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About Bleep_Bloop

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  1. UW Madison French?

    This isn't a red flag against the Department, but I would warn people off from applying to Madison, or to any program in the UW System. I'm originally from Wisconsin, and have had family that worked for UW. I basically grew up there. I realize this might be TMI but it's difficult to communicate just how furious I am (and many locals are) about the state of the University of Wisconsin. In 2016 $250 MILLION was gutted across the UW system, and the humanities have been hit the worst. When this was first announced (Scott Walker sought to cut $300 million), there was a mass exodus of academics from Wisconsin, including my own mother. A friend applied to the Classics department at Madison last year and was only guaranteed 2 (maybe 3?) years of funding. The department tried to woo her by saying they were "confident" she wouldn't have a problem securing funding for the remainder of her degree, but given how unstable the local politics are, and how hostile Scott Walker is towards education (he himself never finished Marquette University, leaving after a controversy regarding his campaign for student body president), she was smart not to risk it. The governor has also proposed to formally remove the "Wisconsin Idea" from the university's mission statement, and his government de facto controls the board of regents. Bad, bad, bad. Sorry to be such a downer, but I'm really bitter about how this asshole ruined an amazing public university system in the blink of an eye. And largely just for conservative posturing in hopes of a presidential bid that subsequently flopped in about 3 months.
  2. Writing Sample Dilemmas

    I'm ABD and applying to a TT assistant prof job in the humanities (language and literature department) at a research university, for which my work is objectively a good fit. However, I'm debating between two possible writing samples. The first would be a chapter of my dissertation, which is directly related to the specialization the committee is looking for. The second pertains to a side project that is in a parallel subfield (one of the secondary specializations the committee is looking for). While it's not as relevant as the first, it is forthcoming in a top-3 journal. I'm getting conflicting advice from committee members...some say that an application with a sample that isn't directly relevant to the ad will certainly get tossed in the reject pile. Others say that having a peer-reviewed article, especially one in a top journal, looks far more impressive to the committee than simply submitting a dissertation chapter. Does anyone here have any advice? I'm leaning towards the dissertation chapter to highlight my fit...the article will still be on my CV of course. I'm just not sure if submitting a diss chapter as a writing sample weakens the application overall.
  3. PhD Horror Story

    I'm curious: couldn't you have put an embargo on your dissertation so that it can't be accessed online? Or is this timeline including the embargo? I'm in a book field and embargos of about 4-5 years are quite common, while the author expands the diss into book form.
  4. No Country For Slow Men [or Women]

    I've heard of this before and am curious what others think. Don't mean to hijack the thread, might be worth starting a separate one on this topic. Briefly, though, this sounds nice, but naive. Try convincing your hiring or tenure committee of the "slow academia" movement and see how that goes...
  5. No Country For Slow Men [or Women]

    Yes, there is hope. I have a couple of colleagues who identify as slow readers and writers. One thing to consider is that "slow" is obviously relative. Have you talked to anyone about this? It might not necessarily be helpful or appropriate to compare, but you might be surprised to find that many others work slowly too. Talk to someone you trust or think would be objective. People like to show off their "productivity", but I have a hard time believing most when they brag about their workload because almost everyone who does so either exaggerates or doesn't work very effectively (i.e. a lot of that time is spent on Facebook, daydreaming, or performing menial tasks that serve as procrastination tactics). Also, there are many different reading/writing styles among successful academics. Some read slowly, but thoroughly. Others skim and re-read strategically when necessary. The same is true of writing. Some revise while writing. Others write a lot quickly and don't worry about revising it until later. You might not always have the time to read everything slowly and thoroughly (like when you're preparing for generals/comps, and often during coursework). But slow reading can be a very helpful tactic when you're preparing the dissertation and addressing the core bibliography. Again, the same is true of writing. There will be moments when you need to write quickly, and others when it will be more advantageous to really focus and work slowly. What I think takes time is acquiring the flexibility to adjust your reading/writing style as appropriate. But that's what grad school is for! I would estimate that most people don't come into grad school with these skills. Your coursework is obviously intended to teach you the content of the field, but it also teaches you (though not explicitly) reading and writing strategies. I don't have anything specific I can recommend you, this just happened to me throughout my coursework. You find ways to cut corners. Your note-taking strategies evolve. You get more comfortable just scanning a document for key terms. You know when to simply read the introduction, conclusion, and first/last sentence of body paragraphs and when to read everything in detail. As you become more experienced grappling with the current debates and core problems of your discipline you spend less time thinking through complex ideas that you were encountering for the first time as an undergraduate or masters student. You just get faster with experience.
  6. Ph.D. in Spanish/Portuguese

