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About Zeugma

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    United States
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  • Program
    PhD Romance Literatures
  1. General dvice on French Ph.D programs

    Welcome to the forum! I also wanted to throw in my two-cents here! For Franco-Asian studies, which is a pretty rare course of study in North American graduate programs of French, there is Dr. Jack Yeager of LSU who has published extensively on France and Vietnam in post-colonial contexts. To my knowledge, Dr. David Caron has not published on Asia. Interestingly, looking at Michigan's website, it seems as if there is a graduate student of French who is focusing on Franco-Asian Studies. If you are looking to do Postcolonial-related work in the French-Asian context, Dr. Yeager is an authority figure on French-Vietnam literary studies in the United States (I believe he even lived in Vietnam years ago during the war). There is also Dr. Ching Selao of the University of Vermont who has recently published on French-Vietnam literary studies that "updates" a lot Yeager's work. Best of luck with your search! In any case, Michigan, LSU, and Vermont are some great choices to consider! Sincerely, Z
  2. Teaching at a community college? French

    Hi there, Because you have a MA in French, you could theoretically instruct French language courses at a community college. However, MA candidates usually get second pick to individuals holding a PhD (who would already have at least 3-4 years of collegiate language teaching under their belt as part of their doctoral training). As you may know, it is extraordinarily difficult to teach French language classes as a "Lecturer" at a four-year university with just a MA and no teaching experience. Having a Juris Doctor and abroad time spent in a Francophone country, although very wonderful in themselves, would not help your chances if you do not have a robust teaching portfolio. What I would suggest (and I have a colleague who was in a very similar boat!) is to pursue a MA in Education, while teaching at the high-school level. Most private high-schools would not require you to have a language teaching certificate. Besides, starting at the high-school level is a great way to get your feet wet as you embark on a teaching career. As you pursue your MA in Education, you would have ample time to build a collegiate teaching/pedagogical portfolio, which is what hiring committees carefully consider. Though I might add, landing a job as a French Lecturer is difficult these days given the large amounts of PhD Candidates in French focusing on Second Language Acquisition. Seemingly, that would be your primary competition for those coveted spots (even at the community college level). Best of luck! All best, Z
  3. Always a pleasure to read your responses, fuzzylogician. Just to expand the context of my post: This is also a problem in graduate seminars. A friend once told me that graduate seminars are fertile breeding grounds for professors who are trying to incorporate material (or think of material to incorporate) into their own projects. From what I have heard, many professors assign in their course syllabi books that are formative components to their articles (or book projects), hoping that graduate students' ideas (from either in-class participation or final papers) aid them with writing. I acknowledge, of course, a limit to the level of appropriateness associated with this approach. Yet, this is technically gleaning of intellectual property! Does being a student (and thus contractually bound to participate in class in order to succeed) presuppose an abdication of one's intellectual property to the professor? (I very rarely see article and book acknowledgments that thank graduate seminars participants). Thoughts? Wishing you all a wonderful evening, Z
  4. Hi all, I was wondering if this (paranoid) preoccupation concerned other people: Do you feel hesitant to share new, original, unique, and thought-provoking material in a conference paper (that's not published but eventually will be) with the fear that somebody in the audience or in the panel "takes" the idea, runs with it, and publishes it before you do? I ask because this happened to a good friend of mine, and I'm afraid a very similar situation took place with me. The topic I presented on was quite specific, with an extremely specific methodological approach---not to mention that the book I was examining is quite understudied. I had hit a wall with the essay, put it aside for a year to focus on other projects, then as I was going back to the essay, I realized that an article with an eerily similar title and thesis statement as my conference paper had just been published! Given the author's institutional affiliation and field (which is the same as mine), I wouldn't be surprised if he/she was at that conference listening in on my panel! Cat's out of the bag, and there's nothing I can do about it. Has this happened to other people? Students are told never to plagiarize and always to respect others' intellectual property. Yet sadly some professors think that they can transcend those rules! All best, Z
  5. Hi there! I have been using a pretty amazing pdf/document editor compatible with any language. It's called ABBY FineReader. Although the software is pricey, it is well worth every penny. You can scan any document in any language (or take a picture of it with your phone/camera), upload it into the program, and the program will recognize all the text. It reproduces the text into a Word or pdf file and allows you to edit and format the original text. What's especially original about this program is that if you have a document in a non-Western language (say Chinese, for example), it will recognize the ideograms within a 97-99.9% accuracy level. Of course, the accuracy level depends on how clear the document is when it is uploaded into the program. This program is particularly useful when you have a foreign book and want to make digital photocopies of it in .doc(x) files, while allowing you to add comments and marginal notes. Works on both Mac and PC and great for digital note-taking. Best of luck, my friend! Z
  6. What a great question! I'm coming from a literature/foreign language background, but I think much of this shares its similarity with other academic disciplines. Graduate student conferences (GSCs) are wonderful for getting the ball rolling, particularly if it is your first time delivering in front of a formal academic audience. Usually, GSCs are less "(in)tense" then many larger, nation-wide conferences. It gives you an opportunity to meet your future colleagues in your discipline and to speak with professors or researchers in the department hosting the conference. Typically, GSCs ask for very small registration fees, which can be a great bank saver, especially if you are flying in. However, GSCs (in my experience) have generally been less organized because they are run by one or two graduate students, whereas nation-wide conferences (such as those run by the MLA) are organized by the organizational branch and referee committees. For non-GSCs, the panelists are generally professors (or advanced graduate students who are on the job market) and the overall "quality" that I have usually felt for these conferences was generally higher than that of graduate student conferences. I am certainly not casting aspersions on GSCs, but in terms of quality and rigor, I have felt that the MLA-affiliated conferences were generally more organized. (You get what you pay for, as they say.) Additionally, GSCs usually are in panel form, whereas in many non-GSCs, the "round-table" trend is seemingly making more of an appearance. What I usually recommend is to have a few GSCs on the CV (just to say that you've done and met people in the same area as you), but greater import is usually placed on non-GSC, either in the States or elsewhere internationally. Best of luck! Z
  7. PhD in French - Top Universities

