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About indecisivepoet

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    MSc English

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  1. I know this is SO old, sorry -- any tips on how the process of narrowing down the research question works? Or on creating a theory reading list and why that's so important? I can't imagine having time to read a book of dense theory every week (especially since this month and next I am doing a summer program that requires me to read a lot of primary literature). I took a novel theory graduate seminar (which involved a ton of classical theory readings) during undergrad and am taking another graduate seminar in standard critical theory for my MA this fall. I also did a good bit of reading in theory/philo on my own last year. I was hoping this would be enough and I could spend any free time I might have during my MA when I'm not already reading something for class catching up on contemporary scholarship in my fields, which is really my weak area. Thoughts?
  2. @jrockford27 This is so helpful, thank you! I imagine I'm selling myself a bit short as always, if anything mostly because I do have a year of intensive studying and dissertation-writing ahead of me that should prep me to write an SoP much more developed than what I would be able to write right now. I suppose adcoms are looking for general fit, promise, and instincts for research rather than a developed proposal that's going to make waves in the discipline. "a few theorists who were essential to my work" -- do you mean contemporary theorists? While I have a good grip on what I need to read in terms of primary literature and 20th-century "founders" of scholarship in my area (for example, people like M.H. Abrams in Romanticism), I'm at a loss (at this stage) when it comes to figuring out what the CURRENT conversation is in my areas of interest, who "matters," and what kind of contemporary papers I should be reading.
  3. Awesome advice, everyone. Especially your words on imposter syndrome, @Kilos. It plagues me in most everything I do but it feels like academia and writing are not the places for it if I'm to complete any kind of productive work. I will keep your perspective in mind. It feels like I don't even have enough of a handle on my research interests at this point to determine where any gaps are or what the conversation is (if any) surrounding my areas -- maybe because my interests have less to do with particular niches, texts, authors, critical approaches and more to do with thinking about how literature plays a role in what interests me about the human world? But I think the problem is also that there are a few different areas I'm interested in and could potentially write on this year and I just need to narrow it all down. I'm sure a few conversations with some faculty members will prove useful here, and perhaps as you suggest, @bpilgrim89, my first step may be to see which of these areas has been least explored. It also doesn't help that I'm hopelessly torn between the non-consecutive movements of Romanticism and Modernism (though my MA is in 18th & 19th British, so I'm almost positive Modernism will have to be a peripheral interest for later in my career). I am sure that working on seminar papers and a dissertation all year and being surrounded by faculty will help me with this and I won't feel nearly as lost when I start outlining a SoP this time next year. @jrockford27 -- so did you do exactly this -- propose a dissertation topic -- in your SoP? I'm wondering what that looks like. I've read a couple of SoPs by PhD students at my undergrad (a top 15 program, if we're going to lend that any credence); one came from an MA and had an impressive array of publications/conferences but took up a lot of the SoP laying out his general field and a little bit of space talking about his basic interest in that field, and most of the SoP explaining and bragging about past papers, publications, etc. The other came from her BA and got no more specific than "I'm interested in how we decide what is 'literary' in [insert period here] literature." I suppose a greater level of specificity will be expected of me post-MA.
  4. During undergrad? Afterward? Through a class? How does one do enough reading of contemporary scholarship to determine what they're interested in has not already been claimed? How does one narrow down from broad strokes to something SoP-worthy, and how narrow does the SoP need be? How did you choose your period? I'm talking basics here, folks. I consider my undergrad education to have been largely time wasted and I really did not know academia was for me or embark on most of my study until just after graduation. I'm completing my MA this coming year and I know myself well enough to know I'm well-equipped to succeed in the PhD realm but I can't help but have major imposter syndrome virtually all of the time and feel panicked about not knowing my research interests. I know the VERY broad and abstract, intellectual/philosophical questions that have led me to literary studies and I know the periods and general fields I'm interested in but I am not sure how to get more focused other than by reading a lot more literature and a lot more criticism. It feels like no matter how much I read, though, there will always be something I'm missing that will make my SoP sound silly and uninformed. Would love some perspective, ideas, and anecdotes.
  5. @FugitiveSahib That makes sense, thank you! I do resent the necessity of periodising and am hoping it's something I can do to get into programs but that I don't necessarily have to stick to in my career. I really am torn between my love for Modernism and my interest in the 18th/19th centuries & Romanticism; in a perfect world, I'd study literature 1700-1945, or even beginning earlier! And I do come across quite a few faculty whose pages say they study literature in a similarly broad historical range or who have an eclectic mix of historical interests that are non-consecutive, but my feeling is that I probably need to 'earn the right' to do so by first passing oral exams in my one or two consecutive periods of choice.
  6. indecisivepoet

    Lecturing During Round 2/3?

