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=== '''2011 - 2012 Venting ''' ===
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This is less of a vent and more of a question - if you're going out on the job market and have an interdisciplinary degree, should you go to all the job fairs - erm, I mean "conferences" - that the job postings say they will be conducting interviews? For example, I have applications out to colleges that are conducting interviews at AHA and MLA - do I scrounge up the cash and go to both? I've already gone to one such conference, and as MLA and AHA loom, I wonder if I should try to go to those as well. Do the search committees let you know ahead of time if they'd like to interview you at these conferences, or do you show up and hope (my strategy at the last one - no interview requests prior to my going to the conference, though I found out through this wiki that the schools I was hoping to get interviews with had scheduled them at the conference, so... well, I got to mark them off my list of possibilities, at least)? As we all know, graduate students are a bit cash strapped, and while I could easily borrow money from a family member to get to go to both AHA and MLA, I'm hesitant to do so in case they pan out like the conference I already attended. It's not a waste of my time and money, per se, to go to these things, but I'm not sure how they work at all. Should I email the search committees? Should I just try my luck and rack up some more frequent flier miles? Advice? Expereince? How do these things work? I've heard that some folks get a 24 hour heads-up on interviews at these conferences, and I did not explicitly say that I would be attending either conference in my cover letters... I'm ABD, set to graduate in May, so I'm quite antsy about this stiutation; I suppose my "vent" would be that this sort of stuff is impossibly frustrating to navigate. Thanks!
   
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- Hi there polite venter :) I'm in a field where MLA is my conference and this is my second year on the job market so I can speak from direct experience about what happens at MLA in terms of the job search component. MLA interviews are all scheduled beforehand and I believe even their "official job space" (in distinction to the hotel rooms scattered across the city where interviews will take place) might have a no job solicitation rule (or at least de facto practice). Unlike an NCA or an NWSA, departments interviewing at MLA do not (or it's so rare I've never heard of it) hold open calls or cocktail hours where they recruit for positions at all (some do host cocktail hours, but these definitely seem to work differently than the ones departments of communications at NCA who seem to advertise the purpose of these events to explicitly invite candidates to put a face to an anonymous application, even if they have already conducted preconference interviews). I have not had anyone I know personally get 24 hour notice (not saying it doesn't happen) for an MLA interview but I have heard of about a week (say now that our conference starts Jan 4, receiving an interview Dec 27 or 28, my anecdotal evidence tells me this is rare, but that Dec 20/21 could actually be common). I don't know if this is because of conference timing (NCA and NWSA are so much earlier in the year, perhaps candidates fall through, some committees are not ready yet for the interview stage based on job approval timing, etc) and I don't know if this might have happened more at a pre-2008 MLA conference. My gut feeling at MLA is that although everyone knows the job market is restricted and that so many of us are "hungry" for a position - to actually do something pro-active about it at the conference (such as seek out an exchange with a search committee that has not been scheduled) might come off less favorably. That said, if there are a handful of jobs that you are really focused on and you can tell on the wiki you didn't make the interview list, there is a part of me that still might be brash enough to send an email to the search chair (if that info is available) to express continued interest and mention you will be at MLA if anything falls through. Again, that may be totally offputting to some, but what if they did have an interview spot that opened up because soomeone canceled on them? If I had already received a rejection I would not do this, but last year there were at least two schools where I made the "request for more materials stage" but not the final interview list stage where I felt tempted to email something to the like.
Return to [[The venting page]]
 
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It has been five years since my husband is trying to find his dream TT job. In the meantime he first was a graduate student, then a postdoc at a prestigious university for four years, and now he is moving to a "Visiting Assistant Professor" position, which is a non-TT. Also in the meantime I have had my own TT position in a city 2000 miles away from my husband. We have sacrificed time that would be spent together, money that would otherwise go to a great mortgage or a retirment account, and many peaceful nights because of deep thinking about how our lives are slipping away from us. But we have not given up. He has been persistently trying and working day and night to improve his applications. I was working very hard to maybe find a job that would be willing to give my husband a spousal hire. Even though it has been hard, we have been persistent and following our dreams, which I am very proud of. And then what happens? The other postdoc who is sitting in the next door office for the past three years and spending her days drinking coffee at the coffee-shop on campus and going to happy hours, who published only one decent articles in the past three years compared to my husband's five, and who presented her work with my husband for the job talk, gets my husband's dream job. Now tell me: is this fair? How can I continue encouraging my husband to pursue our dreams when he sees this? How cannot the SCs see the passion and hardwork here? What are we missing?
   
