Virtual Dissertation Groups for Spring 2021


Once again, Joshua Smart is organizing workshopping groups for philosophy graduate students currently writing dissertations.

He says:

Do you or someone you love suffer from writing-a-philosophy-dissertation? Then you should check out Virtual Dissertation Groups!

What it is: VDG is a free service for those working on their doctoral dissertations in philosophy. Since 2014, we’ve connected students from over 30 countries to provide peer feedback on dissertation work with a minimal time commitment.

How it works: Each dissertator is placed in a group of three on the basis of a short survey about their project/area of work. About once a month, one member sends some work to the others—3,000 – 6,000 words—who then return feedback and comments in a week or so. (While this has typically been in the form of written comments, the survey now includes an option to indicate a preference for holding video discussions.)

Why it’s good: While advisors and committees are important, it can be incredibly helpful to discuss one’s work with peers in a lower-stakes environment, and it can be particularly enlightening to do so with those who take a different approach, outlook, or focus. Not only that, but there is evidence from psychological research that even just thinking about problems in relation to persons who are geographically distant can promote creative insights. With students in programs from many states, countries, and every continent (well, except Antarctica), Virtual Dissertation Groups is a great way to capture some of these benefits!

How to Join: To sign up, just fill out the short survey here. Sign-ups are open through January 16th (conditional on availability afterward).

[Image: modified image of a sculpture by Janusz Grünspek]


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