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Comparative 2010

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Note: Anyone looking ahead to the next job season and needing a good laugh might like to check out this MLA spoof. It's ongoing and borderline brilliant.


Johns Hopkins Humanities Center Edit

  • Email ack. 11/18 (x7)
  • There were a little under 600 applicants.
  • Wow!
  • I got an email ack. for this app too. Which wouldn't be extraordinary...except I didn't apply for it. WTF?
  • Does anyone know if they will be conducting MLA interviews?
  • No. Straight to campus visit.  Heard through the grapevine that this is probably a replacement hire for a star - from what I've heard, straight to campus visit is typically the MO for such hires.  
  • Have those invitations already been sent out, then?
  • Can the person who says they won't be doing MLA interviews indicate where he or she got this info? Thank you.
  • They never do MLA interviews at the Humanities Center.
  • When will the campus visits be scheduled for?
  • Probably February.
  • Any idea when the campus visits will actually be scheduled?
  • Between now and February
  • By "replacement hire for a star," should we assume that this will probably go to someone who is a few years out? 
  • Q: Who's the "star" in question?  Somebody must know who this shining light is.  Would give us all a better idea what they're looking for. A: Professor Richard Macksey retired this year.
  • any new news about this gig? Have they invited people for interviews already? 
  • Estimate from the office is that there may be some news about visits around the end of next week.
  • Many thanks to last poster
  • Does the next-to-last poster mean the end of the week of Jan. 11?
  • Any new news on JH?
  • Campus visit scheduled 1/9
  • Scheduled on a Saturday?!
  • So, I guess the short list jumped out at them more quickly than they thought it would? Does anyone know how many people are on the short list scheduled for campus visits?
  • Also, does anyone know if they decided to go for a senior hire after all? At least I, invited, am an ABD.
  • Congratulations! Are you the same person who reported here her (or his) visit being scheduled on 1/9? Also what's your field if you don't mind saying? Yes that's me; I do film studies in relation to complit and humanities in general.
  • Kind email rejection, 1.14 (shocked!!! I mean shocked by the rejection part. I was really holding out for this one.)
  • One must add: the rejection email I received openly lists some 70 equally rejected applicants' emails. If I may in turn openly quote, the second sentence here seems almost a token of false-modesty, as if the choice that they will be making is rather likely to have been a mistake: "This decision by no means reflects the quality of your work or the strengths of your dossier, but is based upon our current departmental needs. We know from painful experience how imprecise and unfortunate these sorts of judgments frequently are, but had no choice to proceed as best we could". Anyone not receive rejections today or tomorrow, nor invites? Those could be the alternates. 1/14
  • So now the sociological question is how the committee determined or ranked the "current department needs". But the Humanities Center does not seem to be an institution too keen to subject its own preference formation to such sociological inquiry!
  • Looking at the department's faculty, I am guessing that the Committee determined that there is a pressing need for someone studying non-European, post-colonial or minority literatures from a rigorous philosophical and theoretical perspective. At any rate, it'll be interesting to see what they are after.
  • I would fit that profile but did not make the short list. Separately, I have heard that there are senior candidates under consideration.
  • Having just been rejected by JHU, I do want to say that I appreciate their handling of the adminstrative error that caused the email sent out to display the names of other applicants. Such mistakes happen, and once they do, a speedy apology is the best one can hope for.
  • So there's a short list made up of senior scholars and at least one ABD?
  • Q: Has anyone (else) heard nothing? Not that I think it could be good, but curious as to what it means. (2x)
  • A: Probably means that either the e-mail went to your SPAM box or that you are on the "long list" (i.e. the list from which they made they short list) and your name is being held onto in case none of the short list pans out. I would move on at this point.
  • Anyone else get this apology email about releasing our email addresses? If they want to apologize for something, they can apologize for not interviewing me.
  • " long list"? dream! no more than 3-4 candidates are usually brought to campus for a position, after that, searches tend to be shut down till the next year
  • 'Separately, I have heard that there are senior candidates under consideration. Could the poster of this be a little more forthcoming on the "i have heard"? is this just another of the rumors surrounding this position? (2x)
  • A: A prof. who would be in a position to know told me that several senior candidates were under consideration.
  • Are the several senior candidates still under consideration? Are they making campus visits along with the junior people? does anyone know how many candidates there are at this point?
  • all junior candidates. including inside candidate.

