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By Jason Rhody Several projects funded by NEH’s Office of Digital Humanities have been featured in t [...]

Hooked on this weekly (nearly) wordless glimpse of the future? You can find more images, and links t [...]

This week the US National Gallery of Art announced that over 35.000 images are currently available a [...]

[ENGLISH]Topic: Cultural Heritage 3D Surveying and ModelingDate, Place: 5-12 July, Paestum (Italy)Li [...]

[ENGLISH]Topic: entertainment computingDate, Place: 11-14 November 2014 Funchal, MadeiraLink: http:/ [...]

Iryna Kuchma, EIFL’s Open Access Programme Manager, has joined the Open Access Button Steering Commi [...]

Tulane Journal of International Affairs eMAP : electronic Magazine on Asia and the Pacific Newcomb C [...]

PhilPapers is the free index and search tool that comprehensively tracks philosophy papers online (p [...]

Marty McFly: Wait a minute, Doc. Ah… Are you telling me that you built a time machine… out of a DeLo [...]

Data visualization is one of the most important tools we have to analyze data. But it’s just as easy [...]

We are pleased to publish an interview with Dr. Sally Severino on Open Science dot com. Dr. Severino [...]

This year was my third time attending the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCCs [...]

Classical Philology (Open Access Backfiles) ISSN: 0009837X E-ISSN: 1546072X Classical Philology is a [...]

When mooching around the Web I quite often land on fairly newly minted college and university librar [...]

The Department of English and The Center for Digital Humanities and Culture are pleased to announce [...]

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New Publication on Open Access and Open Data

Eric Kansa’s hot-off-the-press paper Openness and Archaeology’s Information Ecosystem provides a timely discussion of how Open Access and Open Data models can help researchers move past some of the dysfunctions of conventional scholarly publishing. Rather than threatening quality and peer-review, these models can unlock new opportunities for finding, preserving and analyzing information that advance the [...] [...]

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Digital Humanities Conference in Berkeley

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The 2012 Pacific Neighborhood Consortium (PNC) Annual Conference and Joint Meetings will take place at School of Information at UC Berkeley from December 7th to December 9th, 2012. The conference is hosted by the Electronic Cultural Atlas Initiative (ECAI) and the School of Information at UC Berkeley. The main theme is New Horizons: Information Technology [...] [...]

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Cyberinfrastructure in Near Eastern Archaeology

At the 2012 ASOR meeting in Chicago last month, the AAI co-organized (with Chuck Jones, ISAW) and presented in the second of a 3-year session Topics in Cyberinfrastructure, Digital Humanities, and Near Eastern Archaeology I. This year’s theme was From Data to Knowledge: Organization, Publication, and Research Outcomes. Presentations and demonstrations took place two back-to-back [...] [...]

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Opening the Humanities Part 2: Contexts

In 1813, Thomas Jefferson declared in a letter to Isaac McPherson: “He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should … Continue reading [...]

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Opening the Humanities Part 2: Contexts

In 1813, Thomas Jefferson declared in a letter to Isaac McPherson:

“He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and [...]

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Advice to new PhDs: how to avoid those unwanted interviews

We all know that a PhD from a highly ranked program guarantees that the world will beat a path to your door for the mere opportunity to speak with you.  How can  you persuade departments that are hiring not to interview you?

Because my department is currently conducting a search, I have recently surveyed essentially the entire pool of job applicants in Classics, and have a good sense for how the best trained candidates manage to avoid getting interviews.  For those PhDs who have not yet mastered such a basic skill, I am summarizing here the strategies I have observed.

Let me stress that these comments are aimed only at a very small fraction of candidates.  When I tried to compile a short list of roughly 5% of our applicants for interviews, I was unable to do so. Rephrasing that in positive terms, more than 95% of the candidates successfully avoided an interview based solely on my first fairly cursory reading of their dossier.   When you consider the kind of dedicated and talented students who go on to graduate study in Classics, that figure is a remarkable testimony to the powerful effects of graduate school.

First let me suggest three fairly general guidelines:

  1. Do not read the job description.
  2. Find out nothing about your potential home institution and colleagues.
  3. Focus relentlessly on your personal career advancement, to the exclusion of any suggestion that your professional work might affect another human being positively.

These may seem obvious, but after reading many applications, I have a better appreciation for how some candidates apply them most effectively.  Remember, even in a field like Classics, you cannot count on letters of recommendation to disparage you adequately:  you need to use the parts of your dossier that you can directly  control — your CV, any specific essays or statements that an advertisement requires, and, especially, your cover letter — to ensure that you do not get an interview.

