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Metaellipses

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About Metaellipses

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    East Coast
  • Interests
    early modern theatricality, art and aesthetics, post-colonial
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    English PhD

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  1. Metaellipses

    Switching periods?

    I wouldn't worry about disappointing people. Sure, there will be one faculty member that is mildly disappointed they might not get the chance to work with you, but a lot of people switch what they're doing in coursework. Don't think of it as showing up and then having to publicly switch disciplines. Sign up for a Romantic class only if you want to, but make sure that you take every Modernist class that comes your way. When it comes time to do orals, then you can make it clear that you're going to be pursuing a Modernist project. Orals is really the time when people make decisions like that based on period, since it's really all about establishing period knowledge. Prior to orals, I wouldn't worry about it. Have fun in coursework and take the classes that appeal to you. Switch advisers to a Modernist whenever it makes sense (like, for example, if you hit it off with a Modernist faculty member after taking a class with them).
  2. I'll also chime in and say that I think this is spot on in my experience. I'm a student that took five years in between undergraduate and graduate for mostly financial and health related reasons. When I applied for graduate school, I contacted the one faculty member who I thought might remember me (he was my advisor) at the very beginning of the process. I ended up getting in contact with two other faculty and sending them copies of papers that I had written for them as an undergrad. I was able to mention that I was already being mentored by my former advisor (and that he had signed off on my decision to apply). So, yes, it was more difficult to build these relationships back up when they had lapsed, but it wasn't impossible. While applying, it didn't offer me any significant disadvantage. I would come home from work and work for a few hours on my applications at the end of every day, sending drafts to my advisor as I finished them. I mentioned vaguely in a subordinate clause of my SOP that I had researched and studied during the gap (I didn't give specifics). No-one asked me why I had taken the time off; no-one cared. I got the sense that as long as I acknowledged it like a banal fact and didn't make a big deal about it, that others would take my cue. I did exactly zero publishing and conferences during this time. I certainly didn't put non-academic work on my CV. I stuck to things I had done during undergrad, leaving all my gap year stuff off. So there was no opportunity for anyone to judge me for working in catering. It simply didn't come up. I think only Boston University asked specifically for a work resume, so that's the only exception. In grad school the gap has only been an advantage. As others have said, it gives me perspective; I've cultivated friendships and relationships outside of the academy and that helps tether me during times of stress or self-doubt. I have a better sense of how to prioritize my responsibilities and make time for my health and well-being. I also had a generally looser point of view on what I wanted to achieve in grad school rather than being tied to an undergraduate thesis project (which I saw sometimes happen with straight from undergrad people). That's only benefited me. This is just my own two-cents, but I think that sometimes because we know that the process is grueling and rigorous we want to impose rigor onto all aspects of it, even to aspects that the institution itself isn't rigorous about. There's no indication (in my experience) that anyone has to worry about the gap year.
  3. At Rutgers, the teaching and fellowship years are split. You're on fellowship for your first year. You teach comp as a solo instructor your second year (1/1 course load). In your third year, you do a mentored TA for an introductory lit class in the fall and either teach Comp again in the spring or hope that you get assigned to another lit class (I was the TA for my advisor's Shakespeare class that semester) - you're also reading for exams this semester. In your fourth year, you do a 2/0, usually a mix of stand-alone Comp and Lit classes (double Comp if you're unlucky or if you already got a stand-alone during the previous summer). So in the spring semester of that year you're not teaching. Fifth and sixth years you're on fellowship again (sixth year you can choose to take a fellowship or a TAship, but most people take fellowships). You teach another 2/0 in your seventh year. The administration encourages us to do 2/0s our two teaching years after orals exams, since it gives us more time to write in the second semester. You can request a 1/1 however if you really want it. I'm in the second semester of my fourth year, and I really like this system. If you can switch a 1/1 to a 2/0 and you're the kind of person who would benefit from that, it might be worth doing. I find that teaching is such a strain on my time and mental resources that I'd rather do it all in one semester and pick away at an article or a chapter I've already written, then do all my serious work in the spring with no other responsibilities. I wouldn't worry about teaching. I got tossed into a classroom first semester of my second year with maybe a weekend of Writing Program pedagogy training? It's fine. With most introductory classes, the syllabus is designed for you and you're given a selection of texts to teach. You develop pedagogy skills by being in a classroom and using them, so you'll become a much better teacher by the time that first year is over! It's also worth contacting Writing Program folks (who know so much more about this stuff than we do and are actually properly trained) and they can put together a list of pedagogical resources for you. I also get a lot of of reading Composition and Pedagogy journals (many of which are open source and available online).
  4. I think it would depend. In my case, I had a workshop with two other students from my undergrad. We all read each others' drafts and gave verbal feedback. We were also all getting feedback from the two professors who put the workshop together (generally written feedback). I would say that you should get as much conceptual and compositional feedback as you possibly can. But I think the important distinction to make here is that all the work has to be your own. Having professional researchers and editors look at it and give suggestions is valuable, as long as it's still all your work (I'm not quite sure what 'pimping' implies, but to me it evoked pay-for services where professionals rewrite your essay to improve it. I'm sure you didn't mean it this way, but I'm just distinguishing for others). TLDR: solicit any and all suggestions from people you respect who have done academic work at or near this level (taking the useful suggestions and discarding the ones that aren't useful). But the implementation should be all you.
  5. If only I could wave my magic wand and get all you great GCers acceptances!
  6. Also, just to reassure - almost every English PhD program has some representation in post-colonial, and Anglophone literature from South-East Asia is one of the most popular regional literatures represented in it (probably because the field as a whole was largely responding to British decolonization). I'd start by looking in English departments for sure, since you're more likely to poco scholars there who work on Indian anglophone (Comp Lit would probably combine Indian anglophone literature with readings in Hindi or Urdu). Also keep a look out for departments with strong representation in "World Literature," and "Global Anglophone" as those are the hot fields right now. Indian literature in English is represented strongly in both. Poco as a theoretical framework isn't as popular as it used to be, but the literature that Poco brought into the canon is still being studied from the perspective of world and global lit.
  7. Ack! So envious! A student this past semester took away my chili pepper from the semester before. I didn't know it was possible, but apparently the chili pepper is awarded as a ratio of total students or something, so if a reviewing student chooses not to assign it to their eval, it can be taken away.
  8. Metaellipses