Middle Tennessee State University link Edit

  • 12/14: Is this the Early European Lit position? If so, there's some activity on it over on the Medieval page.
  • No, this is an Anglophone Lit & Culture position. Should be on the Anglophone page then, I guess!

New Jersey City University link Edit

- MLA interview scheduled via phone (12/26)

Shenandoah University link Edit

Stanford University link to department Edit

Late-breaking news: a tenure-track Persian literature & culture position in the Comp Lit department. It is MLA JIL #12312, but I can't find it on higheredjobs or the Chronicle. There doesn't seem to be a Middle Eastern subpage, so I'm posting it here. "Review of applications will begin on April 1, 2010 and will continue until the position is filled." Feel free to move or expand if there's a better place for it...

receipt of application acknowledgement (4/2)

there appears to be an inside candidate who is a graduate of the dept. & currently teaches in the dept.

inside candidate notwithstanding, presumably there was/is a shortlist. anyone know who is on it?

three job talks were given during the week of 5/24, none by an inside candidate. (6/1)


University of Auckland link Edit

University of Colorado link   Edit

  • Does anyone know how reference letters fit into the online application for this position? They ask for three letters, but it isn't clear what their expectation is in terms of transmission.
    • A: They spell it out on the special instructions section of the job description on the application site.Q: Does anyone else use Interfolio to manage letters of recommendation? Do any of you, like me, not trust this to work with Colorado's online system in the slightest? How is Interfolio supposed to know which letters to upload, especially if we have multiple letters from the same recommender?
      • A: I just had Interfolio send my letters to humanities@colorado.edu —that system was too weird to deal with.  Q.  Does anyone know whether the system will e-mail your recommenders even if you had Interfolio send the letters directly?
      • A: the system sends e-mails automatically. You can enter your own e-mail address if you don't want your recommenders to be e-mailed. The department has a helpful FAQ on their website: http://humanities.colorado.edu/assistant-professor-faqs/
      • On Interfolio...If you make the e-mail address they send help@interfolio.com, then Interfolio uploads letters (but for some reason, they only did three when I requested four). Warning: Interfolio randomly charges you four dollars for this service (fine) but don't explain why. It just shows up as a balance on the account the next time you send a delivery. ---Thank you so; much I could not figure out that fee.
      • Interfolio only uploaded two of my requested letters (used the help@interfolio.com address). A phone call revealed that they haven't been receiving all of the letter requests from CU. It's worth double checking the CU system and then calling Interfolio to have them email the letters directly.
      • RESOLUTION: Interfolio actually generates unique email addresses for each confidential letter of recommendation in your account. In this way, you can use the unique email addresses for your letter writers in the CU [and other's] application. They have a full help topic, here: http://www.interfolio.com/helpcenter/index.cfm/198