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--Guess who was also at happy hour and sipping lattes at the coffee shop? It's not fair, but stick with it because someone will see the passion and hardwork and be happy to have you both!
=== '''2011 - May 2012 Venting ''' ===
 
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OP, I sympathize greatly (and can directly relate) with your husband's plight. I've seen many excellent scholars vanish from the scene entirely, I've seen less-qualified candidates regularly succeed where more-qualified candidates failed, and (though thankfully only rarely) seen outright nepotism and politics triumph over intellectual merit. All that having been said, "fairness" is entirely in the eye of the beholder, and has no objective relevance in academia or any other professional field. I'd like to think we are somewhat of a meritocracy, but if we are, it is one that evaluates "merit" on a very subjective basis. Hard work and passion will produce copious amounts of publication and well-thought out courses, and that itself is of great value. But will the students respond with unwavering enthusiasm? Will the scholarship be influential and original? And--this being of greatest relevance to job searches--will one candidate's field, production, and qualifications seem to fit better with the culture and goals of the specific committee, department, and university? As someone who spent many years on the market before finally landing someplace where I am happy, the two things I can say with absolute certainty are that fairness had nothing to do with it, and that the wisdom or folly of any specific hire is only apparent in hindsight. Again, I hope I don't sound unsympathetic, but I've seen too many people in academia (both hired and unhired) gnash their teeth, rend their flesh, and grow horribly unhappy and bitter because of their perception that they have been treated "unfairly," when their energy would have been better spent on positive work and (whenever possible) appreciating what they do have (on that note, a VAP, while not ideal, is still miles better than grinding away as an adjunct year after year!).
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: --Well, I guess you've got to have faith in something. I'm strating to see what generations of non-elites have always known: that hard work and passion and general excellence doesn't mean much. Too many excellent, truly deserving people wind up with shitty jobs, while too many schlubs wind up at the top of the heap for me to buy the "keep-your-nose-to-the-grindstone-American-Dream" sort of rehetoric. There's a deep structrual failing in academia, "the knowledge economy" that wishful thinking won't fix. That said, best of luck to the OP and the OP's hubbie. At least you have each other.
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* Previous poster, I'm not sure what your discipline is, but if you are talking about any kind of humanities field, where evaluation of scholarly merit is essentially subjective (despite whatever illusions of "objectivity" the discourse and praxis of actors in the field seek to impose), "the notion that your value decreases over time and eventually expires" is most emphatically not ridiculous. Though one can always cite a few exceptions ("My friend knows this person who knows a person who adjuncted for seven years before getting a beautiful 1-1 TT research job!"), in the vast majority of cases, the longer a person has "been on the market," the less he or she is "worth," just as in real-estate, the longer a house is listed but unsold, the lower the price its ultimate buyer will be willing to pay. As for the question of whether an ABD candidate has "the stuff" to finish, this is often fairly clear from both the CV (refereed publications? if so, it's pretty likely) and from sample dissertation chapters, which SCs usually request of such candidates. In a field where post-docs are the norm, and one is accustomed to seeing job candidates who blend graduate education with experience in industry and the like, the situation would certainly be different. In the humanities, however, the advice the first two posters have given, depressing as it is, remains valid.
 
* Previous poster, I'm not sure what your discipline is, but if you are talking about any kind of humanities field, where evaluation of scholarly merit is essentially subjective (despite whatever illusions of "objectivity" the discourse and praxis of actors in the field seek to impose), "the notion that your value decreases over time and eventually expires" is most emphatically not ridiculous. Though one can always cite a few exceptions ("My friend knows this person who knows a person who adjuncted for seven years before getting a beautiful 1-1 TT research job!"), in the vast majority of cases, the longer a person has "been on the market," the less he or she is "worth," just as in real-estate, the longer a house is listed but unsold, the lower the price its ultimate buyer will be willing to pay. As for the question of whether an ABD candidate has "the stuff" to finish, this is often fairly clear from both the CV (refereed publications? if so, it's pretty likely) and from sample dissertation chapters, which SCs usually request of such candidates. In a field where post-docs are the norm, and one is accustomed to seeing job candidates who blend graduate education with experience in industry and the like, the situation would certainly be different. In the humanities, however, the advice the first two posters have given, depressing as it is, remains valid.
 
