This past week, my wife’s dissertation was aproved by Columbia’s dissertation office, meaning the printouts had the right margins, her paperwork made its way from the Art History department, her library fees were all paid, her account was in good standing, and 12 years of your typical bureaucratic wrangling has sorted itself out.
I’m very proud of Alison for seeing this project through. It was a long project, beginning back in 1997 when we took our first trip to Cahors in southern France and she got the idea of doing a massive geographic survey of Romanesque architecture. But it’s not just the length, it’s the fact that she did it on her own (with a little technical and minor logistical help from me, but my whining cancels that out), often against hardship imposed by lesser or more jaded minds. If anyone had thought that academics was about the pursuit of knowledge and study, to understand our place in history and in the universe, they would be pretty much wrong. Academics is dominated by small minds and people who try to stop the proliferation of great ideas, just like in other pursuits. There really is no good home for people who want to pursue true, pure knowledge and understanding.