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  1. You are essentially a comparativist that will do some work close to the comparative/IR line. Even if want to do a lot of quantitative cross-national work, you should signal a region of interest for your qualitative work and try to show that you know something about that region or can pose your interests in terms of some countries in that region. To win admission, you need somebody on the faculty to fight for you and generally what happens is that the Africa CP faculty will look at the Africanist candidates and make a priority list, the East Asia CP faculty will do the same, etc. So if you don't fall naturally into one of these groups and you don't stand out so much in some other way that the general admissions committee decides you are a must-admit, then you may end up being shit out of luck.
  2. Lots of people recently have gotten good comparative jobs working on only one country. And just because you are looking at just one country, this does not mean that you can't have a large-n research design. There is a trend in the field toward more focus on statistical methods, but one should not assume that this means a trend of increasing rewards to big cross-national studies. That seemed to happen for a while. But as more emphasis has been put on doing statistics well (not just doing statistics at all) - using more cutting edge techniques with better data sources - a bit of a backlash has begun against those big cross-national research designs. The hottest people on the comparative job market tend to be those who combine case knowledge with sophisticated quantitative methods and good data, and a lot of times they are only working on one country.
  3. Not true at all what the previous poster said about China. Lots of people do research primarily on one country - scholars who have had great success really only studying Brazil, India, Russia, Japan, or China are all pretty common in comparative. The area studies versus generalist distinction is a false one. What is area studies? Is the study of American politics nothing more than area studies? What does generalism entail? Does it mean that you have to compare across world regions, even if the comparison is stupid or entails using really weak statistical techniques? Why can't you develop theories primarily out of one context and still be a "generalist?"
  4. Not that I know of, but this is not my subfield so I am not necessarily that plugged in.
  5. Berkeley is a great place to do this specific topic - Jacob Hacker, Paul Pierson, Jonah Levy if you want a European perspective. Hard to think of a better group specifically for APD-like approaches to social policy and welfare state issues, especially if one of your cases will be the United States.
  6. ep, all else equal, i would pick yale or stanford. in recent years, no department has done better placing its candidates than stanford, and they have very good people in the ethnic conflict/violence nexus. i wouldn't go in expecting to work that closely with blaydes, just bc she is very junior and for people at that level at that kind of institution priorities 1, 2, 3, and 4 are getting tenure, not working with grad students. yale also has a great team in terms of ethnic conflict and violence, and also has lust-okar in middle east, who would probably be in a better position to help you (make sure she is staying though). it is also significantly more diverse methodologically. you can definitely do some qualitative work at stanford as part of your dissertation, but if you go there and want to work with fearon/laitin you will also be expected to do some formal modeling and/or stats. nothing wrong with that, just not everybody's cup of tea. in the end, both would be excellent choices, stanford probably has a better placement record but yale may be a better fit methodologically for you.
  7. Not my field, but Rutgers does seem to have strength in gender politics, with quite a few people there studying that subject from various angles. That could make it a good fit. However, be forewarned (somewhat ironic given this strength)... http://chronicle.com/jobs/blogs/onhirin ... al-science
  8. ***Disclaimer*** I am a Berkeley student, so take the rest of this for what its worth. Berkeley - Pradeep Chhibber is a really good scholar and a very attentive adviser. He has organized a regular working group for South Asianists to present work and give each other feedback, which sounds very useful. I think from a principle adviser standpoint in this field and with this particular interest, there is really nobody better. Comparative is one of Berkeley's strengths in general. Yale - Obviously a great school, although comparative has not been one of their strongest subfields historically. Steve Wilkinson may move there, which for your needs would make this a great choice as well. Columbia - I'm not sure they have somebody who studies South Asia, which while not an absolute prerequisite will make your life a lot harder as a South Asianist. The comparative group seems mostly oriented toward political economy, which could be good for you given your interest in that. NYU - Kanchan Chandra is there. From what I have heard from a couple people, and this is purely hearsay so take it with a grain of salt, she is a very difficult person to work with. As a whole the program is very much oriented toward formal theory and statistical analysis, which may or may not be your cup of tea. But take that into account when thinking about things. Overall, this is pretty clearly the weakest school of the four. All else equal, Berkeley does seem like the best fit for your research interests (note my conflict of interest though), but I think Yale would also be an excellent option if Wilkinson ends up there. If strong personal incentives are pulling you toward the New York schools, try to really dig a bit deeper in your research about the two departments.
