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maxhgns last won the day on May 14

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  1. maxhgns

    Thoughts on Chances (Futile Anxiety)

    Your grades and GRE scores are fine. But, as Glasperlenspieler says, they're the least important part of your application. Do what you can, and move on. Enjoy your time in grad school, and don't expect academic employment afterwards (that's a recipe for misery).
  2. maxhgns

    Where to mention substantive coursework outside the Phil dept?

    Yeah, the transcript. If it seems especially important, then you can mention it on the cover letter. But otherwise, the transcript is the place for it. They do skim those.
  3. The only thing about your PhD that matters is that it's done and was approved. Virtually nobody will bother to look at it again, especially when they could just go and read the chapters you've published instead. You will need letters from your supervisor (and maybe your external), but (1) if they're going to be negative, it sounds like they would have been negative anyway, (2) they're more likely to talk about the quality of your work and the importance of your results than your defense (besides: it looks awful for them if they tell the world you suck and shouldn't have passed, but they passed you anyway), and (3) you'll have the postdoc PI letter too, and (ideally) letters from people not affiliated to you and your success. So: forget about it. It's over. That said, FWIW I don't really understand this part: Why did you wait until the very end of the process before writing things up? It seems to me--and bear in mind that I obviously don't know the details of your situation!--this is all work that you could have done beforehand (and you did, for at least some chapters), without your advisor's say-so. He'd have had to look it over before submission, of course, but I don't see why it was necessary to wait until three days before the defense (how can you even defend without submitting? Different university/discipline and process, I guess). (Also: it can't have been literally impossible, since you did it! It just wasn't pleasant or desirable.) EDIT: Also, what about corrections? Normally, after you defend, there's a period of a few months before you have to submit your final draft. Can't you use that time to improve the parts that seem rushed? I'd expect that if they expressed such serious reservations about your writing, they'd have given you a pass with corrections anyway...
  4. A few departments are indeed like this (at least at one school I know, faculty actively encourage this kind of "sorting" and train students to reproduce it wherever they end up). But it's not like that at most departments. Most departments have very supportive and healthy graduate student communities. That said, it doesn't take much to poison a graduate student community for a long time. A single sexual harasser can easily destroy a grad student community that's 30-strong, and it takes years after his departure to fix the damage he's wrought (I know from experience). Similarly, a single cutthroat cohort can do a lot to change the department's atmosphere (and encourage subsequent cutthroat cohorts).
  5. There are a few disciplines in which what matters most are the conference presentations (because they tend to get published in conference proceedings, which are the discipline's main outlet). In almost every field, however, it's the pubs that matter most. As HK38 says, however, the two aren't mutually exclusive: conferencing is important and a useful step in the publication process. But given a forced choice, you should opt for publication over presentation every time (unless you're in one of the fields I mentioned at the outset).
  6. maxhgns

    Looking at the lottery of philosophy jobs

    That's pretty much my attitude as well. I knew going in to my PhD that I'd probably not find a job (even if I didn't wholly believe it, or understand quite how bad the situation has become). So I didn't really approach the PhD as a means to some other end, and just did it for its own sake/for myself. That may not be enough to get you all the way, but it takes you a good chunk of it, and helps to avoid bitterness. I don't regret any part of my PhD (well, apart from not reporting my harasser sooner). I did my PhD at a ranked Canadian institution that's tops in my subfield, but at the bottom of the international PGR. I'm sure that's not helped on the job front, but I still think it was the right decision for me. There are three things that get me down: (1) the attitude some (many, actually) job seekers and former job seekers adopt as a result of their own difficulties, which is downright nasty and seeks to allot blame for their situation, (2) the total lack of interviews (like, you can send out 100+ applications around the world, and get zero interviews), and (3) all the people (especially in my subfield) I've seen leaving philosophy despite their tremendous talent, because they can't really afford a gap year (financially, or professionally). I may leave the profession after this year, unless I manage to get some kind of employment (I might also tough it out a cycle; we'll see). It's too bad, because it turns out that I'm very good at the research portion of the job, and I think I'm a decent teacher, too. I'm totally killing it, professionally. But the only reason I'm doing so well is because I got a cushy two-year postdoc that gave me the resources, space, and time to develop and publish the things I'd been working on, and to plump up the rest of my CV. I had zero interviews for 100+ applications in 17 countries the year I got my postdoc (and one VAP interview for the same stats the year before). That same year, several excellent new scholars in my subfield--people who are straight-up better than me--also got zero interviews. But they had to leave the profession, because there was no postdoc waiting for them. And I know so many others who are so, so good, but who are ground down by their part-time teaching loads and can't get any of their own work done and out there. I've been incredibly lucky. If I've learned anything from my postdoc, it's how much of a difference teaching-free and no-strings-attached research time (post-PhD) can make. And it makes me sad that most people never get any.
  7. maxhgns