    2017 Acceptances

    Just popping in my head to congratulate @Wyatt's Terps on his acceptance! This is so well deserved. You've been such a constant compassionate and intelligent presence on these forums.
  9. I think this probably depends greatly on the perceived size of your undergraduate / master's institution. For some people, there isn't really an option to choose professors who are of the opposite gender, because there's only an opportunity to work with a limited number of professors. I was a female applicant with all male professors as recommenders, but I came from a small liberal arts college (2k students). There were only two professors in my discipline and both of them were male. My third recommender was the only professor outside my discipline with whom I had taken more than one class. Come to think of it actually, I didn't take a single English class with a woman the entire time I was in undergrad... So just to those from SLACs who may be inclined to fret over this - I wouldn't worry about it. The admissions committee will know that you were working with a much smaller pool of faculty members. I think it's only an issue if it's perceived as intentional. But that only makes sense in larger programs (or those perceived as larger). If anything, I will say that it's sometimes good as a female applicant to have female recommenders. I've had issues with letters written by male faculty in the past (not necessarily by recommenders, but in other academic and professional environments). Not because they weren't positive and professional letters, but because they used gendered language. This immediately stands out as "icky" to me - and I'm assuming to other people on committees.
  10. Metaellipses

    Fit paragraphs

    By describing your project, you're already telling them what you'll be contributing to their program. You don't need to explicitly say "this is how I'll be contributing." Since most of your SOP is dedicated to outlining your future scholarship (and connecting it to what you've already done), they'll read that as your prospective sense of what you'd contribute. YMMV of course, but this is my sense of it.
  11. Metaellipses

