Jump to content


  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

  • Days Won


AbrasaxEos last won the day on March 26 2016

AbrasaxEos had the most liked content!

Profile Information

  • Location
    Boston, MA
  • Program
    Religious Studies

Recent Profile Visitors

4,276 profile views

AbrasaxEos's Achievements

Double Shot

Double Shot (5/10)



  1. @ac40507 if you have the money to pay almost double the rent in Back Bay/SE, then yes do that, especially if you can walk to campus in 10 minutes. Dorchester isn't that bad in general, but if you can afford the $1200 in rent there isn't really much of a question in my mind. If you are trying to save your money in exchange for a less convenient commute and a slightly gritter, less manicured neighborhood, then Dorchester, depending on where it is would probably be ok (it is a pretty large area so I can't speak for the entire thing obviously).
  2. While you may not need to do a deep dive into the critical reception of comparative projects at this very juncture, you may want to think carefully about what it is you want to compare, and to what ends. The answers to these questions are in many ways the things that have received criticism, moreso than the enterprise itself. While you probably won't find anyone chomping at the bit to replicate Eliade (everyone's favorite comparative whipping boy), there are a number of interesting projects out there that might fall under the rubric of 'comparison,' none so influential as J.Z. Smith. Not that this approach hasn't received its own fair share of critical attention, but it is not quite so roundly condemned, in that most will at least acknowledge that it comes from a deeply reflective, studiously theorized, methodology. Furthermore, it likely does not look like a traditional comparative project, wherein something is chosen from column 'a' (historically Christianity), with a reasonable doppelganger sought for in column 'b', and a subsequent 'like/not like' list drawn up. Since you don't have a ton of religious studies experience, your soon-to-begin MDiv will hopefully be excellent preparation in this area, and will allow you to read some of this work, along with the history that @marXian mentions. If it is a reasonably reputable place as you mention, I'm fairly certain that any of your professors should be able to steer you in the right directions if you mention and interest in comparison.
  3. @jdg The unfortunate thing is that you and everyone else would love to live in a cheap area with easy T access in Boston, so $1000 is about right for a place that is in some proximity to the T. Out of the areas that @telkanuru lists, East Boston might be your best bet, as even most of the areas near the Dorchester stops on the red line are getting up close to $1000, maybe you could find something in the $800-$900 range, but not much less. Plus, with the exception of East Boston, the areas listed would actually be the few places I'd rather not be walking home through late at night in the greater Boston area. I guess the answer to your final question is probably more or less what you note, a mix of just scraping by, some parental help if possible, and if not, student loans. I had the good fortune of a partner with an extremely well paying job, so that is the unfortunately unhelpful answer from me (and I didn't even finish my degree, having recently quit to take an equally well-paying job...)
  4. @ErmahgerdAdulting The greater Boston area is very bikeable, if a little nerve-racking at times. As already mentioned, you need to be comfortable taking the lane with cars at times, being wary of being doored, and generally have to deal with occasionally obnoxious drivers who are being dangerous. I'd say though that in general cars are pretty courteous, that bike lanes are growing more prevalent, and that I generally don't feel as though I'm taking my life in my hands while doing so. One nice plus is that in a place like Somerville, biking can really save you time and aggravation, as it is more often than not the quickest and most convenient method for getting from place to place. Yes, do get a good lock though, and remember that it gets down to single digits here in the winter sometimes. @jdg The T will work fine for you as long as you are using the trains. Even the buses aren't terrible, but later at night you have to time them correctly or you can really be sitting there waiting for a long time between them. The trains typically come on pretty regular schedules though, even later at night. if, as you say you are going into the heart of Boston, you absolutely should not try to drive there. You might find a parking spot, but trying to figure out the times when you can, can't, kind of can, and sometimes can park somewhere, even with a meter can be very difficult to figure out, and god knows nothing would wreck my day like coming out of class at 10PM to find that my car had been towed. Plus, you'll pay way more in parking fees, fines, etc. than you would if you just get a monthly pass for the T. If you are used to driving everywhere, it takes a little adjustment I won't lie, you have to work on someone else's schedule, you don't usually get front door service, there are occasionally strange, annoying humans sharing your space, etc. However, I'm confident that this would pale in comparison to trying to drive downtown and park a few times a week. As a minor note for @mmmarimba, I don't know when you last went to JP, and maybe this is just comparatively in relation to SF, but while it is on the Orange Line, it definitely is not cheap. It used to be, but it has kind of become young professional central and is actually just as pricey as anywhere (unless you are just about on the Roxbury line).