  • Sorry to be the grim reaper, but per their staff person in charge of processing the applications, there are more than 900 applications for this job.
  • 11/23: Not sure if others noticed this announcement on their website: "We intend to notify candidates selected for interview at the MLA Conference on or shortly before December 21." FYI...
    • Yikes!  That cuts things a bit close...
    • Someone I know in another dept there tells me there's probably an inside candidate, too.
    • Misery-season Schadenfreude says: I HOPE there's an inside candidate and those guys are stuck wading through 900 30-pp writing samples anyway! Ha!!
    • WTF? December 21 is not enough notice. The MLA should have guidelines on when candidates should be notified.
      • I've heard wild stories about people getting calls for interviews in their hotel rooms at the MLA. See, it could be worse!
      • If you're on the market, it's assumed that you'll go to the convention.  Plus, this is a humanities job, so they wouldn't be going by MLA guidelines.
      • A humanities job posted on the MLA JIL and for which interviewing is being done at the MLA Convention should indeed be adhering to MLA guidelines--it may be that w/ MLA moving after this year to a new date (first Thurs-Sun in January) this whole situation will change, but it would be interesting to know whether the notification is getting later and later (it may be that in a tough market, schools feel less like they need to notify their top candidates ASAP). I do think this is a major issue, and I *don't* think that in the current economic climate it should be "assumed" that job-seekers will buy a $300-700 plane ticket and spend $200-500 on a hotel room when they don't even know if they'll have an interview. One of the MLA's main functions is to oversee things like this, and while I know this isn't the place to have this conversation, if it's getting worse we should all consider contacting members of the appropriate MLA committees/organizations.
      • 12/7:  Received email requesting MLA interview for 12/28.
        • They are scheduling interviews by email? That's very odd.
        • Evidence of the power of the wiki-critique?
        • Does this mean they have processed all 900 applications?
        • Anyone else get an interview request? I find it very strange that they would claim on the site that they would make notifications around the 21st, and then a request goes out on the 7th. Not doubting the veracity of the poster above, but I do think that they're not finished with requests. And with that many applicants, one would think there would be a greater number of wiki users to post that they also received an interview. So I say let's continue to hold on to hope for later requests.
          • Yes, I also received an interview invitation, but by telephone. (x3)
  • Can people please put a date for when they received the interview invitations? This would clarify if they're reading/inviting on rolling basis.
    • 12/7 (I'm one of the x3 who received a phone call) (X3)

     Would you mind revealing your field?

          I also received a phone call for an interview 12/7 (not one of the original x3)

  • Big-time congratulations to the interview recipients, and best of luck at MLA. Have most of the rest of us given up on this one, or are people still clinging to hope?
    • Giving up. (x2)
    • Given up
    • I pretty much gave up as soon as I heard there were 900 applications.
      • Hahaha...touché. I guess I'll get off the Good Ship False Hope myself, then. Best of luck, everyone.
      • Received kindly worded rejection letter via email (12/21) (x8--I agree, it was kindly worded) (much appreciated)

Of the semifinalists interviewed at MLA, has anybody heard back about a campus visit? They said end of January, no?

  • I haven't heard back yet.... (x4)

1/29 Email from search committee:

Re: Assistant Professor of Humanities position at CU-Boulder
At the beginning of this week the department was informed that because of the worsening budget situation at the University of Colorado our advertised position could become a victim of budget cuts. I’ve been seeking clarification of this situation since then and as yet do not have a firm answer as to whether the position will in fact be part of a new round of cuts. Until this is clarified we cannot move to the next stage of the search and invite candidates to campus. I hope to obtain more definite news one way or the other in the next 2-3 weeks and will be in touch with you then. If we are able to proceed to campus visits, finalists will be notified at that time. If you need further clarification about this position before then, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

Blech. (X3)

  • 2/19: Third week passing today...
  • 2/27: And there goes week four. Not a good sign. (You're right, but funding for this stuff is so tied up in the bureaucracy above them. Plus, there is still plenty of time left in the semester to have campus visits, etc) ((Agreed. Also, I suppose that, of all times to have a delay, this is the safest since it is highly unlikely that many candidates have competing offers--statistically speaking.))
  • 3/5 - Notification of search cancellation via phone (x2). Kind of them to call us, rather than emailing.

University of Minnesota (cultural studies and comp lit) Edit

  • Q: Where is this advertised? Thanks!
  • I couldn't link to it because I only found it on the MLA listings (password-protected) -- it's expired now but you can search for it under "expired listings" and it will come up.
  • This job is also listed on the Film & Media Studies page
  • Has anyone heard back regarding this position?  I didn't even get an acknowledgment... (12/4) // A: I have also heard nothing. I have a sneaking suspicion that they have an inside candidate, but that is really based on nothing more than the fact that they seem to have a couple of grad student instructors who work on their desired areas. And U of MN seems like the kind of school that is not averse to hiring their own. But I hope (for my own sake) this is not the case, because from what I know it is a cool department. And I can attest that Minneapolis is a great place to live.
  • They do not hire recent grads into tt positions. Look at their faculty profiles.
  • Inside source tells me 450 applications received.  MLA invites forthcoming.
  • 1 interview posted on film and media page. (12/18)
  • Thoughtful rejection via e-mail (1/11) (x2), (1/12)
  • Job filled

University of Rochester link Edit

What is this position? There's a pre-1865 American posting, I know, but I haven't seen a comparative position advertised. And the link to the Chronicle no longer works.

