There are the traditions that take a generation to grow.  And then there are Fletcher traditions, which can establish themselves in the blink of an eye.  Such is the story of thesis haikus.  Scroll back one year to an unusual suggestion from one student to others that they summarize their theses as haikus.  Fletcher thesis haikus share the ancient Japanese poetry’s three line (seventeen syllable) format.  What Fletcher “thes-kus” lack in seasonal imagery, they make up for in variety and creativity.  So here is a sample of 2011 thesis titles and related haikus, submitted by students to each other at the prompting of Elspeth Suthers, whose example sets the tone:

Elspeth Suthers
Corruption and Ethnic Tensions in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan — Reconceiving the Citizen-State Relationship In the Former USSR

Kyrgyzstan. Georgia.
Governance not good for me
Stalin’s ghost laughing.

Suzanne Andrews
Savings Groups in Agriculture Projects: The Challenge of Mixed Incentives

Savings groups are great
Everyone wants a piece –
Try leaving them alone.

Vanessa Corlazzoli
What we know and don’t know about the effectiveness of Gender Based Violence Programming in Bolivia
To stop violence
Men: change your cultural norms
Nothing else will work.

Elise Crane
Bridging the Void: Social Media’s Potential to Transform Intergroup Relations in Fractured Societies

Media divides
Societies are broken;
Can e-Forums mend?

Andrew Daehne
Hip-Hop and Politics in Senegal: The Power of a Movement to Mobilize Through Music

Hip-hop, politics.
Would Senegal please stand up?
Rap, vote with your beat.

Jacqueline Deelstra
Citizen Monitoring of Government Service Delivery: Using Mobile Phones to Amplify Citizen Voice and Enforce Accountability. A case study of Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda
Government neglect
People need water, teachers
SMS can help?

Eduardo Garcia
Business Savvy or Tech Savvy? Comparing uptake and returns of Business Skills Training versus Technical Skills Training

gen biz=1
generate tech=1
regress wage biz tech.

Ida Norheim Hagtun
Humanitarian Action Powered by SMS — What Are the Ethics and Accountability Implications of Using SMS to ‘Crowdsource’ Humanitarian Needs Assessments?

You gave them a say.
Now they expect proper aid.
Are you ready yo?

Trevor Keck
Blurring the Lines: When does a Civilian Lose Protection under the Laws of War
Who is a civilian and who is a combatant?
Nobody knows.
But target civilians, and you may end up at the Hague.

Laura Kuhl
From a Culture of Disaster Response to a Culture of Adaptation: Addressing Flooding and Climate Change in Honduras

Disaster response
Climate change adaptation
Time to transition.

Kimberly Lyon
Linkage or Leakage? The Jamaican Hospitality Sector’s Demand for Locally Produced Food
Small farms, big hotels.
Jamaica, no problem mon.
We import seafood.

Althea Middleton-Detzner
Corporate-Community Relations and the Role of Nonviolent Action/Civil Resistance:  The Case of Freeport-PT Mining in West Papua, Indonesia
Blockades Shut Freeport
How does company react
to People Power?

David Reidy
Who Are Those Guys? Improving Spoiler Typologies and Analyzing Motivation, Consent, and New Warfare Actors for the United Nations

Is it a spoiler?
Or perhaps insurgency?
Aren’t they the same?

JR Siegel
The Diffusion of Off-Grid Solar PV in Rural Bangladesh

Bangladesh PV
Energy dearth solution?
For the rich, it seems.

Kelsi Stine
A State of Inequality: Confronting Elite Capture in Post-conflict Guatemala
Poor Guatemala
Your corrupt elites hoard land
No peace for Mayans.

Aaron Strong
Tackling Bunker Fuel Emissions: The Evolution of Global Climate Change Policy at the International Maritime Organization

Maritime Low Down:
Bunkers Burning; Climate Change
Shipping Ain’t Ship-Shape.

Sara Van Wie
Child Victims of Grave Crimes and Violations and Their Experiences of Remedy and Reparation in Sierra Leone
Sierra Leone
Reparation for children
Access?  Not so much.

Cheney Wells
The role of remittances in Cuba’s private sector expansion: A shift in Cuba’s remittance landscape from traditional consumption purposes to productive investment use

A fresh pair of sneaks
Got Family in Miami
Show me the money!

Colin Wood
Mozambique and the Perils of Megaproject-Led Economic Development
Aluminum plant
World Bank Mozambique scheming
But where are the jobs?

 

5 Responses to The poems of spring: Thesis haikus

  1. Ben says:

    I had way too much fun reading these!

  2. Glad you enjoyed them, Ben! They’re impressive pieces of work, and I suppose the theses probably are, too!

  3. Gail says:

    You realize that if more of the world thought in haiku, solutions might be clearer!
    Outrageously wonderful!

  4. So true, Gail! And I feel so honored that a real writer reads the blog!
    Best,
    Jessica

  5. [...] at the Tufts Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy have created a new tradition: thesis haikus. Fletcher’s Admissions News blog explains: Fletcher thesis haikus share the ancient Japanese poetry’s three line (seventeen [...]

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