  5. @Heather1011Heating bill is a little tough to average - do you keep your apartment hot or cold, or somewhere in the middle? Also, it will depend some on what kind of heat you have, how decent your windows are, and how efficient the heater is, and how large a space you are heating. However, not wanting to be totally annoying, let's assume you like to keep your place at a somewhat reasonable 68 degrees, have gas heat, good (not great windows), a furnace that was cleaned and updated in the last five years, and that you split your heat with 2 others in a moderately-sized apartment (~1400 ft2). Were these things being the case, I would predict your share of the heat might be in the vicinity of $200-250 total, so maybe $75 each? Perhaps you can though that this isn't terribly exact. My apartment is ridiculously well insulated, has brand new windows, a brand new furnace, gas heat, and low ceilings and despite it being quite large, the heat for last February (when it was extremely cold), was about $175. So, the moral of the story is that you ought to either find an apartment with heat included, or look carefully at all the accouterments. I have friends who had to ride huge credit card balances all winter because their apartment had a horrible, wheezing oil furnace, windows that might have been just as effective were they simply screens, such that they had to crank the heat at all times to just keep it habitable. Unfortunately, since most people move in at the end of the summer you don't figure these wonderful features out until you go to get that place warmed up on the first cold day of November. @BlackBear50 Craigslist is generally fine - that is where I've had the most luck finding apartments. Do note however that very few real estate brokers need your business in Boston, especially if you are seeking 1BR in a mutli-unit house for the cheapest rent possible. It takes a decent bit of emailing and heckling, but you'll eventually find someone who is willing to show you a few places. Also, be ready to grab a place the day you see it if you like it. There is no 'let me take a day to think it over' - if you liked it, someone else probably did too, and will have already slapped down the requisite first, last, security, and realtor's fee on it.
  6. @marXian Don't get me wrong, not that you were getting me wrong necessarily, but I don't want to come off as suggesting that the Humanities are useless or worthless. I don't think this this the case. What I'm talking about is a getting a terminal degree in the humanities, which I would argue represents exactly the kind of collapse of vocation and utility that you are talking about. It is a commodity, and you become an extension of that commodity. It is the story that everyone has been talking about on GradCafe, and in the Chronicle, and everywhere else. You get utterly dissolved and recast into the mold of your degree - you become an 'expert' in a 'field' and gain some kind of capital, both symbolic and economic (ha-ha) from it. I'm not a philosopher, and Adorno, Horkheimer, and Marcuse were some time ago for me, but a terminal degree in the Humanities sounds exactly like what they are talking about. So, I think it is one thing to regard the abstract concept of 'critical thinking,' reading about Livonian werewolves, and being sure you understand the difference between Foucault's archaeology and his genealogy as inherently worthwhile. I still won't agree to them having worth that inheres, because I think that's really a theological argument, and I rightly pass as an atheist. However, I am glad to give you that argument, as I think it makes sense in a certain way, and I generally find the Frankfurt school convincing, if a bit Freudian for my taste. What I think needs some consideration is exactly what you identify above, the collapse of vocation and utility that I think is inevitable within a PhD. You don't need to get into the PhD game to study the humanities, or read good books, or to learn to think critically. By engaging in a terminal degree, one where you are (hopefully) being paid something, one where your "work" is exactly the reified commodity that you note as a problematic element. I think the degree is designed to get you to shift your thinking about your vocation as I'm Odysseus-tied-to-the-mast-safely-listening-to-the-siren-call-while-his-men-row-with-their-ears-plugged-to-his-frenetic-cries into commodities of various sorts, be they actual things, like monographs or peer-reviewed articles, or something abstract, like "an original contribution to the field." My posts aren't designed to denigrate the humanities, just the notion that doing your PhD somehow gets you around the utilitarian calculus of homo oeconomicus simply because you are doing what you are passionate about, or feel called to do. As Žižek so wonderfully puts it, we're all already eating from the trash can all the time.
