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Bumblebea last won the day on December 14 2016

Bumblebea had the most liked content!

About Bumblebea

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  1. Yeah, it's an obsession that's pretty rooted in our culture. To give yourself some historical positioning, you might even look at some of the earliest American writers, like the Puritans, who also believed that they were living in the end times and structured much of their literature/belief systems around this.
  2. Off the top of my head--Ohio State, Florida, Maryland, and Kansas has the Gunn Center (http://www.sfcenter.ku.edu/)... And to be very honest with you, any program with a strong 20th-century program will be able to support you in science fiction. It's not as off-the-beaten path as it was even 10 years ago (when I started grad school). I know a lot of people who do speculative fiction without a lot of faculty oversight. It's very much a growing field--perhaps because English enrollments are down nationwide and adding science fiction courses has been a way for departments to attract undergrads looking to take a fun elective. I'd actually be surprised if there were that many programs out there that would just say, "No, we don't do that."
  3. You say that you don't want to focus "exclusively" on race (and I'm not sure that anyone does or what you think that would look like) but you also say that you want to study Southern identity and specifically male sexuality/masculinity in Southern literature. Well, as @echo449 pointed out, constructions of Southern masculinity and sexuality are intimately connected to issues of race. I'm not sure how you could make that a focus and not deal extensively with race. It's a bit like studying Milton and not wanting to focus on the religious contexts in which he wrote, or like studying the Irish literary revival and not wanting to deal with the question of Irish nationalism. Having said that, I think you're getting ahead of yourself. No one is required to have a dissertation topic mapped out before they enter graduate school.
  4. To give you a quick answer--you would define yourself as a 20th-21st-century Americanist for the sake of getting into graduate school. Or you might think of yourself as a post-1900 Americanist. I also know people who define themselves as doing American literature post-1945 or pre-1945, if that's a possible dividing line for you. As far as the "art" thing goes--you might identify yourself as someone who's interested in aesthetics. And yeah, you'd have to address race at some point. Race is central to American culture, history, and literature, on both sides of the 1900 divide. Ignore it at your peril.
  5. I could be wrong, but when you're just leading weekly discussion sections (granted these discussion sections are all tied to the same lecture class), it doesn't really count as separate classes. So you wouldn't refer to that as 3/3--that implies three different classes that you design and teach entirely by yourself. That sounds like the life.
  6. I taught at both programs, one course per semester and each and every summer. Most of these classes were classes I taught completely on my own. When I taught composition, I had 25 students per class. When I started teaching literature surveys, I had 50 students per class. I never did the "TA a big lecture class" experience. My first "fellowship" year came when I was working on my dissertation and won a national fellowship. It's definitely doable, but you really have to compartmentalize, and that's hard to do at first because it can take some time to get used to teaching. The most important thing is to keep your eye on the prize and constantly remind yourself that you're there to get a degree, not to bond with undergrads or change undergrad lives. Prioritizing your own work is necessary for survival in a high teaching load program.
  7. OP: Forgive me if this question is out of bounds, but why is your girlfriend so dead set against making it work with you if you go to Purdue and she goes to UA? I mean, I understand that long-distance relationships are never ideal, but certainly you both must have known that this would be a possibility at the end of admissions season. Academics often have to make LDRs work because they often can't end up at the same schools for jobs or fellowships. And not to be a Debbie Downer, but what are you going to do if you're in the same position two years from now? What if your partner wants to stay in Alabama and you get a PhD spot at NYU or something? Two years flies much faster than you might think. And then there's the job market ... I guess I'm trying to say that going to Alabama might be delaying the inevitable in that you are going to have to come to Jesus at some point in the near future. Having said that, this is an instance where the stakes are very low. If you choose to go to Alabama for your MA, you aren't throwing your future away or anything like that. But yes, being at an MA program where you feel supported to do your best work may put you in a better position for getting into a good PhD program. But it's a pretty big may, as there are no guarantees as far as PhD admissions go. You could go to Purdue and strike out for a PhD. You could go to Alabama and strike out for a PhD. Or you could get into Penn from either program, who knows. It really always comes down to a weird combination of luck and hard work and other circumstances completely outside your control. Additionally, I'm not sure it's absolutely essential to attend a program that has *exactly* what you want to do, especially at the master's level. I went into my MA program a devoted postcolonialist and came out an 18th centuryist. I know a person who, during his MA program, discovered a passion for graphic narrative and, because no one at his MA institution did graphic narratives, he got his PhD at a different program. My point is that he was still able to get into that other program, even though no one at his MA institution was there to really guide him. As far as the MA goes, you usually spend those two years filling distribution requirements and passing an exam--not writing a dissertation. So having the exact advisers in place is really not necessary. And moreover--the mentor you want to work with at either program will probably have more of their eggs in their PhD advisees' baskets because those are the people who are going to carry their name into the job market and beyond. They typically don't invest as much in their MA students' success because they don't have that kind of unlimited time and energy. That's not to say you won't benefit from their tutelage, but you're not going to be there long enough to create the kind of relationships that will translate into tangible gains.
