A lot of graduate students who just kind of drifted into graduate study and are not particularly independent in their thinking do a default field. The default field is usually narrative with a few films mixed in, contemporary, and topical. Representations of x in novels and films in two South American countries (or in Spain). X could be neoliberalism or dictatorship or narco-trafficking or whatever else is topical right now. So it's kind of a sociological approach in which novels (or films) represent mimetically a social reality of the day. There is not a lot of historical depth. The use of theory can also be rather instrumentalist.
I'm not saying this is all bad. It does explain why I don't direct more dissertations, though. I'm happy to be a reader on them, but they don't correspond to my vision of literary research in my field.