  7. @rising_star told me to come on over from the Religion boards to say a bit from perspective of someone who just about finished a PhD and then decided to straight up quit. Just about finished as in halfway through my dissertation. I'm not going to chastise anyone here, or make vague admonishments about "you don't know what it's like" or "wait until you get where I am!" because I don't think they are helpful. I also don't think any of you would really listen to more of this, as you all seem to be well-knowledgeable about the grim, meathook realities of academia and everything that it involves, and don't need another white guy hanging around wagging fingers. All that I would say is that it is ok to do something else. You can quit your PhD at any point in the process. Don't sit around being miserable, developing avoidance problems of various sorts while you make excuses based on the finest of all fallacies, that of the sunk cost. It has already been said here, but you can be passionate about something and find it fulfilling and not have to do it as a job. I don't regret my time moving towards a PhD, it gave me some nice getting paid a rela time reading and writing and thinking about interesting problems, and taught me plenty. I don't blame my advisors, or my program, nor did I feel exploited by them. I made the choices that I did, including to go to graduate school in the first place, and I take my excessively idealistic self to task for those. What I will say is that I think you should look at the PhD as leading to a job. If you don't, how the hell will anyone take you seriously enough to actually give you one when the time comes to apply? Don't make excuses about the inherent worth of your program, or your path of study. It isn't inherently worthy of anything, it is shit until you take it and put it through the alembic to spin gold. I think this is where I do look strongly at my five years in a graduate program and have some regrets. I spent a lot of time trying to convince myself and others that I didn't care if I got a job when I was done, or that the study of religion (insert your field here) was just so interesting and diverting that studying it was reward enough. Go read through my earlier posts and you'll see me doing it left and right. I don't know if this is convincing, it just want to be a voice that says you can just do a job that you generally enjoy. I'm not passionate about what I now do during the week for work, I like it, I like my co-workers, I'm good at what I do, and I get paid a lot more money than I probably could have expected to make as an academic outside of a tenured prof at a top-tier institution. I read Derrida, Butler, and every book I own on Late Antiquity during my ample free time, I go to SBL/AAR if I want to, and I guess I could probably even give a paper if I so desired (which i don't, because I also think these are mostly for people who need CV lines, and I have no need for such). It isn't all about money, or about pure pragmatics, but I just think we ought to be sure we're not calling skubala Shinola. You can flame me out of here or question my motives if you would like, and as has already been done. Who knows, maybe I'm a PhD applying for jobs a full month or so after most of them have already been offered and I'm trying to thin the herds. I suppose if you really don't believe me, I can send you a redacted copy of my withdrawal form or something. Anyhow, I'm glad to talk more or PM, etc. so please do reach out.
  8. I think what I am talking about is the notion of your job being something that you have be "passionate" or "fulfilled" by. I'm not going to pull punches here, I'm knocking it. I think it is a stupid way to make a decision about what you are going to do, and usually ends up being a quixotic pursuit. I bring it up because it is in many ways the sine qua non given for pursuing something like doctoral studies. It becomes an easy way to willfully disregard the grim, meathook realities of employment, academia, and what these actually involve. For instance, go and scan this and any other forum here for statements to the effect of "I know the job market sucks/I know that my chances for getting a job are really low/I know how shitty academic life, even in the tenure track often is...BUT...I'm just so passionate about this field/I would be unfulfilled by just working a 'regular' job/I love what I do so much." My issue with this narrative is that it makes it seems like your options are to either go through the process of getting a PhD (kind of hard), getting a TT job (really hard), and then being fulfilled/passionate/etc. about it (how the hell do you quantify, or even qualify this calculus?), ~or~ doing some proletarian, workaday 'job' where you have to go in from 9-5, have to do budgets, have to manage people, etc. What I'm arguing is that I have passions and things that fulfill me - yes, everyone does, but I don't need to do them for my job to have a good life, and I think I could make