* For what it's worth, I have been informed on no fewer than three occasions that while everyone on the committee was impressed with my application, they were forced to put it on the automatic discard pile because I did not have my Ph.D. in hand. I am now worried that since I have acquired it, I will become among the purported many for whom there is a small 1-2 year window to get a job before I start to look tainted. This is hard enough for anyone out there, but I also fear it's exacerbated in that my primary "job" right now is stay at home parent and researcher/online teacher by night/weekends (which as you imagine, is not conducive to being all that good in any of these roles). Therefore it is also impossible for me to "stay busy" with anything more than extremely part time or haphazard employment while I pray for a TT job--which, although I've gotten much closer to attaining this year, looks like it may not quite happen. If only I had any clue about the state of the academic job market before I started my doctoral studies, I would have spent time formulating/preparing for a plan B. Whatever you do, I recommend working like hell to land your dream job, but also spending as much time and thought as possible on the likelihood that you never will.
 
* For what it's worth, I have been informed on no fewer than three occasions that while everyone on the committee was impressed with my application, they were forced to put it on the automatic discard pile because I did not have my Ph.D. in hand. I am now worried that since I have acquired it, I will become among the purported many for whom there is a small 1-2 year window to get a job before I start to look tainted. This is hard enough for anyone out there, but I also fear it's exacerbated in that my primary "job" right now is stay at home parent and researcher/online teacher by night/weekends (which as you imagine, is not conducive to being all that good in any of these roles). Therefore it is also impossible for me to "stay busy" with anything more than extremely part time or haphazard employment while I pray for a TT job--which, although I've gotten much closer to attaining this year, looks like it may not quite happen. If only I had any clue about the state of the academic job market before I started my doctoral studies, I would have spent time formulating/preparing for a plan B. Whatever you do, I recommend working like hell to land your dream job, but also spending as much time and thought as possible on the likelihood that you never will.
* Let me start by giving all my sympathies to the poster above. I know that place, and it's a tough one to be in. While those three responses may be indicative of something, I'd say it's also quite possible that what you are seeing there is simply an inability on the part of the SC member to provide a more thoroughly reasoned explanation for why you didn't get the job. With so many applicants for any given position, there are probably untold numbers who simply didn’t get the job because…they didn’t get it. Or, perhaps, the SCs chose to impose the PhD-in-hand thing as a way to winnow down the 200 applicants to a more reasonable number, which can be quite a challenge. Certainly, ABDs do get hired. However, it's true that a candidate is stronger with the degree in hand, then weaker again if he or she goes more than a couple years without landing some kind of tt job. Remember, however, that there is far more to life than this career sweepstakes. First, take pleasure in your child or children and the sense of purpose they provide. Academia will never match that, even though the culture of grad school and the difficulty of finding a tt job might make it seem like getting one is more important than life itself. It is not. In fact, it’s important to remember what “having a tt job” will actually involve: if you do manage to get hired and achieve tenure, odds are very good you’ll be trapped in that position for life, because (unless you’re among the .05% who are superstars) the job market only gets tougher to crack once you’re not tt anymore. This situation can be its own circle of hell, since at that point you’ll have too much invested professionally (and perhaps be too old) to ever have the possibility of starting over doing anything else, regardless of how ruthlessly, year in, year out, your institution forces you to “do more with less,” steadily taking away every small thing that used to make the job enjoyable, because deep down, they know they can (what, you gonna leave cause we don’t pay for no conferences? cause we ain't buyin books for the library no more? Go ahead, punk!). One need only read Terry Caesar (see the vent dated 2-29-12 below) to realize that even tenure isn't proof against bitterness, depression, rage, and the nagging sense that one has wasted one's life. In fact, it can be a one-way ticket to an entire career of just that.
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* Let me start by giving all my sympathies to the poster above. I know that place, and it's a tough one to be in. While those three responses may be indicative of something, I'd say it's also quite possible that what you are seeing there is simply an inability on the part of the SC member to provide a more thoroughly reasoned explanation for why you didn't get the job. With so many applicants for any given position, there are probably untold numbers who simply didn’t get the job because…they didn’t get it. Or, perhaps, the SCs chose to impose the PhD-in-hand thing as a way to winnow down the 200 applicants to a more reasonable number, which can be quite a challenge. Certainly, ABDs do get hired. However, it's true that a candidate is stronger with the degree in hand, then weaker again if he or she goes more than a couple years without landing some kind of tt job. Remember, however, that there is far more to life than this career sweepstakes. First, take pleasure in your child or children and the sense of purpose they provide. Academia will never match that, even though the culture of grad school and the difficulty of finding a tt job might make it seem like getting one is more important than life itself. It is not. In fact, it’s important to remember what “having a tt job” will actually involve: if you do manage to get hired and achieve tenure, odds are very good you’ll be trapped in that position for life, because (unless you’re among the .05% who are superstars) the job market only gets tougher to crack once you’re not tt anymore. This situation can be its own circle of hell, since at that point you’ll have too much invested professionally (and perhaps be too old) to ever have the possibility of starting over doing anything else, regardless of how ruthlessly, year in, year out, your institution forces you to “do more with less,” steadily taking away every small thing that used to make the job enjoyable, because deep down, they know they can (what, you gonna leave cause we don’t pay for no conferences? cause we ain't buyin books for the library no more? Go ahead, punk!). One need only read Terry Caesar (see the vent below) to realize that even tenure isn't proof against bitterness, depression, rage, and the nagging sense that one has wasted one's life. In fact, it can be a one-way ticket to an entire career of just that.
 