Almost all candidates will start with the easiest tactic:  send in the same generic cover letter that you use in response to completely different job advertisements.  Many candidates will let a bland, off-topic letter speak for itself, but one rhetorical refinement I came to appreciate is the addition of a single sentence or two mentioning the hiring institution, but clearly appended to an otherwise unmodified cover letter.  If the appended sentence can raise some subject that is central to the job description, but otherwise unmentioned in the cover letter, it will be especially clear that this is an afterthought, and that you have no real interest in the subject.  Even better is the appended sentence that implicitly contradicts the emphasis of the rest of the cover letter.  Of course, if you are not confident that your reviewers will appreciate this subtlety, you can always resort to brute force:  leave the name of a different institution in your appended sentence.  Although I saw this only rarely, it demonstrates to even the most insensitive reader that the cover letter is completely impersonal.

What should you do if your generic cover letter actually responds to some part of the job advertisement?  Unlikely as that may seem, it can happen, and candidates will then have to take extra precautions to stay off the interviewers’ short list.  Use your CV and additional statements to obfuscate or directly contradict any apparently relevant sections of your cover letter.  If you allude to a potentially interesting digital project in your cover letter, do not include it on your CV, or else present it on your CV as trivial (e.g., list it under some category like “Other service”, beneath a more highly valued contribution such as “ordered pizza for grad student lecture series”).  If your cover letter could be misread as referring to collaborative research among students and faculty, expand on that in a separate statement about your research that never mentions students.  As I saw repeatedly this fall, it can be especially effective to dwell at length on your contract for a forthcoming book if you emphasize that it will be published by a press charging more per monograph than your library ever pays, and if your topic leaves potential colleagues paralyzed at the prospect of having to read your book when you come up for review.

While many applicants use the protracted and obsessive  ”forthcoming book” discussion to put off potential interviewers, the possibilities it offers for avoiding an interview are almost limitless.  If done properly, you can demonstrate with it that years of advanced study have taught you only a narrow range of technical skills without fostering any kind of development as a thoughtful member of an academic community.  Prose style is highly individual, but you can heighten the effectiveness of this trope if you strive for a tone of entitlement.  Make it clear not only that the proper role for students and colleagues is to advance your career, but that they should be grateful for the chance.

Perhaps the handful of applicants to whom I am offering these suggestions cannot benefit at this point in their careers:  if you have not completely internalized these fundamental habits of thought by the time you receive a PhD, it is highly unikely that you will ever pick them up, and we should recognize that some people may simply be incapable of learning such ideas.  But given the nature of the job market in academia today, I feel ethically compelled to share these suggestions.  If even one applicant thinks differently about applying for a job because of this post, that will be more than enough of a reward for my efforts.

[...]

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RTI & the Late Bronze Age stela of Mirasiviene

This Late Bronze Age (LBA) stela was found many years ago in a country-estate located in the Guadalquivir Valley (South Spain). Last September David Wheatley (University of Southampton), Leonardo García Sanjuán (University of Seville) and I have conducted fieldwork on the site where it was found (see also: previous post). We have also applied advanced [...] [...]

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RTI & a prehistoric pottery sherd from Mirasiviene

While fieldwalking the country-estate of Mirasiviene, where the eponymous Late Bronze Stela was found (see: RTI shedding new light on Iberian Late Bronze Age stelae and RTI & the Late Bronze Age stela of Mirasiviene), we located an exceptional settlement. This is one of the many pottery sherds found on its surface. This sherd is [...] [...]

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RTI & the decorated stela of Montoro

This decorated stela was found some years ago nearby the town of Montoro, in the Middle Guadalquivir Valley (Córdoba, South Spain). In September, David Wheatley (University of Southampton), Leonardo García Sanjuán (University of Seville) and I have conducted fieldwork to inspect the place where it was found and we have also applied enhanced techniques to [...] [...]

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RTI & a prehistoric quern from Kellah Burn

This intriguing stone has been found by Joshua Pollard (University of Southampton) and his team during fieldwork on a site called Kellah Burn, in Northumberland, UK. The stone seems to have been initially used as a quern. Afterwards, the quern was decorated with this beautiful wavy motif. David Wheatley and I have applied RTI to [...] [...]

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News: The First Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in Rubin v. Iran

The meaning of “OF”: The First Circuit Hears Oral Arguments in Rubin v. IranTuesday, December 4, 2012This post is researched, written, and published on the blog Cultural Heritage Lawyer Rick St. Hilaire at culturalheritagelawyer.blogspot.com.The First… [...]

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