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About jackdacjson

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    Transnational and transatlantic modernity, 1870ish to 1939.
  • Application Season
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    University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

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  1. This is true. However, if you're applying primarily as someone interested in doing postcolonial work, making it clear that your methodological interest trumps your temporal placement, I'm not sure it couldn't be made to work--especially if you were resolutely clear in your SOP. I tend to think that writing samples should align quite closely with the interests, methodologies, and periods focused on in the SOP. And so if you're asking whether the paper would help your application more if you "subbed" out The Tempest and replaced it with at 20th-century novel, using the same essay structure and making the same kind of argument, it's possible, but it might not have the same vim depending on the close readings you do. If you're asking whether you should analyze both The Tempest and a 20th-century novel in the same paper, I think it could probably be done well, but there are a lot of ways such a paper could go wrong. It's hard to say what a paper that hasn't been written yet will be like. But whatever you do, make sure that your WS is clearly and confidently explained in your SOP and therein connected to your research interests. It's that connection that I think is most key.
  2. LOR & LW Etiquette

    I just saw this^ after I posted my reply. I've wondered about that as well. I asked one professor what he thought about asking for strong letters, and he said that anyone who doesn't warn you they can't write a strong letter or somehow otherwise get out of writing one at all is a pretty terrible person. But I tend, nonetheless, to lean toward asking "Can you write me a strong letter of recommendation as I apply to grad schools?" Just in case. But asking, as a_sort_of_fractious_angel suggests, if they remember your work well enough is also a clever round about way of doing it. Good luck!
  3. LOR & LW Etiquette

    Hey! I just wanted to chime in with something that I always try to remember. Part of what professors are paid to do, a literal expectation of their academic profession, is write letters of recommendation for students and for former students. And just about every professor I've met or heard of is aware of this responsibility and accepts it, in large part because they would not be where they are without the numerous letters their own mentors and teachers provided. There is absolutely nothing wrong or even abnormal about asking for a letter after a gap of several years. I know that probably doesn't lessen the anxiety, but I hope it helps to know that you're in the clear.
  4. The other thing I would add is that increasingly departments across the US/Canada expect their students to be able to work with non-written "texts". Indeed, my understanding is that it has become much harder and much rarer for textual/literary scholars working post-1890 or so to exclusively work with written texts. The study of film, TV, or new media is incredibly important, and so facility with sign language can be useful to those whose work is based in and on performance/bodily/recorded texts. As I argued on the Victorian language post, the reasons for acquiring (and requiring that we acquire) non-English language are vast, complicated, and should be based on specialization and interest. But I can imagine someone working in the contemporary field, informed by disability studies, reviewing and engaging with videos or live performances done in sign language. That kind of work is as important--and in some ways more important--than much of what most people do with their own language requirement. (Especially those who fulfill a language requirement and then never really work in the language again, a completely common occurrence.) And so, I'm really disappointed to hear of the struggle many go through to get ASL accepted and respected in their departments. Anyway, total agreement with hj2012 and fuzzylogician.
  5. Language for a Victorianist?

    So, I mostly agree with what pippi wrote, especially the second half. Except, I wanted to point out that even basic reading comprehension can be useful to one's research and one's understanding of a foreign writer. While there's little no harm to reading Freud or Marx in translation (aside from the theoretical confounds involved), especially given that's how most of us do so, every now and again I think scholars end up investigating individuals sentences or word choices in the original German, to gain insight into a phrase or a claim that seems particularly striking or perplexing. Spending some time with a language, even if it's not that much time, may not allow one to read the German fluently or without aid, but it allows a greater degree of independence and discretion when going down such rabbit holes. That's how I am thinking of language requirements myself--as someone who doesn't particularly like working in foreign languages, and whose time period straddles the 19th and 20th centuries, I want to spend my time not pretending to have mastery over French or German or whathaveyou--because that's all it would be, pretend--but gaining some small nuggets of insight into other languages so I can be prepared when I see dialogue in French or when I want to see how, exactly, Freud worded a sentence. Some people, who are so inclined, might want more out of a language requirement, and intend perhaps to do more comparative work than I do or to work with untranslated texts. But I think there's something to be said for working primarily in English, and using one's familiarity with foreign grammars for insight and not for long term reading projects. I might have missed something, but I don't think OP is currently asking about acquiring a language for PhD applications (which would be difficult if they wanted to apply this fall, for instance), but instead is thinking of the language requirement for their MA. But anyway, I wanted to mention, on the off chance that it's relevant, that not every PhD application has a foreign language attached. While having one or two languages is a strength, people apply without a second language often enough. Moreover, OP can, at this point, demonstrate Polish and Romanian, each to some degree, which if they decide to apply for PhDs, should be enough to help their application along, at least showing a proclivity for languages, especially given their high school French. But when I applied to programs at least, I had no university-level language classes, and had a decent season, so lacking documentation proving language familiarity is not always a deathblow.
  6. 2017 Final Decisions