* Just thought I'd add my two cents here, for what it's worth. To the original poster, I really sympathize with you! I would encourage you, however, to finish your PhD soon. If not this spring, then maybe the fall would be a good compromise. I think there's such a backlog of applicants for most fields these days, that ABDs have a much harder time getting t-t jobs than they did in the past. It definitely does happen, but I think it tends to happen more at the top, top schools (at least this is what I've noticed) where they may be willing to take more risks on a person's potential as a scholar. For other jobs (even at really good places, but not say, ivy league) the risk that an ABD may not actually defend is often seen as too high. Anyway, good luck!
 
* Just thought I'd add my two cents here, for what it's worth. To the original poster, I really sympathize with you! I would encourage you, however, to finish your PhD soon. If not this spring, then maybe the fall would be a good compromise. I think there's such a backlog of applicants for most fields these days, that ABDs have a much harder time getting t-t jobs than they did in the past. It definitely does happen, but I think it tends to happen more at the top, top schools (at least this is what I've noticed) where they may be willing to take more risks on a person's potential as a scholar. For other jobs (even at really good places, but not say, ivy league) the risk that an ABD may not actually defend is often seen as too high. Anyway, good luck!
 
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R: From a SC member. By reading some of these posts one can only hope not to hire such colleagues ever. How much resentment and naïveté combined! There are good and bad candidates everywhere and yes, there are Ivy idiots….and there are injustices... But I would bet that the reason some (I repeat, SOME) people have not gotten a job is not because of prejudices or because of the unfairness of competing with Harvard’s prestige, but because of their credentials and work (or maybe interviewers realize that behind the so-so lecture there is a biter unbearable individual, and some times they can even identify their IP addresses).
 
R: From a SC member. By reading some of these posts one can only hope not to hire such colleagues ever. How much resentment and naïveté combined! There are good and bad candidates everywhere and yes, there are Ivy idiots….and there are injustices... But I would bet that the reason some (I repeat, SOME) people have not gotten a job is not because of prejudices or because of the unfairness of competing with Harvard’s prestige, but because of their credentials and work (or maybe interviewers realize that behind the so-so lecture there is a biter unbearable individual, and some times they can even identify their IP addresses).
   
R: Another SC member here--yes there are good and bad candidates at all levels, but the numbers do not demonstrate that SC-s function with that in mind. No one from Harvard doesn't get work. Very few from ivies and "brand" institutions end up leaving the profession. That's an injustice -- especially in light of the unethical admission policies at top schools. There may be good candidates at mid-tier places, but they don't tend to get hired, or even have the chance to interview in many cases, as they are inevitably subordinated to those linked to a brand. Blind (that is, no affiliation) application packets would drop the top cohort down toward the middle, so it isn't done... The Humanistic fields are plagued by this problem. Ironic, as many "top" academics are progressive and even (gasp) socialist... but shifting the system towards faculty bodies that have democratic representation (% of ivy candidates interviewed equals their % in the applicant pool, same with state schools) would be an admission that the current structures of scholarly authority are unstable. The day-to-day identity of the elite professor (in reality, any prof) is too tied up in believing in the myths of his/her authority to deconstruct it by altering these hiring patterns. I am sure this previous poster and many others on SC-s believe in their own impartiality in candidate evaluation, but in broader terms, it's lip-service. Brand schools get placements, per the numbers game. Period. The looming dilemma is that of course they are not better candidates, at least better in the multiple of their overrepresentation.
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R: Another SC member here--yes there are good and bad candidates at all levels, but the numbers do not demonstrate that SC-s function with that in mind. No one from Harvard doesn't get work. Very few from ivies and "brand" institutions end up leaving the profession. That's an injustice -- especially in light of the unethical admission policies at top schools. There may be good candidates at mid-tier places, but they don't tend to get hired, or even have the chance to interview in many cases, as they are inevitably subordinated to those linked to a brand. Blind (that is, no affiliation) application packets would drop the top cohort down toward the middle, so it isn't done... The Humanistic fields are plagued by this problem. Ironic, as many "top" academics are progressive and even (gasp) socialist...
   
