echo449

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echo449 last won the day on August 23 2015

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About echo449

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  1. One problem that you should be aware of is that these schools that you've listed may not support a "pure" theory dissertation--you may have to write a dissertation about literature, and/or go on the job market with the training they offer as a literature program. You should look at recent dissertations and the work of current students before you apply to these places, if literature as such is not your bag.
  2. Poetry or prose? For better or worse, the answer is that, in this job environment, the "best" programs for american lit map on to the US News top 20 pretty well (with Penn State, Davis and Vanderbilt as notable programs to include). This is not to say that these are the only programs to apply to, or that they are all created equal, but that big 20th century americanists tend to come from these places. Illinois @ Chicago is a notable exception to this advice, due to the presence of people like WBM. (this comment is based on where faculty that seem important to this graduate student are currently, and is not a value judgement on any program in particular).
  3. Hi, since no one has responded yet, I'll offer a couple bits of advice. 1) A score in the 90s will definitely help you. I cannot say how much, but will definitely help. 2) Contact can help, and it probably won't hurt. Odds are it won't make a difference--the nicest email interaction I had was with a Prof at a place that rejected me; places that accepted me didn't return emails at all. If you have a reason to contact a faculty member, do it! But people are busy, and, while interest is nice, many faculty struggle to give enough attention to their current students. 3) I did include some theory in my statement, in order to provide a summary of the project I was thinking of at teh time. Most of the use of theory in my statement was to demonstrate that I knew the field that I was entering rather than proving that I had "chops" per se. 4) No--you don't need publications going into grad school or a PhD. (If you have an MA, a conference or two looks good). 5) Nope! You are applying for a research degree--teaching is something you'll learn on the way.
  4. In the end, I think you have to choose between the two paths. An MAT won't be that helpful in getting admission to an English PhD program, nor will teaching high school. It won't keep you from an English PhD program in the future, but it won't count too much towards your application. If you want to pursue education, then you're probably in good shape to do so; if you want to pursue a degree in English now, you probably should switch to an English MA (or apply to PhDs). Just a uh word of caution: jobs are rare in every field in academia, and you should think about whether or not you would want to pursue a PhD if a "top research university" spot never opens up for you down the road.
  5. @TakeruK's....take is smart and well considered. My opinion also has to do with the market and funding--if you are both applying to 20-30 programs, thats 4-6k. If you both get accepted to proximate schools with less than ideal funding structures, there may be loans that you both have to take out. Almost no program, in the current market, can guarantee better than 50% placement, and the job market for 20th century american lit is bleak. Last year there were around 8 jobs interviewing at MLA. These are bad numbers, and, while I respect the energy and passion of other people in this thread, I think that life on the other end needs to be considered when recommending how many schools one should apply to. I feel like I should be more than a negative nancy, though, so, to OP, I guess I would advise you both to apply to the maximum number of schools that you can justify in the Northeast. If you both get into programs based around here, commuting to see each other/living together becomes a much more reasonable proposition than anywhere else in the country, imo. For people w/ yr interests, that would mean apps at Penn, Rutgers, Princeton, Columbia, NYU, Brown, Yale, CUNY, and Harvard. I know these are scary big name places, but idk if I'd rec anywhere else on the corridor. But, if you're grades and profiles are as encouraging as your profs say, then you should have decent shots anyways.
  6. Counterpoint: Please don't apply to 20 places. It isn't worth it, and if you've been denied admission from 10 schools, like I was during my first round of apps, it probably has more to do with your materials than with your limited net. Apply intelligently, and don't throw good money after bad.
  7. The short answer is: you should attend the best possible university with the best placement that you can if you want to go on the academic job market. At any decent PhD program, with professor's in your field (meaning: 20th american literature as a whole), you'll be able to pursue that project. The only difference is that the schools may not have seminars specifically on southern lit while you are in coursework.
  8. Many of the papers you will write in coursework will be 20 pages, so I would strongly consider expanding your work to at least 20 pages so you can demonstrate your capability to make a longer argument. Is there a portion of the paper that can be fleshed out theoretically? Is there historical background that could add nuance to your claim? Ask yrself questions like that to see where you could build a little more
  9. I basically did what you're asking about. My advisor saw one very early draft and gave me extensive feedback, but he never saw anything near the final product when I sent it out. I don't know if I recommend doing what I did, if you can avoid it. It led to a lot of stress for me, even though it did pay off in the end. If your good writing is in the same field that you're applying in (if not the methodology), then you should just use that.
  10. I don't have the time right now to speak to how you should tailor your SOP, but Max Cavitch at Penn works at precisely this intersection. Also, FWIW, psychoanalysis is still major in many avenues of theoretical thinking today. If you wanted to pursue it as a project, I think, with a little tinkering, you could easily make your interests sound relevant and up to date. We can talk more over PM if you want to discuss these things in more depth/ get some recommended texts.
  11. Your advisors don't need to be directly in your area of study (after all, you will probably have an outside reader for the diss!). What is important is finding faculty in field that you feel would support your own research--this is a different question than having the same particular interests. Your advisors are not there to direct your research so much as ensure that your research responds to and recognizably fits in with your area of study in general. I.e., if there are more than a few faculty working in the time period that you've chosen, and their methodologies are not directly opposed to what you want to do, you shouldn't worry about having no one to guide you.
  12. I hear what you're saying here, but, to be honest, this kind of problem is very much a product of you being in the early stages of your academic career. If your readings, when you decide to use a "lens," are coming out the same way every time, perhaps you should consider exploring more widely in the theory/criticism. One of the limits of the "lens" framing of critical language is that it makes decades of writing appear homogenous--it is a real possibility that you'll find these approaches much more lively and exciting in the future, after you've gone beyond the introductions to these fields that you received in undergrad. I understand this may sound a little condescending, but, speaking for myself and my experiences here, it's very hard to understand the scope of a field, and its possibilities, until you've been reading around in it for a couple years.
  13. AdornosDoorknob, I'm saying this as an Americanist, though not as an expert in Southern Literature, but any decent admissions committee will expect you to account for the white nationalism of the southern agrarian project if you decided to pursue it. I understand that you don't want to work on race, but I think critical race theory is going to be viewed (rightly, imo) as central to the project as you are articulating it right now. In terms of wanting to define post-postmodernism, well, I think that's a HUGE project that many people are already engaging in--even though, simultaneously, many people are also becoming tired of precisely that sort of labeling. I work on contemporary American literature, so I'd be happy to talk more over DM about recent work in the field.
  14. This is sorta unrelated (I think if they money is better, choose UIUC), but you should remove the email you received in your original post. It's a bad move to publish private correspondence online without permission.
  15. New Rankings

    Just to chime in on the article discussion: In general, you will be able to publish more articles in departments where you have more time off from teaching. Period. There are exceptions to this, but the reason that "elite" programs offer so much time off--whether their students want it or not--is that it gives people time to write, revise, and edit for the journal publication. So! If thinking about rankings is too abstract and determining, it's more useful to think about the material support that you will be offered.