Appendix(n): A Treatise on the Dissertation Form

As a digital, hypertextual project, my dissertation is made up of twelve sections (you are approaching the end of the first, there will be one more for each primary author). Each section is approximately twenty-five to thirty print-pages, and each shares three primary concerns: how is authorship contrived, complicated, or restricted? how is the commonality of language approached? and, how can we employ a postanarchist reading practice to these texts to reimagine reading and writing as activist practice? Each section will be formed over the course of approximately one or two months, and will incorporate my responses to and analyses of the primary texts and the scholarship that surrounds them, in addition to interventionary reading tactics (my own in artistic form, and the interventions of invited readers from various positions – academic, creative, activist, or simply interested – who can comment on or annotate my readings). As these entries accumulate to form sections, they openly speak to each other, by way especially of hypertext links, which unite the sections themselves, and direct readers to external sources. In this way, this digital text approaches the deleuzoguattarian concept of the rhizome. The previously mentioned static textual capture of this process will transcribe the entries, and will include some comments, links, and connections in the form of footnotes and appendices, and can thus be presented and defended as a print-based dissertation. And, most importantly, my work positions each hyperlinked chapter as a plateau[i], as a Temporary Autonomous Zone that functions at once as meditation and insurrection.


[i] Here I use the term “plateau” much in the same way Deleuze and Guattari use it: “A plateau is always in the middle, not at the beginning or the end. A rhizome is made out of plateaus. … We call a ‘plateau’ any multiplicity connected to other multiplicities by superficial underground stems in such a way as to form or extend a rhizome” (A Thousand 21-22). Brian Massumi, in his forward, puts this another way: “Each ‘plateau’ is an orchestration of crashing bricks extracted from a variety of disciplinary edifices” (A Thousand xiv).

One thought on “Appendix(n): A Treatise on the Dissertation Form

  1. This concept is really wonderful and I love it. A gutsy move because we all know that the dissertation is a draconian artefact of a terminally-ill print era (we are all good posthumans nowadays). My question though is maybe more pragmatic and too academic (not at all anarchistic): does this blog method essentially “publish” your dissertation as you write it? and if so, then what happens when you really want to publish it or excerpt it for journal articles? (I guess I am curious about this myself). Academics fight nowadays to not have their dissertation pdfs uploaded to ProQuest Dissertations (bartering for a two to three year “grace period” before it gets uploaded) because publishing houses consider such online archivization “publishing.” So my question is I guess a very non-anarchist and conservative one. Do you have any reservations about publishing portions/pieces of this wonderful and original project online beforehand?

    (Incidentally, I hate that this is even a question because part of what makes your idea and approach so radical is the presentation of it in a digital commons where colleagues and friends can engage with your thinking. So I hate the question).


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