In a move of inspired creativity last week, second-year MALD student Kirstin Ellison challenged her fellow soon-to-graduate thesis-writing peers via the student email list:
Fletcher, I’ve got to tell you — my thesis is killing me. Just now while composing my title, I happened to notice that it clocked in at a ridiculous 17 words. The words of our esteemed Professor Perry came floating back to me — “cultivate pith!” After all, whose advisor wants to read a wordy, boring thesis? With this in mind, I decided to rework my thesis into a more condensed and verbally-frugal format. Yes, Fletcher, I rewrote my thesis as … a haiku. Why use 17 words to say what 17 SYLLABLES can cover just fine?
And thus started one of the longest email sequences I’ve ever read, with student after student appending an addition to the collection. Here, for the first time on a blog, are Fletcher Thes-kus (thesis haikus). A representative sample, with the poet’s name and thesis title included.
Title: “’Where Are Your Peacekeepers Now?’ The Protection of Civilians from Threats Posed by Armed Groups in Eastern Congo and Afghanistan”
Stop killing civilians now
Oh, wishful thinking
Three thousand words in
I still don’t have a title.
Title: “Judicial Reform in Afghanistan: Towards a Holistic Understanding of Legitimacy in Post-Conflict Societies”
Building Rule of Law
Legitimacy Lynch Pin
Calling all Afghans
Jamie Lynn De Coster
Title: “Profiling Pirates: Exploring Somali Piracy in the Context of a Collapsed State”
Are people too. Yet, a threat.
What should we do? YARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
Title: “‘Seeds of Terror’ or ‘Poppies for Peace’? – The Impact of Illicit Economies and Drug-Trafficking Networks on Post-Conflict Stability”
Seeds of terror, huh?
The money flows upwards though.
Stop corruption – now!
Title: “Hamas’ Use of Female Suicide Bombers: A Case Study in Militant Groups Reinterpreting Women’s Roles in Jihad”
Women in Hamas
Sometimes, they blow themselves up.
Sometimes, they don’t. Why?
Title: The Accession of the Western Balkans to the European Union: The Conditionality of Sub-Regionalism”
Balkans were broken
Quick! Get them in the EU
Or maybe, not quick
Title: “Police Reform and Non-State Armed Groups in Post-Conflict Iraq and Bosnia: Accountability versus Effectiveness?”
Stop hurting, start protecting
Chase away armed groups
Title: “The Fog of Peace: Comparing U.S. and UN Approaches to Conflict Management in Nepal”
Die feudalist die!
So, so sick of retrograde
Title: “More Than Just Credit: A Case Study of Vocational Training Workshops Offered by a Microfinance Institution in Peru”
Give women credit
Then teach them to make ice cream
Does this really work?
Title: “Strategic Management of Technology-Enabled Development Projects”
Tech is really cool
Increased voice for citizens
Please manage it well.
Title: “An Evaluation of Colombia’s Security and Economic Revitalization During the Uribe Administration. What does the future hold for Colombia?”
FARC’s Arroz con Frijoles
Santo’s for dessert?
Title: “The Stagnant Mexican Automotive Industry: Drawing Lessons from Other Automotive Industries”
Mex Car Industry
You are screwed. Can you learn?
Probably not. Ugh.
Title: “Defaulting Treaty Obligations: How the Lack of Clarity in U.S. Domestic Laws Contributes to Noncompliance”
We make agreements
We never intend to keep
Though other states weep
Title: “Flying Greece Sky High: Marfin Investment Group Sets Eyes on Olympic Airlines”
New flag in the sky?
Title: “How Good Change Happens: The Politics of Child Undernutrition in Brazil and India”
Big people, listen:
Food is for the smallest ones
Nurture your nature.