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Glasperlenspieler

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  1. Glasperlenspieler

    How 'fitted' does 'fit' have to be?

    There's been a lot of good points made in the thread, but I wanted to highlight this question because it seems to me that it hasn't gotten as much attention. While the others are certainly right to suggest applying to the best programs with people in your field, to point out that "fit" is often only clear in hindsight, and to highlight the importance of flexibility and willingness to engage with other topics and perspectives as a grad students, I don't think fit should be dismissed as a factor in narrowing down programs to apply to. The thing is, however, is that "fit" is hardly ever captured in terms like 'Victorianism', 'Romanticism', or 'Gender Studies'. All of those terms are broad umbrella terms that cover a wide range of research. If you start digging around in the secondary literature, you will probably quickly discover that a Victorianist is not a Victorianist is not a Victorianist. The upshot of this, is that making sure a program has a few people working in your field is an inadequate way of determining fit. At best, it's useful for a first pass of eliminating potential programs. The next step is to spend some serious times reading CVs, abstracts, and if something catches your attention reading the article or book chapter. In doing this, you will probably find that many people who are ostensibly in your field, approach their texts in ways that are irrelevant or at odds with what you want to do. Certainly, there's something to be said for being pushed in new directions be a professor, but I also think it's good to avoid situations where people are entirely unsympathetic to your approaches. Doing lots of reading, I think, is the only way to discover these nuances as an applicant. Even then, it's insufficient. In entering a program, you will almost certainly realize things about fit that you couldn't have known as an applicant. But I do think some research beyond labels of fields can help narrow down the programs that it makes sense to apply to. Fun exercise: take a look at the CVs of scholars who have broad ranging interests. In my experience, most of those professors started out working in a well defined area of study and branched out later in their careers (probably when they got tenure but maybe later too). For better or worse, literary studies is a field based discipline and scholars typically need to prove their chops in a well defined field before they have the liberty to expand to broadly beyond that. That doesn't mean you need to ignore your other interests though. I think looking at other fields is often a useful way to develop question to bring new light to your own field. Also, in terms of wide-ranging scholars, I bet that in many cases their research interests, while broad, are perhaps not as eclectic as they may seem at first. Often scholars who come a broad period of time or geographic region are nonetheless motivated by closely related questions even if they manifest themselves differently in different places. To use Isaiah Berlin's terminology, I think that successfully broad ranging scholars in the humanities today are far more likely to be hedgehogs than foxes.
  2. Glasperlenspieler

    Fall 2018 French

    @Yanaka, Book Depository offers free shipping and since it's UK based, it tends to have a larger selection of foreign language books than most US book retailers. It can be a little slow though, so order early.
  3. Glasperlenspieler

    Language Proficiency Required for Field Research

    To be honest, it's impossible to say with the information you've given. As you probably know, people pick up languages as different rates. The learning environment determines a lot as well. An intensive language training is worlds apart from a couple of hours a week and then your degree of engagement also determines whether those contact hours make a difference. Heck, I've known people how have lived abroad for multiple years without any significant improvement in their ability to speak the local language. Point being, the years of study doesn't really matter. What matters is your level of competency. Assuming field research involves interviews or something of that nature, I'd say a C1 on the CEFR scale is a good goal. You could maybe get by with a B2 but I'd shoot for a C1. Of course, as @MastersHoping points out, language leanring never ends. So a C1 certification isn't an end point, but rather a helpful checkpoint.
  4. Glasperlenspieler

    Applying without having majored in the language?

    In my (anecdotal) experience, it is not at all uncommon for someone to enter a PhD program in German/French/Spanish/etc. without having majored in it in undergraduate. A PhD program will want to ensure that you are proficient in the language (not a problem for you), that you have the analytic and academic skills necessary for success in the program, and that you have compelling and coherent research interests that fit within the discipline. Whether you obtain these skills by majoring in the subject or not is largely irrelevant (obviously this doesn't apply to every discipline, but I think it does in langauge/literature departments). From what you have posted here, I think you would probably be competitive for admission in a Spanish PhD program (which, of course, isn't a guarantee that you will be admitted). The question is whether your research interests are best served by a Spanish department or a Comp Lit or English department. Determining this will take some research on your part. Try to find professors whose research interests correspond to yours and see what department they're in. This will help give you a better idea of the contours of the disciplines. One other thing to note: Recognize that if you are lucky enough to be admitted to a strong Spanish PhD program and get a job afterwards you will most likely spend most of your time teaching Spanish language courses. Many people find this very rewarding, but others do not. So, if you realize that you would rather not teach language courses, you're probably better off pursuing an English or Comp Lit degree.
  5. Glasperlenspieler

