June 14, 2011 § 1 Comment

And by “LAST SUMMER” I mean “this summer,” and by “YOU” I mean “I.”

Because exams! It’s what’s for dinner. And/or is my literal actual job for the next three months. The exam process in the English department is…well let’s just say new (my cohort is the first to go through what we initially dubbed New Quals and which we currently refer to primarily with swear words) and refers to two separate tests. The Breadth Exam comes first and consists of a written portion and an oral portion, which themselves are divided into two lists of materials — my first list is titled “Race, Gender and Humor in Folklore Studies” and focuses on ethnographic accounts of race, gender and humor (go figure) and the second is “Race, Gender and Symbolic Power” and addresses many of the same issues but from a media studies/textual analysis perspective. Students will be asked to pick up and respond to two prepared questions, one on Monday and another on Wednesday; in each case we’ll have 48 hours to return our answers. A week later we’ll be grilled on both lists in some sort of roundtable slash inquisition, the specific details of which still remain a bit fuzzy (I think we just show up?). About three weeks later our advisors will administer proper orals, which in my case will cover Digital Culture + Dissertation Related Project (trollshit, obviously).

Between the three lists I’ll be responsible for about 200 items, some entire books, some chapters, some articles, some videos. I don’t know what questions will be asked of me, but I have a plan, boy howdy do I ever. One aspect of that plan is to post basic synopses of each item plus connections with anticipated questions/my larger research projects onto this here blog, which will allow me to quickly and easily stockpile materials.

So yeah! Over the course of the next few months I’ll be liveblogging the fun, using as many naughty words as possible because studying for exams SUCKS. So instead of driving myself insane with Earnestness, I’ma take a page out of honeybadger’s playbook and just smack the shit out of shit. You hear that, exams? I’m not scared of you. What are you waiting for, indeed.


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