The following are testimonials from Dissertation Reviews participants and readers. If you would like to share your own testimonial, please click here.
Dissertation Reviews exemplifies the type of digital engagement many scholars today are seeking with their research. I cannot speak highly enough about both the process and the results [...] [T]he invaluable feedback pushed me to re-think my work as I transition from dissertation to book manuscript. Not only has Dissertation Reviews platformed my work to a larger audience, it has also provided a critical network for how I engage as a scholar with digital media.
- Jacob Steere-Williams, Assistant Professor, Department of History, College of Charleston [See Peter Atkins' review of Jacob's dissertation.]
The Dissertation Reviews program was a great help to me as I made the sometimes tricky transition from graduate student into early-career scholar. Getting an in-depth, attentive review of the dissertation from Michael Orsini, someone deeply knowledgeable about the complex cultural and political issues around autism spectrum disorders, helped me to reconnect with what is most significant in the dissertation. That perspective is going to be very useful as I work towards revising the dissertation into a book. The program has also helped me connect to a network of other scholars doing related work. It has been a wonderful and supportive way to emerge from the cocoon of dissertation writing into a broader intellectual community!
- Elizabeth Fein, Postdoctoral Fellow, SociAbility, Department of Comparative Human Development, University of Chicago
As someone who administers manuscripts and rare books on a daily basis, establishing the current whereabouts and extent of archives is an essential service for research students and academics. Dissertation Reviews provide excellent, succinct and timely accounts of holdings and associated access conditions, together with the all-important practical advice on how to fully exploit them, based on personal experiences. This not only helps researchers, particularly those working on related topics, but also promotes the archives and the staff administering them in a positive and accommodating way.
- Colin Harris, Superintendent, Department of Special Collections, Radcliffe Science Library, Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford [See Audrey Truschke's review of the Bodleian Library.]
Dissertation Reviews was extremely valuable in exposing my work to a larger audience, in particular to scholars outside of the U.S. Elizabeth Fitting’s review was very thoughtful and has been useful as I attempt to transform the dissertation into a book manuscript. As a reader, I’ve found the site a great resource for learning about the work of other junior scholars.
- Lauren Wynne, Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Utica College [See Elizabeth Fitting's review of Lauren Wynne's dissertation.]
My experience with Dissertation Reviews has been great. I was given a very helpful, informed and close reading of my dissertation which helped me frame some of the changes I am making to my text for submission as a manuscript to a book publisher. Having a summary of my thesis published online and available to peers and friends is also really great. Thank you Dissertation Reviews.
- Geoffrey Belknap, Harvard University [See Casper Andersen's review of Geoffrey Belknap's dissertation on photography and periodicals, 1870-90.]
The review of my thesis [by James Bergman] has not only introduced my research to a wider readership, but also, in succinctly distilling my dissertation it has helped me in the development of my research into a manuscript. As a tool for keeping up with current graduate research across a broad range of topics, Dissertation Reviews is fast becoming an indispensable resource for me!
- Alexander Hall, Research Associate, University of Manchester
As Dissertation Reviews grows in both breadth and audience, it behooves us, as scholars throughout the academic process, to pay attention. In a number of ways, this is the future of scholarship, and I, like so many of my colleagues, am thrilled to benefit from it!
- Elisheva Perelman, Lecturer, Department of Asian Studies, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill [See Ruselle Meade's review of Elisheva Perelman's dissertation.]
I would like to thank Dissertation Reviews for creating an invaluable forum which connects emerging scholars to a greater academic network. More than that, it provides visibility and accessibility to fresh scholarship through newly defended dissertations. After the review was published, I received several letters from scholars interested in reading my dissertation. I am also grateful to Ahmet Tunç Şen for his excellent review, as his positive and constructive comments that demonstrate such integrity and maturity have led me to re-evaluate my work. Şen’s insightful comments and feedback have allowed me to see how I can improve my work while preparing the monograph. I thank both the reviewer and Dissertation Reviews for introducing my work to a broader scholarly community.
