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English PhD Anna Williams completes groundbreaking podcast dissertation

May 15, 2019
Anna Williams recording podcast

Anna Williams combines artful memoir and meticulous research in her dissertation to consider what it means to finish a Ph.D. in the twenty-first century.

An award-winning teacher and grant-earning scholar, Williams reflects on the rites and conventions necessary for a dissertation. But her stories, reflections, and critique find voice in a unique, twenty-first century form: the podcast.

Williams, who will receive her Ph.D. on Friday, composed the dissertation as a six-chapter audio essay on pedagogy, gender, and the literary history of the Gothic. The dissertation begins with a recording of the prospectus meeting with her supervising committee, itself edited to explore dynamics of education and mastery. Each chapter that follows is an audio treatment featuring her analysis of works by Ann Radcliffe, Mary Shelley, and Charlotte Bronte in conjunction with interviews of leading scholars.