My research destabilizes imaginings of dissertations—conventional and otherwise—by highlighting a range of doctoral dissertations that, seemingly against all odds, manage to diverge from well-worn epistemic and textual paths. Whether it’s a dissertation from South Africa whose author brings auto-ethnography and illness narratives into a discipline known for its skepticism of anything qualitative (Richards, 2012), a dissertation from Canada whose author purposely eschews standard edited academic English in order to privilege traditional Indigenous knowledges (Stewart, 2015), or a dissertation from the United States whose author coded and designed a digital scholarly edition of Ulysses without writing a single chapter in the process (Visconti, 2015), my research questioned what brings these dissertations together while also considering what sets them apart.