Comments Edit

Is it just me, or are the Comparative listings (specifically, the lack thereof, which then results in ridiculous levels of competition) offered this year utterly depressing?

It's not just you, wiki friend. It's beyond depressing. Best wishes to you in all this madness.

Thanks for commiserating with me, wiki buddy.  I wonder how comparatists fare in general against those who focus on a single national (or linguistic) tradition when it comes to jobs in English or Foreign Language departments... Best of luck to you too!

I have an inkling of how comparatists fare when it comes to English jobs. The Chair of English at my graduate institution told me that, for purposes of hiring, they make two piles of applications: one for people with English PhDs and the other for everyone else (including to Comp Lit). They never even touch the Comp Lit pile unless they've worked their way entirely through the English pile and found NOTHING promising. In this current job market, it seems unlikely that the Comp Lit pile gets considered at all. I can't speak for the situation at every institution, but I suspect that this sort of thing might be a common practice in English (and other national literature) departments.

I really hope that isn't true.I have run into some bias in the English dept at my university, but I have also run into people who are very supportive of the mission of Comp Lit (as many profs in the English dept have PhDs in Comp Lit). I have gotten a few inquiries from well-regarded English programs. Oddly, though, I have been blown off by SLACs. I wonder if the bias perhaps is more intense at smaller (perhaps more conservative) schools? The research universities don't seem to care either way. Or maybe I am just coming up with theories to make myself feel better. : )

Oh, I totally support your theory about SLACs (of course, maybe I'm also trying to comfort myself). And it confuses me because I attended a SLAC as an undergrad, and I always play that up in the letter. But these are still fairly traditional departments, and I do think they find it harder to justify hiring someone who hasn't had that "traditional" training. I think research institutions are pretty open, as I've witnessed in various hiring processes at my grad and current VAP schools.

Thanks for the confirmation! The irony is that a Comp Lit person would be a huge asset to a SLAC--we can wear multiple hats and often bring more kinds of specialties to the table than a traditional English candidate. And, at my university, you have to do EVERYTHING students in the English dept do (if that is one of your concentrations)--the same exact qualifying exams, etc. But, you ALSO have to have the foreign language knowledge, two other sets of exams, etc. So, I can't see why SLACs wouldn't see that we are a HUGE BARGAIN!!!

Thanks for your thoughts! (I'm the original poster.) Of course, the second and third answers make me feel a bit better than the first, but I think that all of the posters make very helpful observations.  (And I couldn't agree more with the poster just above!) Just to add my experience on the market this year: I have a CL degree and I've been called for two MLA interviews, both in English departments (one at a public, the other at a SLAC). However, both of those are for specializations that are inherently comparative, so I suppose it makes sense.  Good luck to us all!

As a complitter who got a job in an English department (Public R1), I can say that English faculty do need reassuring that your time studying something outside of their field hasn't meant any reduction in your disciplinary knowledge. For the campus visit, I was advised to show mastery of my period within English literary history since I would be competing against English Ph.D's whose knowlege could be assumed. On the other hand, it can be an advantage when someone on the search committee has a complit Ph.D. and sees a kindred soul in you. Pros and cons... In any case, statistics show that tenure-track hiring of complit and english Ph.D's is roughly equivalent (the numbers are rough since there are so fewer complit phds), contra the stereotype. These statistics also show that complitters are much more likely (than nationalist litters) to be placed at doctoral institutions, thus conforming to the idea that liberal arts are less likely to hire complitters: http://www.ade.org/reports/PHDPlacement.pdf

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