    @Hermenewtics Any tips on applying to high school teaching jobs? When to do so, how to look for openings, what to put in applications/interviews, etc. Also, I assume these are all private schools, right? Also, any tips on what to say when reaching out to university English departments and when to do so?
  7. @FugitiveSahib Could you elaborate a little bit on what you mean when you say you're looking for professors engaged with the questions/concerns you're asking about/interested in? I'm thinking about it like this: my interests are in Romantic & c18 or c19 (haven't decided yet) but I find that in general the interests that motivate me to pursue research are less coming from within that specific archive and more coming from larger philosophical questions that are then being applied to that archive. I find that there are some scholars working in these areas who share larger guiding interests with me, but most of those who do seem to be studying Modernism (and generally there are very, very few with similar guiding questions as me). As I've been looking through faculty pages, I'm wondering whether I should be focusing more on the Romanticists/etc who study the same period and authors as me but with very different interests within that, or if I should be focusing on the Modernists or whoever else that have the same guiding interests as me but study a different period. @TeaOverCoffee If not faculty with the same research interests as the applicant, what would you suggest being the determiner of 'fit'? Just from looking through the faculty pages I have, I can say there are Victorian/gender studies scholars at almost every single English department. What then becomes the factor used to narrow down? Also, I'd love if you could elaborate on your argument about Romanticism! As I've mentioned above, I know Romanticism is my greatest period of interest, but I'm having trouble choosing between c18 and c19 for the context of that. I'm interested in Enlightenment and the major changes in thought/the transition to 'modernity' in c18, but I'm not so big on the literature itself. I prefer Victorian, and I'm also very interested in urbanisation, responses to it, work etc, as well as novel theory.
  8. indecisivepoet

    Lecturing During Round 2/3?

    I don't have any answers, but I'm posting here because I'd love to hear what everyone has to say about this and any general tips for applying for lecturer/adjunct positions. I will finish my MA in 2019 and take a gap before (hopefully) beginning PhD in 2020, and I am definitely hoping to land a lecturer or adjunct position during that gap (not sure how likely this will be because my MA program does not include any TAing). Any tips for when to apply, how to apply, how to look for jobs, what interviewing and timeline is like, etc., much appreciated!
  9. indecisivepoet

    Edinburgh, UK

    Hey all! This thread is fairly dead but I figured I'd give it a go -- I'm moving to Edinburgh for a 1-year MA program at the end of August. I'll most likely be living in private student accommodation about a half hour's walk from campus, though uni accommodation closer to campus is also an option if I'm offered a studio apartment. I'm planning not to take the busses (transportation is an expense I rarely prioritise when things are within reasonable walking distance) and I'm wondering whether it's excessive to think I'll be happy walking 30 minutes to and from campus every day. Generally I'm a big walker, but I know it also rains in Edinburgh more than it does in England and can get quite windy and cold in the winter. Thoughts? My other option is to buy a bike, but I'd have to either sell it or transport it back to the US somehow at the end of the year. Also, I've only been to Edinburgh once for a few days a couple years ago, but the main thing I remember about the city is HILLS. My memory might be exaggerating how huge the incline is from Princes St to Old College --> George Square, but it doesn't seem bike-friendly to me.
  10. Happy to say I will be attending the program at Edinburgh! I absolutely can't wait to live there -- I studied in Ireland during undergrad and visited Edinburgh for just a few days on what I believe were the only sunny, 70-degree days of the whole year, and I loved it so, so much. This is saying quite a bit for me as I am generally not much of a city person at all. Definitely reach out if you come for a visit!
  11. Messaged you -- thanks!
  12. indecisivepoet

    BA to MA or PhD?

    Thank you! That does sound super helpful -- I've found that most websites don't have a clear picture of what their research strengths are.
  13. indecisivepoet

    BA to MA or PhD?

    Thanks so much for the info! Your phrasing is making me think I should be emailing and/or calling directors of the programs I'm interested in. Do you think this is necessary, and what kind of info are you looking for when you do this?
  14. Thanks for the thorough explanation! Of course funding information is crucial -- I didn't realize this and all the specifics of the timeline, etc. are in the handbooks. I had kind of just assumed the handbooks were for explaining administrative procedures to currents students. I've since been looking at a ton of them and they've had much more specific and useful information than the websites themselves. I am finding it difficult on most websites to determine whether funding is offered to all students or not. It seems that those who do fully-fund are usually very explicit about it, and those who do not avoid any mention of it or opportunity to lay out exactly what funding looks like there (even in the handbooks). I suppose in this case I would reach out to someone at the university to find out details? Or perhaps, if it's a program I'm very interested in, just apply and see what type of funding I am offered?
  15. Right -- it seems like from what I've been reading on GC, many people have found reaching out to potential advisors not necessary, but helpful in learning more about what the program is like and what the university might be looking for in a SoP. I realized after I posted that the section in the "Fit Finder" is about whether universities want professors mentioned in the SoPs or not, not whether they would like you to reach out to professors or not. I also haven't found anything spelled out explicitly about this -- any thoughts?

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