    Fall 2018 German

    Honestly, I'd be very wary of accepting either of those offers and proceed with caution. I think it's unwise to go into debt for graduate school in the humanities. With the German job market being what it is, even if you get into a top PhD program after your masters, the odds of getting a tenure track position are slim at best. In regards to the 1-year masters, I think general procedure is to take a year off afterwards and apply then. I'm not sure applying during the masters would hurt your application, but it probably wouldn't help it much either. If I were you, I'd take a year off now and apply again next year to funded MAs and PhD programs next year. Or even better, find a way to get to Germany and spend some time there reading, honing your language skills, and improving your writing sample. It also might be worth looking at German MAs. Not sure the exact timing for application to those, but at least they'd be low/no tuition, so you'd just have to worry about living expenses.
  6. Glasperlenspieler

    Masters in French Studies or Comp Lit?

    From an American perspective, I don't think it really matters. If you're applying to a PhD in French, they'll care that you have the requisite language abilities and research interests/capabilities to do well in such a program. Whether you develop those in a French MA or a Comp Lit MA shouldn't really make a difference (that is, the comp lit won't count in you favor, but wouldn't count against you either). That being said, I'm a little confused why you're looking at Comp Lit programs. Your proposed research project sound like it fits squarely in Francophone studies and doesn't seem to be comparative (i.e. utilizing texts from multiple national literatures). Also, national literature departments are increasingly interdisciplinary these days, so just because you attend a French program, doesn't mean that you won't be able to pursue interdisciplinary research.
  7. Yeah, I'd second the latter half of this. If for one reason or another you don't like CSDS, then I think you're better off taking a year off than doing the MAPH. (I have no knowledge of CSDS, so I can't speak to that. But from what Crow T. Robot has to say, it sounds like a solid program.)
  8. Glasperlenspieler

    Comp Lit or Traditional English PhD

    I'm not sure a comparative literature departments would make a lot of sense for you interests. Traditionally minded comp lit departments are going to expect that your research spans across linguistic boundaries, whereas your interests appear to by exclusively anglophone. Likewise, to be admitted to strong comparative literature departments, you will probably need to demonstrate fluency in at least one language other than English and at least a basic reading knowledge (to be expanded in the program) of one or (more likely) two more. There are some programs, of course, that are less rooted in (traditional) comparative literature and are instead more oriented toward theory, continental philosophy, and interdisciplinary approaches (Duke Literature or Stanford MTL come to mind). It's possible that the latter sort of program might be a good fit for you. However, I don't think one necessarily has to attend that sort of interdisciplinary program to pursue interests like yours. There are plenty of English departments that are theory-oriented and allow for wide-ranging interests. You'll just need to do your research to figure out which ones those are, and which ones have people working on Romanticism and Southern Lit.
  9. Glasperlenspieler

    Advice on School vs. Location

    It's perhaps worth mentioning that having lots control over where one lives is not exactly a typical feature of academic life. Chances are that when applying for jobs, you'll have even less control over where you end up than when applying for graduate school. So, if you're serious about pursuing a life in the academia, don't do so on the assumption that you'll end up in a major metropolitan area.
  10. Glasperlenspieler

    PGR top programs hostile to MA's?

    I'm a little confused by the question. Would you decide not to apply to places that have a record of not admitting students entering with an MA? I tend to think that people should apply to the programs that are the strongest in their areas of interest regardless of how likely it is that they'll admit you (pretty much everyone's chances of admission to any given program is low anyways). Besides, graduate admissions in philosophy is sufficiently unpredictable that trying to evaluate your odds of admission seems like an unfruitful enterprise (not to mention that any predictions are probably being made based on relatively small sample sizes). So, apply to the programs that you would want to attend were you admitted and let the admissions committee decide whether they want to admit you or not. To end with what is probably an overly trite cliche: the only way to ensure that you won't get admitted somewhere is to not apply.
  11. Glasperlenspieler