    Hi, Nicko Congratulations on your interview with Northwestern. I hope all goes well on that front! I do want to specify that landing an interview does mean the university is interested in you and in your scholarship (thus using the interview as a way to match paper to face). However, an interview does not automatically indicate a definite acceptance. Remember additionally that an interview is two-way: You will also get a sense or "feel" of the school, and you will be evaluating the professors who interview you (i.e., their professionalism, cordiality, etc.). I was interviewed by two schools -- one of which was an Ivy. I was immediately turned off by the, may I say, lack of professionalism of the Director of Graduate Studies of one of the institutions. I was actually quite thankful for that interview. The other interview went extremely well, but much to my chagrin I did not get accepted. The tone of the interview is casual, of course; and half of it will be conducted in English, the rest in French. (Or some ratio very similar -- it's just an opportunity to have them evaluate your French speaking proficiency). You will be asked about your research interests, why you applied to that institution, what motivates you to pursue your field of inquiry, and -- as was the case for both schools that interviewed me -- there is always a "zinger" question at the end. The Ivy that interviewed me asked me "What do you read that's not academic?" Had a great time with that one! Wishing you the best of luck, Nicko, and keep us posted on your results! Z
  8. This is all great advice, especially getting the standpoints from those in the Sciences and those in the Humanities. (I do have to agree with SumEsseFuiFuturus on the difficulty of translating -- capturing the essence and the nuances of another's languages is much more difficult than it appears at first glance!) I've asked several individuals about this personally, including professors and librarians, and the general consensus seems to be that if it "adds" something to the field of critical inquiry, then it's fair game. As for tenure, it will depend on the department (some departments emphasize translation studies, while others indeed do not.) I'll go ahead and pursue this project. Many thanks for your input! Z
  9. Hi there! Thank you very much for your replies! The novel I am considering translating would be another author's work. It is a novel that has not yet been translated into English, and I think having it in English would garner a large amount of readership in English-speaking countries. It is a pretty important book in my field that surprisingly has never been translated. I would most certainly be doing the translation work alongside my other academic research; but this novel ties in beautifully with my field of critical inquiry. I was wondering if translating a non-academic, autofictional novel has the same weight as a "standard" publication (such as articles or an academic book). Arguably, in many cases, translating someone else's work (capturing every nuance and each mot juste) seems harder than publishing a book manuscript. Any other thoughts? Wishing you all a pleasant evening, Z
  10. Congratulations on your publication! Though a word of caution: Many conferences do publish their panel papers; nevertheless, the publisher's reputation is crucial here. I have seen a growing trend in which conference papers have been published by Peter Lang, Cambridge Scholars Press, and the like. The fact that the conference you mention publishes all papers (both bad or good ones) is a red flag to me -- this assumes that there is no rigorous peer-review monitoring. These kinds of publications do not usually count toward tenure considerations. Of course, it certainly wouldn't hurt to have it listed on your CV. Remember, nailing a publication in a rigorous, peer-reviewed book or journal is the ideal! Good luck and all best, Z
  11. PhD in French - Top Universities

