UBC student writes 52,438 word architecture dissertation with no punctuation — not everyone loved it | National Post

Patrick Stewart
National Post, Canada

Academics, especially minorities, and pedestrian readers outside of the English discourse find it hard to read or grade papers without their expected punctuations and the language of their discourse. ee cummings and many other poets wrote in the non-punctuated and non-capitalized style denoting resistance against established epistemologies. They were prominent and exuded greatness, yet for the limited academic (yes, some academics are limited) this presents a debacle, especially if within the students discourse that Avante-garde theory presented goes beyond the professor’s academic position. Hard to believe, yet this happens frequently. What is the low-ball response of the academic or even pedestrian didacts? They critique the grammar. They want automatons.

Language theory and studies go beyond the comma and period. The style and narrative inform the message. How is the writer delivering the message? What is the writer trying to convey within the context of style and delivery? Most outside of the field of language do not think beyond the MLA, APA, or Chicago style notation and their pocket guide to *** science. The lazy learn field specific vocabularies and methodologies like a child learning to color within the lines of their coloring book. With a blank page, they are a deer in headlights. That page is quickly thrown to the ground.

We must agree that learning established language specific punctuations and grammar are important before art can begin. The fundamentals are the floor in which to build a solid house. Yet once that house is built, know whose house you are entering. Take the auto industry, for example. It is dangerous for an assembly line worker to deviate from their specific task on the line. The designers, however, must have a firm grasp of the architecture and previous designs in order to create new and more efficient cars. This is the job of the PhD.

Academia claims a social level far beyond the average grunge of automobile manufacturing, ie: Ivory Tower. So the question begs, are you the foreman keeping the worker in his place, or are you an academic nurturing great minds who will hopefully expand your discourse.

“In the introduction to his thesis, [Patrick Stewart] writes that,

“in my defense     my style of writing is not laziness or lack of knowledge of proper usage of the english language     it is a form of grammatical resistance as a deconstructionist     in the manner of many writers     especially american poet ee cummings     he graduated with a master degree in english from harvard university and they called him experimental and innovative     not words likely to be used to describe an indigenous writer who breaks all the rules of writing (the behavioural ethics board at the university of british columbia suggested that i hire an editor as it appeared that i did not know the english language)     times though     they are changing””


Times definitely have changed.

via UBC student writes 52,438 word architecture dissertation with no punctuation — not everyone loved it | National Post.

‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae

“Wow, you’re so articulate.”
“Are you the cleaning lady?”
“Do you have a Ph.D.?”
“James? What’s your real Asian name?”

Dear White People

You’ve heard or heard of statements like these. Students and scholars call them “microaggressions”—casual, everyday comments and questions that might not rise to the level of a verbal altercation or a physical beatdown, but are rooted in stereotyping and racially-biased assumptions nevertheless.

Some microaggressions are obvious. But it can take a well-tuned ear to perceive the subtleties and nuances in others. The people delivering coded comments might actually intend them as compliments, not realizing that they are holding on to stereotypes that are invisible to them.

As a returning African American and retired Systems Engineer student, after 20 years absence from academia, these microaggressions, not only by whites but surprisingly from other African American professors, raised my blood pressure. The first two weeks with an unfamiliar professor was a tight rope walk between maintaining respect for their proficiency and battling their cultural and class ignorance.

I must add to the author’s short list of microaggressions with these.

The patronizing African American father,
“I know your struggle. We were so poor…”

First day of class,
“You might want to take an easier class.”

The Master’s research meeting,
“We may want to refer to … for more information on the local drug scene, street life, …”

Your eyes bulge, but hopefully not enough to be that one person every African American does not want to stereotype at these venues. The Angry Black Woman or Man. So you recline, count the hours until you can make a hasty retreat, count up how much you are spending for this abuse, open your books at night and push the demons away to let in empirical evidence that this is all not a waste of time. This article places the response to these microaggressions better than I ever could.

“The greatest microaggression, some say, is that they feel unable to express their displeasure. That’s because they don’t want to be perceived as “angry” people of color who constantly play “the race card.” A few others say they’ve learned not to get angry or paranoid: Microaggressions, they say, reflect the flaws of the people dishing them out. Better to invest their time and energy on working on things they can change.”

In business, there is the option of consulting attorneys in the worse cases. Academia does not afford students this option. Students are locked in by a financial and personal investment. These perpetrators know this and find no need to leash their ill-behaviors.

