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About Glasperlenspieler

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  1. Glasperlenspieler

    Sop Draft 3 - This Time Its Personal

    How exactly does this connect to your proposed research interests? Are you just drawing a parallel between communications issues today and the problems of communication in modernist literature? If so, I think the connection is too strained to bother with. Spend your time on more clearly articulating your project instead. If there's more to the connection, you need to make that clear, because right now it isn't. This needs to be a lot more specific. I'm not really sure what you mean by "connecting" or "understanding." If these terms are central to your project, you need to be clear about what you mean by them. Which decontructionist ideas? Derrida had many. His ideas were also often abstract and not directly pertinent to literature, so how do you intend to use/apply them? Also, Derrida and Deconstruction aren't in vogue today like they once were. So, if this is your approach, it may make sense to justify this theoretical framework. Has deconstruction never been applied to American modernism? That would surprise. If it has, how did you situate your work in relation to what others have done and how do you plan to build on/go beyond what is already out there? What do you mean by diversity? Racial? Ethnic? Religious? Linguistic? Intellectual? Gender? Sexual? And how does diversity play into the expansive scholarship regarding modernism and the atomization of the individual in modern society (which seems to be what you're getting at)? Also, whose voices need to be heard? The authors you mention? Their characters? The readers? The contemporary world? And if it's the latter, you need to make clear why literature from 100 years ago is ripe to make contributions to understanding today's world. For better or worse, most PhD programs aren't admitting people based on their experience or enjoyment teaching. Save that for your CV. Is the university your applying to in SoCal? If not, why are you discussing California? Don't talk about why you're prepared to succeed at any school, talk about why you're prepared to succeed at this school. Also, success doesn't work the same way in grad school. It's less about doing well in classes and more about becoming a scholar who can meaningfully contribute to one's field. Show why that's you.
  2. Glasperlenspieler

    Thoughts on Chances (Futile Anxiety)

    Your stats are such that they won't keep you out of anywhere. That, of course, is not a guarantee of anything. It'll come down to writing sample, SOP, fit, and what the admissions committee had for breakfast on the day they review your file. Polish as much as you can but don't lose too much sleep over it. It will be out of your hands very soon.
  3. Glasperlenspieler

    Religion and... Programs

    What are your goals in getting a PhD? My sense is that it would be difficult to get a job in an English department with a degree from a religious studies program. Whereas if you were clearly focusing on religion and literature, then it would be more plausible that you'd be competitive for a religion and literature position in a religious studies departments. Of course, there aren't all that many of the latter sorts of jobs to begin with. That being said, you probably shouldn't make your decision purely based on job prospects (they're not great in either field). The question then would be in which department does the sort of research you wish to pursue make more sense? From the description you give, it sounds like you're more of a literary scholar who is interested in religious and theological issues as they appear in literature. If that's the case, I think it's certainly plausible to pursue that sort of research agenda in an English department. One thing I would suggest doing is finding scholars whose work is similar to the sort of thing you would like to do and see what sorts of departments they're in and what sorts of departments they got their PhDs from. One final note: my sense is that most people entering a religious studies PhD program already have a masters. In an English department, on the other hand, it's not uncommon for people to enter with just a BA.
  4. There's a French for reading book that's been recommended on these boards (maybe in the languages section?). If you search around, you can probably find it.
  5. Glasperlenspieler

    Advice on choosing my third recommender?

    Honestly, given that the programs you list aren't really literature programs in a traditional sense, having someone from outside of English could likely work to your advantage. So, if that's going to be the stronger letter to boot, I'd say go for it.
  6. However, if one's career goals are to pursue a PhD (in the humanities) with the hope of a career in academia, then there's a strong argument to be made for not acquiring debt in the process given the low likelihood of success and the relatively low future remuneration in the case that one does succeed.
  7. Glasperlenspieler

    Emailing Graduate Students

    I'm in a different humanities field but I did cold e-mail a number of students and got several helpful responses in return. However, I only did so after I was accepted. Grad students are generally willing to provide advice to applicants, but we are very busy, so that could diminish the likelihood or thoroughness of responses. I agree with @AfricanusCrowther that any more delicate topics should wait until an a campus visits. At the application stage, I would say that your questions should probably be focused on two points: Is it worth spending the time and money to apply to this program? And, what can I do to maximize my chances of acceptance? I'm not sure graduate students will be too helpful on the latter point, although it's possible they could have some insight to the process at their program. They could however be useful on the first question is you have some make or break qualifications for programs (such as, is it possible to live reasonable comfortably on the stipend without taking out loans? Or, it seems like you're only person working on X, does the department provide adequate resources for doing that sort of research?). If you've already determined you'll apply to the program though, I'd probably wait until you're accepted to contact grad students.
  8. Glasperlenspieler

    Need advice in Applied Ling programs

    You might havs better luck in the linguistics section of the forum. This part of the forum tends to be pretty quiet and is mainly occupied by people working in non-English languages and literature. Good luck!
  9. Glasperlenspieler

    LOR - How close to be with a professor?

