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Apocalypse and critique (Pitching the dissertation, redux)

August 06, 2022 — Asher Wycoff

I gravitated toward political eschatology in graduate school almost immediately, and over the past several years I've had people affirm that it's a relevant topic—referencing the election of Trump, the surge of "populism" across Europe and Latin America, increasingly dire climate forecasts, and the coronavirus pandemic. However, this enduring relevance of apocalypse is part of its limitation as a genre and a concept. A driving theme of my dissertation, accordingly, is that apocalyptic thinking is historically ubiquitous, and that wherever and whenever one looks, there is often a crisis that seems, to those proximately affected, all-encompassing and world-historical.

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tags: diss

Unfinished projects

March 03, 2022 — Asher Wycoff

I just received my copy (hot off the presses) of István Mészáros's Beyond Leviathan, which was originally intended as a mammoth three volume project on theories of the state. Unfortunately, Mészáros died of a stroke shortly after completing (or very nearly completing) the first volume, which is what Monthly Review Press just published. In his introduction, John Bellamy Foster promises that Mészáros's extensive preparatory notes for the remaining two volumes will be collected and published separately within "the next few years." The original plan of the three volume work is included in the appendices.

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tags: diss

Citeproc Nights

May 16, 2021 — Asher Wycoff

As I confessed in a post on the old blog, I used to write in Microsoft Word (the horror) and type up all my references myself. It's not that I hadn't tried reference management software, but I had hated it. Word's in-built reference manager is atrocious, of course, and while programs like Zotero are marked improvements, they nonetheless have the same GUI elements I dislike. It was somehow less onerous to type out citations in full multiple times than to type them out once across a dozen text fields and checkboxes (Author, Title, Journal, Volume, Issue...). And integrating Zotero into Word just made it one more toolbar widget I had to keep track of in an already bloated bit of legacy enterprise software.

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tags: diss

Pitching the dissertation

November 07, 2020 — Asher Wycoff

This post is a pass at giving an elevator pitch for my dissertation. I've had to come up with several of these over the past two years as I moved haltingly from proposal to actual writing, and none of them has been entirely satisfactory. The problem compounds over time, as the more I revise the more I find myself arguing against previous drafts of the abstract. The single sentence abstract has remained consistent: the dissertation is about eschatological discourses in the modern liberal tradition. The current 150-word abstract looks about this like this:

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tags: diss