I support interviewing state school applicants before elite ones whose demographic is already overrepresented in all sectors of the professorate. But I'm part of a tiny, tiny minority, at least on this campus.
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But I'm part of a tiny, tiny minority, at least on this campus.
 
*Sigh. In principle, I approve of this notion of "affirmative action" for non-Ivy candidates. It would certainly be the just, socially progressive thing to do if the humanities job market were functional. The simple fact, however, is that the market is NOT functional. To solve this problem, we need to look further upstream: not at the individual fates of the particular candidates produced by the system in any given year, with all their intellectual merit or lack thereof, but at the system itself. Every PhD-granting institution depends on TAs, who are usually doctoral candidates, to sustain its program of humanities teaching. This is true from Harvard all the way down to the proverbial Whatsamattawit U. At public institutions of whatever tier, eviscerated by several years of deep cuts and therefore forced to raise enrollments to record levels, the demand for TAs is only growing. Because of the way the system is structured, each of these TAs has to receive a doctorate at some point: the PhD is envisioned as the "walking paper" a servant receives at the end of his or her long indenture. The fact that a TA-ship is temporary, a waystation on a journey to allgedly "better" things, is what makes the low pay bearable. The system is therefore primed to churn out more and more PhD-holders at all levels. At the same time, the number of tenure track positions is shrinking everywhere. Sadly, the math is obvious. We've got a Malthus situation here: population outstripping available resources, and continuing to grow nevertheless. It is not sustainable. Intentionally giving hiring priority to students from the afflicted public institutions is like putting a band-aid on a sucking wound. Sure, it's a gesture, but all it will do is make the ever smaller pool of lottery winners more diverse. The basic problem, and the increasingly vast human wreckage it leaves behind, remains unsolved.
 
*Sigh. In principle, I approve of this notion of "affirmative action" for non-Ivy candidates. It would certainly be the just, socially progressive thing to do if the humanities job market were functional. The simple fact, however, is that the market is NOT functional. To solve this problem, we need to look further upstream: not at the individual fates of the particular candidates produced by the system in any given year, with all their intellectual merit or lack thereof, but at the system itself. Every PhD-granting institution depends on TAs, who are usually doctoral candidates, to sustain its program of humanities teaching. This is true from Harvard all the way down to the proverbial Whatsamattawit U. At public institutions of whatever tier, eviscerated by several years of deep cuts and therefore forced to raise enrollments to record levels, the demand for TAs is only growing. Because of the way the system is structured, each of these TAs has to receive a doctorate at some point: the PhD is envisioned as the "walking paper" a servant receives at the end of his or her long indenture. The fact that a TA-ship is temporary, a waystation on a journey to allgedly "better" things, is what makes the low pay bearable. The system is therefore primed to churn out more and more PhD-holders at all levels. At the same time, the number of tenure track positions is shrinking everywhere. Sadly, the math is obvious. We've got a Malthus situation here: population outstripping available resources, and continuing to grow nevertheless. It is not sustainable. Intentionally giving hiring priority to students from the afflicted public institutions is like putting a band-aid on a sucking wound. Sure, it's a gesture, but all it will do is make the ever smaller pool of lottery winners more diverse. The basic problem, and the increasingly vast human wreckage it leaves behind, remains unsolved.
 
