Review of Dissertation Up!

It’s long time that I begin to resurrect my blogging activity. Since a few posts this winter and spring, I’ve been happily busy – but very occupied indeed – with revising the book manuscript, now out of my hands and off for review. I have a couple of announcements to make in due course, but for the moment, I’m happy to report that a review of my D.Phil. Dissertation, “Developing Powers: Developing Powers: Modernization, Economic Development, and Governance in Cold War Afghanistan,” is now up on Dissertation Reviews, a website founded by Stanford University professor Thomas Mullaney.

It’s a great concept: too often, graduate students can get stuck in a rut after submitting the dissertation. If you’re trained to view everything as a buildup to submission, then it’s easy – particularly in the less professionalized context British higher education – to want to shut everything down after submitting the piece. That’s a shame – many, indeed perhaps most, historical monographs began their lives as dissertations, but they also needed critique and support to begin their transformation down that road. Today, Dissertation Reviews curates reviews of dissertations in any number of fields, including Russian Studies (where mine appears).

"Long live the April Revolution!" This 1980 poster showcases the socialist obsession with workers and production as the key actor in any Soviet-sponsored Third World Leftist project.

“Long live the April Revolution!” This 1980 poster showcases the socialist obsession with workers and production as the key actor in any Soviet-sponsored Third World Leftist project.

You can check out the review, written by Ryan Irwin, an international historian at SUNY-Albany, here. While I’ve since added quite a bit of material to the work since March 2013 (when I submitted it as a dissertation), it’s still nonetheless pleasing to see the project beginning to receive some attention. All the same, it’s important to remember that I owe a lot to my doctoral supervisors, Alexander Morrison and Catriona Kelly, both of whom put up with me and read too many drafts of the dissertation to count. Here’s hoping to more helpful critiques in the future and a speedy turnaround for the project qua book soon!

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