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Chapter 1: The Thesis: Texts and Machines
In order to provide a context in which to think about the dissertation now, this chapter looks both to the past and future. We deal with earlier forms of the dissertation in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and with the forms that the dissertation might take in the twenty-first. What unites these approaches is the conviction that the dissertation is contingent, changing and changeable. While supervisors may expect their students to produce a dissertation that resembles the one they wrote themselves, changes both in the available technologies and in the kinds of knowledge the dissertation is expected to represent are having a significant effect on its form as well as its content.
This chapter ...