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5 minutes ago, sugilite said:

Oops--so sorry, should have mentioned that he also went there decades ago (he's a full professor now), so it may have changed significantly.  

I talked to a Michigan PhD student who has friends in the Chicago program and knows some faculty, and she said that her impression (granted, this is an outsider's impression, mediated to all of you by me, so take this with a grain of salt) is that while the program used to be incredibly intense and internally competitive, that the department is trying to move away from that kind of culture. Apparently the way they used to do the PhD program was that they'd accept a decent amount of people into the program, but then have most of them leave after completing the MA. Haven't backed up her claim with any research of my own, but I can see how that level of intensity and competition for spots would lead to a "masochistic" program. But the Michigan grad student I talked to said that they've moved away from that model, and are working to have a somewhat more collaborative environment.

Again, all of this is hearsay, but at least it's heartening hearsay!

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12 minutes ago, sugilite said:

@lyonel_ Is she one of the people at UCSD that you're hoping to work with? 

 

She is! However, in my research, I'm less focused on just the visual culture aspect of her work and more so on sensational mediums 

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5 minutes ago, flungoutofspace said:

yikes. but quite frankly, is it ever possible for one to find a place that is completely devoid of departmental politics? i'm genuinely asking this because it is a concern of mine and some of my friends, especially given the whole avit*l r*nell fiasco that went down in nyu's complit department last year... (whatever it is, however, i'm hoping that my next few years will be relatively politics and drama-free.) 

Honestly, I don't think it is. I've worked in many offices in my career with varying amounts of the same drama that I truly believe anywhere there's a bunch of people, there will be politics and drama. I expect grad school will be no different. 

As a side note, I had planned to apply to NYU but after reading the stuff on that disaster I decided not to. It wasn't so much the drama as the complete lack of accountability from the admin. I'm not interested in being somewhere that's basically a free for all for important people.

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5 minutes ago, Bopie5 said:

Again, all of this is hearsay, but at least it's heartening hearsay!

Yes, definitely! Sorry again for causing any commotion. Plus, maybe that's what they're trying to do with the interviews? Find collaborative-minded people? 

RE: Departmental politics--I agree there will probably always be a little something going on, but they can still be healthy environments! I'm mostly interested in a place with equal funding because from what I hear having to compete for funding sounds like it creates a lot of toxicity. 

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3 minutes ago, sugilite said:

Yes, definitely! Sorry again for causing any commotion.

No, don't be sorry! Any and all information is helpful in decision making processing. A program's history surely informs its present, one way or another! Mostly I'm sad to hear that your prof had that experience 😕 In the end, I guess those of us who end up with interviews or visits will get an actual sense of the program, and it won't matter much for the rest of us, right?

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3 hours ago, placeinspace said:

Yep! Can't wait for 3 weeks from now when I haven't gotten a Chicago invite and therefore know I've been rejected. It's honestly going to be a relief from all this stress and waiting haha.

I have this exact thought about four times a day.

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34 minutes ago, sugilite said:

RE: Chicago--One of my letter of recommendation writers did his PhD there, and described it as "masochism masquerading as education." From his description, everyone seemed to try to play mind games, so I would ignore the interview post for now! 

LOL sounds like some of the stuff we heard regarding Chicago last year when Harvard was trying to convince Husband (he didn't even get into Chicago though so 🤔). I believe "snake pit" was the phrase used.

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2 hours ago, breemartini said:

Hello everyone! I graduated in December 2017 with a BA in English. I am currently an AmeriCorps Tutor in Newark, NJ with MMUF, the Leadership Alliance, Sigma Tau Delta, and a variety of professional experiences under my belt. I was also a Semi-Finalist for a Fulbright Taught Masters. This is my first time applying to PhD programs, and it was definitely more intense than I expected - I learned a lot about my organizational skills in the process, and I am happy/proud to have finished everything with a bit of time to spare.

