This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

May 5, 2009

Dr. Dunham, Her Dissertation, and Her Baby Boy

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , — pprscribe @ 9:32 am

As someone whose dissertation (actually, 3 copies of it!) merely sits on my office shelf, I am always pleased to hear when another academic has their own dissertation published. So, kudos to the late S. Ann Dunham on the publication of Surviving against the Odds: Village Industry in Indonesia (Duke University Press).

Dr. Dunham was an economic anthropologist and rural development consultant. According to her abstract, the dissertation:

…is a socio-economic study of peasant metalworking industries in Indonesia. The emphasis is on traditional blacksmithing, but data is also provided on copper, brass, bronze, silver and gold industries.

Since the late nineteenth century, economists and administrators have been predicting the demise of village industries in Indonesia. Despite such predictions, the number of persons employed in these industries has steadily increased, the rate of increase accelerating during the last two decades. Social scientists working in Indonesia have tended to view this increase negatively, as a sign of crisis in the agricultural sector. However, their models of rural change have been based almost entirely on studies of lowland wet-rice villages. This dissertation contends that these models need revising because they start with the false assumption that agriculture always generates more income per labor hour than non-agricultural occupations. It describes a number of villages where, for a variety of historical, ecological and demographic reasons, metalworking tends to be more profitable than agriculture. Villagers accordingly give metalworking priority in their strategies of resource and labor allocation, and consider agriculture to be a secondary occupation…. [Source, ProQuest Document ID#:744692521]

By the way, Stanley Ann Dunham, PhD is probably better known as the late mother of President Barack H. Obama.



  1. Please, publish your dissertation. I think that you have certainly revealed a compelling reason to do so.

    Comment by revvy rev — May 8, 2009 @ 9:49 am

  2. You just told me something I did not know about Obama’s mother. How difficult is it to get one’s dissertation published? It seems that hers may not have been published or gotten this attention if her son had not won the presidency.

    Comment by Nordette aka Verite — May 8, 2009 @ 1:44 pm

  3. Rev, believe me, I have thought about it—even gotten excited about it. But every time I think about all that I would have to do to get it publication-ready, I blink. My dissertation advisor would be especially happy if it turned into something more than a paperweight! LOL We’ll see.

    Nordette (oh, so you’re “out” now, huh LOL): I think you are correct: Obama’s mother’s dissertation would likely have sat on her advisor’s shelf were it not for her son’s achievements.

    Publication difficulty depends. I think I might have a better chance at getting mine out as a book rather than a series of journal articles. Again…we’ll see…

    Comment by pprscribe — May 8, 2009 @ 5:30 pm

  4. Excellent Blog every one can get lots of information for any dissertation writing topics from this blog nice work keep it up.

    Comment by dissertation writing help — June 1, 2009 @ 11:10 am

  5. Well, thanks for your…er, comment. I approved your comment because I have a soft spot for anything dissertation-related. However, I removed your hotlink. I am philosophically opposed to the type of “services” you offer. Writing a dissertation is extremely hard work, but writing it yourself makes it all worthwhile. No matter what else happens in life…no matter if you do just use your dissertation (or MS/MA thesis) as a door stop…you can look at it and say “*I* DID IT, DAMMIT!”

    Comment by pprscribe — June 2, 2009 @ 11:49 am

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