a convincing argument that many people who mistake their passions for what they need to be employed at might recognize the same thing. This is to say that I don't think that doing a PhD for the sake of doing it, or because you are passionate about the subject is a good enough reason to engage yourself in the process. It is part of it, but if you aren't doing it to get some kind of employment at the end, I think there should be a careful look at why you are actually putting yourself through this process. I say this with such conviction because I didn't examine these motives very carefully going into my program, I made a lot of excuses for myself that were built on notions of the 'inherent worth' of what I was doing. One doesn't necessarily need to have academic, or tenure track employment in mind when doing a PhD, but if you don't why do one? You can read every book you read in a PhD by yourself. You all have M.* degrees, you know how to find every book on the subject you are interested in! You can listen to podcasts, go to lectures, and even go to SBL/AAR if you want - I did this year, and it was a lot of fun, because I (1) didn't have to network with anyone unless I wanted to (2) had plenty of money to attend, eat out, and enjoy Atlanta (3) could go to a panel on post-structuralism without having worry whether it was going to somehow advance my dissertation or other research. I don't know if this is convincing, it just want to be a voice that says you can just do a job that you generally enjoy. I'm not passionate about what i do during the week for work, I like it, I like my co-workers, I'm good at what I do, and I get paid a lot more money than I probably could have expected to make as an academic outside of a tenured prof at a top-tier institution. I read Derrida, Butler, and every book I own on Late Antiquity during my ample free time, I go to SBL/AAR if I want to, and I guess I could probably even give a paper if I so desired (which i don't, because I also think these are mostly for people who need CV lines, and I have no need for such). It isn't all about money, or about pure pragmatics, but I just think we ought to be sure we're not calling skubala Shinola.
  9. @dramos2016, you may be in a slightly better position than some here, in that you will have the academic admin experience that you've cultivated thus far to back you up. What I mean is that if you spend five or so years doing a PhD, and have great difficulty finding a job, you could probably combine your existing experience (it would be a bit old by then - but unlike tech or something, doing a budget or managing doesn't change drastically in a few years) with the "inside" track you developed via a PhD to find a pretty good alt-ac job. In the interest of full disclosure - I almost finished a PhD, which I started for all the reasons that have been outlined here (almost finished, as in half a dissertation), including that hazy notion of 'fulfillment,' and experienced many of the same things as @doobiebrothers first outlined here. I just quit though. I had a lot of cultivated skills that I leveraged to find a new job pretty quickly, and I realized that much of the talk of passion and fulfillment that I bought into and appropriated for my own reasoning was a pretty clever way of masking the operation of robust sunk-cost fallacy that was going on. I don't actually regret my time in a PhD program, it was fun and interesting. What I regret is more who I became as part of the process, and the clever excuses I employed for myself and to others as part of the process. So, I don't blame my program, or my advisors, or that reified thing we call 'academia' because I don't thing blame is really what anyone needs. What I advocate is something far more positive, which is just the courage on the part of anyone considering this route to be ok with saying no to the whole narrative at any point in the process.
  10. For all the questioning of essentialism, inherent worthiness (i.e. sacrality), and claims of authenticity on the part of their objects of study the reasons for doing a PhD remain curiously sacrosanct among those in the academic study of religion.
  11. Go further here - is the only thing you are able to do? If so, you've probably committed enough to it, but if not, go do whatever else you are able to do. Imagination and prognostication are perfectly good skills to have if you want to be a fortune teller, but not a future academic. I don't say this to be brutal or insensitive, but rather to push the envelope on the common maxim that "if you can imagine/see yourself doing something else, do that." I think that its excessive subjectivity has worked too much mischief and produced too many PhDs. So, if the former is indeed true, a third round it is, because what else are you going to do? This is another sticking point for me - the job market in either of these fields, and in general is nowhere close to the academic job market, and further the humanities job market level of difficulty. People who complain about law/medicine jobs might be having a hard time getting the job they want, but if it is a job they need, and they are a reasonably qualified candidate, they'll likely work something