- Ozgen Felek, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Religious Studies, Stanford University
The review of my dissertation on dissertationreviews.org has been of tremendous importance to my scholarly work as it has resulted in a number of new contacts and an international network with access to important source material.
- Stine S. Grumsen, Assistant Professor, Aarhus University [See Elizabeth Mertz's review of Stine Grumsen's dissertation.]
[Dissertation Reviews] solves the age-old problem of a sometimes debilitating lag between the initial write-up of cutting edge research and its eventual publication. It plays the same role in scholarly communications technology as the telegram and e-mail played for professional networking more generally in previous generations. It should be a staple bookmark on every scholar’s web browser “shortcuts.”
- Justin Jacobs, Assistant Professor in History, American University [See Benno Weiner's review of Justin Jacobs' dissertation, and Justin Jacobs' review of David Brophy's dissertation.]
The editors of Dissertation Reviews have created a superb forum for intellectual exchange. For my review, I was paired with an anthropologist in my field whose work could not have been a better fit. Apart from allowing me to engage extensively with a piece of scholarship I might not have otherwise, I was pleased to receive such an in-depth, sophisticated review of my own work. The private comments this author provided me with were among the most extensive and pointed I have ever received and will be exceedingly useful in pushing my book project forward. Our assigned editor kept us on track throughout this period, promptly answered all emails, and was wonderful in sustaining our commitment to this project.
- Anita Hannig, Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Medical Anthropology, Brandeis University [See Erica van der Sijpt's review of Anita Hannig's dissertation, and Anita Hannig's review of Erica van der Sijpt's dissertation.]
Dissertation Reviews is an invaluable scholarly resource providing a much-needed forum highlighting the work of junior scholars. Vincent Leung’s eloquent review of my dissertation provided the perfect introduction of my research to the scholarly community at large and his well-thought out feedback was much appreciated. In addition, another scholar contacted me about my research the very same day the review was posted! I will continue to look forward to reading about new and exciting research that without Dissertation Reviews I might ultimately be unaware.
- Leslie Wallace, Visiting Assistant Professor, Hood College and Research Associate, University of Pittsburgh
Dissertation Reviews offers both academics and the general public an up-to-date glimpse of cutting-edge research in the humanities and social sciences. I personally benefited much from being both a reviewer and being reviewed. As a reviewer, I was placed in conversation with the work of a brilliant young scholar whose research resonated profoundly with my own, but who I had not yet had the chance to meet on the conference circuit. Likewise, the reviewer of my dissertation provided many useful suggestions on ways in which I might revise and reformat my dissertation for publication either as articles or as a monograph. [Ed. note: See Rachel Pang's review of Joshua Schapiro's dissertation.]
- Rachel H. Pang, University of Virginia
The work of Dissertation Reviews is truly valuable. I was contacted to have my dissertation reviewed and it was a very good experience; I received useful and thoughtful comments from the reviewer. [See Miruna Achim's review of Hector Vera's dissertation.] Also, I have become a regular reader of the DR website, where it is possible to discover new and exciting lines of research in the field of Science Studies that would be difficult to find in any other place. I hope that the scope of DR will broaden and that new review categories (like Latin American Studies) will be launched in the future. [Ed. note, November 2012: We are working on it!]
- Hector Vera, Postdoctoral Fellow, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México
Dissertation Reviews provides a terrific service to the academic community, particularly to early career scholars. It can be difficult to wade into the world of publishing post-PhD, but the thoughtful review of my dissertation has helped spark new ideas, moving my book revisions forward. As well, this review provides a low key way to share and receive feedback on my findings while I revise my dissertation for publication.
- Sarah Cameron, Kennan Institute Research Scholar
This project specifically aims to provide expert reviews of recent dissertations, creating a useful online platform for scholars to learn about the current research and new trends and to share their insights and ideas. It is also a good starting point for dissertation authors to exchange scholarship and establish connections with other scholars who have similar interests. More importantly, it provides an innovative model of scholarly websites that boost intellectual interactions across borders and fields. I look forward to seeing its further expansion and continued success.