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Job Market Looks Brighter for Some Ph.D.'s
 
Job Market Looks Brighter for Some Ph.D.'s
   
http://chronicle.com/article/Job-Market-Looks-Brighter-for/130240/?sid=oh&utm_source=oh&utm_medium=en
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[[Universities to fear|http://chronicle.com/article/Job-Market-Looks-Brighter-for/130240/?sid=oh&utm_source=oh&utm_medium=en]]
   
 
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* On the flip side, our advertisement specified that the PhD "must" have been completed by a particular date; 100+ people sent in applications which in the cover letter stated they would defend after that date.
 
* On the flip side, our advertisement specified that the PhD "must" have been completed by a particular date; 100+ people sent in applications which in the cover letter stated they would defend after that date.
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|<span style="white-space:nowrap;">2011-01-09</span>
 
|I've got to address these two comments.
 
 
"I'm in the humanities. A PhD from a top-5 School in the Ivy League. Famous advisers. Had a contract with a top university press to publish my dissertation, which wasn't half done when I signed the contract....Then, as I was about to leave academia and possibly the country, I was contacted for an interview with an R1 at very top. They invited me to campus. I got the job. So I went from nothing to getting the best imaginable job in terms of prestige, research support, quality of life (three things important to me, even if tenure here is tough). So crazy things happen. They really do. You can't predict anything. If I got a job - this particular job - there's hope for everyone."
 
 
"Scanning the pages here, it seems like there is nothing that suggests a clear pattern as to who gets these interviews and jobs."
 
 
Look closer. Most people do not hide their IP addresses, so you can see where they are. (No, I'm not really in Fremont, CA, btw...) I've been on this page a few years and have seen a total of one (1) rejection posted from a New Haven IP address. (Yea, I know, it was probably someone from University of New Haven…) I have yet to see a single rejection post from a Palo Alto, Cambridge, or Princeton IP address, and have seen dozens of “x4” and “campus visit scheduled” and “offer made” etc from each of those places. Terry Caesar's book should be required reading by all the landed pissants on their way to MLA with Georgetown and UTexas and UChicago and on their agendas: Traveling Through the Boondocks: In and Out of Academic Hierarchy [[Universities to fear|http://books.google.com/books?id=NwfDEalw_GIC&amp;]]
 
 
I am from the States and did a phd in Paris. As an ABD I started going to conferences…and at one in France I met a few US-based grad students studying the same thing I was (which is a topic I won’t mention, but after a week they were on planes back to Durham and Chicago to study what I was living). Fast forward a few months, they’re sending out apps to the same openings I am, and getting callbacks. Last I heard from the little group of guys/girls at this conf, one was interviewing at Yale and NYU, another at Grinnell, another Notre Dame. I don’t know where they ended up. I did not have a single MLA callback that year. I had exactly two calls in the spring round of “who’s left?” postings and I ended up with one interview in the capital of Nowheresville USA for a one-year position. I took a job I got from cold calling a university in the French Caribbean…earning 20% of what those jerks were probably taking home, jerks who came to France for 10 days and now teach using that as their basis of “real life” experience in the subject.
 
 
Fast forward another few years: I published a monograph--it won an award—have another on contract, a recent international grant, journal pubs, and student evals that are off the charts.
 
 
So I decided to send out a few hooks and lines again…and what?..::Crickets crickets:: Who are these SC calling? Each place I applied had a transnational, postcolonial, border studies, etc. focus. I have been abroad since I was 23… I have two mother-tongues and am fluent in a third lang...I work at a university in a French colony…I was plenary speaker at two conferences last year.
 
 
They are interviewing these 28-year-old puissant ABDs who went to California or Massachusetts from their suburban SUV-land to study “International Writing” or "Border Studies" or "Postcolonial Studies" (how to even study those topics in Boston surrounded by PhDs with 500-dollar glasses-frames, I don't know...Maybe they had a ten-day trip to a conference in Europe or the Caribbean? May-be!... Maybe they even went abroad for a semester…or a whhhoollee year!) I was working as bar-back in the Marais, driving a cab to make rent, living in flophouses with Algerians and Senegalese former soldiers with stories that would make your skin stand up for a week at a time…while these pampered enfants were sipping Starbucks and crying foul because the wifi was down once in their offices. Then they write up their journal articles and dissertation chapters on “Post-colonialism” (a topic that should be renamed “I read some books about someplace far away and visited that place once”). Then they get callbacks and interviews and jobs and at some point muse reflectively about how hard it's been for them and that they deserve the seats of greatness they currently occupy. They must be great, right?
 
 
Ummm, no. It's academia is stooopid.
 
