Dissertation, Conference, and Scotland

I have been working on my dissertation for months now and it has come to the point where I can't objectively critique it anymore. I guess I'm quite satisfied with it, but of course that's because all of it makes sense in my head; whether or not the people grading my paper will think it's interesting and rigorous is another question. Speaking of grades, I calculated that I have to get at least a 75 on my dissertation to graduate with a distinction, which is possible but unlikely. This saddens me a bit since it will hurt my chances of getting into a good PhD program, but once I remind myself of the bigger picture, I realize it really isn't that important. What's more important is that I convince people of my theory of natural diversity, which doesn't necessarily require me to graduate from the best university.

In related news, I am happy to say that I will be presenting my dissertation in Indonesia in two weeks at a conference organized by the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA). The HDCA was founded by Amartya Sen and is the main organization for my field – the capability approach. Unfortunately, Sen will not be attending the conference this year, but the other big names will be, including Martha Nussbaum. Hopefully, I will get the chance to meet her and give her a quick explanation of my theory.

The fact that the HDCA accepted my proposal reaffirms my belief that the theory of natural diversity has great potential. I suspect that I will slowly convince more and more people once I have the opportunity to speak to willing listeners. And hopefully this process will begin at the conference which starts in two weeks.

Although the past few months have been quite tough, I did manage to fit in a one week trip to Scotland. Four of my friends and I rented a tiny car and toured roughly 5 cities including Glasgow, Edinburgh, and Inverness. Most of the places we visited were beautiful, especially the Scottish highlands, but Glasgow was quite run-down and so it was a bit disappointing. To make the experience more fun, my friends and I made a short list of all the stereotypical Scottish things that we had to see or do. The list included seeing kilts, bagpipes, highland cows, eating haggis and fried Mars bars. Needless to say, we checked off everything on the list (my personal favorite was eating haggis). On the whole, I'm glad that I took the time to go see Scotland; it was a very relaxing experience, but more importantly, it was a well needed break from my dissertation.