I wrote my Ph.D. twice. I tried to write in academic language, but I never found my academic voice. Instead, I wrote in my own voice, and then translated it over. I tried to avoid becoming completely opaque, while maintaining the level of technically-precise terminology (or jargon) that seemed to be required.
So I was delighted to see (thanks to Medusa at Professional Mirror Ph.D) that there is a random academic sentence generator from Pootwattle the Virtual Academic. Smedley the Virtual Critic will review your sentence, free of charge.
Straight to you from the University of Chicago’s Writing Program Toybox, here is my randomly-generated sentence, and its review. Heh-heh.
Randomly generated Academic Sentence
Pootwattle the Virtual Academic(TM) says:
The discourse of the unspoken (re)embodies the legitimation of civil society.
Smedley Smedley the Virtual Critic(TM) responds:
Pootwattle’s hastily published paper on the relationship between the discourse of the unspoken and the legitimation of civil society is exceptionally resistant to summary, as befits its project.
Exceptionally resistant to summary. Ha-ha- hah! Perfect! They had fun putting that together.
In my dissertation, it rarely got that bad. However, here are a few real sentences that drifted into that kind of territory:
In the thriller genre’s move from nuclear fears to viral fears, the virus functions as a figure that generates effects of horror and terror – and allows for the mobilization of contemporary discourses to simulate the real – but it also allows for the reinscription of imperialist methods of control.
The confluence of biological and technological viral language at the end of the twentieth century interacts with articulations of health and sickness, literal or metaphorical, already active in other discourses. The viral, in turn, amplifies the concept of the “virus” from the biological into the imaginary realm, drawing on beliefs and fears from the ancient to the ultra-contemporary, assimilating fragments of the rejected, and reinfusing mutated versions of itself into new communication networks.
One strand invests the virus with all our fears and the dynamics of otherness and is a function of paranoia and control, the other figures the virus as a protean bricoleur, a postmodern figure that reflects different standpoints about inherent ambiguities, contradictions, and reversals and picks up different aspects of these to create new assemblages.
There was a kind of strange rhythm – mess, bits, bits, twisted, bits, bits, new stuff. Lots of passive verbs.
I could probably rewrite the whole thing now and it would be great book. I’m probably at the point where I could stand to read it again.
It’s difficult to remember the mind-space I inhabited while writing all this. I really was a “VirusHead.”
Once it became clear that I wouldn’t be allowed to become a comparative mythologist as I had planned, maybe I should have stayed at my second university and written on “Friendship in Aquinas.” Or even “Kierkegaardian Mutations.”
Or maybe I should just have gone to law school.
All this debt, and no job. Sigh.