 
The Ivy League’s description of “top” people, per their hiring practices, in reality = high social capital. Harvard says they hire the best. That “best” includes not a single person who has studied at a Community College. Just 1% comes from non-top-tier public universities. (See below.) Yay democratic sampling! Come on. Nice definition, folks. Why not up that endowment, pay no taxes, and hire/admit only the rich? Oh, wait, you’re already doing that.
 
 
Less than 1 of every 6 Harvard students qualifies for a Pell Grant (BTW, what is less than 1 Harvard student? http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/28/poor-students-at-rich-colleges/?hp). Harvard (and the academia “merit” system in general) labels the majority of poor people (just like it has labeled me) “bad” and “not as capable” compared to our friends from the suburbs that are often private-schooled (or from a public system that's essentially private-from-poor) and believe in the system's measures, and are otherwise well shielded from reality. There are exceptions of course, but let’s look closer at the rules:
 
 
"There's hope for everyone" says the voice from the ivory tower (cited above)...but in reality, oh reality..such a tough subject to tackle when addressing those that live in bubbles of privilege. (Want to be really pissed off? Read this jerk's blog...[http://harvardbarney.wordpress.com/... in truth I can't tell if it's tongue-in-cheek and if it is, it supports the case that academic hierarchy should be deconstructed, just like "The Official Preppy Handbook" did a gen ago. Terry Caesar where are you now?)
 
 
These are the academic affiliations of the profs in the Eng depts at ivy league schools. (Phd school listed 1st)
 
 
Make your own judgments:
 
 
HARVARD
 
 
Yale, Yale, Rice
 
 
Oxford, Oxford, Bombay
 
 
Cornell, Princeton, Princeton
 
 
Yale, Harvard, Harvard
 
 
Berkley, Berkley, Vassar
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Yale
 
 
Princeton, Cambridge, Yale
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Michigan State
 
 
Yale, Dublin, Dallas
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Harvard
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Pitt
 
 
Yale, Yale, Swarthmore
 
 
Cambridge, Yale, Yale
 
 
Iowa, NYU
 
 
Yale, Cambridge, Yale
 
 
Harvard, Cambridge, Georgia
 
 
Rutgers, Rutgers, Oregon
 
 
Chicago, Chicago, Emporia State
 
 
UVA, UVA, Stanford
 
 
Columbia, Columbia, Pomona
 
 
Columbia, Columbia, Brandeis
 
 
Yale, Yale, Harvard
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Konstanz
 
 
Yale, Oxford, Princeton
 
 
Yale, Yale, Stanford
 
 
Cambridge, Oxford, Melbourne
 
 
Free Berlin
 
 
Yale, Perdue, Wesleyan
 
 
Columbia, Columbia, Haverford
 
 
Toronto, Trent, Trent
 
 
UVA, UVA, Amsterdam
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Emmanuelle
 
 
Irvine, Dartmouth, Dartmouth
 
 
Toronto, Oxford, Cambridge
 
 
Total Degrees 93
 
 
Ivy 48 (51%)
 
 
Public non-flagship 2 (2%)
 
 
Non-flagship Phd 1 (2%)
 
 
Community College 0
 
 
YALE
 
 
Upenn, Yale, BU
 
 
MIT, MIT, Harvard
 
 
Upenn, Temple, Hendrix
 
 
Cornell, Yale, Yale
 
 
UCLA, Cambridge, Harvard
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Columbia
 
 
Yale, Yale, Yale
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Mt. Holyoke
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Rice
 
 
Upenn, Upenn, Washington U
 
 
Yale, Yale, Harvard
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, NYU
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Berkley
 
 
NYU, NYU, UW-Madison
 
 
Yale, Yale, Yale
 
 
Yale, Yale, Yale
 
 
Hopkins, Hopkins, Hopkins
 
 
Chicago, Chicago, Princeton
 
 
Princeton, Cambridge, Columbia
 
 
Stanford, Stanford, McGill
 
 
Harvard, Harvard, Dartmouth
 
 
Yale, Oxford, Yale
 
 
Princeton, Princeton, Trinity Dublin
 
 
Belfast, Belfast, Belfast
 
 
UVA, Middlebury, Dartmouth
 
 
UPenn, Cambridge, Williams
 
 
Brown, Brown, Wheaton
 
 
Oxford
 
 
Cornell, UCollege London, U London
 
 
UCLA, UCLA, Brandeis
 
 
Yale, Yale, Yale
 
 
Oxford, Oxford
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Michigan
 
 
Yale, Yale, Hamilton
 
 
Yale, Yale, Yale
 
 
UCLA, UCLA, Cal State Bakersfield
 
 
Duke, Duke, Berkley
 
 
Stanford, Stanford, Trinity
 
 
Stanford, Harvard, Alberta
 
 
Rutgers, Rutgers, John Fisher
 
 
UC Irvine, UC Irvine, BYU
 
 
Yale, Yale, Swarthmore
 
 
Total degrees 126
 
 
Ivy 62 (49%)
 
