I suppose I need to change my about page soon. Now, I have at least one thing in common with Ron Jeremy. All the forms are in, and I should be receiving my Master’s degree soon. While I suspect that it will not interest most people, I uploaded a PDF of my thesis. At 2.7 megs, expect it to take a while if you try to grab it on a slow connection.
The best compliments I got on it were from my committee, who each claimed that it taught them a lot they didn’t know. I chose my committee carefully. My chair was a specialist in discourse pragmatics from the Rhetoric Department. The other two people were from radically different departments—Jim Levernier from the English Department and Gary Cawood from the Art Department. Jim specializes in American literature, particularly the marginalized literatures of the eighteenth century. Gary is a photographer who is deeply concerned with the connections between photography and literature. All of them are well respected senior faculty. I figured if I could impress them, I must be doing something right.
Using such a diverse committee meant that I couldn’t take much for granted as far as a “common background” goes. Everything I explored had to be explained carefully and clearly, otherwise it just wouldn’t make any sense. I feel like I was more successful in some sections of the thesis than others, and I have a nagging feeling that I just didn’t do enough. But as it is, it is one of the longest theses produced from my department since its inception. I felt really bad about dropping such a “book” on people, but it took a lot of careful consideration to make myself sure that I was on a viable track. I wanted confirmation across several disciplines that I had a usable framework for discussing words and images.
In some ways, this thesis is an exercise in hair-splitting that challenges, most of all, the concept of syntax as it as applied to word and image. I think that accepting the non-Euclidian spatial aspects of syntax moves us closer to understanding how we make meaning. Of course it does more than that—if you’re curious, you can always read it.