A very brief description of my research aspirations: I hope to center my studies around magical realism and magical feminism in Latin American and Afro-Latinx diasporic fiction, poetry, and performance. I intend to evaluate how textual elements of magical feminism are physically manifested in performances, and how performative spaces foster the creation of writer-activist communities that are continuously in conversation with the original works. 

Regardless of results, everyone should feel accomplished for making it to this point. I hope that the new year motivates us all to stay productive with personal/professional projects in the interim - I know I am devoting some time this month to ground myself by re-establishing some long-term goals that will not be affected by upcoming acceptances and/or rejections. Sending love and best-wishes 😸

Welcome!  

I love magical realism/feminism!  My first encounter with the concept was Ana Castillo's So Far from God in a Chicano Lit class a couple of years ago.  I've since read that book probably 100 more times, it's just so good.  Are there any specific texts you would recommend? 

You're exactly right, we all achieved something worthwhile in getting through the application process, which can't be diminished by the results.  It's nice to see the reminder here, though, as I'm very good at diminishing my own efforts when they don't yield what I want.  So thank you :)

I think sharing some long term goals might be fun on this thread.  For me, if I don't get accepted this go around, I'm moving to Chicago anyway.  I was there last month and I fell in love with the city, I can still find decent rent there, and I'm overdue for a big move anyway.  Just thinking about it makes me excited and feel less insecure about how my applications are going to be received.  

 

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4 minutes ago, kendalldinniene said:

I think sharing some long term goals might be fun on this thread.  For me, if I don't get accepted this go around, I'm moving to Chicago anyway.  I was there last month and I fell in love with the city, I can still find decent rent there, and I'm overdue for a big move anyway.  Just thinking about it makes me excited and feel less insecure about how my applications are going to be received.  

I love this idea! Regardless of the outcome, I'll be in Chicago for the marathon next October- such a great city!

If I don't get in/get sufficient funding, I'll be moving to San Diego at the end of the summer. Like you, I'm overdue for a move and my plan B is keeping me very excited!

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@kendalldinniene that is super exciting - as someone who has experienced very little of the US, i have always said chicago is the one place i have dreamed of living if i ever made a permanent move overseas, so please vicariously live out my dream for me!

long term goals on my end... i'd like to move back to london if i don't get onto any phds, and i have a lot of friends there currently so that seems quite doable and exciting all in one! i'm also currently working on a novel (holla @ everyone's poetry/fiction discussion a couple of pages back) and my ambition is to finish, revise the hell out of it, and send it out to agents so that should give me some good post-rejection distraction if i need it! i'm working in academic publishing currently but i'd love to move towards more trade publishing in the next couple of years maybe - who knows!

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In terms of long term goals (although these are really more short-term), if I don't get in, I'm planning on moving home for six-seven months (free rent + free food + my dog = good things) and getting certified as a yoga instructor! After that, reapply for the next cycle. Also looking in to some international humanitarian aid opportunities for the early parts of 2020! No idea what I'm thinking if I don't get into grad school on either the 2019 or 2020 cycle though. Maybe move to Scotland with a friend of mine who lives there?

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6 minutes ago, dangermouse said:

@kendalldinniene that is super exciting - as someone who has experienced very little of the US, i have always said chicago is the one place i have dreamed of living if i ever made a permanent move overseas, so please vicariously live out my dream for me!

long term goals on my end... i'd like to move back to london if i don't get onto any phds, and i have a lot of friends there currently so that seems quite doable and exciting all in one! i'm also currently working on a novel (holla @ everyone's poetry/fiction discussion a couple of pages back) and my ambition is to finish, revise the hell out of it, and send it out to agents so that should give me some good post-rejection distraction if i need it! i'm working in academic publishing currently but i'd love to move towards more trade publishing in the next couple of years maybe - who knows!

I'll live out your Chicago dream while you live my move to London and get a book published dream.  It's a deal.