    I understand you mention 'preliminary' research, but I feel obligated to give a disclaimer and say that I think it's certainly too early to start thinking about applications at your stage. However, it wouldn't hurt to simply browse the faculty pages at different departments. You can start with some well-regarded ones (NYU, Princeton, Columbia, Penn, Berkeley, Duke, Cornell) and look at publications and current research projects to identify scholars who share your interests. This not only will give you a broader idea of what's going on in the field, but what departments might be a good fit for you in the future. Take some notes, track down books or articles that appeal to you, and read some of them over the summer. Edit: Just wanted to add that given your interests (which admittedly are very diverse) and your language background, perhaps Comp Lit programs would interest you as well.
  7. Job market as 4th year humanities student

    Thank you both for the replies! I tried googling for advice on blogs or websites related to the profession but hadn't come up with much. It's reassuring to get similar advice regarding the breadth of applications. Most students I've talked to about this have given me a quizzical look and wondered why I wouldn't apply to any opening remotely relevant to my sub-discipline, given the state of the market. My intuition has always told me that this will likely harm a candidate in the long-run, and should only be done if you're getting towards the end of the rope (i.e. it's your last possible job cycle and you're just throwing everything down). On academic job wikis from my field I've seen people write that they've submitted 40, sometimes 50+ job applications and I can't even fathom the amount of time that would take. My adviser has told me to just keep my head down and maintain my writing schedule until the end of summer...besides mentally committing to going on the job market, it's time to just wait and see what jobs start being posted in September. It's flattering that he thinks I'm competitive, but it took me entirely by surprise and generated professional jitters. I appreciate the advice re: if you're basically doing the work of a post-doc, you may as well be paid as one and have the title on your CV. I hadn't thought in those terms. That said, I should have probably included in my original post that I'll also be applying to post-docs. In my field post-docs are not required for TT jobs, however. Anyone who is competitive for a post-doc is competitive for a TT job, perhaps because post-docs are scarcer in the humanities. They're usually only found at prestigious institutions...the largest humanities post-doc programs (perhaps 3-5 offers per cycle) are at Columbia, Princeton, UChicago, Michigan, etc. It's not uncommon for competitive candidates to snag both a TT position and a post-doc in the same cycle, and then negotiate with the institution offering the TT to defer the job for the fellowship. That's obviously the best of all possible worlds, but I've seen it happen.
  8. Job market as 4th year humanities student

    I'm about to enter my fourth year in a humanities program (funded for 5 years, possibility of a sixth year). My advisor is suggesting I go on the job market in the fall. After a few days of thinking this over, I'm still unsure what to think of the idea. But first, here's a little background: I entered with a BA, almost straight out of undergrad (deferred for a Fulbright). I found my thesis topic early (in my first semester, partially thanks to the time for exploration afforded by the Fulbright). While I didn't officially begin writing until my third year, I had been thinking about this research and presenting it at major conferences. Come September, I'll have three major presentations under my belt (at the annual conference of my discipline), along with 3 smaller conferences. I'll have two forthcoming articles from top-3 journals and a forthcoming co-edited special issue at a top-3 journal. I've organized three conferences and networked well, in my opinion. I have three semesters of teaching experience under my belt (the rest of my studies was funded by fellowships). I feel like (and have been told by the faculty) that I've been doing all the right things. So now my reservations: I still have one, most likely two more years of fellowship funding where I could churn out a lot of material (no teaching obligations). I don't want to waste that time and prematurely saddle myself with teaching and administrative responsibilities. I have a chapter and a half of my dissertation written at the moment. With the writing schedule I've set myself, I expect to have half of the dissertation completed by September. Yet I could still use that extra time in a fifth and sixth year to further refine and get a jump-start on prepping the diss. for book conversion, expanding its scope, etc. I could also begin laying the foundation for a second project. Yet at the same time I realize that I'm in the position to take a crack at the market now, which gives me more opportunities in the long run. I could have, in theory, three shots if I start now. If I strike out, the fellowships will still be there. Yet if I do land a TT job, obviously I take it...but then forfeit those fellowships. I was wondering if anyone on the forum has been in a similar situation, or has advice... Going on the job market is very time-intensive, obviously, and will likely slow my writing down in that period. Yet it can only increase my chances by allowing me multiple shots at the market. Would this be premature?
  9. Publishing your BA thesis

