Monday, March 29, 2010

Dissertation Details

This past week I got some of the best news I've gotten in a long time.

I defended my dissertation last June, but had some revisions to take care of before I could submit it to my graduate school. Last week after almost two months of waiting, I finally received word from my dissertation committee that the last draft I sent them was acceptable and that I can finally submit it and officially become a Ph.D.

Right now I'm working on the finishing touches or small little "details" of the dissertation that need to be taken care of. I'm completing my works cited page, looking for any typos or grammatical mistakes, writing up my acknowledgements and preparing my table of contents.

One of the most fun and interesting details that I have left to take care of is choosing my epitaphs for each chapter. These are quotes or passages which are meant to be "teasers" or "sneak peeks" of my chapters. One thing that I've learned is that these sorts of details can be very helpful in setting the tone for my chapters, or communicating the underlying message or idea in a better way then when I just explain it.

I haven't had much time to post for the past few days, as I was applying for a new job at UOG, but I did want to share today the 9 epitaphs that I chose for my 9 chapters.

When I look back at the names of all those that I quoted, the random yan kaduku na assortment of people and ideas, I can't help but get misty-eyed and self-reflective. For the 9 chapters these are the 9 people whose voices I chose to introduce my chapters. Some of them are pretty common for this sort of philosophical, theoretical, Ethnic Studies style dissertation, while others are more funky and just plain weird. For those interested, here's the list of the nine: hyperspacemonkey (a random poster on the website FARK), Dick Cheney, Craig Santos Perez, Jacques Derrida, Edward Said,Dag Hammarskjold Madeleine Bordallo and Stephen Colbert, Albert Wendt and David Letterman.

All this reminds me of why my dissertation was at some points so hard to write and edit, but also why, unlike most people at this stage, I still love the craziness of my dissertation, and can't wait to work on it again by chopping it up into articles. Although I had to edit out alot of what I wanted, looking at it in this way makes me realize that there is still quite a bit of my silliness in this dissertation.

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CHAPTER 1: GUAM!
Where the Production of America’s Sovereignty Begins!

Hmm [sic] American colonial power is becoming really schizofrantic [sic] over the past year. The Lakota seceded, some Hawaiians are taking back their throne, Guam gets to vote in the DNC, the US has gone suddenly silent about their ridiculous North-Pole-isn't-Canadian bullcrap, and Mexicans have colonized California. The empire's in chaos! this [sic] must be what Confucius meant when he talked about living in exciting times.

- hyperspacemonkey, from the website FARK.com

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CHAPTER 2: GUAM!
Where One Can Study Sovereignty Without Sovereignty

By positioning forces on Guam, the United States can move quickly and effectively to protect our friends, to defend our interests, to bring relief in times of emergency, and to keep the sea lanes open to commerce and closed to terrorists…This island may be small, but it has tremendous importance to the peace and security in the world.

- Dick Cheney, February 22, 2007 speaking to United States troops on Guam.

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CHAPTER 3: GUAM!
Island in Need of Reversing the Colonial Gaze

On some maps, Guam doesn’t exist; I point to an empty in the Pacific and say, “I’m from here.” On some maps, Guam is a small unnamed island; I say, “I’m from this unnamed place.” On some maps, Guam is named “Guam U.S.A.” I say; “I’m from a territory of the United States.” On some maps, Guam is named, simply “Guam”; I say, “I am from Guam.”

- Craig Santos Perez, From Unincorporated Territory [hacha]

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CHAPTER 4: GUAM!
A Trace of American Sovereignty

“If this work seems so threatening, this is because it isn't simply eccentric or strange, but competent, rigorously argued, and carrying conviction.”

- Jacques Derrida

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CHAPTER 5: GUAM!
Island of Invisibility and Banality

“One stone tossed into an empty space, scarcely warrants a second thought.”

- Edward Said

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CHAPTER 6: GUAM!
Sovereignty and its Discontents at the United Nations

"The UN is not just a product of do-gooders. It is harshly real. The day will come when men will see the U.N. and what it means clearly. Everything will be all right -- you know when? When people, just people, stop thinking of the United Nations as a weird Picasso abstraction, and see it as a drawing they made themselves."

- Dag Hammarskjold, Former Secretary General of the United Nations

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CHAPTER 7: GUAM!
Laboratory of Liberation and Non-Voting Delegates

BORDALLO: …we are a US territory.
COLBERT: But you’re not part of the United States.
BORDALLO: We are part of the United States.
COLBERT: You…I do not believe you are.
BORDALLO: Well, uh let me say that our people of Guam wouldn’t care for that kind -
COLBERT: I think Guam is probably lovely, but it’s not a state.
BORDALLO: But we’re still US.
COLBERT: Do you live in the United States?
BORDALLO: Yes, I live in a US territory.
COLBERT: Where?
BORDALLO: Guam.
COLBERT: (holds up a map of the continental United States, upside down) Could you please show me Guam on this map?
BORDALLO: Well that’s upside down.
COLBERT: (flips map right side up) Now find it
BORDALLO: If you show me a world map I will.
COLBERT: Okay, but I said, are you part of the United States?
BORDALLO: That’s correct.
COLBERT: That’s correct, so, that’s correct that you are incorrect.
BORDALLO: No.
COLBERT: Okay. I accept your apology.

- Guam Congresswoman Madeleine Bordallo being interview by Stephen Colbert during the segment “Better Know a Protectorate” from the show The Colbert Report

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CHAPTER 8: GUAM!
Through Sovereignty Towards Decolonization

“Our quest should not be a revival of our past cultures, but for the creation of new cultures, which are free of the taint of colonialism and based firmly on our own pasts.”
- Albert Wendt from “Towards a New Oceania.”

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CHAPTER 9: GUAM!
A Case of Conventional Amnesia

David Letterman: Have you ever been to Guam?
Paul Shafer: No.
David Letterman: I know nothing about Guam. I know that the residents of the island are referred to as Guamanians, and that's all I know.
Paul Shafer: I see. They're not Guamaniacs?
David Letterman: Perhaps. So tonight, here is a segment called "Getting to Know Guam."
[Segment begins showing random images of Guam scenery]
Narrator: Guam is located in, uh, in; it’s considered part of the United States, because, uh, uh, this has been getting to know Guam.

- “Getting to Know Guam” from the Late Show with David Letterman

2 comments:

mart said...

Congratulations on the great news, Miget! It's exciting and scary, eh...taking steps from the known and closer into the unknown...ah life!
ps. i never us my google account.

Hope said...

Miget, BIBA yan CONGRATULATIONS, chelu! I'm wishing you the best! I love these epitaphs you have chosen. They are great pieces--small enough, but enough to get the point across about the contradictories in our histories and in our daily lives. The Colbert and Letterman ones make me laugh. The others are just so poignant (like the one from Craig about the maps). Great stuff, and I hope to read your dissertation soon ;) Hopie Cristobal

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