UBC student writes 52,438 word thesis with no punctuation

Dec 19 2017, 11:08 pm

A UBC PhD candidate has completed his 149-page thesis without any punctuation whatsoever. Wait… what?

The word count for Patrick Stewart’s dissertation comes to 52,438 words, but it does not contain any commas, periods or semi-colons, which have all been substituted with extra spacing. The thesis also does not consist of normal paragraphs or proper formatting you would expect from a standard paper – for the most part, it reads like a run-on sentence that never ends.

According to the National Post, Stewart is a 61-year-old architect from the Nisga’a First Nation pursuing a doctorate in interdisciplinary studies. He wanted to make a statement about colonialism, aboriginal culture and “the blind acceptance of English language conventions in academia.”

His first draft was written in Nisga’a language, but that was rejected. While Stewart was warned some people might not understand his revised work in his form of English, the panel responsible for his academic fate gave a unanimous final decision – a pass for his thesis.

The full thesis can be downloaded here. Here is an excerpt of Stewart’s thesis introduction:

“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”

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