    Philosophy of Art/Aesthetics programs?

    Ah! That makes a lot of sense! Yeah, sure. But even then, Acosta is not really part of the aesthetics community, so she can't exactly help you with that network (nor has she published in any aesthetics journals). That's not to say her work isn't great; it's just to say that she's not really involved in that area. There are plenty of 19th c. folks who are, however (e.g. Guyer, Shapshay, Gjesdal, Ostaric, Goehr, Zuckert, etc.), and I think one would be better served by having them as advisors.
  8. maxhgns

    Philosophy of Art/Aesthetics programs?

    Unfortunately, I wouldn't count DePaul. It's a fantastic continental department, but one of those pretend ghosts when it comes to aesthetics/philosophy of art.
  9. maxhgns

    Philosophy of Art/Aesthetics programs?

    Nope. This is the subforum for it. Sacralicious is asking about a subfield of philosophy. This is a move you need to make with your eyes wide open--way more wide open than for getting a PhD in philosophy in the first place. You absolutely need to know that the job prospects in aesthetics are just about the worst of any subfield of philosophy. Most years, there's one job in the AOS; often, there are none. Occasionally you get bumper crops of 3+, but that's rare. You have to expect one job a year, max. And you have to realize that it's a subfield that's widely (and unjustly) looked down upon. Things are better among continentalists, but still not good. So you have to plan your trajectory accordingly. The result is that anybody working in aesthetics has to specialize in something else, too. And that's not a bad thing, since aesthetics gives you the opportunity to bring philosophical work from elsewhere into conversation with human culture, and that makes for really interesting stuff. But from the practical and research standpoints, you absolutely have to master some other aspect of the philosophical literature. Even then, that's not enough for the job market (you'll still get discounted as not the real deal). On the plus side, there's much less legitimate competition for that one job a year. And the main aesthetics associations--the ASA and the BSA--are great, very friendly, and do a lot of work to promote aesthetics, and to help students (e.g. student travel to the conferences is funded, they fund lots of grants, they have editorial opportunities for students, and the ASA is going to start sponsoring a postdoc). These are relatively large organizations (especially the ASA), and so there are lots of conferences every year--4 for the ASA, 1 BSA, 1 CSA, and 1 ESA, plus a few other regular events. That all means that networking and getting conference experience is a lot easier in this subfield than in others. With those warnings out of the way, I suppose it needs to be said that the state of graduate education in aesthetics in North America (if that's where you're looking) is not great. A lot of programs have people who claim aesthetics as an AOS, but most of those aren't affiliated with the ASA/BSA/CSA/ESA, and don't publish in the relevant journals (if they publish in aesthetics at all). So you have to be careful. You absolutely need a supervisor who is active in the subfield, because you can't afford not to have a vocal advocate. To my mind, the best ranked departments in North America for the study of aesthetics are (in alphabetical order) CUNY, McGill, NYU, and UBC. Among the unranked departments, I'd say it's Illinois-Chicago, Oklahoma, and Vanderbilt (since they hired Taylor). I may have forgotten a department, but at any rate I'd say that these are currently the best places to do that kind of work. You'll have noticed, though, that some of these departments aren't necessarily the best places for a continental specialization. For that, I'd give much closer consideration to Columbia, Oklahoma, UIC, and Vanderbilt. (McGill is continental-friendly, but their main aesthetician is wholly analytic.)
  10. That's weird. It's entirely appropriate to email and ask. In my field, a conference paper is usually about 3000 words long, and one aims to present it for about 20 minutes. Things are definitely different for different fields, but you can get a decent sense of what's expected by perusing the instructions on other conference CFPs.
  11. maxhgns

    Moving out of the US?

