Comments on: Intellectual migrations: how and when to switch fields? http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/ History and sexual politics, 1492 to the present Sun, 21 Sep 2014 05:51:06 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 By: links for 2010-08-10 at Links. Historische. http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-685351 Wed, 11 Aug 2010 00:00:09 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-685351 [...] Intellectual migrations: how and when to switch fields? : Historiann : History and sexual politics, … (tags: Beruf) [...]

]]>
By: AgnesW http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-572268 Wed, 10 Mar 2010 03:13:42 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-572268 Thanks for the post and the exchange. It really helps me to ‘see’ how others might perceive my shift in subject area, though my work is in the same time period and region/country.

]]>
By: Readings of the Day: 9 March 2010 Edition | Tea Bird http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-571729 Tue, 09 Mar 2010 05:43:03 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-571729 [...] answers a junior scholar’s question on the merits of switching focus from France to Argentina, which in [...]

]]>
By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570915 Mon, 08 Mar 2010 05:42:36 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570915 That warn’t no “luck,” Historiann, you cleaned-clock on that app. The part about the diss. going in the garbage can was a riot, though, I thought. What, did they have the job description “field” narrowed down to a specific zip code or gps coordinate–like some specific colonial New England farmer’s back forty?!? Your two projects weren’t so far apart as, say, Oslo and Pyongyang, were they, (to invoke an amusing geo-trope I saw in a NYT book review today)? I would hope, in this new age of “Digital Dissertations,” we can have done with the whole concept of “send diss.” Just give them the URL and bye-bye to the good folks up on North Zeeb Road!

]]>
By: Dr. Crazy http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570913 Mon, 08 Mar 2010 05:37:01 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570913 I’m not a historian, but I can tell you that in my (English)department at a regional state school we’ve had problematic issues with hiring people who do NOT teach what we hired in an area to teach. The result is not cool as, just as one example, I was teaching more composition at one point than the person who was hired as a comp specialist. (This is no longer the case, though now it means adjuncts teach those courses as opposed to the supposed comp person). And yes, I resent that person for not doing hir job. We’ve had issues with this in other fields as well.

What I think about switching fields is that it’s a lot easier to switch into adjacent and similar fields to one’s diss field (so, if one does Early American to move into the 19th century, for example, or if one does very mainstream research in hir diss to then move to doing disability studies, or gender studies, or whatever) but that this happens after the first book and tenure with the most success. If one moves further afield, one does need a compelling and articulate narrative for why (whether this is in the job search or in applications for tenure/promotion.) My mentors told me in graduate school that I shouldn’t see the diss as the end of my scholarly career. That was good advice. But my life has been a lot easier because I’ve not strayed into another century or national tradition, if that makes sense.

]]>
By: Historiann http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570828 Mon, 08 Mar 2010 03:02:58 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570828 thefrogprincess–it’s really not that interesting a story. I didn’t think my diss. was broad enough either in its temporal or geographic scope, and as I was writing my diss., I kept wanting to go broader, but kept getting pulled narrower (for a variety of reasons.) So, I finished my diss., got a few articles out of it, and then wrote a grant application to the Newberry Library to write a totally different book. I won it and lucked out–that fellowship convinced me that there would be enough information out there with which to write the book I had in mind.

But, most people end up almost completely re-writing their dissertation, and doing a lot of extra research to boot. So I don’t think that what I did was all that different than what most people do anyway. But, it did lead to some weird job search issues, like when the search chair for a job in X field I had been invited to apply to asked me to send a copy of my dissertation, when I had already explained that my dissertation didn’t have much to say about X field. I thought, “whatever,” and sent a copy, and then 6 months later learned that the guy had tossed it in the garbage because “we didn’t understand why you applied for this job because your dissertation wasn’t in X field.” Well, duh–that’s why I didn’t send you my dissertation in the first place, and my application laid that all out for you, pal. Thanks for reading! (His Departmental chair bought me a new copy of my dissertation, which I thought was pretty damn classy.)

(This is why I don’t think we should ever think that anyone reads anything in job searches. Assume they know nothing.)

The one advantage to having written an entirely new book the first time out is that the concept of conceiving of and executing a new project is totally unintimidating. A friend of mine was just telling me that ze is apprehensive about moving on to another project, since ze’s been living with the diss/book for 13 years or so. That wasn’t my problem.

]]>
By: thefrogprincess http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570665 Mon, 08 Mar 2010 00:05:53 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570665 Historiann, I’d be interested in hearing more (either in the comments or another post, however you see fit) about the related issue you mentioned, writing a book that isn’t a revision of the dissertation. It’s an idea floating around in my mind that I’m not seriously considering yet (it’s too soon) but I’d like to hear why you made that decision, when you made it (i.e. how soon after finishing the diss), and any pros and cons with that path, since it is the road much less taken.

]]>
By: Janice http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570599 Sun, 07 Mar 2010 23:16:02 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570599 With our mid-sized department (dozen plus faculty members teaching in two language streams), we all still have to multi-task and teach outside our specialty or specialties. What you’re talking about would be an asset in our neck of the woods, as long as you’re willing to teach in both areas.

That’s the rub. If you’re up for a teaching intensive position, you’ve got to show how your new research direction complements and augments the doctoral field. If you’re up for a research-intensive position, you’d better sell yourself on your new direction if that’s where your heart is or find something of your old direction you can continue to pursue and promote in your application and interviews.

I have heard, time and again, that with larger department, you have a serious problem with faculty members contending for curriculum rights and a low enough teaching load that it’s not realistic for one person to teach X and Y. So there, it’s a matter of plausibly putting the old behind you in a clear enough way that shows you’re committed to the new topic and can deliver the results they’ll expect as a public scholar and teacher.

But with multiple research and teaching facilities, you’d be a great candidate to sell yourself to smaller regionals and SLACs!

]]>
By: John S. http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570573 Sun, 07 Mar 2010 22:50:43 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570573 Some of this, I think, depends on new fields that emerge in the course of one’s career. One of my colleagues who is in the midst of something of this kind of switch works on disability history, a field that no one had really dreamed off when s/he was hired. And I am sure that there are still plenty of older professors teaching/researching on the history of sexuality who might have started out in that field had they been of a younger scholarly generation. (Now, of course, it’s something you can specialize in coming out of grad school and there are job listings in it.) This might be a situation similar to what Historiann mentioned, where female scholars working on “traditional” topics switched to women’s history in mid-career, a field that wasn’t well established will they were in graduate school.

]]>
By: Indyanna http://www.historiann.com/2010/03/07/intellectual-migrations-how-and-when-to-switch-fields/comment-page-1/#comment-570566 Sun, 07 Mar 2010 22:23:53 +0000 http://www.historiann.com/?p=9878#comment-570566 Historiann, I’m reminded of your advisor, who only took the job that allowed hir to become your advisor “on condition” that ze could continue teaching a sub-field that was different from the one ze was being recruited to teach (in addition to the latter, of course). And whose subsequent books and editorial projects covered what, about seventeen different regions and several half-centuries without getting out into the borderlands you posted on the other day–and might still get there yet! And went on to have maybe five post-retirement careers.

Or, for that matter, my own advisor, who I learned indirectly at a tipsy AHA-dinner years later had been first hired into a slot that I thought I went there to study, but didn’t because nobody was really teaching it. So we separately and more or less incidentally drifted into a new one. Ah for the days when you could get a phone call and lay down terms and conditions. But as you say, don’t try this in your suite, those days are gone.

]]>