Calling it one of the most “thought- provoking” and “surprising” pieces they’ve seen in years, professors from the University of Michigan’s English Department are congratulating senior Rachel Kurlow for her senior thesis, which is ultimately just the word “subverts” over and over for fifty pages.
“It’s really amazing,” said Assistant Professor and Director of the English Honors Program, Gina Franklin. “We’ve had lots of fantastic submissions in the past, many focusing on complex and sophisticated ideas, but Kurlow’s thesis is, by far, the most impressive we’ve seen in a very long time.”
Kurlow, who plans to graduate in April with Honors in the English Major, entered the program in the fall of her junior year, and has since participated in three classes that focused solely on completing the thesis.
Kurlow’s mentor, professor Jennifer Marlen, admitted she had initially felt a little reluctant the first time Kurlow approached her with the idea but now admits she couldn’t have been “more wrong.”
“You know how genius can seem like craziness the first time you’re introduced to it,” said Marlen before chuckling. “People thought Shakespeare was crazy, too…”
Marlen noted that, by the end of her time mentoring Kurlow and the paper, she left with a different understanding of the word “subverts.” “You know how you can say a word over and over until it begins to lose meaning?” Asked Marlen. “That’s how I felt. Her paper truly subverted expectations of the word ‘subverts’.”
Kurlow herself admitted that the idea seemed to be “a bit of a stretch at first,” but ultimately ended up “overjoyed” with how to the final project turned out.
Kurlow was last seen accepting an offer to Columbia’s MFA program where she will complete a PHD focusing on the phrase, “Complicates Our Understanding.”