 
Public non-flagship 3 (2%)
 
 
Non-flagship PhD 1 (2%)
 
 
Community Colleges 0
 
 
BROWN
 
 
Berkley, Berkley, Michigan
 
 
Princeton, Brandeis, Brown
 
 
NYU, NYU, McDaniel College
 
 
Stanford, Stanford, Harvard
 
 
U Sussex (Eng), Sussex, North London
 
 
Brown, William & Mary, Carleton
 
 
Chicago, Chicago, San Jose State (AA)
 
 
Hopkins, Oxford, Princeton
 
 
Harvard, Chicago, Harvard
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Yale
 
 
Yale, Oxford, Georgetown
 
 
Texas, Texas, old Dominion (Chicano)
 
 
Penn, Penn, UNC Greensboro
 
 
Princeton, Northeastern, Southampton
 
 
Iowa, Iowa, Cornell
 
 
Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, Santa Cruz
 
 
Hopkins, Hopkins, Wesleyan
 
 
Upenn, Oxford, Georgetown
 
 
Brown, Yale, Yale
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Ibadan
 
 
Wisconsin, Wisconsin, Brown
 
 
Berkley, Berkley, Barnard
 
 
Yale, Yale, Harvard
 
 
Brandeis, Brandeis, Brandeis
 
 
Cornell, Cornell, Yale
 
 
Yale, Oxford, Austin
 
 
Duke, McGill, McGill
 
 
Total Degrees 81
 
 
IVY 29 (35%)
 
 
Public Non-flagship 3 (11%)
 
 
Public Non-flagship Phd 1 (3%)
 
 
Community College 0
 
   
* This is a super post, and thanks, OP, for the stats and meticulous research. The conclusions, as many of us can attest to, reaffirm some widely believed positions. And it sucks. My tupenny: good work doesn't always get rewarded in time or in measure. The only incentive to do meaningful scholarship is the nature of the work itself. As OP's trajectory shows, edifyingly for us but not perhaps quickly/fairly enough for OP, it is possible to enhance the quality of one's profession and commitment to scholarship, and to let that be the muse. Of course, even as I write this, I am worrying about the next year, my spouse's (non)job, scheduling a visit to the psych who'll help straighten out my post-job-applications head, and living a life...
 
 
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*Wow. I think this also belongs on [[Universities_to_fear]]
 
*Wow. I think this also belongs on [[Universities_to_fear]]
   
*I am the OP. The SC wrote back with a bunch of ridiculous excuses and "heartfelt apologies." But I am done with that crap. You can view my reply to them here. http://postacademicinnyc.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/dear-search-committee-go-fk-yourself/
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*I am the OP. The SC wrote back with a bunch of ridiculous excuses and "heartfelt apologies." But I am done with that crap. You can view my reply to them here. [[Universities to fear|http://postacademicinnyc.wordpress.com/2011/01/13/dear-search-committee-go-fk-yourself/]]
   
 
*What an extraordinarily craptastic thing to do to a job candidate. I wish we knew the names of the school and department so that this information would help future job candidates applying to that school's department (i.e., in the event of interviews at MLA 2012). If it were me and I had flown to LA--especially if that was my only interview--I would be livid enough to leave the profession.
 
*What an extraordinarily craptastic thing to do to a job candidate. I wish we knew the names of the school and department so that this information would help future job candidates applying to that school's department (i.e., in the event of interviews at MLA 2012). If it were me and I had flown to LA--especially if that was my only interview--I would be livid enough to leave the profession.
   
 
*OP: Thanks to the beauty of social networking, I received a note of apology from MLA Executive Director, Rosemary Feal.
 
*OP: Thanks to the beauty of social networking, I received a note of apology from MLA Executive Director, Rosemary Feal.
http://postacademicinnyc.wordpress.com/
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[[Universities to fear|http://postacademicinnyc.wordpress.com/]]
 
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