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About Glasperlenspieler

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    2017 Fall

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  1. Oops, totally missed that. Sorry! I certainly didn't mean to imply that ASL would never be a viable research tool, only that which languages count as a viable research tools depends heavily on what field you're in. I would hope that any department with strengths in disability studies allows ASL and if not I suspect your diagnosis is correct.
  2. Doesn't this sort of depend on the purpose of the foreign language requirement? If it's just to prove that you have the ability to communicate with/learn another language, then certainly it should count. However, I think most departments in the humanities view the language requirement as a research tool. Xhosa is unquestionably a different language, but it's probably not going to be very helpful if I want to study ancient Athenian tragedy. So, I suspect that most departments that disallow it do so not because they don't think ASL is a language, but rather because they don't see it as a viable research tool. (note: I'm not trying to take a stand on the issue here, but this does seem to be what's at stake)
  3. Thanks! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I'm glad it's manageable.
  4. I second this question. Also, does not living on the ground floor minimize/erase this problem or not necessarily? Ants I can deal with, but I'd be very happy if I could avoid roaches during my time in North Carolina.
  5. Popping in from elsewhere in the humanities, where the job market is similar (or worse?). By this logic, it's equally irrational to pursue a career in the NBA, MLB, NFL, etc. You're odds are probably even worse if you want to be a fighter pilot. And major positions of elected office in competitive districts? Forget it! By the way, have you looked at the success rate for start-ups lately? Then there's acting, the music industry, or creative writing. Are all of these (and many other) career pursuits irrational? I don't know, maybe. That doesn't mean they're not worth pursuing though. Obviously, people should go in with their eyes open, lots of information, and realistic expectations, plus a plan B and maybe a plan C and D too. But I think it's not unreasonable that for the right sort of people, the calculus works out such that pursuing academia is a real option. (Whether that's the case for everyone in graduate school is another question.) For what it's worth I really like the baseball-academia analogy. Most TT jobs are the equivalent of the numerous no name players in big leagues. The handful of R1 or equivalent positions are the Derek Jeters and Randy Johnsons of academia (I know my baseball references are outdated; I haven't really followed the sport for a while). Most baseball players, however, wash out after careers in minors or college ball of varying degrees of success. These are the adjuncts of the world. The disanalogy here is that I suspect most baseball players are better at determining when to cut their losses.
  6. What genre(s) do you work in? If it's the novel, that might be another reason to consider French. Given the richness of novelistic output in France during that period, it could be a useful area to have open to you for the sake of a comparative context. Russian could provide this as well but would probably be more difficult to learn. As much as it pains me to say it, German probably makes less sense if you're doing the Novel in this time period. (Also not a Victorianist)
  7. Given that, I think an MA could make sense in your case. But do remember that PhD admissions are a gamble and there's no guarantee of anything. It's not impossible that you don't get in anywhere after the MA. Also, I'm assuming the MA is adequately funded. If not, go with the PhD, no question.
  8. Was your undergraduate major in philosophy? Was it from a well known university and/or one reputed to be strong in philosophy? If the answer to both of these questions is yes, then I'd be skeptical about how much your chances will improve with an MA. If, however, the answer to one or both of these questions is no, then I think the MA could have substantial positive benefits for your chances at top PhD programs. There are of course other factors involved here. A spotty undergraduate record may benefit greatly from an MA, and so on.
  9. Declined Riverside. Sorry it took so long, but it was a difficult decision to make. The program seems really great, especially if you're into German philosophy and/or agency, free will, moral psychology. PM if you have questions. Hope that helps someone! Maybe it'll be you @Dialectica but I think we have different AOIs.
  10. To echo the point made by @silenus_thescribe I think the second part of this remark is reversing the nature of the correlation. It's not so much that hiring committees make decisions based on rankings, it's that the rankings attempt to make apparent the implicit hierarchical structures that are already embedded within academia and that hiring committees use whether there are ranking to make them explicit or not. Do they do a perfect job of this? Hell no! Especially, as you note, when it comes to specific sub-fields. But whether we like it or not, a handful of departments account for a majority of academic hiring (and not just as R1s and elite SLACs). While I certainly understand frustration with rankings, I think getting rid of them would actually makes the problem worse. Without rankings, only those students who have advisors who are aware of the fault lines of these embedded structures (and hence, are probably already in the upper echelons of them), would have a chance at making an informed decision about the comparative quality of different programs. The rankings, in a sense, attempt to democratize the information, even if they don't democratize the process. There is certainly room for improvement when it comes to rankings and for that reason, they should certainly be taken with a grain of salt and an eye towards how the programs actually fit your interests. This should go without saying though. It seems as if they only people who think that ranking should be taken as the word of God are the people arguing against them as means of a strawman. What they do is to provide a useful starting point for researching programs that roughly maps onto (perceived) quality of the programs in question, keeping in mind that there is likely a sizable margin of error and a great deal of variation based on specialty and approach.
  11. I think there are two ways of reading this question. On one interpretation the answer is "no" and on the other the answer is "maybe". If you mean, "does the fact that the department is expecting you to carry part of the cost means that they're not that interested in you?", then I think you have no reason to worry. There are often institutional limits on the amount of money that can be spent on prospective students and the department may very well have no say in the matter. So in this sense, I don't think it's a reason for concern. Another reading of the question, however, is: "does the fact that the department is making you carry part of the cost indicate something about the financial state of the department/university?" The answer to this question, I think, is "maybe". If the department/university is stingy on funding for prospective student visits, then I would certainly want to ask for specifics on availability of 6th year funding and beyond, travel funding for conference, dissertation completion fellowships, retirements and new hires, etc. It's a good idea to ask about this anyways but I think it's especially pertinent in a situation like this. Perhaps the money comes from different pools and thus has no bearing on the sort of financial opportunities available/affecting grad students. My suspicion, however, is that these things are all closely connected.
  12. I think this is a really important distinction and that both forms of "fit" are very important. I'd almost be tempted to say that fit of approach may be even more important that fit of content but I'm not entirely confident about that.
  13. While I could understand picking a lower ranked program over a higher ranked program, I'd take a very close, hard look at these two lists before you do: WUSTL: https://philosophy.artsci.wustl.edu/graduate/placement/academic-placement-record Rutgers: http://philosophy.rutgers.edu/placement
  14. While there's certainly a sense in which graduate admissions is a lottery and thus the "buy more tickets" approach makes sense, I think it's important not to underestimate the importance of "fit". Simply applying to more schools isn't going to help you if those schools don't match with your interests, SOP, writing sample, background, etc. Now determining fit as an applicant isn't always easy. The more I learn about the programs I've been accepted to, the more amazed I am at how they each (in different ways) line up with what I'm interested in and the materials I submitted, even in ways that I hadn't realized or couldn't have know when I applied. I'm realizing these things now because 1) I can research the schools more thoroughly since I have fewer schools to look at and 2) I now have an open line of communication with the departments that I didn't have before. As an applicant, you're often in the dark about these things (I know I was) but that doesn't mean they're not at play. This is not to downplay the randomness inherent in the process. It's certainly there. Yet, unless you're interests are extremely undefined (which is a problem in itself) or so mainstream that the're covered in almost any major department (which is probably a double-edged sword), I find it highly unlikely that there are 20 programs that would be a strong fit. So you're efforts might be better spent in thoroughly researching the departments you are considering and closely tailoring your applications to the (perhaps large) handful that really do coincide with your areas of interest.
  15. To be honest, I'm not sure the idea of a safe school holds much water when it comes to PhD admissions because of how competitive the process has become.