    The definition of decent is subjective, obviously. But yes, there are many, many half-baked articles out there. A lot doesn't need to be published but makes its way into journals, in part because programs push professionalization so much. And the academic-industrial-complex profits off it (there's real money to be made for publishers, of course). The structure of tenure also contributes to this, but that's a discussion for another thread. I'm not implying that this is true in your case because I haven't read your work. But in my experience (in the humanities), undergraduates really only publish for the novelty of it (and because they think it will get them into a top graduate program), not because the field really needs their research. The problem is that anyone with the proper training sees these publications for what they are. No offense, but you really should spend more time in the field before you approach publication. As an undergraduate you're just not prepared to produce the kind of work for a leading journal (the only work you should be striving to publish). How can you be? You don't even have a BA. I would sit on it. There's no need to publish now, so why rush it? You have a long road ahead of you and your thought will mature. Let the article ripen. Put it aside and continue training in your discipline. Explore parallel fields. Learn additional languages while you still have the time. Continue to practice your writing and hone your style. This is time to grow, not to worry about the profession. Then go back to it; I guarantee you'll have a much better article. You'll be able to publish in a higher-ranked journal and it'll likely serve your career better. You don't want to waste your material by rushing a publication. I see this mistake a lot (I myself felt the pressure to do so). At the BA and MA-level, your job is to learn. Again: you won't need publications for PhD programs (you really, really won't).
  10. Medical marijuana use as a PhD holder?

  11. When and where to publish?

    I'm in a book field. A major reason that you have to be careful with what you publish, in addition to the point above about quality vs. quantity, is that you can't publish too much of your dissertation research in article form and then still expect to flip the dissertation into a book down the line. Publishers understandably won't want a book that already has, say, 2 chapters published in article form. The goal is to publish one chapter as an article in a top journal before going on the job market so that you get exposure and introduce your project to the field. You can keep presenting this research at conferences, but in terms of publications you hold off until you're ready to publish the entire project in book form. You should always try to develop a separate line of research, on top of your dissertation and teaching. In my field, people typically develop a seminar paper on an unrelated topic that the professor has found particularly close to article quality. If you spend a couple weeks of a summer break on this you can prep it to article form and send it out. But that's typically it: 2 articles and then the job market. Don't get intimidated by people with 5 or more. There's a lot of crap that gets published. Academic publishing is an industry, after all. My experience (and all my faculty mentors that have served on search committees) has taught me that hiring really is about quality over quantity. I've seen many grad students get tenure-track jobs at ivys in the humanities with less, sometimes without any publications at all. And the committee's barometer is typically correct: these people go on to publish amazing books, in part because they weren't distracted by pushing out 3 or more tepid articles a year. Search committees at research universities in the humanities are primarily concerned with the quality of the dissertation and how good they think the book version will be about 3 years down the line. They're also very interested in the second book project, hence the importance of developing a second line of research that you can pitch them.
  12. Medical marijuana use as a PhD holder?

