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About Glasperlenspieler

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    2017 Fall

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  1. How much time have you spend in France/French-speaking countries? My sense is that for foreign language departments time abroad is, if not a prerequisite, then at least highly desired. One option, as you mentioned, is to do an MA abroad, which can also be helpful for clarifying your research interests. However, given your uncertainly, I might suggest finding a way to spend some time abroad in a less academic setting. I think spending some time away from academia can be a great way to figure out what it is that really interests you and you'd be willing to pursue in something as intense as a graduate program. One way to do this is to teach English abroad. For France there is both TAPIF and Fulbright, which would give you an additional year to consider your options. So, I'd suggest taking a look at these programs as well as the graduate programs you're looking at.
  2. Certainly! I mainly wanted to point out that it's possible that a paper you're proud of at the moment might not be something that you want publicly associated with your name down the line. My suspicion is that the odds of this are much higher for a paper you wrote during your senior year of undergrad than late in a PhD program or afterwards. There are, however, almost certainly exceptions on either side of this equation. This consideration coupled with the possibility of further refining an idea through added training should, I think, give reason for caution about publishing too early in one's academic career. Obviously though, this is a personal decision and there are a lot of factors that can tip the balance in one direction or the other. Should everyone be polishing until they get into Nous? Depends on what you mean by 'should'. I happen to think it would be better for professional philosophy and intellectual inquiry for people to publish less frequently and more polished pieces. I also recognize that contemporary hiring and tenure policies make this a naive suggestion. Not publishing is simply not an option after a certain point in your academic career. I just happen to think that that point occurs somewhere during a PhD program and not before. There are a number of interesting discussions of publishing on Leiter and Daily Nous. Here are a couple for what it's worth: http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2012/05/grad-students-questions-about-publishing.html http://leiterreports.typepad.com/blog/2015/04/publishing-as-an-ma-student-applying-to-phd-programs.html http://dailynous.com/2014/10/06/how-much-should-graduate-students-publish/ I'd be happy to continue a discussion on publishing if people are interested, but at this point it might make the most sense to create a new thread for it and leave this one for more general applicant discussion.
  3. Take a look at the essays you wrote five years ago. How many of them are you proud of, that is, you would be happy to show them to your current professors as a quality piece of work? The fact of the matter is you grow a lot over the course of your undergraduate career and what you though was a great idea at the beginning maybe doesn't look so cool now. I think it's fair to assume that the sort of growth you will experience over the course of a PhD program is equal if not greater. So five years down the line, that cool paper may not be something you want associated with your name, especially when it comes to tenure review. Now, if you get the approval from a top-notch journal, then perhaps that's a good reason to think you're really on to something. Otherwise, you're probably better of holding onto those ideas and developing them as your skills as a professional develop. What's currently belongs in a mid-tier journal, may belong in Nous is you're patient enough.The other issue with publishing is the amount of time it takes to publish and go through the process in comparison to the actual reward (whether valuable feedback or a publication). At this point the math usually doesn't work out in favor of publishing. If your advisor thinks that you have produced something that is worth trying to publish, then by all mean, go for it. Otherwise, I think publishing just for the sake of publishing is unhelpful at best and counterproductive at worst. I agree with this, but that doesn't mean you should discourage people from applying to top-tier programs. You can apply to both. It's certainly silly to apply to top-tier programs just because they're top-tier, but if they're the best fit for your interests, then so be it. Besides, if the goal is to get an academic job, I think there's something to be said, for limiting your search to top programs (in your field). The fact of the matter is, that with some exceptions, is much harder to get a job out of a low ranked program. This is simply not true. Chicago is currently just outside of the top 20 on the PGR and as far as I'm aware, it's never been in the top 10, nor has UT-Austin, where he was at when he started the PGR. Yes, there are problems with the PGR. In my opinion it's not perfect, but a useful too. There's plenty of reasons to criticize it, but please don't use blatant falsehoods to do so. (Edit: crosspost with ThePeon, who gives a more comprehensive response to this point)
  4. I largely disagree with this advice, or if not disagree, then I would at least emphasize things a little bit differently. The odds of *anyone* getting into a top 15 program are low. I don't think that means you shouldn't apply. I wouldn't worry much about your GPA. If you can keep your MA GPA up that should more or less mitigate concerns about undergrad GPA. Your GREs are fine. Nothing spectacular but not bad. I wouldn't bother retaking it if I were you. I don't think publications really matter. Hardly anyone has a publication applying for PhD programs. If you can get something published in a top journal, that's great and you'll probably be successful in applications, but that's not the norm. Don't try to publish just to publish. At this point in your career, you're probably better off not publishing than publishing in a mid-tier or worse journal. In terms of MA prestige, it certainly doesn't hurt coming from a top program, but you can't do anything about that at this point and people do get into to top programs from unknown programs. All this is to say that your stats shouldn't keep you out. You're odds of getting into a top 15 program are low, but that goes for everyone else too. What it will come down to is your writing sample and how strong of a fit you are for the program. If someone on the admissions committee takes a particular liking to your writing sample, you're in. You don't have a lot of control over this and a lot of it is luck. All you can do it produce the best sample you can that showcases your skills and interests, asks intriguing questions that are likely to catch someone's eye, and apply to programs that are the best fit for you. Good luck!
  5. 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.
  6. 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)
  7. Thanks! Not exactly what I wanted to hear, but I'm glad it's manageable.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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)
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.