So, after five years, I’ve finally submitted my dissertation for review! The title is “The Priestess, the Witch, and the Women’s Movement: Women and Gender in British Magical and Pagan Groups, c.1888 – c.1988”.
While this is the culmination of a very long (albeit very enjoyable) process, the journey for the final approval of the dissertation is rather arduous on its own: On the first of March, the doctoral committee of the School of Historical Studies will convene in order to discuss recently submitted dissertations. Assuming all will go smoothly, they will send the work to (probably) two external reviewers. My thesis adviser, Prof. David Katz, gave them a list of 4-5 people who would be the best choice as readers (go, Ronald and Henrik!), but they are not obligated to choose them and could decide on someone else entirely.
Assuming the external reviewers the committee approach are available, it would still take them several months (or more) to go over the dissertation properly and write back to Tel Aviv University’s School of Historical Studies with their review. They might say that the dissertation is approved, or that it can be approved with several minor corrections, or even decide that they want to review it for a second time after whatever major rewrites they would require me to do.
After the dissertation passes that particular hurdle, it goes to the general Tel Aviv University doctoral committee, to be discussed over by scholars from the social and exact sciences in addition to representatives from my own faculty – the Humanities. I hope the new Dean of Humanities Leo Corry (who just finished his tenure as Head of the School of Historical Studies) won’t have too much trouble explaining to the representative from the Physics Department why the University committee should approve a dissertation of Witches J
Then, the dissertation goes back to the School of Historical Studies’ doctoral committee, for final approval… This long process takes an average of six months (!!) but in its aftermath, I would have passed the Third and final initiation into my guild, and will be able to call myself Dr. Shai Feraro.
What happens then? Hopefully a year or two abroad at a good university (go, Cambridge!) as a postdoctoral researcher, pinning for a secure academic job that may or may not ever becomes available… Was it worth it, one might ask? Well, there is simply no other profession I see myself wanting to practice in the next 35 years. Writing my own books and articles, teaching young students about the study of religion in general, and of Paganism and Witchcraft in particular, is a dream I am determined to see made manifest, and that dream simply trumps the (very real and ever-present) fears I have regarding what the future holds for me. So, was it worth it? HELL YEAH !!!