10 steps: from dissertation to book contract

Part 1 in the series. So you want to publish your dissertation as a book. Here are 10 steps to getting that done. I encourage others to add more in the comments.

Step 1: Have a decent chunk of work ready to distribute

In general, the book needs to be pretty much written before you can get a contract. Not always. But for your dissertation book, certainly. So have some chapters written which are book chapters, not dissertation chapters. Preferably all of it. You have to be ready to circulate this material upon request. It’s not a great idea to put in a proposal without work ready to go. By “book chapters not dissertation chapters” I mean text that reads like a book reads. In general dissertation chapters have specific puzzles that are set up, rather heavily, by literature reviews. And usually books don’t look like this. They tend to have much of the set up happen in an introduction, and literature is less “reviewed” than it is used as specific puzzles are taken up. Or perhaps better, unlike dissertation chapters which often read like “here is the literature… now here is me,” books are often utterly more self-indulgent. “Here is me, and here is some literature that relates to me.” This is obviously a broad generalization. But a good way to discover this is to find two people who came out of your department (or any department!) whose books you like. Get the dissertation it’s based off. And compare. The differences should be pretty clear. As a second point: it’s always good to have a model to work off. So pick a book you like (preferably a dissertation book), and think through how the person made it a book. It can be a great guide. Continue reading “10 steps: from dissertation to book contract”

the contraception mandate and path dependency

There’s much conversation about the so-called conscience issues with the contraception “mandate” under the new health care reform act. The Immanent Frame carries a useful set of statements by scholars on the topic. Kevin Schultz is of course correct that the whole matter is trumped up for election-year politics. Essentially they’ve carved out whole new territory for rights of “conscience”: a right to have one’s money “marked” such that it can’t be used for things one doesn’t believe in, even once that money is committed to nonreligious purposes. This idea validates one of Viviana Zelizer’s theses that the infinitely-fungible character of money fails to protect it from being invested with myriad meanings and distinctions.

The thing I haven’t heard mentioned is that the only reason this is an issue is because of the bizarre, path-dependency-created fact that most health insurance in the United States is purchased by employers. In the context of a national health care program, employers wouldn’t be in the business of purchasing their employees’ health care, so there would be no issue about “conscience.” There is no objection on the part of the Bishops to using public roads to allow people to drive to purchase contraceptives, nor public police and fire to protect the establishments that sell them.

delete your google browsing history while you still can.

The Daily Mail and Digital Journal offer step-by-step instructions (and the rationale) for deleting your history before March 1st. For those of you who haven’t seen it floating around Facebook (ht: Jenn, among others), here’s how you do it:

Continue reading “delete your google browsing history while you still can.”

will we see a post-campus america?

Last week, Megan McArdle envisioned a “post-campus America“. Not an unreasonable vision given the advantages of online schools and rising tuition. The larger context of her comments comes from the fact that MIT now offers online certifications. She comes up with 12 specific claims of events she believes will transpire in the context of increased productivity of higher education. Overall, I think that she identifies appropriate questions but I think that she comes to the wrong conclusion about some. She also assumes colleges and universities to be monolithic rather than substantially varied, which carries important implications for some of her conclusions. I address each below (claims directly quoted) and am interested in what others think.
Continue reading “will we see a post-campus america?”