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Picking a Dissertation field in an area studies program


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Hi all, I'm newly admitted to an area studies Ph.D. program, and now I'm trying to navigate ideas of a dissertation, I'm equally into history, comp lit, and religions of Middle East/South Asia. I'd like to hear thoughts about marketability and the job market for these fields. 

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I have a theory that area studies programs tend to breed more interdisciplinary scholars :lol: I'm in the same boat, vis a vis history/comp lit, which seems to bug 'pure' scholars on both sides when I talk to them, as they end up thinking I can't do either of them properly.

I'm not sure about in the US, but in the UK area studies isn't doing well at all and departments are closing left right and centre - the Middle East Studies department at my current institution got axed last year, as did MA programs for other area studies departments. Staff are all leaving and/or transferring into other fields. So if the US is any the same, perhaps you'll struggle to find a job for area studies, which may mean you want to specialise in something (history, comp lit or religious studies) more acutely over the course of your PhD.

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It's an American ivy. True, I talked to others who went through this and confirmed that it's imperative to ground oneself in a discipline for better chances at finding a professorship. I sense that comp-lit is also on the downside of job market due to its eclectic nature, and many end up at a national literature department or teaching languages. There's also politics, but then poli sci departments are highly quantitative here, something area studies don't do well at. That leaves us pretty much to history! And then old fashioned history is dying out, and environmental, racial, cultural, material and else are dominating. 

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