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Bumblebea

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Bumblebea last won the day on May 31

Bumblebea had the most liked content!

About Bumblebea

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  1. During my first year as a TA, I had a student who, upon learning that he would fail my class due to absences (he'd missed several weeks and all the assignments that were to be turned in during those several weeks for no apparent reason) parked himself inside my office and refused to leave. He also screamed at me, called me a bitch, blocked the door so that I couldn't leave, and engaged in other menacing behavior. I was terrified. I didn't know what to do, and no one in my program had any training for these situations. When I went to tell my department (crying and really upset), they didn't seem to care all that much and just told me to put everything in writing and write an email telling him to withdraw from the class. He withdrew with absolutely no mark on his record. He was able to retake the class to replace the "W" with another grade. I now know that what my department advised was totally, utterly, and completely wrong and devastatingly irresponsible. This student harassed me and violated several aspects of the Student Code of Conduct. He should have been written up and censured (and probably suspended if not expelled), and I wished I'd had the number of the campus police programmed into my phone so that I could have called them immediately when he refused to leave my office. So that's what I would advise all TAs to do (and what I do even now as a professor): 1) Familiarize yourself with the Student Code of Conduct to know how it governs things like student behavior on campus (and most codes of conduct are VERY strict when it comes to students behaving badly toward professors and TAs); and 2) Program the number for the university police into your cell phone. What saddens me the most, to be honest, is that I've occasionally googled this student throughout the years (he had a very distinctive name) to see that his behavior with me was far from isolated. Since "withdrawing" from my class, he's been arrested several times. In 2010 he was arrested for passing bad checks and forging signatures; since then, he's been arrested for assault (he put someone in the hospital) and for leading the cops on a high-speed chase where luckily no one was killed. He was actually from a very wealthy family, and he's not currently in prison. But knowing that his behavior with me was part of a larger pattern that continues to this day really drives home for me how serious it is when students behave this way on campus, and how egregious it is to make TAs (especially female TAs) feel like they are blowing things out of proportion when students act out.
  2. No, there's nothing special about Southern institutions that make them uniquely positioned to grant PhDs about US Southern literature. I mean, if you want to stay in the South, then you really can't do any better than Duke, Emory, Vanderbilt, UT-Austin, UNC, or UVa. But on the whole, any program that's strong in American literature more broadly (because that would be your field area--not U.S. Southern lit) will be a good bet. And as echo449 said, the strongest programs are strong regardless of region. As far as the job market goes--there are very few jobs coming available these days. Your limits aren't regional; your limits are that only 15-20 jobs come available every year to begin with.
  3. To be frank, in order to make the connection work you're going to need more than just overlapping methodology or an interest in applying a particular theory. First of all, "postcolonial methodology" is vague--in some ways it's the new historicism of its age. Second of all, The Tempest and the 20th-century American novel (I assume we're talking novels and not plays or poetry) are too far apart temporally, geographically, and generically that you would have to work very hard to justify the idea that writing about one sets you up to specialize in the other. That's why I suggested that the OP try to make specific intertextual connections between The Tempest and some more recent American work--because that would then justify turning in a writing sample about The Tempest. Instead of thinking about applying theory, maybe the OP could think about Renaissance afterlives in the US experience or something like that. At the end of the day, English departments are still sorted by literary period, and in this sense the period about which you're writing trumps your other interests. A writing sample about The Tempest is probably going to get sent to the early modernist for evaluation, not the postcolonialist. (And most departments don't have someone who purely does postcolonial--instead they'll have someone who does U.S. ethnic or some kind of Anglophone-world lit. And those people are not going to be keen on reading a Shakespeare paper.)
  4. Those two areas of study (early modern and 20th-century American) are pretty far afield from each other, and I'm also not sure how you would "plug in" a 20th-century work to your paper about a Shakespeare play. This would be the perfect thing to ask a professor or advisor about, tbh. It occurs to me that you could make a good case for wanting to study how Renaissance tropes are reconfigured by 20th-century literature in ways that incorporate postcolonial issues. I mean, Caliban figures show up all over the place in the 20th century, so there's definitely a connection to be made. Obviously, an MA program is not going to care as much about matching SOPs/writing samples. But a PhD program (especially a very selective one like Vanderbilt) probably will. For an MA program, you just need to demonstrate that you can write, research, and analyze literature in ways that are compelling; for a PhD program, you need to demonstrate that you have some kind of vision and capacity for coming up with a dissertation project. More importantly, the program needs to know your proposed area of study because they tend to admit people by literary time period. Handing in a WS about Shakespeare while you're proposing to study contemporary American lit might confuse them.
  5. If your paper is truly your best, and you're really proud of it and want to send it, then make your SOP fit that paper. In other words, write your SOP so that it forms a bridge between your writing sample and your proposed interests. Or, if necessary, propose interests that line up with your best paper while making it clear you want to explore "other directions." Because to be honest with you, graduate programs are getting additionally picky these days. And while no one expects you to stick with the topic you proposed in your SOP, programs do generally want to see matching SOPs and writing samples. It's difficult to know how to advise you on this without knowing more about your work--does your potential writing sample have ANYTHING in common with your proposed interests? Is there critical/methodological overlap? Are the interests on the same side of the Atlantic but just in a different time period? Or are they in the same time period but from different countries? Are they the same genre? (Poetry? Prose? Essay? Play?) Could they be linked by media (periodical publication? visual text?)?
  6. Both of those are massive red flags for me, TBH. The lack of financial support is especially troubling as we're into May and they still don't have an answer for you. I would strongly urge you to not accept this offer. International MAs are not something I'm familiar with, so you should probably ask someone who has done an MA from another country and then gone to the US for PhD study. I do know a few people who got into strong PhD programs in the US after having gotten MAs from non-UK/Canadian programs (Peking University comes to mind), so I don't think it's a big deal. As far as teaching or presenting--no one is going to care about these things when you're applying. My general feeling is that where you do your MA isn't going to matter much. But you'll still want to check that US programs recognize this university's degree program and are okay accepting people from this particular school.
  7. 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.
  8. 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."
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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.