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Everything posted by Glasperlenspieler

  1. I don't know if it matters that much, but I would agree with this, especially since endnotes are evil and should be avoided, so footnotes would naturally contribute to the length of the paper.
  2. The writing sample is by far the single most important part of your application. Everything else is secondary. Whether the CV, or the personal statement, or your transcript, or your letters of rec are going to matter more is going to vary widely depending on who's reading your application. That being said, admissions committees will often decide how closely they're going to read your writing sample based on the quality of your other materials.....
  3. How's your German? You might find more Germanists interested in this sort of a project than people in English departments. Alternatively, you might look at grad programs in English departments in Germany (typically taught in English) where the profs are more likely to have a solid background in German philosophy/literary history.
  4. I'm not in a comparative literature department, and I didn't get into any when I applied, so I'm probably not the best person to answer this question. Furthermore I think the culture between comparative literature departments differs dramatically from institution to institution. This is true of all disciplines, but is perhaps particularly pertinent in this case. With those caveats, my perception is that comparative literature departments have become the home for scholars working primarily in national/linguistic traditions that don't otherwise have their own department on campus or whose work or for scholars working on projects that would not be possible within the confines of a national/linguistic tradition. So, to take an example that's been done many times already, if you want to write about modernist conceptions of time in Proust, Joyce, and Mann, you've got to articulate a research question that necessitates working with authors in different national traditions. It's not enough to say that you are interested in both Flaubert and Dickens, you have to provide a research agenda that justifies working across national boundaries in this way. Part of the reason I think this, is that there is a lot of comparative work that gets done within national literature departments. In my department, for instance, there is sizeable contingent of students who include comparative engagements with works/authors from other linguistic traditions, even if their project as a whole can be identified as belonging to the discourse surrounding their primary tradition. But then again, out of curiosity, I took a look at recent comparative literature dissertations from Princeton (which seems to do a better than average job of placing their grads), and I have to say that more than a few of them struck me as the sorts of projects that could have easily been done in national language/literature departments. So ymmv. The best thing you can probably do is look at recent dissertations from the programs you're interested in and see what sorts of projects get done in that department.
  5. If you have access to the MLA bibliography, I'd recommend doing a search for publications in your area. Follow the bibliographies to expand your purview. Note the authors and figure out if any of them are teaching at Ph.D. programs or, if they got their Ph.D. relatively recently, where they studied and who their advisor was. This can be somewhat tedious but is a good way to get a sense of who's who in your field and, by extension, where you would want to study to pursue that topic. @xypathos is perhaps right that you won't find too many hits, but that doesn't mean there isn't someone who wouldn't be interested in advising a dissertation on the subject (especially if you don't present your interests too narrowly). I'd also check for scholars interested in Benjamin, whether in the French department or in the neighboring German, Comp Lit, Art history, etc. departments. If they're not in the French department, they may not be able to be your advisor, but I bet depending on your/their theoretical/methodological orientation, I bet you could get a Benjamin scholar interested in serving on a committee for a dissertation on 19th Century French children's lit. Edit: If you have access to the ProQuest dissertation database, you could also do a search for recent dissertations on related topics.
  6. @WildeThing knows more about this field than I do, so they can correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd also encourage you to take a close look at job placements. I can't speak for African-American Studies departments, but I do know that if, for example, you work in American Studies, there are far fewer jobs in American Studies departments than in English departments, and people with Ph.D.s from English departments will often out-compete people with Ph.D.s from American Studies departments for jobs in English Departments. It's worth checking to see if there's a similar phenomenon in your field.
  7. You're better off with one 15-25 page writing sample. Programs want to see that you can produce a strong, extended argument, and they want to know that you can enter the program and hit the ground running, which means writing several 15-25 pages seminar papers at the end of your first semester while managing other responsibilities.
  8. But if they defended this summer, that would mean they probably got hired during last years job market (or left academia). There was actually a job market this past year, but I'm not sure there will be one to speak of this year.
  9. I'd be surprised if any UChicago humanities program take students. I think the change to their funding structure worked on the assumption that some students would actually be graduating this year, but given the fact that nobody is hiring, it's likely most students will stay on for another year of funding. Hard to pay for that and let in a new crop of students.
  10. I think it's totally fine to have your argument be for a conditional claim (i.e. I will argue that, given Y, X). No one expects you to be able to give a defense of hedonistic utilitarianism in order to say anything about applied ethics. But I do think it's worth motivating why that conjunction of positions is at all compelling. Why is this ethical question pressing, important, relevant for someone who holds those positions? You don't want to make it seem like you're just randomly choosing these positions. I think it's also worth asking yourself how necessary those background claims really are to your argument. I can see why the normative framework would, but does it really matter whether moral realism is true for your argument? I mean maybe it does, but I think a lot of the literature on topics in applied ethics can work fairly independently from meta-ethical claims.
  11. For better or worse, the slack seems to be the go to place for Fulbright applicants to connect: https://join.slack.com/t/fulbright2021-2022/shared_invite/zt-ge8cflj7-ENsqJgooono056SoHG57Cg
  12. Depends on what you mean. Certainly you can deeply engage with philosophy in a literature PhD program, take courses focusing on philosophy, discuss philosophers in your dissertation, etc. However, I expect most English and Comparative Literature programs are going to expect you to take significant coursework in literary studies and produce a dissertation that deals significantly with literature or another form of cultural/aesthetic production. You can look at the titles of recent dissertations on many departmental websites, and I think it's pretty rare for most programs to find a dissertation that is "primarily" dealing with philosophical texts. It's pretty unlikely you'll find much support for pursuing analytic philosophy in a literature department. You will certainly find support in many departments to pursue studies in continental philosophy (I hate that distinction, but that's a different can of worms). But if you want to "primarily" focus on philosophy, why would you want to be in a literature department?
