How to Check that Last Box and Write Your Dissertation
After six years of anthropology courses, exams, proposal writing, and research, I’ve finally reached the last big hurdle of my Ph.D. career: writing the dissertation. My research is on understanding how heritage – the practice of using the past to influence change – shapes climate change planning being carried out by the Deal Island Peninsula Project on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore. I can tell you all about skipjacks and Methodism, traditions of working the water, and tales about Chesapeake Bay history. And I can explain how these pieces of local and regional heritage have shaped attitudes and understandings about flooding, erosion, and climate change, as well as working relationships between diverse stakeholders who are collaboratively tackling these issues on Deal Island. Rather than get into the nitty-gritty of my research though – I’ll let you read my dissertation for that – I’d like to share some of my own reflections on the daunting task of writing it all up.