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1 hour ago, Bopie5 said:

I talked to a Michigan PhD student who has friends in the Chicago program and knows some faculty, and she said that her impression (granted, this is an outsider's impression, mediated to all of you by me, so take this with a grain of salt) is that while the program used to be incredibly intense and internally competitive, that the department is trying to move away from that kind of culture. Apparently the way they used to do the PhD program was that they'd accept a decent amount of people into the program, but then have most of them leave after completing the MA. Haven't backed up her claim with any research of my own, but I can see how that level of intensity and competition for spots would lead to a "masochistic" program. But the Michigan grad student I talked to said that they've moved away from that model, and are working to have a somewhat more collaborative environment.

Again, all of this is hearsay, but at least it's heartening hearsay!

Can confirm this hearsay! I've talked to a PhD alum who's now a postdoc in Chicago's English dept. and he has confirmed both that history and that it is completely different now. He's told me he found his mentors smart, eager to collaborate, and the department full of intellectual energy. And he mentioned individual mentorship in each of the years, increasing support on placement and guiding people onto the market. The one thing he did mention as negative was the fact that the university did not approve a grad student's union, despite overwhelming support from students and faculty. But that stuff has been happening at plenty of other places, too...

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5 minutes ago, FiguresIII said:

Can confirm this hearsay! I've talked to a PhD alum who's now a postdoc in Chicago's English dept. and he has confirmed both that history and that it is completely different now. He's told me he found his mentors smart, eager to collaborate, and the department full of intellectual energy. And he mentioned individual mentorship in each of the years, increasing support on placement and guiding people onto the market. The one thing he did mention as negative was the fact that the university did not approve a grad student's union, despite overwhelming support from students and faculty. But that stuff has been happening at plenty of other places, too...

Good news! That is a relief to hear from someone who's currently within the department. Lack of union is definitely a con, but everything else sounds like a dream, especially energy and collaborative spirit!

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1 hour ago, flungoutofspace said:

yikes. but quite frankly, is it ever possible for one to find a place that is completely devoid of departmental politics? i'm genuinely asking this because it is a concern of mine and some of my friends, especially given the whole avit*l r*nell fiasco that went down in nyu's complit department last year... (whatever it is, however, i'm hoping that my next few years will be relatively politics and drama-free.) 

Every department will have its own dynamic/issues/tensions but some can definitely be more welcoming and accepting for graduate students and graduate work than others. There's also institutional politics that can impact your experience - sometimes antagonistically. I love my current department - there are differences but on the whole we're a close, collegial bunch. My institution on the other hand could do a lot more for the humanities - for as much as they love to tout the strength of our programs, they love to cut our funding. Echoing others, a graduate employee union can be really helpful too, and I recommend inquiring as to whether your potential programs have them, what membership is like, and what the organizing is like. My union has definitely ensured part of my happiness. Current graduate students in potential programs are great resources as to atmosphere, department life, and institutional politics.

Also, re: Frankenstein and abjection, Susan Stryker's article,  on Frankenstein and Transgender Rage is great! Somewhat tangential to your original research - but could be an interesting read.

Edited by savay

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My daughter was also strongly advised not to apply to University of Chicago by an alumni for similar reasons. 

I just assumed that he meant it was an environment that would be bad for my daughter but that other personalities might thrive in. 

I think that we have to take these recommendations with a pound of salt. 

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i begged my roommate to call the English department and ask about the interview invite lol they have not sent out interview invites yet! they're still reviewing applications. we can continue to collectively hold our breaths 🙃 it's silly to lie about things you can just call to confirm about...

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^shear madness! although...it puts the time I've been thirstily scanning this site into sobering perspective......

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1 hour ago, savay said:

Also, re: Frankenstein and abjection, Susan Stryker's article,  on Frankenstein and Transgender Rage is great! Somewhat tangential to your original research - but could be an interesting read.

This is highkey one of my FAVORITE essays out there! I used it in my Frankenstein paper. I reread it every couple months, it's so fascinating and well written, and sooooo quotable in places. 

