So it has come time for me to draft up my reading list for my comprehensive exams, which will probably happen this summer. Coming up with titles is no problem, given that there are so many journal articles and books crammed into my office. I suppose task #2 will be paring the list down. I have been told to prepare 100 titles and my initial list has at least 150.
There is a 4-hour written exam and a 2-hour oral. I don’t anticipate much problem with the written… and frankly, I don’t anticipate much problem with the oral exam, either. I’ve come a long way since I nervously stuttered through my master’s exam. I’m much more well read and confident about my ability to improvise, hold forth, and admit when I should really be looking something up or I’m outside my area of expertise. I’m much more willing to disagree with folks these days – I think that is key. Merely parroting the status quo has its place – and you have to know the status quo, otherwise you don’t know what you’re disagreeing with – but I’m at the point where I have formed my own opinions about the major issues in rhetoric and composition, and I can triangulate my opinion by citing other folks.