The article points to a book, a supplement to the film “Dear White People,” “Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America,” which hopefully all academic professionals and students will absorb. If they cannot find the time, there is also a chart or shortlist to guide them through their internal war with their past and present demons toward a more cultured future.

via ‘Dear White Academics …’ | Vitae.

Link to Dear White People: A Guide to Inter-Racial Harmony in ‘Post-Racial’ America  by Justin Simien, Ian O’Phelan on

Book_DearWhite People

‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism | #OYRchallenge

The Hollywood Reporter‘s Justin Lowe interviews 31-year-old writer-director Justin Simien on his journey to produce “Dear White People” due to hit nationwide theaters on October 24, 2014. Already, the film’s various samplings circulating social media is causing the necessary buzz to go blockbuster. But is this all buzz and no bear? We’ll see next week.


When you’re writing and directing a satire like Dear White People, how do you blend narrative content and social commentary so that they effectively inform one another?

For me, the thing that I always try to do is to decide very early on what it is the movie’s about at its core. If a scene that says a bunch of things I want it to say can’t hang on the core of the film, then it doesn’t belong there. For me, I felt like the film was really just about the conflict between a person’s identity and their true selves. Everything that happened in a scene has to hang on that conflict and specifically has to hang on that conflict in relation to the arc of the four main characters.

via ‘Dear White People’ Director on Making a Comedy About Race and Spike Lee’s Heroism.

Financial Juneteenth | How One of The Richest Black Women In The World Did It With No College Degree | #OYRchallenge

Our beautiful billionaire Nigerian queen, Folorunsho Alakija, trumps the rush to college promoted by American politicians. She is rich and did it all without a college degree. As of late, we are seeing many clock the 7 figure mark before scaling the ivory towers. Most are teens. So what does they say for the future of academia? Only Folorunsho can answer that question. Folorunsho Alakija

When you go to high school you are pushed to figure out which college you want to attend and what you would like to do with your life. They make college out to be something that you must do if you want to be successful. This is not always the case however. You can still be very successful in life without having a college degree under your belt. That is exactly what Folorunsho Alakija did. She is Nigeria’s wealthiest woman. She revealed recently that she never went to college but yet she has still managed to become a billionaire.

via Financial Juneteenth | How One of The Richest Black Women In The World Did It With No College Degree.

MFA vs. POC : The New Yorker

Toni Morrison

Twenty years since the workshop and what I’m left with now is not bitterness or anger but an abiding sense of loss. Lost time, lost opportunities, lost people. When I think on it now what’s most clear to me is how easily ours could have been a dope workshop. What might have been if we’d had one sympathetic faculty in our fiction program. If we Calibans hadn’t all retreated into our separate bolt holes. If we’d actually been there for each other. What might have been if the other writers of color in the workshop—the ones who were like I don’t want to write about race—had at least been open to discussing why that might be the case. I wonder what work might have been produced had we writers of colors been able to talk across our connections and divides, if we’d all felt safe and accounted for in the workshop, if we’d all been each other’s witnesses. What might have been.

via MFA vs. POC : The New Yorker.

7 Lies We Need to Stop Telling About Young African-American Men – PolicyMic

Kwasi Enin

Last week Long Island teenager Kwasi Enin captured national headlines after becoming part of an impressive club: high school seniors who have been accepted into all eight Ivy League schools. However, while many celebrated Enin’s achievement, a bitter minority griped that the teenager had somehow gamed the system. The racial subtext was obvious: Enin couldn’t have actually have gotten into all those schools by himself. Why? Well, because he’s black.  

via 7 Lies We Need to Stop Telling About Young African-American Men – PolicyMic.

Gallup, Purdue to Examine Post-college Success – Higher Education

With decades of experience in public opinion polling and research, global management consulting giant Gallup Inc. has announced that it is launching a higher education survey project with Purdue University that is aimed at providing insight into how the college experience enables graduates to pursue life and career success.

This year, the project, known as the Gallup-Purdue Index, begins what will be the largest ever nationally representative study of college graduates, measuring the long-term pursuit of “great jobs” and “great lives” by graduates. The index is expected to deliver new insights to higher education leaders into how the educational experiences of their students can be improved. Funding support for the index has been made possible in part by a $2 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation.

via Gallup, Purdue to Examine Post-college Success – Higher Education.