Tuesday, February 8, 2011
George Wythe has closed its "The Jefferson Degree™ doctoral program" to new applicants (ht: Bipolar Attorney).
Recipients of this degree hold themselves up as having a doctorate in constitutional law. However, the latest person to get this "Doctorate in Constitutional Law" wrote (I assume it was written) a dissertation on 19th-century literature, with a focus on The Scarlet Letter.
I don't quite see the connection between Hawthorne and constitutional law. But then again, we're talking about George Wythe College here.
From the GW newsletter:
The Statesman: What was the purpose and focus of your dissertation?
Dr. Elizabeth Smailes: My dissertation focuses on symbolism as an independent literary theory. While reading classics I came to realize that each author has an intention for their book and there are certain books (many of them written in the 19th century), in which the author’s intention is communicated through symbol. Without this knowledge the reader is missing 90% of what some authors are trying to say. Once I recognized this, it was my role as a statesman to help readers bridge this gap in understanding. My dissertation focuses on teaching the art of reading symbolically and gives the reader a symbolic study of The Scarlet Letter, which I propose is the mother of all symbolic novels. After completing this guided exercise you will read differently.
Dr. Elizabeth Smailes received her Doctorate of Philosophy, Constitutional Law, also known as the “Thomas Jefferson Degree,” at the Commencement Ceremonies in October. She is currently the mentor of a lucky group of GW Freshmen, whom she is guiding through great books such as Tolstoy’s Resurrection, Hamilton, Madison, and Jay’s The Federalist, and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. Dr. Smailes’ students love her energy and her ability to help them see their individual strengths and weaknesses. They especially enjoy the debates and intense discussions that the class engages in as she challenges preconceived perceptions and paradigms. She resides in Cedar City, Utah with her husband Joe.
Found the dissertation!
Seriously, knowledge of Scarlet Letter symbolism should be a litmus test for any future SCOTUS nominee. We certainly can't have anyone sitting on the bench without a thorough knowledge of this vital niche of constitutional law. I'm sure both sides of the aisle will agree. :)