For months now, I have been looking for ways to use this blog, now that it is no longer a place to write-think about parts of my dissertation. Then suddenly Rolf Hut (@rolfhut) suggested to me – by way of twitter – I pick up a young tradition started by Félienne Hermans (@felienne) to write a blog post about each of the ten propositions that accompany my dissertation. So between now and 8 December, I will write 10 short posts about my 10 propositions
As Rolf and Félienne explain on their blogs (http://rolfhut.nl/2013/09/13/dr-hut-komt-eraan-maar-eerst-10-stellingen/ (Dutch) & http://www.felienne.com/archives/2450 (English)) back in the day, it was possible to get the doctorate based solely on a set of propositions, defensible and opposable claims about – and sometimes beyond – one’s field of study. In due course, however, opponents granting the doctorate demanded explanations, arguments and evidence to back up the propositions, and this became what is now the doctoral dissertation, considered as proof that the candidate is able to independently conduct academic research. Many universities have even dispensed with propositions altogether, but at Leiden University propositions are still formally part of the dissertation. So here goes.