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About ecogoth

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  • Interests
    twentieth century american lit, ecocriticism, & hegelian dialectics
  • Application Season
    2020 Fall
  • Program
    English PhD

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  1. I withdrew my name from the Brandeis waitlist a few weeks back, and I (tentatively) plan to turn down both UConn and Syracuse's PhD offers. I'm just waiting to "zoom" talk with two more people at BC before I fully commit! That being said, I've already very emotionally committed Take care, everyone! Hope this helps some people out there - and I hope you're all being safe amidst the quarantine (i've taken to solitary pensive walks and yearning)
  2. not to be too cynical, but i think the real selfish fear to be had in how this will affect academia is in how it might affect the future of teaching as a profession a lot of campuses have shut down and made all their classes into online classes already, and i'm guessing many more will follow amidst this hysteria. once schools realize they can effectively get away with running everything online (if things are able to run smoothly enough along), then there might be more of a push toward online education, meaning less jobs! less pay! and, reportedly, less knowledge-retention for students! obviously online education is a much more nuanced thing itself, and it can be really positive in enabling nontraditional students to access higher education - however, the move toward total online education would not be great for the plight of the adjunct (understatement of the year) and as has already been said here and elsewhere, the immunocompromised are the most likely to be seriously affected by the coronavirus. what's special about this virus is in how it can be spread so quickly without carriers ever even exhibiting symptoms (for around 14 days of incubation!). with this being the case, along with the absolute inadequacy (and moral corruption) of both our healthcare system and our social safety net in the united states, the virus is much more likely to be spread and much more likely to affect these individuals. i don't foresee the actual virus lasting long past the traditional flu season and into the summertime, but what i think and hope will be more lasting is the outrage it inspires toward these systems. im already on my soapbox, so if you all are looking for a reason to get politically involved, this it it! there couldn't be a more timely reason to join the fight for universal healthcare in the united states!
  3. I would strongly urge future applicants to frame their statement of purpose around the trajectory of their research and where they see it going within the context of a school's program. By that, I mean that I think it's important to have a strong research proposal that shows you adding something urgently new to a field and how the school you're applying to would fit into that larger project. One of my favorite professors stressed this repeatedly to me and other applicants from my MA cohort, and he added the charming advice: "lie if you have to! It's about getting in, no one is going to hold you to it once you're already there!" Ideally, you would be proposing something you're actually interested in pursuing, but I think the real take-away here is in how detailing a loose plan for your dissertation topic demonstrates both your knowledge of the field and your ability to contribute to it in a meaningful way. I've had success so far in getting into 4 schools, and all of the conversations I've had with directors of programs have really highlighted this point on trajectory. Granted, ecocriticism is a hot issue rn because we're all literally doomed - but I feel grateful that my work kinda aligned with the academic zeitgeist and that I was able to communicate my ability to contribute to it. Also, I wouldn't recommend that anyone apply to more than like... 8 schools or so. The entire process is way more expensive that I feel like I had really realized, and I wouldn't bother applying anywhere you wouldn't see yourself happy living in the area. Quality of life is very important, and I think location is a reallllllllly under-considered thing in that regard. Also also - to add to the discussion on GRE's: don't worry about the subject test too much. I agree with everyone in thinking that they're going out of style (because they literally don't demonstrate ....anything? Especially the subject test and its expectation that you can regurgitate Chaucer quotes or whatever the fuck). I got in the 42nd percentile on the subject test (lmao), but I was accepted into both programs that required my submitting that score.
  4. I fully, fully, fully understand - I chose to only apply to schools in New England precisely because I wanted to be near to family and friends! While limiting in some ways, I also think chasing some elusive idea of "prestige" somewhere fully random can be limiting in a LOT of other ways. In short, quality of life matters - and I don't think the notion of prestige outweighs happiness! Like truly, what does success mean to you?
  5. There's nothing immature about letting yourself process your emotions! Take it easy on yourself, I'm wishing you peace + happiness through this all
  6. That one was me! I was sent an email this morning with the offer - nothing updated on the actual UConn portal yet.
  7. I hope things work out in your favor this cycle - but, if they don't, I would recommend looking into Boston College! Among other areas, they have a strong emphasis on Irish studies - as well as additional funding for PhD students focusing in on Irish lit. That being said, I'm still keeping my fingers crossed for you for this current cycle!
  8. Got accepted from Boston College today!! I've never known relief like this before
  9. In short, I think good academic writing already is accessible writing, like with Mari Ruti or Kathleen Stewart. I'm also not trying to defend jargon here (because I think it's often a transparent attempt to try to justify itself academically) - but I do think you risk a lot in either decontextualizing or mistranslating certain terms. For Butler, 'performativity' comes about in her work as a reference to ordinary language theorist J.L. Austin's notion of "performative utterances." While many now misread Butler's performativity to mean something for identity like putting on play as a chosen, costumed role - Austin actually meant it in the sense of words "performing" the tasks they describe to do ("I marry you," "I beg you," "I warn you," as opposed to failed performative utterances like "I seduce you," which cannot enact that which it describes in just its declaration). The reduction of it in common dialogue has (I think) led to a lot of misunderstanding towards gender and sexual identities as mere character performances which we can choose to do or not. Below is a screenshot of Butler's response towards one journalist who recently used the decontextualized term in their writing and thereby changed its meaning. As for the Zizek point tiredderridean brings up, I think their point is that not all theory makes for good political praxis. Zizek's Hegelian approach often ends with him saying we should "opt out" of false oppositions, and he even provides Melville's Barlteby (of "I would prefer not to" scrivener story fame) as an exemplary political figure in one of his theoretical works. That being said, I love Zizek and I love Bartleby - and I do believe in the political purpose of literature as well. I think we ultimately just need to be careful about what it is that we consider our politics, if that makes sense. Summarizing texts itself isn't democratic - encouraging and enabling others to not only engage with texts, but to enter into dialogues themselves can be. (Shoutout to my guy, Walter Benjamin.)
  10. From my understanding of it, the statement of purpose serves as sort of a litmus test for an application committee to be able to determine if you can actually talk the talk. By this, I mean that it's important to be able to identify yourself as a scholar in how you would fit into a department as well as your scholarship in how a department could influence it. I'm also an applicant, and I wrote my current SoP with an emphasis on specific research goals in how they build upon my master's thesis. For reference, I'm interested in ecocriticism in 20th century American lit.
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