

Comments

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ratmmjess
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:22 am (UTC)
Rock on!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
totally :)
capnoblivious
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
Well, congratulations, Doctor Peek!

That's awesome. :)
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
thanks!
exp_err
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
Congratulations! And now you have some good quotes for the back cover, too!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC)
it does look like i'm quote happy, doesn't it?

(and thanks)
drjon
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
You can offer a novel as a thesis?

Sometimes my ignorance astounds even me.
drjon
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:32 am (UTC)
(My hearty congratulations, btw)
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 30th, 2006 01:01 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - drjon - Oct. 30th, 2006 01:06 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 30th, 2006 01:09 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - lyndarama - Oct. 30th, 2006 12:34 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 30th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC) - Expand
squirrel_monkey
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:37 am (UTC)
Congrats! (And, to a biologist, the word 'rhizomatic' in this context seems hilarious.)
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:04 am (UTC)
thanks!

(you gotta love the word usage, huh?)
ataxi
Oct. 30th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
Terrific. Well done, and the comments must have left you feeling pretty pumped.
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
yeah, the comments are all sweet, though i do admit, when i read them first i didn't feel much of anything. i was just kinda over it.
(no subject) - ataxi - Oct. 30th, 2006 01:19 am (UTC) - Expand
buymeaclue
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:02 am (UTC)
Bravo!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:05 am (UTC)
thanks!
mariness
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:16 am (UTC)
Congratulations!!!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:41 am (UTC)
thanks!
ex_chrisbil
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:25 am (UTC)
Hats off to that. Will it be published?
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 01:41 am (UTC)
when i find a publisher, totally :)
(no subject) - ex_chrisbil - Oct. 30th, 2006 01:43 am (UTC) - Expand
ironed_orchid
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:10 am (UTC)
Congratulations. Those are awesome comments.

Now go fix the typos.
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:48 am (UTC)
yes ma'am ;)
deborahlive
Oct. 30th, 2006 02:51 am (UTC)
Great news!!! And super comments, there.

Congrats!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
thanks! it is indeed super cool :)
kaaronwarren
Oct. 30th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
You're a star. That's bloody brilliant, Ben.
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 04:08 am (UTC)
thanks!
frogworth
Oct. 30th, 2006 04:36 am (UTC)
Brilliant! Congrats - these are excellent comments. You are rhizomatic!!!1!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 06:50 am (UTC)
don't make me get rhizomatic on your ass!

;)

thanks.
(no subject) - frogworth - Oct. 30th, 2006 07:21 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 11:10 am (UTC)
thanks!
claredudman
Oct. 30th, 2006 09:04 am (UTC)
Sounds wonderful. Congratulations Dr Peek. Can I call you that yet?
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 11:11 am (UTC)
thanks!

(nah, probably not. though i don't know that i'll require anyone calling me it. it sounds kinda wankish, you know? heh)
wendy_waring
Oct. 30th, 2006 09:05 am (UTC)
minor correx
Hey, Ben, fantastic (if not very surprising) news! Minor correx, that's marvellous.

(I always wondered whether my supervisor really checked that I actually did the minor correx...)

So do you still wander around with phantom guilt? (That sense that you have something to do, but oh, whoops, that's right, PhD is finished!) Or have you moved right on to reciting enthusiastic markers' comments to yourself under your breath?

So slap on the back, well done, you rock, etc, etc. I'll buy you a drink when I'm back in town.
:)

benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 11:30 am (UTC)
Re: minor correx
So do you still wander around with phantom guilt? (That sense that you have something to do, but oh, whoops, that's right, PhD is finished!) Or have you moved right on to reciting enthusiastic markers' comments to yourself under your breath?

neither, really. i'm just kind of over the whole thing. i think everyone else was more excited for me than anything else--i mean i got that letter on friday but didn't post about it till monday, you know?

but it's cool, still. so thanks!
Re: minor correx - wendy_waring - Oct. 30th, 2006 11:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: minor correx - benpeek - Oct. 31st, 2006 01:28 am (UTC) - Expand
speshal_k
Oct. 30th, 2006 09:18 am (UTC)
Cool!
benpeek
Oct. 30th, 2006 11:33 am (UTC)
thanks!
bodhichitta0
Oct. 30th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
Yay! Congratulations!

(And I didn't got back and count but I think they really might have come in the last two weeks they said they would.)
bodhichitta0
Oct. 30th, 2006 08:51 pm (UTC)
er, go back and count. Pulled a Geof there.
(no subject) - benpeek - Oct. 31st, 2006 01:27 am (UTC) - Expand
jack_ryder
Oct. 30th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
Just want to add my congratulations.

Congratulations!
benpeek
Oct. 31st, 2006 01:26 am (UTC)
thanks!
strangedave
Oct. 31st, 2006 03:42 am (UTC)
Congratulatons. I've heard enough friends talk about their PhD marks to know that those are very good results. (what? No marker who completely misunderstands it? No corrections pointing out dozens of points in which you inaccountably failed to reference articles by the marker and their friends?)
benpeek
Oct. 31st, 2006 05:01 am (UTC)
yeah, i'm pretty pleased. the worse it got was one of them seemed not to 'enjoy' it as a whole. (the marker who said it felt like a collection of short fiction.) but he or she lists it down as a taste thing in the end, and still comes out saying positive stuff. so all good for me.
ex_benpayne119
Oct. 31st, 2006 07:01 am (UTC)
awesome. Congrats!

benpeek
Oct. 31st, 2006 10:09 am (UTC)
thanks!
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