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Thursday, September 14, 2006

Job List

It's that time of year again. The job list is up and running, as always a couple days before the Friday when they say it will be up. Anyway, thank the FSM I am not on the market this year, but old habits die hard--and so do perverse pleasures--so I looked over the list yesterday. (Also, I have several grad students on the market, so there is a noble reason for doing so as well.)

Wow. What a year for Renaissance jobs. I've been looking at the list for about 7 years, and this has to be the best crop of Renaissance jobs I've ever seen. I did a search for all the British Lit jobs, and honestly, it seemed like about half of them were early modern. An unbelievable number of jobs, and ranging from the most elite private schools to a large number of excellent R1 public schools, branch campuses of state universities, liberal arts colleges, and 4/4 teaching jobs.

I'd be interested if anyone else, who may have a longer experience with the JIL than I have, can remember such a year. Or if you have very different impressions of this year's list than I do.

Oh, and much good luck to everyone on the market this year.

  • At 9/14/2006 11:56:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    I'm so glad I like my job, and that I have a job.

    In terms of pure numbers, this year's list looks similar to that of two years ago, though perhaps the quality of the jobs is higher (I'm not even entirely sure of that, however; two years ago had some pretty good schools too, and lo and behold, those same schools are advertising much the same jobs this year). Still, the list looks promising, with lots of places I wouldn't mind working. Happily, I won't be applying to any of them.

    That being said, I do wish we could dish about some of the moonbats in our interviews (it appears one of mine may have retired or be retiring soon), but doing so would produce negative energy, and that's one thing I (we) don't need. So I'll simply echo Hieronimo's wish of good luck to everyone and to everyone good luck.

     

  • At 9/14/2006 01:30:00 PM, Blogger Flavia wrote…

    I, too, thought that the list of Ren jobs was unusually large this year (although I've only been keeping track for perhaps 4 years). However, in skimming it quickly, I got the impression that a *large* number of them were clearly defined as "Shakespeare/drama," rather than Early Modern, Renaissance, or 16th or 17th, or something a bit broader. None of my friends going on the market this year specialize in drama, so there's less for some than it might seem.

    I agree that the list 2 years ago was pretty big, too, though I felt that last year there was a better range. 2 years ago there seemed to be some really plum jobs--maybe 6 or 8--and then a whole bunch of jobs at very remote schools with heavy teaching loads. Last year there were fewer jobs, but there seemed to be a more even spread. (And even with fewer jobs, 5 of the 6 of us Renaissancers on the market in my program got jobs last year, while none of us did the previous year--which perhaps says something, too!)

    This year--well, damn. There seems to be both a lot of jobs and a lot of GOOD jobs.

     

  • At 9/16/2006 04:34:00 PM, Blogger muse wrote…

    Two years ago was when I was last on the market (and got my current job). I applied to 35 places, even though many of them ended up being drama-only (and hence not interested in me).

    Willing myself NOT to look. I won't look. I won't, I won't.

    Happy, here, so far. I won't look.

    Argh! I want to look!

     

  • At 9/16/2006 04:42:00 PM, Blogger muse wrote…

    PS That's funny Flavia-- the exact opposite happened in my department 2 years ago. There were 7 on the market in med-ren and 6 got great TT jobs and multiple offers. Then last year there were I think 3 and only 1 got a TT job.

    I sometimes wonder whether particular programs get favored over others depending on the year.

    Sometimes people blame it on the closeness of the department to the location of MLA for that year. I guess we'll have to see if that happens again this year, with MLA in Philly for the second time.

    By the way, is anyone else completely sick of Philadelphia as a conference location? What with MLA, SAA and another MLA, I'm really ready to go someplace else!

     

  • At 9/17/2006 03:39:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    That's interesting to know, since the market in Australia is practically negligible. Only recently has a position been advertised (early modern, pref. drama) that got my ears perked. Ideally I'd like not to have to look overseas for a position, but it seems unlikely...

    On that issue, what the hell is with compositional studies? (I'm loath to call it rhetoric, a title which it often masquerades under). It seems like every English job advertised in the US requires you to teach it. Is it specifically American to assume that university-level students can't write essays? I've never come across it as a unit of study here in Oz. The closest thing I've found are units on research skills and critical/literary theory. If I have to apply for jobs in the US, how do I deal with this requirement? eEp!

     

  • At 9/17/2006 11:48:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    hi bdh, thanks for the comment, which raises some interesting questions for me.

    A lot of jobs do require you to teach composition, usually to first-year students. On the question of whether they can or can't write, well, see our recent string of posts on our own first-year essays. But no: they can't write. That said, jobs at research universities typically do not require comp, because the grad students get stuck with it. And then there is a scholarly field known (among other names) as Rhet/Comp, in which at least some people do seem to do real research.

    But my question is: can it really be the case that all the entering university students in Australia (and NZ, and Britain?) really do already know how to compose argumentatively coherent, grammatically correct essays? I know that the US secondary school system is far from the world's best, but I can't believe 18 year-olds differ quite that much in writing ability. Could the lack of teaching composition there have more to do with:

    1) nostalgic adherence to an outmoded Oxbridge model of education;

    2) fewer students attending university (an interesting fact about US univ students: the majority attend schools with no competition for admission);

    3) greater distinction between the elite (Oxbridge) style universities and the less elite ones?

    Maybe? I'm guessing here, especially because I'm not familiar with the Australian model, so these comments are based on the British system as I understand it. I'd be very interested to hear what you think...

     

  • At 9/18/2006 01:25:00 AM, Blogger bdh wrote…

    That makes sense to me now - the jobs I had seen advertised were not for research universities. Maybe I should investigate getting access to the MLA JIL...

    Anyway, I certainly can't vouch for the superiority of the Australian public school system, especially since the new buzz-word is "outcomes based education" (i.e. round pegs, square holes). Having said that, the lack of composition units at Australian universities probably does stem from, as you suggest, a "nostalgic adherence to an outmoded Oxbridge model of education."

    I can definitely see the benefit in offering (well, imposing) a compositional unit on undergraduates – some of the essays I get in upper-level courses are simply appalling...

     


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