This week I’m taking a quick trip to Los Angeles to give a talk at UCLA’s Charles E. Young Research Library. The talk is free and open to the public, Thursday May 29 at noon. See here for further details if you’re in the area or know folks who’d like to check it out. I’ll be talking on and sharing from the now-completed dissertation (!) and we will be spending some time drawing together as well. Should be fun, and I’m grateful for the kind invitation and support from Sharon Farb and other members of the UCLA community.

While this site has been a bit silent of late, life here has been anything but. Our daughter arrived just over two months ago(!) (you can see her toes here). Five weeks ago, I defended the dissertation at the home of Professor Maxine Greene – with my supervisor professor Ruth Vinz, Robbie McClintock, Maxine, and Mary Hafeli. A celebratory gathering. But – despite having passed that milestone, I still had some drawings I wanted to do for the final version. So back to the drawing board before a narrowing date. And then – my hard drive failed – which would have been only a major annoyance and terrible slowdown, were it not for the fact that my external backup failed at the same time. Fortunately, the dissertation was intact on a flash drive, and I was able to get back to work not too long after, though the rest of my data from the last several years ultimately had to be restored via the elaborate and justifiably expensive data recovery process performed by the good folks at TekServ. Some advice – triple backups, don’t use a Western Digital backup drive (if it fails, it can’t be repaired), and paranoia is your friend when it comes to ensuring you don’t lose your data! Anyhow, somewhere in there was graduation, as well as the graduation of many of students from my comics class at Parsons, and finally, yesterday – the final submission of the dissertation. And now that’s put to bed. I thought I’d share one sneak peek from the seventh chapter – this deals with the threads – evolutionarily and biological – that make us who we are. The central figure is my redrawing from Vesalius’s classic anatomy drawings – which coincidentally and rather appropriately is titled “On the Fabric of Human Body.” This page was rather intense in the research that went into it not to mention its execution, and required some persistence – as it was begun before my defense, fortunately survived the subsequent hard drive crash unscathed, and I finished it some time afterwards.
With all that’s been going on, I’ve yet to announce the winners of my “put your foot in my dissertation” contest. It’s all done, I’m excited about how the pages came out, and I promise to share a look at it, and hope to notify winners and acknowledge all of you that participated from around the globe by next week. For those new to this work, this recent profile in the Chronicle of Higher Education offers a good way to get up to speed quickly. Thanks for following along. Onward – Nick