Eight years and still no degree.
Eight years, hundreds of texts, thousands of words, millilitres of tears, a handful of original ideas, hundreds of friends (made and lost), and so many poems â€“ and still no degree.
Eight years, six good jobs, leadership of first a campus and then the national postgraduate association, where I fought long, hard, and loudly for everyoneâ€™s right to an excellent higher education experience, and still no degree.
Eight years, a deep understanding of cosmopolitan theory and the importance of food and foodways in society and politics, and an even deeper praxis from mindful eater to mindful farmer (and mindful meatsmithâ€¦)â€¦ and still no degree.
My PhD got me where I am today, but I donâ€™t have a PhD, and I probably wonâ€™t because Iâ€™ve already arrived at my destination, and my work doesnâ€™t require those letters at the end of my name.
I have loved my PhD for eight years, and today Iâ€™m letting it go.
When I switched disciplines from literature to cultural studies a decade ago it was a response to the latterâ€™s explicitly articulated project to build public intellectuals â€“ to be socially useful. 10 years immersed in cultural studies have aided me enormously in my desire to be socially useful.
While I have a very small regret not to pursue my agrarian intellectual life with a bonus three letters after my name, currently Iâ€™m shackled by them as I try to get on with doing my bit to transform Australia’s food systems.
I need hours each day to farm, butcher, deliver, and engage with eaters and fair food pioneers everywhere.Â I need to do more of exactly what I am doing, not cloister myself to write something three people will read.Â Itâ€™s a worthy project, but itâ€™s no longer the right one for me.
Thank you to my long-suffering supervisor John Frow, those Iâ€™ve interviewed, and the many many colleagues and friends who have discussed, debated and nibbled at the edges of what our engagements with food really mean to any of us.Â I wouldnâ€™t be here today without your support, knowledge, critique and interest in this project.
I finally worked out how to savour the world while saving it, and itâ€™s not in chapter three of my thesis, itâ€™s here on the land, knife in one hand, pen in the other.
Â¡Viva la RevoluciÃ³n!