  13. Aesthetics is (unfortunately) one of the least desirable subfields for hiring. There aren't any jobs in philosophy but there really aren't any jobs in aesthetics. You're best bet is typically to "specialize" in a related field which allows you to market yourself as someone how does value theory/history of philosophy, who also has an interest in aesthetics. Even then the odds are slim. (I'm speaking more about the job market. The application process for PhD programs is slightly less competitive and probably slightly less of a big deal that you're interested in aesthetics, but it's still ridiculously hard to get into a good, funded PhD program.) You may have to further delineate this. As I'm sure you know, that's a big field. Do you mean in a philosophy department or actually doing cognitive science? How's your French/German? You could think about a French or German department depending on your interests, though those aren't exactly fields with active hiring either....
  14. 1. I'd say it's generally a bad idea to publish a book before you have your Ph.D. 2. Getting a good grade on something doesn't necessarily mean the professor thinks it should be published. 3. For many (most?) fields it's not necessary to have any publications to get admitted to a good Ph.D. program. 4. At this stage of your career, all publication decisions should be made in close coordination with a knowledgeable and sympathetic advisor (random people on internet message boards don't count).
  15. Even schools with rolling admissions have a priority or initial deadline, and as long as you have your application in by then, it shouldn't make a difference. I think it's usually good to submit a couple days before the deadline in case unexpected problems arise, but nobody will be looking at your application until after the deadline.
  16. These are good questions for your advisor/a professor in your field whom you trust.
  17. Originality is probably going to be less important for MA applications than PhD applications, but it's not going to be irrelevant. Try to say something "new" in your paper. But that doesn't mean you need to come up with an entirely new position. Presenting and working through an original objection to a popular argument in the literature, for instance, would be a significant and original contribution. But you paper should be more than just a literature review explaining and working through arguments that have already been made by others without providing any new insight about those arguments. All else being equal, a letter of rec from someone with an international reputation is better than one from someone who doesn't have an international reputation. All else being equal a letter from someone who knows you well and can speak concretely and in detail about you and your work is better than someone who can't. The latter is more important than the former. All else is never equal. I don't know if GRE and TOEFL are actually weighted more for international applicants (I've never been on an admissions committee and neither have most people on these boards). But the explanation for why they would be more weighted is that American professors often can't make heads or tails about the grading systems from foreign universities and thus use standardized tests as a standard unit of measurement/comparison. But your writing sample, letters of rec, and SOP are still going to be more important.
  18. Yeah, I think that's a start. It's also probably ok to mention some of the scholars whose work informs your own and talk about how you situate yourself vis a vis them but also what you hope to add to the discussion. One has to be careful with that approach though. In showing what you add to the story, you don't want to inadvertently annoy the person reading it by suggesting that they're "missing" something (some people are going to be more sensitive to this than others), and you also don't want to misrepresent their views. Mentioning scholars also makes the most sense when applying to the schools where they're at. E.g., it might come off as strange if you spend a lot of time talking about how Guyer's work informs your own in your Pitt application, etc. Also, while I generally don't think that a statement of purpose should dwell too much on personal narratives, it might make sense to explain your trajectory, both articulating what brought you to your current MA program and why you think doctoral studies in a program with a different orientation is the right next step. I think your writing sample is going to be a lot more important that your SOP. You want it to look and read like a paper written by the scholars in your field. I'd suggest reading papers by the former students of the scholars you want to work with and emulate them in terms of form, structure etc, while also making the argument as tight and clear as you can, referencing the relevant scholarship, and hopefully contributing something novel (even if small). Your ability to do that, more than your SOP, will help you get noticed by admissions committees.
  19. Who is giving you this feedback? Is it professors or fellow students? And if it's the latter, do they have a good grounding in contemporary discourses in cultural studies and feminist thought? For what it's worth your research sounds intriguing and potentially an interesting contribution to a variety of contemporary discussions. But I do think that with a topic like this it's probably very important to frame it very carefully and in a way that clearly outlines its relationship to other scholarship.
  20. I think a lot here depends on one's orientation towards those topics as well as what you mean by continental vs. analytically oriented departments. When I first heard that constellation of interests, I immediately thought of Chicago and Pitt (though I can't imagine McDowell and Brandom will be around for all that much longer). I would also think about Berkeley, Brown, JHU, Riverside, and maybe Stanford. Or at the very least those are the schools I would be thinking of given the way I tend to approach those fields. Now maybe you were thinking of a place like Chicago as a continental school. Maybe, but I tend to think there's a pretty big divide in approach between these sorts of schools and the SPEP crowd.
  21. You should make sure that a) your writing sample engages with the secondary literature written by people at the program's you're applying to and their interlocutors and that you situate what you're doing in relationship to that scholarship, and b) you should make sure that your paper emulates that scholarship in terms of style, format, approach, etc.
  22. It's probably good to check with the editorial guidelines, but as far as I'm concerned for most conference proceedings it's normal and perhaps expected to take into account the discussion during the Q&A which may very well mean reworking the argument. I would say as long it's recognizably the same idea/argument, then you should make it as good as possible before it goes into print with your name on it. I've dealt with three such volumes either directly or indirectly and while all of them were very different sorts of publications, they all produced papers that were markedly different than the ones presented at the conference (though clearly genealogically related).
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