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1 minute ago, Bopie5 said:

This is highkey one of my FAVORITE essays out there! I used it in my Frankenstein paper. I reread it every couple months, it's so fascinating and well written, and sooooo quotable in places. 

this brings up a great topic. favorite articles/chapters anyone? things you end up referencing frequently in your work?

i found the introduction to the affect theory reader (written by Greg Seigworth and Melissa Gregg) to be beautifully written. i also love the introduction of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Touching Feeling. i have PDFs of both if anyone wants them!

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OMG PDF SWAP?!?!? would love to chew on that sedgwick intro! 

Mbembe’s necropolitics is up there for me.

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36 minutes ago, mandelbulb said:

i found the introduction to the affect theory reader (written by Greg Seigworth and Melissa Gregg) to be beautifully written. i also love the introduction of Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick's Touching Feeling. i have PDFs of both if anyone wants them!

I would absolutely love both of these :) I need to get into the habit of reading scholarship for its own sake and I love Sedgwick's work. So yes please haha (and it would also help distract me from reading way too much into the admissions database. Video games help but then I'm back into The Grad Cafe again...)

Wishing you all good luck in this waiting game!

Been kinda biting my fingernails way too much. SUNY-Buffalo is one of the programs I applied to and hearing that they do early admits made the waiting game go from 'ok it's just an abstract concept right now' to 'my god it's actually real somebody help me' in a span of one day.

Edited by Ranmaag

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3 hours ago, kendalldinniene said:

Welcome!  

I love magical realism/feminism!  My first encounter with the concept was Ana Castillo's So Far from God in a Chicano Lit class a couple of years ago.  I've since read that book probably 100 more times, it's just so good.  Are there any specific texts you would recommend? 

You're exactly right, we all achieved something worthwhile in getting through the application process, which can't be diminished by the results.  It's nice to see the reminder here, though, as I'm very good at diminishing my own efforts when they don't yield what I want.  So thank you :)

I think sharing some long term goals might be fun on this thread.  For me, if I don't get accepted this go around, I'm moving to Chicago anyway.  I was there last month and I fell in love with the city, I can still find decent rent there, and I'm overdue for a big move anyway.  Just thinking about it makes me excited and feel less insecure about how my applications are going to be received.  

 

Thank you! : 0 ) Two fantastic (and foundational) magical feminism texts are Their Dogs Came With Them by Helena Maria Viramontes and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I am currently making my way through a collection of short stories by García Márquez - his stories are always a safe bet. Borges also has a ton of short stories that are must-reads. 

I love your goal of moving to Chicago! It is definitely unhealthy and unrealistic to attach your worth to this application cycle. Your worth is tied to all of your great ideas and how you move forward with them, independent of institutions!

If I am not admitted to any programs, I would move back home to Los Angeles and work towards landing a job that would help me gain more experience leading creative projects that are social-justice oriented. I really want to connect my love for art and writing with my desire to help young people from underrepresented backgrounds.

Edited by breemartini

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7 minutes ago, breemartini said:

Thank you! : 0 ) Two fantastic (and foundational) magical feminism texts are Their Dogs Came With Them by Helena Maria Viramontes and The House of the Spirits by Isabel Allende. I am currently making my way through a collection of short stories by García Márquez - his stories are always a safe bet. Borges also has a ton of short stories that are must-reads. 

I love your goal of moving to Chicago! It is definitely unhealthy and unrealistic to attach your worth to this application cycle. Your worth is tied to all of your great ideas and how you move forward with them, independent of institutions!

If I am not admitted to any programs, I would move back home to Los Angeles and work towards landing a job that would help me gain more experience leading creative projects that are social-justice oriented. I really want to connect my love for art and writing with my desire to help young people from underrepresented backgrounds.

I love that goal ❤️ If I end up going to LA maybe I can hit you up for some advice about the area? I’ve only ever been for vacation and not tor years.

Also, I ordered TDCWT, thank you for the rec, I’m excited to read it!

Good luck to you this cycle, I can’t wait to see everyone’s results come in!  I have a feeling a lot of congratulations will be in order.

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