  8. OP: Having looked at your list again, I might be more inclined to tell you to go to Alabama. The fact that they're not making you teach your first year but just work as a tutor instead is actually quite nice. It can be very hard to be thrown into being the sole instructor of a class in your first week of graduate school. Plus, Purdue is making you take two classes on teaching comp. Most programs require only one "teaching college English" intro class--not two. Since you're a literature person, that's one less you'll be able to take related to your interests. Since this is the one time when you can pick a program and NOT obsess about its rank, I would urge you to go to the program that you think will make you happy.
  9. I think their girlfriend is named Summer, though I could be wrong ... Even though Alabama seems like a good place, I would urge the OP to at least go to Purdue with an open mind. OP, since you're a 19th-century Americanist, have you checked out the work of Chris Lukasik? Anyway, I don't think you should let being waitlisted at Purdue influence your decision too heavily. I have a few friends who turned down a better-ranked program for lesser ones because they felt "shafted" by the better program. Some later regretted letting emotions cloud their judgment. Not that rank here matters (as others have said)--but you don't want to take getting waitlisted too personally. In any case, both seem like good options.
  10. As someone not only on the other side of the process but also on the other side of a degree, I want to say that grad school was absolutely the most rewarding thing I've ever done in my life. I loved getting my PhD. And the farther along I got in my degree, the more I actually enjoyed grad school. (Most people who gripe talk about really enjoying coursework and hating their dissertation--I was the exact opposite.) Grad school is definitely not for everyone, but I also got annoyed by people who were constant Debbie Downers about the entire thing. For me it was really worth it, no regrets. Even though I haven't gotten a TT job yet, I still don't regret it. Seriously just ignore those people.
  11. I agree with this. The rankings are, in part, a reflection of a hierarchical system that already exists. I don't think anyone on a hiring committee actually consults them before making decisions. I don't think any professional in the field worth his or her salt really gives them much thought or takes them seriously. However, the rankings are also a self-perpetuating truism and they become a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Berkeley remains the best because everyone assumes that Berkeley is the best. Is it really "the best"? In some things, probably. In other things, absolutely not. My bigger problem with the rankings, though, is the fact that they continue to be published year after year, and they rely on extremely sloppy methodology. They come from a survey distributed to DGSs and department chairs, and only 14% of those surveyed actually respond. I'm guessing that few of us would pick a hospital to have an experimental lifesaving treatment on the basis of rankings where only 14% of those surveyed responded. No--we'd go ask other professionals and seek out additional information. For English grad school, the stakes obviously aren't as high ... but IMO, it's absolutely irresponsible and maybe unethical that USNWR continues to recycle this lousy survey year after year after year and pretend that it represents anything other than a small number of people bothering to respond. And the rankings do matter, to some extent. Even though most professors and academics probably don't take them seriously, they're still out there. They determine which programs people apply to in greater numbers, and larger applicant pools translate into more competitive cohorts. Today's grad students are tomorrow's professors. I was a grad hopeful almost 10 years ago, and many of the people with whom I went through the process are now professors in a position to admit grad students or participate in a hiring process. Many of these people ten years ago believed that one's professional life would be forever determined by where one got into grad school. The process often "worked" for them, so they were eager to internalize those successes and attribute them to hard work and ability. I'm guessing--well, actually I know--that many of them still hold fast to the belief that programs are self-sorting and that certain jobs are appropriate only for people who went to certain schools. These beliefs don't go away simply because you become more educated. They tend to solidify and manifest in things like confirmation bias. So, I disagree that the rankings are democratizing. I think they're a natural thing--we all want to know where we fall in the hierarchy. But I also think that designing a much more comprehensive ranking system wouldn't be that difficult. Would it still suffer from problems of confirmation bias and perceived prestige? Of course. But it also might get at the nitty-gritty differences between programs in a way that would be more material than speculative. And the fact that no one has pursued this kind of survey is interesting indeed (to me, at least). I believe that there are a lot of people out there who still benefit from the status quo and don't really want a more democratic leveling of graduate programs.
  12. Not very. They're seven years old (I can't emphasize how much has changed on the job market since 2010) and the data were compiled even earlier than 2010, so they're probably more like 10 or 12 years old. And I can't really remember this very well, but I believe that when they came out there were a lot of questions surrounding their methodology. Like, it's not clear how job placements were even factored into their ranking system.
  13. That's not what anyone said, though. But it's always good advice to be respectful and polite in these situations, especially if you're dealing with administrative assistants and people who have many other things to do on any given day besides answer emails.
  14. You can definitely email them to ask when you will know. I wouldn't recommend emailing them to know "the answer." They probably aren't equipped to give you the answer right now, and asking them straight out for the answer might come across as pushy or demanding. I will say that MA acceptances tend to be later than PhD acceptances, so it's not necessarily weird to have heard nothing by mid-March. In an email, you might want to just say that you're currently weighing offers to other programs (I personally wouldn't mention where) and would like to know an approximate date when you can expect to get an answer from their program. Just short and polite like that.
  15. I wouldn't put too much stock in it, for all the reasons we've just enumerated. And Claremont's program is inexplicably ranked in the top 50. What the hell.