Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Afternoon's work and bad job prospects

I got a short outline done for the abstract, encyclopedia article and my new improved cover letter done this afternoon. I am finding the advice given by fellow bloggers to be very helpful in revising the cover letter. I think part of my problem is that as an outsider I don't know how American academics think. Honestly, I find their culture and way of thinking to be much more alien than any of the peoples of the Orient I study. They seem akin to certain insular ethno-confessional groups that try and keep contact with outsiders to an absolute minimum and hence remain an enigma to the larger world.

The amount of jobs available in anything that might remotely touch any of the fields I study is quite small. The new H-net listings only had two that looked possible and one of those is an extreme stretch. Ethnic Studies and Comparative Ethnic Studies looks on the basis of the name alone to fit most of my research. However, I think I do ethnicity and race different than most scholars in the US who think in very constrained terms. I suppose I will apply to the job in Ethnic Studies, but the description makes it pretty clear they mean ethnic groups in the US and not Eurasia. I figure I will apply anyways. It is probably a better match than the womens history course I once applied for because the university campus was on the beach in Virginia. People are always astounded I applied for a womans history position until I tell them about the beach part.


Camicao said...

Academic cultures are insular, indeed, and governed by rules and channels that are ultimately arbitrary and unimportant. Anyway, I wouldn't waste my time applying to that ethnic studies job. The very phrase "ethnic studies" has a post-nationalist Americanist turn, and you can pretty much guarantee they won't consider any Europeanist or "Orientalist" for even a minute. Also, if you're not a poststructuralist or postcolonialist theorist, you will probably not receive a welcoming reception by search committes in ethnic studies. I went to a Ph.D. program populated with ethnic studies students and some luminaries in the field.

J. Otto Pohl said...

I suppose you are right. It does mention Postcolonial studies. For Eurasia we would use the term nationalities studies rather than ethnic studies. The job description does not appear to cover anything outside the US. In fact it looks like it might even be looking for something specific to California. That leaves only one new job to apply for this week.