    Hi Nicko! No problem; happy to offer some help. It's interesting that your MA is in Comparative Literature. There's always a debate whether potential PhD candidates should apply to CompLit or French literature programs, though I do believe that in terms of future employment, having a PhD in French Literature is more marketable. In recent trends, CompLit PhD candidates typically go into foreign language teaching rather than teaching within specific literature departments. In fact, many US institutions' CompLit departments tend to bring in faculty from outside literature departments (French, Spanish, German, etc.) rather than simply hiring a "Professor of CompLit." For example, a Spanish Professor could also hold a position as a Professor of Comparative Literature. So, really, getting your PhD in French Lit. is the way to go. Also, you can most certainly do comparative work in your French PhD program -- it's just about finding the right fit and program that would allow interdisciplinary, trans-departmental work. Also, regarding your writing sample: Yes, they are extremely important because the samples will show the committee how well you can engage in critical thought. Many schools require both English and French, while some just require French samples. Be aware that many american French PhD programs will offer French literature courses conducted in English. Thus, a mastery of the English language is imperative. Also, don't forget to include your CV in with your application (with lists of your accomplishments: publications, conference presentations, etc.) 19th century literature is an area in which numerous American-based French PhD programs excel. Berkeley, Yale, Michigan, Duke, Cornell, Johns Hopkins are some places that immediately come to mind. These are all excellent institutions that allow their students to have their feet in multiple departments. If I remember correctly, PennState and Cornell have prominent specialists who focus on dandyism. Cast a wide net, in any case! Admissions, especially for out-of-country students, in the United States is quite cut-throat. Best of luck and happy holidays Cheers, Z
  12. PhD in French - Top Universities

    Hi there! What's really important is letting us know what your fields of interest are! There are many stellar PhD programs in French literature in North America, and the important thing is to choose based on your specialization (and not just by arbitrary, fluctuating rankings). NYU, Columbia, UPenn, and Brown's admissions are cut-throat; so yes, I do think it would be wise to apply to more. Quite frankly, your GRE scores will be looked at, but the university's decision will not be based on your those grades. They will look at your Statement of Purpose, letters of recommendations, and -- most importantly -- your writing sample(s). Fill us in on your interests and maybe we can suggest some places in addition to those universities you have listed! Cheers, Z
  13. Hi all, I am considering translating a French novel into English with a standard house press like Penguin Publishers. Is producing a translation manuscript (under contract and ultimately published) valued more than a published academic book? How do translations fair in tenure considerations? I don't know whether it would be more advantageous to work on an academic book manuscript at the expense of producing a translation, or vice-versa. Sorry for the long message. Thank you very much for any thoughts! Zeugma
  14. Medieval AND Rhetoric?

    Glad to hear your interests in Medieval French studies! Not often does one hear that, given the multitude of 19th and 20th-century specialists out there. Be wary of the Ivies for the 2013 upcoming application season for Medieval French literature: medievalist Howard Bloch from Yale is on leave; and medievalist Sarah Kay, if I am not mistaken, has officially left Princeton to become the Director of Graduate Studies at NYU. Out of all the Ivies, Yale has the best medieval French program in my opinion (in addition to an excellent Medieval Studies department). However, with Dr. Bloch's international recognition, it might be hard to be advised by a professor who is heavily bent on research production and conference traveling. The last thing you would want is to be "used" as a researcher guinea-pig for "big wig" professors at the expense of your own research interests. If finance is an issue, in addition to the Ivies (who would give you a full-ride fellowship), have you considered University of Wisconsin-Madison's and Indiana Bloomington's French Department? They also have fellowships that would grant you stipend plus tuition coverage and quality medieval French tracks. I have a friend who recently received his M.A. in Medieval Studies at Toronto. He had very wonderful things to say about the program! Great choice and find on your part! As I'm sure you've heard, for the sake of your future employment, don't solely focus on the Medieval...these days, young medievalist PhD candidates are waiting for the senior Medieval professors to retire in order to take their hot seats!
  15. Medieval AND Rhetoric?

    Hi there! Given the relatively few medievalists on this forum, I'll gladly throw in my two cents! I see that your list is very much spot-on in terms of strong medieval programs (there aren't too, too many in the States, unfortunately!). In terms of non-Ivies, Toronto, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, Notre Dame, UCLA, and Indiana have outstanding programs! Many of the Ivies, including University of Pennsylvania, Harvard, and Yale, offer brilliant programs; but they seem more bent on the historical context of the Middle Ages, rather than the rhetorical. Also, keep in mind that some schools are more "traditional" in their approaches to medieval studies (particularly the Ivies), whereas some are more "theoretical." The latter is generally the case for schools having younger medievalists in their department.