Episode 27: Dissertate This and Potential Job Prospects

One week from today i am meeting with my major professor and providing all the ancillary information that corresponds to my reading lists. A lot of it involves putting in writing things I’ve mentioned in meetins and discussed with a handful of people. While it may seem that this process is an exercise in making the obvious official, I’m still a bit worried. Professors know that I know webcomics more than anybody in a local academic setting, but that doesn’t equal automatic passing of comprehensive exams and much less of a dissertation. Of the informaton I need to provide is what potential dissertation topics can come from my reading lists and what kind of job can I get/ could apply once graduating with these academic specialties. Time to place a draft of said potentials here in this draft so consider yourselves lucky for the sneak peek.

Disseration wise, I’ve been saying for a while that I want to make a grand arching history of serial fiction with an emphasis on how the method/medium of publication affects narrative production and reader reception. That is pretty much the sound byte of my academic career at this moment. When I imagine writing this I assume it would way over 200 pages, which I’m pretty sure is more than the minimum required for a dissertation. The crazy complicated nature of it is right up my alley but I’m pretty sure my professors might be worried by this forecast of just how weird it can be. Dividing chapters by medium or group of years seems like the most logical form to write it up but apprehensive if professors want me to have a specific focus or paradigm like Marxist or Imperialist. I do a lot of crazy combinations already, adding more critical theories than what I have will just make turn to a completely different direction and I honestly don’t think it will make a dissertation better or clearer.

The other big conundrum is what kind of job can I get with a dissertation that will probably include a big focus on webcomics alongside more classical forms of serial fiction. The old answer of “English Professor” will probably evoke a chuckle or a dismissive grunt from anyone who knows how the job market in academia is like. No university that I know is looking for a “webcomics guy” and if they were I’m pretty sure that mutual begging would be taking place. There actually are a handful of places that give degrees, even a few PhDs, in Comics Studies though said programs are designed to be practical. Hopefull they need somebody to teach literary criticism or something and I can help. My borderline combination of literature and tech makes me a decent prospect for any position dealing with digital humanities. Media Studies is also a logical choice and they are growing in various universities, though really hope I don’t become The film professor. I’ll have enough research and writing to teach Victorian Lit if need be but I’d be anything but classical. No matter what, I’m pretty sure I’ll end up being kooky pop culture professor no matter where I end up, and probably teach a Spanish class on the side. Unless I end up back home teaching in Puerto Rico, no need to tell people on the Island to use a fake Sean Conery accent to better pronounce Spanish.


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