    This might be a little overly blunt, but I think that if building relationships with professors feels cringey, then you've got your priorities turned around. If philosophy is something you really want to spend the rest of your life doing (and applying for graduate school suggests that it is), then it would be strange if your engagement with philosophical questions and issues ends when you walk out of the classroom. Talking to professors after class and during office hours is a chance to think more deeply about the questions that interest you and get another perspective on these issues from people who have spent more time thinking about them then you have. So, yes, if you are going to office hours merely with the intention of securing a good letter of recommendation, then I think that is a little fake. But if that's the only reason you're speaking to professors, I think that suggests a greater occupation with the idea of graduate school than the actual study of philosophy. The big question here is what does "OK" mean. You probably don't want someone who has doubts about your philosophical capabilities writing you a letter of recommendation. I'd be curious to hear others thoughts on this, but I tend to disagree. I suspect that a bad or lukewarm letter is very bad for your application but that three strong letters is more or less neutral. I think the one time a letter of recommendation can provide a real boost is if it's a strong letter by a big name or by someone whom the admissions committee knows personally. Don't underestimate the latter point though. My anecdotal evidence suggests it can play a big role.
  10. Glasperlenspieler

    LOR - How close to be with a professor?

    The downfall of an MA is that two years (or really 1.5 years) is not typically a long enough period of time to build up strong relationships with multiple professors. However, admissions committees are certainly aware of this fact and are unlikely to hold it against you. What you need is philosophers who can speak to your abilities and potential to produce high quality scholarly work. The fact that you're close to one professor is great and that will be a particularly valuable letter. The second professor you mention also seems like a strong candidate for being a good letter writer. Just make sure he knows who you are at the beginning of the semester and try to be an active participant in the class. I would be a little more wary of asking the third professor, as you've never had a class with him. I don't think a few meetings would allow him to evaluate your work and potential as a philosopher to the same degree as someone with whom you've had a seminar. That being said, if he's impressed with your work and you don't have other viable options, it may be worth asking if he'd be willing to write a letter for you.
  11. Glasperlenspieler

    Letter writers and choosing seminars

    @indecisivepoet, your dilemma makes much more sense to me now. Thanks for the clarification. I'm not convinced you *need* to take the theory class, although I certainly understand the motivation to do so. I seriously doubt the lack of a theory class would sink an otherwise strong application. The caveat here being that if you feel unprepared to discuss the relevant theoretical matters in your SOP and writing sample, that may be a problem. On the flip-side, neither do I think the absence of this professor's letter of recommendation will sink your application. If you have three strong recommendations from other professors, nobody is going to ask why you don't have one from X. If this professor is a very big name in the field, then it's possible that such a letter would give your application an added boost, but then only if it's a strong one. In short, I wouldn't stress too much about having the perfect transcripts or the ideal letters of recommendation. Do what's best for your own intellectual development. In the end, you'll get admitted to a PhD program because they think you have the potential to produce a high quality scholarly work, not because you have the perfectly tailored CV.
  12. Glasperlenspieler

    Letter writers and choosing seminars

    I am completely in agreement with @Warelin's comments. However, I am also a little confused as to why you're so convinced that the professors whose work interests you are teaching less interesting classes and the professors who are teaching the more interesting courses have research that is less interesting to you. If these professors really are producing research that is interesting to you, chances are that they will approach the texts in a given course with similar approaches. Thus, even if the texts themselves are not your top choices, there may still be a lot gained from taking that course and experiencing how the professor engages with the works at hand. After all, presumably you are interested in these professors because of the sorts of questions they are asking and the sorts of methods they use rather than simply because they are interested in the same authors/period as you are. Conversely, if a professor is offering a seminar that is so exciting to you that you are contemplating skipping out on a seminar with a professors whose work you find more interesting, why are you so sure that they wouldn't be a good match for your research interests? And why are you so eager to take a class from someone, whose research interests don't match your own? It is important to remember here that the professors' publications lists or research blurbs may only given a partial view on a professors interests or areas of expertise. Just because they haven't published on X yet, doesn't mean they're not intellectually engaged in the topic. Furthermore, if they're offering a seminar on the topic, it's not unlikely that this field could represent a future research area for them. In short, given the situation you describe, I think it's worth interrogating your preconceptions about your relative interest in the research of these professors and the seminars they are offering. That's not to say that professor who would make a good advisor for you could never teach a boring class, but I tend to think there is at least some correlation between research and the graduate seminars one offers.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.

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