  9. At my school, its basically the following. A couple arranged meetings with professors in your subfield, at which they will answer your questions and try to sell you on the school; a few optional group activities in the area for all the prospectives plus some profs, which are supposed to showcase the area and give you some time to bond and whatever; at night, individual parties organized by sufields, usually at a grad student house, that are pretty low key and mostly consist of grad students hanging out, drinking a little, and answering your questions. There is somewhat of a selection effect in terms of which grad students actually go to these parties or show up at other events, so be wary about how you draw judgments about grad student life. You're more likely to meet people who are largely content and engaged with the department than people who are somewhat dissatisfied and distanced. And you're also perhaps a bit more likely to meet people with nothing better to do.
  10. I agree with Penelope. I don't think NYU's placement record in comparative is particularly strong (certainly not "one of the best"), and they have a very pronounced methodological orientation. If you definitely want to do formal modeling and/or a lot of statistics, it could be a good choice but its not a great fit for everyone and don't kid yourself about it being competitive with the very top schools overall in terms of placement. Yale's comparative program has traditionally been seen as lagging somewhat behind other subfields there, but they have hired some very good people recently. Its an especially good place if you want to study violence/civil war.
  11. It really depends on your department and how this process works. Do they give you a list? Do you make your own list? Is it oral or written? What kinds of topics does your department specialize in? The list you gave seems very oriented toward the classics of comparative historical analysis, which is fine as long as that is what is expected of you. Broadly speaking, there are also very few recent books on here. I would just make sure that you are not so classics focused that you will wind up taking the exam and looking like you are not in touch with trends and developments in recent scholarship. There are a lot of topics, some hot, that really aren't represented in your list. Assuming that the kind of stuff you are listing is properly the focus of what you should be preparing for, I would also recommend for edited volumes: Thelen and Steinmo - Structuring Politics Thelen and Streek - Beyond Continuity (at least intro) Hall and Soskice - Varieties of Capitalism (at least intro) Bates and Grief - Analytic Narratives
  12. Outside the top 6-8 schools, rankings get arbitrary and "global rankings" of comparative politics are not very useful. You should judge the programs based upon the quality of the faculty in your regional subfield of interest and in terms of whether the program as a whole can give you good training and support in the methodology toward which you are inclined.
  13. Listen to flatcoat. Just by committing to a PhD program in political theory or critical theory, you are walking down a perilous road in terms of future employment and earnings. Interdisciplinary departments, especially ones that are not widely known, are notoriously bad at placement. Only go to Minnesota if you can look yourself in the mirror and honestly say that afterward you really wouldn't mind either being a long-term adjunct/VAP, a TT with a 4/4 load in bumfuck nowhere, or leaving academia and doing something else. Because those scenarios are very likely. Seriously, don't just put your head in the sand and tell yourself that things will work out in some other way, because they probably won't. If you wouldn't be happy in those situations, go to Northwestern (or law school!).
  14. It depends what your criteria for "Top Ten" is I suppose. These places (GSB too) do well in placement because they are highly specialized and do a good job training a small number of students to attack one specific corner of the discipline. CalTech is not even a political science department. If your criteria is a bit broader, focusing not just on placement but the impact of research done at the department on political science as a whole, then I have a hard time seeing how these places would crowd out other departments like UCLA, UCSD, or Duke that are frequently mentioned as making up the rest of the Top Ten.
  15. Well, if you are geographically limited and in theory, the probability of you getting a TT job in a university or college in that area really does approach 0. I know you say that this kind of TT job is not important to you, which is fine, just make sure that is really true. Don't make part of your decision "And maybe it will work out, which would be really sweet!" under these circumstances, because it is a pipe dream. However, getting a TT job (yes, they do have TT) in a community college in your area is considerably more likely, although not guaranteed by any means. Have you spent time in a community college before? Those jobs are great for some people, not so much for others. If that's what you are thinking of doing, just make sure that you really know exactly what you are getting into - that you want to teach a lot, and teach that particular student population. Ultimately, I wouldn't do it unless you are hoping to go into academia, whether the standard university/college route or the community college route. Your ability to jump back into the legal field or some other job will be greatly hampered by being effectively out of the real workforce for 6-7 years. The opportunity costs to take 6-7 years off work are also very high. So, basically, figure out if you really, really want to be a community college professor. If you do, go for it. If not, don't.
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