out. For instance, do a search of law firms, medical offices, and hospitals in a city of your choice on google maps. Count them up - certainly they aren't all hiring, but some probably are, and say that number is even pretty low, like 5% of them are hiring a couple of people, and you might have 50-60 jobs in a medium-sized city. Now search for institutions of higher education, narrow it to ones that are not Capella/U of Phoenix, cut out CCs (not because they are not worthwhile, but because you don't really need a PhD to teach at them), and then look into the ones that have a religion department, and unless it is a large research university, you might have 2 profs in that department, and neither is close to retirement or considering leaving. Further, if either of them are, the college is probably going to just fold the full-time position and hire an adjunct or two to cover the courses, because they only have 13 students enroll in them each semester anyhow. So, there is probably a really good chance that for the same medium city there may be exactly 0 jobs. Maybe 1 visiting lecturer, and that is probably like winning $10,000 from a scratch-off ticket odds, and if there is one regular old full-time, tenure track job in religion, that is more like winning the actual lottery odds (however, this position might be for Asian religions, or American religious history, or sociology of religion - none of which you might be able to teach). So, while people will keep getting sick, and keep needing doctors; and keep buying houses, slipping on puddles of water in the grocery store, and trying to set up LLCs and needing lawyers - the sad truth is that no one really needs a religion professor (you may claim otherwise in an abstract sense, but I don't think you can make a utilitarian argument in the same manner). Also, there are thousands of different jobs that a person with a B* and M* could do, and probably do well, and do anywhere! If you take a year to learn RoR or Python, guess what - you can pick where you would like to live, get paid a lot more than even a mid-career academic, and have a trajectory that could in a year or two and with some certification have you doing pretty handsomely for yourself. Then you can buy all Harrassowitz editions of the North Semitic languages of the Levant that you want and read them in your spare time, which you'll probably have a lot of. I'm not trying to dissuade anyone from pursuing their vocation here, but rather suggest that the web of possibility spreads itself much wider and stronger than its gossamer strands might otherwise indicate.
  12. I think it should be built in to the Mac keyboards that you can select - up at the top of the screen where you see that little American flag, you should be able to select "ABC/US Extended" keyboard. In the drop-down menu, you should also be able to show the "keyboard viewer," which if you press the option key, should show all the transliteration symbols you need. I use it mostly for Middle Egyptian, but I think the symbols are mostly the same š, ẖ, ḥ, ā, etc. This way it also puts it in via unicode, which should be portable and won't require installing other fonts.
  13. If you've lived in Newark and knew how to take reasonable precaution there, that part of Dorchester will be fine. Overall, the greater Boston area tends to be remarkably safe.
  14. If you have $180k to spend, and you want to spend it on a DPhil from Oxford, I think that it is totally your choice. That money would likely be a better investment, from a purely economic perspective, elsewhere (like real estate, or maybe some conservative stocks where it could hang around for the three years that it might take you to get a DPhil), but if you have the spending bread to invest, the choice it really yours. Now, if this is your entire savings, I might reconsider, and take one of the options outlined above, but if say this is 180k out of a couple of million that you are sitting on (or maybe even as low as a half million or something), why not? Have fun in Oxford, learn a bunch, write a dissertation and see where it takes you. Most of the other posters are, I think cautioning against taking out this kind of money in loans, which at least in the US, the government will allow you to do, and which many (mostly white, Evangelical males) have been wont to do as of late. This would be a very poor investment, quite risky, and truly only for the raging masochists that Perique69 mentions. Even if you do get a job, it is likely not going to pay enough for you to possibly pay that loan off in your lifetime.
  15. For boats in the water, you can also check out Charles River Canoe & Kayak, they rent kayaks out at a number of points along the river, and have fairly reaosnable rates - they will do charges in 1/10 of an hour increments, so if you bring it back 5 minutes after 2 hours, you don't have to pay for an extra hour.. If you were going to be doing it all the time it could, as with Brooklyn Boulders get a bit pricey, but for a jaunt on the Charles from time to time it is nice.
  • Create New...

Important Information

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. See our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use