    The first thing to know is that the direction of the brain drain is from these other countries to the US, not the other way around. That means it's going to be an uphill struggle for you--especially, I suspect, coming from a program that isn't much of an international name-brand (unless it is in comms?). The other thing to know is the number of jobs in your field in those countries every year. For English Canada and Australasia, it's going to be a couple. Maybe one or two more if we count French Canada, but you'll obviously need French for those. For western Europe, it'll probably be a handful or two in the UK, and a trickle in France, Germany, Spain, etc. (almost all of which will require knowledge of the local language). It's also worth noting that many of these places have preferential hiring for their own citizens, graduates, or holders of work permits, just as the US does. Having said these things, the thing to do is to start looking at job ads in these countries to figure out what they're generally looking for, and to start looking at the CVs of new American hires in these countries, to see what their profiles are like. You'll need the PhD, of course, but also as many pubs as you can get, a solid portfolio of courses under your belt, perhaps even a large set of conference presentations, the best letters of rec you can find, etc.. These things will vary a little by discipline, and I'm not in comms, so I may be a little off. But those are the general pre-reqs for academic jobs.
  12. maxhgns

    Is it good or bad if professors are hands off

    No, it's not a test. It's just that you're relatively low on his or her list of priorities. It's also not about you. It's just the way they think of their duties to their students. Most think of you as being somewhat higher in the list of priorities, but their actions show that your real rank is somewhat lower than their conception of it. Ideally, a supervisor should be hands-off in the sense that they let you pursue your own project and make and solve your own mistakes, but be hands-on in terms of giving you regular feedback, introducing you to their network, etc. It's a relatively hard balance to strike. Most err on the side of too little contact/feedback.
  13. Ask your supervisor for some guidance. That's what they're there for.
  14. maxhgns

    Journal Submission Process - my first time

    Like Hope.for.the.best said, whenever you think you're ready to start. Actually, IMO you should start before you feel confident that you're ready, because the writing process can help to shape the direction of your research, and keep you appropriately focused. Also, too many people fall into the trap of postponing writing until they've read all the things or done all the tests, and that's a recipe for never actually writing anything at all. Note, however, that this does not mean that you'll be ready to submit soon after you start writing. It could take years to bring your paper up to snuff. But the sooner you start trying, the better. There are different ways to do this, and the best strategies of course depend on where you are in your career. When you're aiming for 2+ a year because you're on the tenure-track at an R1, you'll want to adopt a shotgun-style approach--that is, you'll want to have 5-10 papers under review at all times, at a mix of journals (some top subfield, some second-tier subfield, some top generalist, some second-tier generalist, etc.). And exactly which journals you select will depend on fit and--especially--their average time to reach a verdict, and how soon you need that pub. Right now, I think that you should identify the three best journals for which your paper is an excellent fit, and start by sending to the first (I'm assuming, of course, that time-to-verdict doesn't matter so much for an MA student. I might be wrong about that!), and work your way down from there. I'm guessing those'll be subfield journals, but maybe one is a generalist journal. Shrug. (I'm not in a field where impact factor counts for anything, so I'm not sure how to advise you on that point. My intuition is that the best journals in your subfield will have decent impact factors.) The best remedy is to write, and have people (friends, colleagues) read your work and help you. You can always return the favour for them--in French, yes, but also in English (even if you don't catch their mistakes or can't help them with the actual writing, you can help them at the levels of content and clarity of exposition). You could, for example, start a weekly workshop group, with five or so participants, where each week you read and discuss and comment on one person's paper or chapter. Regularly reading in English (especially at the level you want to emulate: so, academic writing) will also help a lot. You can certainly hire a copy editor, but I wouldn't bother. It's going to be extremely expensive. (I should know, I've been one!) Some journals do offer a free help service for people whose native language isn't English, however. Check the journal's author guidelines.

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