    2016 Acceptance Thread

    Hey! I'm from Rutgers. Feel free to PM! I'll do my best to answer questions. Edit because you're in the Comp Lit. acceptance pool. I can answer questions about SAS in general, and about the English Dept. But for Comp. Lit questions, you're probably better off talking to someone from that dept. who will be better informed.
  12. Hey, another Rutgers student here (hi Kurayamino!). As far as I know, establishing residency is for those people who live in New Jersey already. A lot of people live in New Jersey and attend, but never get around to registering to vote or doing other things that establish state residency. As a result, the department actually ends up paying high tuition rates for people who have been living in-state for years. If you're not living in-state, that should be reason enough. I've never heard of someone being required (or even strongly encouraged) to declare residency when they're currently living out of state. It's more of a courtesy to the department so they can free up more money for fellowships. It's done on a completely voluntary basis. As for modernism and Latin@ literatures goes, there are two students in the department in that area of study, one that focuses mostly on Mexican and South American literatures and one interested more in Latin@ and Caribbean literatures. We also have a new faculty member who specializes in Latin-American modernism, specifically BolaƱo. His faculty page is here: http://english.rutgers.edu/department/faculty/3993-lawrence-jeffrey.html.
  13. I'd also have someone outside your field look at your writing sample. I honestly believe that I wouldn't have done well my application season if I hadn't had my writing sample looked at by someone out of field. My advisor was so familiar with my work (and with the area of criticism that I was writing in) that he didn't catch a lot of things that stood out as significant problems once I had someone out of field (a 19th century Americanist - so quite far out of field) look at it. Remember: the admissions committee isn't going to consist of specialists in your field. Your admission definitely depends on someone in your general field signing off on you. But often, the person you want to work with - someone closely aligned with your interests - won't be on the admissions committee. That's what happened in my year. Neither of my two main advisors were on the committee that year. In addition, no-one makes admissions decisions in a vacuum; they have to get the DGS to sign off on admissions and defer to other members of the committee. For these reasons, I think having someone out of field look at your Writing Sample and SOP is necessary to maximize your chances of success in what is becoming an increasingly opaque and arbitrary admissions process.
  14. If you're interested in phenomenology, it's important, in my opinion, to be aware of the philosophical tradition that literary work on phenomenology has been engaged with. I'd probably start with Husserl's Phenomenology and the Crisis of Philosophy, and then move on to Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception. Merleau-Ponty is responding to Husserl's transcendental phenomenology and adapting it in interesting ways, and his new model has been an important critical resource for work across the disciplines. Much contemporary work on phenomenology is implicitly or explicitly engaging with Merleau-Ponty's formulations. For contemporary work that is more literary, it really varies by period. Across periods, I'd recommend Sarah Ahmed's Queer Phenomenology. In the early modern period, Bruce Smith has done work on phenomenology and Shakespeare and Erika Lin's work is implicitly phenomenological. There's also been a critical turn in the new materialism away from anthropocentric phenomenologies which N. Katherine Hayles is sort of on the cusp of. The new materialism is, in many ways, a complete retooling of phenomenology and has also been opposed to traditional phenomenology (see Post-Phenomenology, Speculative Realism, and work done by Karen Barad and Bogost). There's also a whole lot of work on phenomenology and spatial practice (which is the focus of my work). Christopher Tilley, Henri Lefebvre, Edward Soja, Kevin Lynch, Yi-Fu Tuan, and Gaston Bachelard are in this vein. Hope this helps!
  15. To answer your initial post: there are a lot of theorists interested in legal studies. Peter Goodrich has published recently on Renaissance legal emblems. At Princeton, Bradin Cormack works with literature and the law in the 16th century. My advisor is working on early modern literature and the legal concept of the "corporation." There was a conference at Columbia a little over a year ago about mercantilism and law in pre-18th century Europe. There's also a lot of work being done right now on re-framing conversations about sovereignty and legal personhood to include non-human animals (Lorraine Daston and Lynn Festa are producing this kind of work). This is just what I know of within my own period (early modern/Renaissance studies), but I'm sure you could find plenty of examples in whatever historical period you choose to look at. And speaking of historical periods: if you're planning on applying to a standard English literature program, you'll need to place yourself in a historical framework of some kind. Most departments have period quotas, i.e. they admit a certain number of people from each historical period, from early medieval to contemporary. But to echo what other people have said: being an academic is hard work. You don't have control over where you work or when you work, as you are connected to an institutional apparatus. You are also working in a field with a depressed job market and poor professional prospects (yes, even if you're planning to apply for non-academic jobs). In addition, you are often asked to work for impossibly long hours. For example, this is the semester before my qualifying exams, and I'm currently teaching two sections of a poetry class, taking two classes, and reading 50-60 books on the side to prepare for the exams. This has added up to ~ 10-12 hour days...every single day of the week. Next semester will be significantly better, but you do have to learn to work through exhaustion for months on end. This is in a program with good support, placement, and seven years of funding, which is by no means typical - even among other top 20 programs. If you have adjusted well to the rigor of the legal profession, you might fit in just fine here and really enjoy working in an English department. I don't regret being in graduate school for an English PhD, not for a moment. I just think that you might need to do some research about program structure, expectations, and job market predictions before you commit to switching careers. There are a lot of resources on this site for that.
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