Sunday, May 10, 2015

Decline and Fall of Education

From May 8, 2015 Inside Higher Education:
A Ph.D. candidate in architecture at the University of British Columbia has successfully defended a 149-page, 52,438-word dissertation without any punctuation, The National Post reported. Patrick Stewart, the doctoral candidate, said that there are no rules at the university requiring punctuation. He also did not use uppercase letters, so that the writing appears to be a run-on sentence. In deference to some professors who objected to his approach, he started each chapter with a short abstract, written in standard English. Stewart's dissertation is about indigenous architecture and he said he wanted to reject the conventions of the English language. He said he was opposed to “the blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia.”
How unfortunate that no one wanted to defend the conventions of readability.


  1. "there are no rules at the university requiring punctuation"

    Some years back, a Pakistani immigrant lawyer submitted a complaint to whatever regulatory body supervises law school admissions in Illinois. He had a Pakistani JD and an American LLD, but felt his career was limited by not having an American JD, and had been rejected by his chosen law school.

    The agency's only requirement for such petitions was double-spacing. So the fellow had his complaint hand-written in Urdu by a professional calligrapher in Pakistan - but double-spaced.

    I have no clue why he thought this was a good idea.

  2. And we wonder why so many absurd buildings and other structures get built these days...