I am considering posting my thesis online. I don’t think, if they knew, that my school would be so excited about that but it’s mine and they can go fuck themselves. Considering they didn’t pay me for TAing in 2 classes, kicked me out because a professor didn’t do his job, have “standards” that are so variable the word requires quotation marks in reference to theirs, have subjected me to professors who have insisted on making it WAY harder than it needs to be, and require far more work just to be here than any other school I’ve ever been to (I have experience with 8- one in France, home of bureaucracy), I’m entirely uninterested in how they feel about anything. To top it all off, I found out yesterday that my thesis proposal BARELY passed. One of the professors didn’t understand what I meant by “socially sanctioned time”… I meant time that had been sanctioned by society but I guess her PhD precludes her from comprehending anything that hasn’t already been established by academia (by the way, the WHOLE POINT of a thesis or dissertation is to offer something NEW to academia.) Another didn’t understand how I would use my pottery to question how time functions (apparently opaque hourglasses suggest nothing)… it’s entirely possible, probable really, that I am far smarter than any of my professors.
Since getting back the comments on my proposal, I have been suffering from a case of melancholia. I look at my thesis and think, “There are so many problems with how academia sees art and its relationship with “traditional” academia that almost every statement I make must be qualified into oblivion and I can’t decide what to call myself because on the one hand there’s the fact that I should just be able to say I make art without having to call myself an artist but to do so would invite people to ask the “why don’t you call yourself an artist?” question and on the other hand to call myself an artist, craftsman, artisan, or any other established term saddles me and my work with all of the cultural baggage/unPC-ness/ambiguity that they all have.” There is, as far as I can see, no way I can avoid defining myself. It goes against the very nature of academia to allow so simple a definition as “I make art.” It also seems to be totally unacceptable to use critical art vocabulary since it is a thesis for an MA, not an MFA. The biggest issue is that art is not seen as a mode of research. Because this is the case, I am burdened with not only making my concept and execution clear but also educating educators about how “practice based research” is a real, and valid, academic research method.
That’s what art is, practice based research. It’s just one more way to learn about history, literature, science, whatever. It’s one more way to explore the relationships that Americans have with other cultures, how, why, and when chemical reactions occur in a given compound, how and why history makes its selections, to understand the evolution of language… the list goes on and on. However, art is the “other” in academia and as such gets less consideration than what brand of cheap wine should be served at the latest BFA art show.
There’s also the whole ‘control’ aspect that comes with writing a thesis. I asked people that I like and work well with to be my readers but I hear horror stories about readers who, for no reason other than they are assholes, force their advisees to change one little thing. One of my friends had to change all her footnotes simply because her reader “didn’t do them that way”- even though the way my friend did it is standard practice (seriously, it’s in the frickin’ Chicago Style manual.)
I don’t understand how readers can do this. It is not their thesis. They had their turn and now their job is to guide others through the process, not churn out clones of their boring, professorial, ignorant selves.
Sorry to be such a Debbie Downer but the stress is getting to me in a big way. I’m off to do something that has nothing to do with school in an effort to not go totally insane.