Instead of looking just at new hires in tenure-track jobs across the profession, another way to look at the question is to look just at those 44 associate professors who have been tenured in Ph.D.-granting programs in the last five years. Of those 44, 18 (41%) are not graduates of German Studies Ph.D. programs in North America. Eight (18%) hold degrees in other disciplines (comparative literature, film studies, rhetoric) from North American universities, while ten (23%) hold degrees (not always in Germanistik) from European universities.
There's nothing wrong with this, of course. These scholars make important contributions to German Studies and include some of the brighter lights in our field. But if sometimes you feel like your adviser doesn't really understand what the job market is like or how it really works, there's a fairly good chance that he or she faced a job market that only partially overlapped with the one that you're dealing with (quite apart from the post-2008 job apocalypse, I mean).
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In honor of the next job list coming out, I have a couple more posts coming up over the next several weeks. Next time: where the jobs are.