    Leiter's ad hominem against critics

    I'm sorry, but this is ridiculous. There are lots of criticisms that one can make of Leiter and many of them are apt but saying that someone whose work centers on Marx and Nietzsche hates continental philosophy is just silly. (For the record, I strongly disagree with Leiter's reading of Nietzsche, but I also think it's a formidable reading that anyone working on Nietzsche needs to take into account). By my count, 4 of the evaluators for 20th Continental philosophy are really Kant/19th Century scholars (Clark, Guyer, Novakovic, and Leiter) although most of them have a legitimate claim to some degree of engagement with later continental traditions. As far as I'm aware, however, the rest have some serious research interest in the period with interests ranging from phenomenology to existentialism to the Frankfurt school. A fair criticism might be to say that phenomenology, and a specific reading Husserl/Heidegger/Merleau-Ponty at that, dominate the rankings. One might also note the nearly complete absence of post-structuralist thought. But claiming that many or most evaluators aren't working the area doesn't seem to hold up. For a variety of reasons, 20th Century continental philosophy seems to produce a greater variety of opinions as to what counts as "good" scholarship that other subfields, which makes rankings here tricky. The other issue is that many of the programs strong in this area are unranked (some by choice) and are thus listed at the bottom. From how I understand the sub-rankings, this doesn't mean they are to be understood as any weaker than the ranked programs in this area, just that evaluators weren't given a chance to evaluate them but thought that they would do as well as other ranked programs in this area had they been evaluated. I agree that Blattner's account of a sociological distinction is much more convincing than Leiter's stylistic distinction. However, it's interesting that both accounts point towards the uselessness of this distinction, whereas many posts on these boards recently seems to be reifying it in one way or another. You're certainly right though that Leiter can't seem to stop himself from making unnecessary parenthetical remarks.
  12. Glasperlenspieler

    Overall Vs. Speciality?

    Questions to ask yourself: 1. What is the likelihood that your research interests will change over the course of your graduate career? (This is obviously highly variable depending on the person, but generally speaking someone entering with an MA is less likely to change focus than someone coming in with only a BA.) 2. Insofar as you want an academic job, where are the former advisees of the professor at University Y? Have they gotten tenure track positions at the sorts of universities you would like to work at? 3. How confident are you that you and the professor at University Y would have a good working relationship? I've heard more than a few stories of students (and current professors) who entered a program intending to work with a particular professor, but realized that for one reason or another that wasn't going to work. 4. How important is it that your advisor has exactly the same are of research as you do? I'd say the right choice depends a lot and your answers to these questions. University Y seems like the riskier choice, because if your interests change or you decide you don't work well with this professor, you're sort of up a creek without a paddle. But, those concerns could be mitigated if you have a good reason to think that won't be the case. I'm also skeptical about the idea that one's advisor needs to have exactly the same interests as you. Obviously, they need to know your subfield, but I think that having someone who approaches things from a slightly different perspective can be helpful as can have a committee whose overlapping expertise provides you the support you need, even if no single individual on the committee does exactly what you do. But that's just my 2 cents. YMMV
  13. Glasperlenspieler

    2018 Acceptance/Rejection Thread

    I think @ThePeon and @machineghost have pretty well covered the practical aspects of this decision. I will, however, add one comment about the psychological aspects. If you take Memphis's offer, to what degree will you be plagued by "what if" questions? This is, I think, no easy question to answer. I'm enough of a Nietzschean to think that most people (myself most definitely included) are masters of self deception. So, saying this will not be a problem now, doesn't guarantee you won't feel otherwise in a couple of years. I'm not sure this is a good enough reason to go with GSU, but it's something to keep in mind. Part of this depends on whether there are other "dream programs" that a terminal MA might open up for you. Of course, PhD admissions being as unpredictable as they are, there's no guarantee of anything.
  14. Glasperlenspieler

    Warning about offers

    Yikes! This sounds like it at least goes against the spirit of the April 15th agreement if not the letter. If you or others have hard evidence, it might be something worth contacting Leiter and/or the Daily Nous about. I have mixed feelings about public shaming, but this seems like a situation where it could be helpful, if only to alert potential graduate students.
  15. Glasperlenspieler

    Campus Visits

    This is certainly something to take into consideration when deciding where to attend. A program that can't afford to cover the expenses for prospective student visits probably also doesn't have much in the way of extra money for attending conferences, doing research, etc. That's not to say that it might not be a great department otherwise, but the overall financial state of the program and the university as a whole will have an impact on your graduate education as a whole (this is especially true for PhD, although perhaps not as important for MA).
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