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Hello,

I recently earned an MA in English, with an emphasis in literature, and I plan to continue my educational journey by applying to a PhD program. The issue I have is that I do not know what type of PhD to pursue. I have been blessed, or perhaps cursed with an eclectic taste in academic areas. My MA was an examination of Harvey Pekar's The Quitter, focusing on the juxtaposition between Pekar's text and Dean Haspiel's illustrations. However, my current obsession is with the Ramacharitmanas. Regardless of whether I write on graphic literature in the contemporary, European/American model or in the classical, Indian model, my writing will still deal with text and graphic interpretation and how the level of collaboration between the two parties, if there is any, effects the final product.

Would this topic fall under the purview of literature or comparative literature? If I focused on the Ramacharitmanas, would this topic fit in well with South Asian studies program? Is South Asian studies considered an interdisciplinary program? 

I eagerly await your input in this matter. 

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My advice is actually to look into American Studies programs. When I was an undergrad I wrote my honors thesis on graphic novels, and had a hard time finding any scholars in the English department who were knowledgeable- I was referred to a scholar in AmSt instead, which seems to be more open to interdisciplinary work than a lot of English programs. I would look up some prominent scholars in the field and reach out to them to see if they feel you would be a good fit for the program.

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To be honest, it sounds like applying to any of the programs I'm interested in would be a good bet. Minnesota's CSDS (or simply other PhDs at Minn w/ the grad minor in CSDS) might also be a good bet, especially since it housed with comp lit but allows better flexibility. There is also Northeastern, which is where Hillary Chute is.

Just as with CSDS, you might look at programs that focus more on studying methodology and theory. These programs may not necessarily have faculty working on graphic narrative/comics, but do grant you the freedom to look at a broad spectrum of "texts". Then again, funding and cohorts are less stable/large in such programs and you would need to be REALLY interested in critical theory.

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On 7/15/2018 at 10:09 AM, WSullivan said:

Is South Asian studies considered an interdisciplinary program? 

Yes.  At Columbia there are courses in the South Asian Studies program in the religion, history, anthropology, law, international/public affairs, etc. departments. 

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