    This may be because I'm in the humanities, but I've always had the feeling that administrators couldn't drug test faculty or grad students even if they wanted to because they'd lose half the university.
  13. Princeton, NJ

    This is the cheapest way to get to/from the airport, and it's what most grad students do. Your only other option would be to book a shuttle or a taxi. Also, I would not recommend flying into JFK/LaGuardia/Philly. I also rely on the train, which should take no more than an hour and a half to get from the Dinky to the terminal. Few delays, schedules are well synchronized, and it's as cheap as you'll get. For these reasons I typically recommend the train, but it depends on how much you're willing to pay for the comfort of not having to lug your bags around. Shuttles will be $50+ and can take almost as long as the train, depending on the number of pick-ups/drop-offs. You won't have to worry about handling your bags on the airtrain, Trenton line, or Dinky, however. Taxis are the fastest and most comfortable option but will cost $100+.
  14. I can't speak to the workload of a masters program, but can share my experience in seminars at an ma/phd program. We're required to take 15 seminars over five semesters in the first half of the program. That comes down to 3 a semester, but realistically it's not distributed evenly. There were semesters I took four so that in others I could only take two (when preparing my prospectus and teaching simultaneously, for example). The weekly workload for seminars came out to be about 1 long book (or two shorter ones) along with a selection of articles or individual book chapters, and then supplementary material like films, images, etc. I had a fellowship and didn't have to teach in my first year, which helped. But in the second and third year coursework on top of teaching and research commitments was challenging. I'd say I averaged 50-60 hours of study/teaching a week on the low end (this includes time spent in seminar and teaching) and 60-70 on the high end. I tend to work 6 days a week, Monday - Saturday, averaging 10 hours a day split between different responsibilities. The hardest part of coursework was the balancing act and feeling like I didn't have time for it all, between coursework, teaching, research, service (organizing conferences and lectures), attending supplementary lectures and events in the department, studying for comps, preparing the prospectus, etc. Your experience as a masters student might not be the same. I would imagine that the obligation to do research would be significantly lower (depending on whether your program requires a thesis), as would the expectation to contribute to the department's intellectual culture by organizing and attending lectures and colloquia, etc. That said, I'd still do it over again if given the chance. It's such a stimulating environment and I grew so much both personally and academically. I didn't always think that in the moment, however. In regards to eating, sleeping, relationships, etc. I was single for the first year and a half of my program and found it very difficult to date and meet new people because I was always in the library. With more experience I was a more efficient worker and found time to date and go out with friends every other weekend. I was able to exercise regularly except during the two-week paper-writing period at the end of every semester. I was able to travel plenty over summers for my research, on grants. I averaged 40 hours a week over summers on research, preparing for comps, etc. Towards the end of my coursework I even was able to carve out time every week for personal creative projects. Throughout my whole time during coursework I was able to average 8 hours of sleep a night, but I made it a priority because I knew it would have been counter-productive to get any less than that. When things got really busy at the end of the semester, however, I'd get as little as 6 on weeknights but caught up over the weekend. Like I said, this is from the perspective of a ma/phd program. But if your long-term goals include the PhD and an academic career, this has been my experience. Hope this helps!
  15. At my university (in a literature program) 3 final papers of 25-30 pages is typical of the average course load. In the fall semester we have 3 weeks. However, the spring semester is much more challenging because the calendar only allows 10 days. You either start early or you very literally don't do anything else during those 10 days. I dedicate my mid-term breaks (the week-long thanksgiving break in the fall or the spring break) to the research process of the paper. Between that time and the end of the semester I do more research, sketch an outline, meet with the professor for feedback. This part is quite hard to balance with regular course assignments and teaching responsibilities. Then during the time we're allotted at the end of the semesters I sit down and crank out 5-10 pages a day, followed by 2 days of revisions. It's really hard to balance writing papers with the rest of your coursework and teaching, which is why time management is so important. I dedicate nights to my regular responsibilities (reading books and papers for seminar, preparing presentations, planning lessons, etc) and then weekends to working on the final paper projects. It's overwhelming but it breaks you down and forces you to make your research and writing process extremely efficient.