    Hey all, I've just accepted my PhD offer from the University of Michigan! While a lot of people I know have pressured me to hold out for Princeton, just in case, I think I would probably end up choosing Michigan anyway because it is a MUCH better research and temperamental fit. So yeah. Good luck everyone who's still in the throes of uncertainty!
  7. Reactions to PhD Study

    @orphic_mel528, I'm out of reputation, but I wanted to say how sorry I am that someone you've known for so long would take that kind of tact. So often it seems to me that people on the outside of academic work have a set of responses, as though they're reading directly from a script, when talking about the academy, no matter the circumstances. It's rather bizarre, to me, that there is such a widespread assumption that academic work isn't or can't be real work, even as more and more people go to college and press their own children likewise to go to college, something that would be impossible were it not for those willing to get PhDs. The current higher educational system relies on people getting PhDs, and yet somehow it is shameful to do so? It's something I certainly don't understand. On the other hand, my father--a high school dropout who's worked with his hands his entire life (although he also does IT work sans degree)--remains completely baffled that he doesn't have to come up with money to put me through a PhD program. I've tried explaining several times that I only really applied to programs that would waive tuition and give me a stipend, but he remains worried about the debt he believes I will certainly accrue. People's assumptions re: academia are really strange.
  8. Waitlist Movement

    I have no idea. As you are likely equally aware, the e-mail they sent was strangely roundabout and vague. I went through the results page for the past few years, and it doesn't seem like they've tended to waitlist many gradcafers, but that also means that I haven't seen an example of someone getting off the waitlist recently either.
  9. 2017 Acceptances

    I'm the Michigan! I just got an e-mail from DGS, who I also mentioned as a POI in my statement of purpose. I'm so beyond excited.
  10. Waitlist Movement

    Haha, true. I told myself that my first time through I would only apply to top-twenty schools, in case I could fluke high. If I don't get in anywhere this year, I'm going to expand my list a bit for next year. And thanks for the moxie admiration.
  11. Waitlist Movement

    Just got waitlisted at Princeton. Not sure how to feel, because I doubt space will open up. But mostly, after having nothing but bad news so far, I'm just glad that I was at least somewhat competitive this cycle. (I'm still waiting on some schools, but I've come to assume rejection even when I have no reason to.) It gives me some more hope for what's to come, both this year and next.
  12. Venting Thread

    I also was waitlisted from Brown for undergrad. I was really excited by their program, and it was the first school whose decisions have dropped that I felt like I would have been a good fit with. Berkeley and Chicago are both great programs, and I think I would have done well in either, but seeing Brown's acceptances dropping today caused a much deeper level of sadness. I'm rooting for you. I know exactly what you mean when you say how there are other options out there, but that they don't have the same appeal. I hope you still get an acceptance, but I also keep trying to tell myself that if things continue going south then life still goes on and there are still so many ways to contribute positively to the world. Not that that's really any comfort...but maybe eventually it will be?
  13. 2017 Acceptances

    I just finished my undergrad at WashU! So I'm biased, but I am immensely fond of our modernist profs--not to mention the PhD students, many of whom I had classes with, who are great and interesting people.
  14. I am so in the same situation as you. And I'm, like, bizarrely anxious that if I have the site open when it changes, it won't actually change, so I won't know if I got in. It makes no sense.