Acknowledgements That Didn’t Make It Into The Dissertation

June 2, 2011 at 3:00 pm

As Drew graciously blogged last week, the dissertation is done and the PhD is in hand.  The final title of the diss is Rhapsodies in Blue: New Narratives for an Iconic American “Composition.”  Here is a fun word-cloud reduction of my findings (click on the image for a larger version):

I don’t know about you, but I find acknowledgments a tricky business.  Most attempt to strike a balance between professional shout-out, personal gratitude, and family recognition.  Some maintain the scholarly voice used for the body of the text, while others take the opportunity to interject a bit more personality.  Whatever the approach taken, I think most would agree that there is never enough space to acknowledge all that contributed in some way to the project.

Although I am quite happy with the acknowledgments section of my dissertation, there are several people/places/things that for one reason or another didn’t make the final cut.  Here they are–a combination of facetious and sincere–in no particular order.

Thank you to:

  • Cosima Wagner: For keeping a diary from 1869-1877 that, when translated into English by Geoffrey Skelton, became the perfect two-volume set upon which to ergonomically perch my laptop when working in the library.
  • Drew Massey (acknowledged, but not fully enough): For writing a dissertation that highlights the agency of the music editor, thereby demonstrating one of the many ways in which  historical narratives are been shaped by oft-ignored contributors; for his input on the project from start to finish; for helping me keep The Red House in business.
  • KEXP (especially morning host John Richards): For spinning the best writing music a guy could hope for.
  • The Pusey 3 Stacks: For being the furthest corner in the bottom-most level of Widener Library and holding seemingly every book I needed to checkout and for having fun automated bookshelves that almost always made the journey worth it.
  • The Custodial Staff of the Music Building: For the friendly smiles and pleasantries that helped to break-up the monotony of the writing days.
  • Dropbox: For automatically backing-up my dissertation files online and for allowing me to work on those files from anywhere, while updating any changes to the file on my home computer.
  • Richard Agee: For introducing me to musicology and getting me to (and through) my first AMS national meeting (Atlanta).
  • Fresh Pond: For providing me with a place to walk/run/think 365 days a year.
  • Harvard Square Coffee Houses: For not providing ample space to sit and work, thus relegating me to the quiet confines of the music library.
  • Beer Hour (formerly Sherry Hour): For providing a reason for Harvard music graduate students to gather in the lounge at 5 pm each Friday after the library closed.
  • The Society for American Music: For giving me the opportunity to share my work-in-progress over the course of many years.
  • The Charles River: See “Fresh Pond” (above).
  • The Job Search: For forcing me to focus my dissertation into fifteen-second, thirty-second, one-minute, five-minute, thirty-minute, and forty-five-minute explanations.
  • The Woman at the Registrar’s Office: For carefully examining and accepting the final, bound version of my dissertation even though one of my horizontally-oriented figures had a vertically-oriented caption, thereby saving me $250.

I’m sure there are more thank-yous that have inadvertently been omitted here.  Those will just have to be saved for the eventual blog post about acknowledgments that had to be left out of the book…

I’d love to hear some of the unacknowledged thank yous stemming from the academic work of our readers.  Anything in particular kept you going on your last major project?

Entry filed under: musicology, Ryan Raul Bañagale. Tags: , , , , .

Dr. Bañagale! The Video that is not Little Richard as a Child Performer, or, How to Unfail Musicology One Post at a Time


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