- Fan Zhang, Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer in Art, Smith College [A review of Zhang's dissertation here]
Dissertation Reviews is a very valuable project, both for young scholars wanting to publicize their work, and for others wanting to keep up with new work in the field. Although initially a little nervous when approached by Rebecca Grapevine about having my thesis reviewed, her low-key and professional coordination of the process put me at ease, and I am very pleased with the outcome. I appreciate the fact that the review was carried out by a scholar who had worked in the same region as I had, and on related topics. Aaron Mulvany read my work with care and sensitivity, and his knowledge of the field allowed him to comment both on conceptual matters and on smaller details. I particularly liked the two-track review process: the public review will allow my work to be introduced to a wider audience, and the private comments are proving extremely helpful to me as I revise the manuscript for publication. A further benefit is becoming acquainted with Aaron Mulvany, with whom I hope to continue to engage, given our common interests.
- Aparna Sundar, Assistant Professor, Politics and Public Administration, Ryerson University, Toronto
Thank you for the much-needed service you are providing to the academic community. Not only does Dissertation Reviews help me stay on top of the most recent work in the field, it also helps early-career scholars, like myself, obtain valuable and constructive feedback on their work. The reviewer’s thoughtful and constructive comments on my dissertation arrived at the perfect moment in my revision process. I am currently preparing a book proposal and the reviewer has given me excellent suggestions for how to move this project forward.
- Jessica Martucci, Assistant Professor of History, Mississippi State University [A review of Martucci's dissertation here]
Dissertation Reviews is the preeminent link between graduate students and the wider academic community. Having my thesis reviewed on DR was the first and most important step to conceiving of it as a scholarly work in the fullest sense, i.e. as a piece of writing available to other scholars to cite, praise and criticise as they wish. Melinda Baldwin’s excellent review and her insightful back-channel comments have had the joint effect of introducing my work to the scholarly community and aiding preparation of a monograph. Without the review not only would my work be virtually unknown until publication, but I would also be ignorant of the community of people, working on and interested in topics similar to my own, to which DR has introduced me.
- Boris Jardine, Curator, History of Science, Science Museum, London
Dissertation Reviews has offered so much to junior scholars. By publicizing our intellectual contributions to the scholarly community in such a timely fashion, it has helped build connections between the established researchers and new faces. Since the review of my work appeared in Dissertation Reviews, I have received invitations to conference panels, meetings, and workshops. It has created a warm, wonderful space where young scholars are given center stage and seen as the source of inspiration. The presence of Dissertation Reviews makes one feel appreciated and supported when the big step from the dissertation to the first book is yet to be conceptualized and taken. Dissertation Reviews has become an indispensible, deeply cherished part of the scholarly community.
- Ying Zhang, Assistant Professor of Chinese History, Ohio State University
I am glad I accepted to have my dissertation among the first STS works reviewed by Dissertation Reviews. The reviewer chosen by the team could hardly have been a better fit, and she has done an excellent, insightful, and thorough job. The result is very helpful to me. Although we have only corresponded so far, it is quite exciting to have discovered a bright young scholar researching in the same area as I do, and I hope to meet her in person at a conference sooner than later. Besides, as more Science Studies reviews have been posted on the website, I find it is a great medium to find out about some of the recent research that young STS scholars are engaging in.
- Christine Aicardi, Wellcome Library Research Fellow, Department of Science and Technology Studies, University College London
I am always eager to see who is featured or writing in Dissertation Reviews. Dissertation Reviews provides an immediate snapshot of the topics, research methods, and theoretical trends that scholars are currently at work on. At a practical level, such discussions facilitate day-to-day scholarly work like putting together conference panels, but it also provides a sense of the future directions of our field and the ways it is likely to be enhanced as this research takes book form.
