Post Academic


“So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities,” the Sequel

 

Screenshot from "So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities: Nine Years Later"

The feel-bad hit of the academic job application season “So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities” has spawned its own subgenre, including the not-as-funny, not-as-well-received, longer-winded retort “Yes, I Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities” as well as other discipline-specific narratives for poli sci, law school, philosophy, and film.  But best yet is the sequel to the original created by none other than the patron saint of sites like ours, Thomas H. Benton/William Pannapacker.  His version revisits the earnest would-be grad student nine years down the line, scraping by as an adjunct and more than willing to do so.  As he describes his clip, “Our intrepid young English major finally completes her doctoral degree, and is appropriately rewarded.”   The scary thing about the humorous video is that grad students of this generation have already internalized much of what seems so horrific about the job market so that very little of it seems over the top.  We can’t embed XtraNormal videos on WordPress, but go over to the Chronicle Brainstorm page to see “So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities: 9 Years Later” for yourself.

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3 Responses to '“So You Want to Get a Ph.D. in the Humanities,” the Sequel'

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  1. recent Ph.D. said,

    This is so true: “The scary thing about the humorous video is that grad students of this generation have already internalized much of what seems so horrific about the job market so that very little of it seems over the top.”

    What’s scary to me about this internalization is that people don’t see clearly that 1) they’re being exploited, 2) being exploited should not be a step towards getting a “real” job, 3) even if you tolerate the adjuncthood “rite-of-passage” for years, you may never make it to the tenure track, no matter how good your work is, and 4) quitting a system that has failed you does not make you a failure.

    The other thing about the video that I find scarily true is her acquiescence and total lack of anger. It’s understandable that a lot of graduate students, especially newer ones, don’t see how they fit into the bigger picture, but once you do start to see what your lot is, how can you not resist? How can you continue to believe that things will be different for you? Reminds me of Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

  2. Anthea said,

    The scenario portrayed here is scary in that the grad student here is really not reacting to the horrors of the job market. But her reactions aren’t unexpected to be honest…..and as ‘recent PhD’ says she has to resist…and believe that her lot will be different. Sadly, they probably are and she really ought to start to think hard as to the manner in which she ought to redeploy those skills that she has just worked so hard to acquire.


  3. […] little pigtailed girl in the “So You Want to Get a PhD in the Humanities” video is all grown up and as blind as ever. I think the most chilling part of this “sequel” video is the ending, when the […]


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