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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

What My Colleagues Specialize In

So you want to get a job. You can specialize in the areas where the most jobs are, or you can do the field that interests you the most and not worry about the job market.

Another way of looking at this, though, is that the most number of jobs are in the most crowded fields, so that in Modern Latin American, for example, you have to beat out 200 other applicants for any given job. Now, obviously, if you are a truly qualified applicant, then your chances are better than .5%, but still...

The second point is that many SLAC jobs do not require extreme specialization. What matters there is not the exact nature of the research, but the ability to teach a variety of courses. The smaller the department, the greater the value of of a generalist. You want to be able to teach beyond your dissertation in any kind of institution.

My colleagues line up approximately like this

Medieval (1)
Early Modern Peninsular (2)
19th Century Peninsular (1)
Modern Peninsular (2)

Colonial Latin American (1)
19th Century and Modern Latin American (6)

Linguistics (2)


Spanish prof said...

I think the hottest field right now is Hispanic Linguistics (second language acquisition in particular). Unless you are being interviewed at a R1 university, I believe, as you say, that the key for grad students in the job market is to demonstrate you can teach classes in almost any period of either Latin American literature and civilization or Spanish literature and civilization.

Clarissa said...

One, however, should be very careful not to step on any toes. If there are already specialists in a certain field in a specific department, they might get very annoyed if a non-specialist announces that s/he can teach courses in their area.

Jonathan said...

That's very true. Specialists tend to be very territorial about that.

profacero said...

I am voting for linguistics / L2 acquisition, but also Romance and general lingistics, or sociolinguistics with an ability to teach culture(s).

profacero said...

Also: film, new media.

Jonathan said...

Ok. But then SLA ends up meaning "supervise the graduate student assistants" rather than "do research in linguistics."

Andrew Shields said...

Since my Dad used to collaborate with someone there in the 70s, to me "SLAC" means "Stanford Linear Accelerator Center." :-)