- Kate Merkel-Hess, Assistant Professor of History and Asian Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Thank you for introducing us vicariously to so many young scholars through their dissertations. I have already read several reviews of people I would like to work with on conference panels and other endeavors. I’m sure many other people have told you how essential Dissertation Reviews will be to reversing the institutional-based isolation of graduate school and help us all get to know each other, so I’ll just add a modest echo to that chorus of praise!
Book reviews written by notable experts in the field have long been available in a variety of journals and websites to help scholars become acquainted with key research in their field. However, such reviews often appear long after ground breaking research has been conducted at the dissertation level. Dissertation Reviews now offers scholars access to substantial expert reviews of dissertations which represent current and leading research in their fields. Moreover, as an online resource, it allows a centralized database that is easily searchable and accessible. It is an invaluable resource for keeping up to date with current academic trends and research
- Tanya S. Maus, Assistant Professor of History, Wittenberg University [A review of Maus' dissertation here]
Dissertation Reviews has quickly developed into an indispensable scholarly resource. Not only does it serve as a digest of new research, the review process also creates a forum for constructive exchange and collaboration. It is a great service now and will no doubt only grow more valuable with time.
- Benjamin Brose, Assistant Professor of Chinese Buddhism, University of Michigan [A review of Brose's dissertation here]
Publishing on Dissertation Reviews illustrated to me the clear advantage of open-access scholarly websites. I received immediate feedback on my short review as well as mentions or trackbacks from other people and on other websites. In less than one month the review had already been read at least several hundred times. Thanks to Dissertation Reviews we finally have timely and easily accessible information on research in the field!
- Amanda Shuman, PhD Candidate, Department of History, University of California, Santa Cruz
I was grateful for the opportunity to have my doctoral thesis reviewed for the ‘Science Studies’ section of Dissertation Reviews. This field was launched only in Winter 2010 but is fast becoming an invaluable resource for connecting scholars in our field. I have been invited to present a paper at a forthcoming conference on the basis of the review. The review has also provided enormously helpful feedback as I revise my thesis for publication.
- Salim Al-Gailani, Postdoctoral Research Associate, University of Cambridge
In my experience, Dissertation Reviews provided a forum to share years of research conducted in relative isolation to an interested audience beyond my PhD committee (including scholars and non-academics). Through this experience, my academic networks grew tenfold. Not only did the process of intellectual exchange in writing the review prove very satisfying, it also assisted in establishing contacts with publishers. Besides helping to build these professional networks, participating in Dissertation Reviews has increased my awareness of the current state of my own fields (Religious Studies/Sino-Tibetan-Himalayan Studies).
The Dissertation Reviews project has done a superb job in keeping the scholarly community updated about the cutting-edge work in history years before the dissertations can be turned into published books. It also allows younger authors to get valuable feedback about how to better revise their manuscripts. As both a reviewer and an author, I have personally benefited enormously from both reading others’ work and getting constructive suggestions. It has helped generate much more scholarly interest in my research than otherwise. Its open access also allows scholars all over the world to exchange ideas and distribute knowledge promptly. I believe that this project deserves all the support it needs for its continued success.
- Li Chen, Assistant Professor of History, University of Toronto
Dissertation Reviews offers an informative and refreshing perspective on knowledge sharing, as well as the histories of China, Japan, Korea, and now the History of Science. Its dissertation reviews, shop talks, and cohort of scholars are welcome additions to a larger body of online resources for new and established academics alike. I’m grateful for its presence and am thrilled to see its much deserved expansion!
- Di Yin Lu, Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Center for Advanced Study in the Visual Arts, National Gallery of Art
As a young scholar I have benefited from the forum that Dissertation Reviews offers for developing my skills as a constructive reviewer and from having the opportunity to see what my colleagues at different universities (and on different continents) are working on. This exposure has already allowed me to make a number of serendipitous connections that I would have never made (or thought to look for) otherwise. Thanks!
- Robin Wolfe Scheffler, PhD Candidate, Program in the History of Science and Medicine, Yale University