I’ve already managed to scare myself this morning by rereading my year-old but perfectly preserved description of a colleague’s PhD defence. I was looking for a neutral description of a Norwegian PhD defence ritual to link from my nice new version of the “about me” paratext of this blog. The worst defence I’ve been to was one where the candidate was attacked for six straight hours for being too “untheoretical”. Unfortunately, he got angry, and attacked his opponents in return, in fact, he took on the entire notion of theory and in particular French theory, with very little success but much incoherent fury. I must remember not to do this. At least not until the party, after the defence…

I find comfort in the fact that both these candidates received their degrees. Though I do hope that my supervisor, in his speech at the celebratory dinner, doesn’t try to disown me by saying that “of course, the candidate refused most of my offers of help, so I don’t really feel I’ve had a lot of influence on the result…”

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