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Étienne Brown

My feeling is that departments will make it clear when they are interested in receiving applications for philosophers with different AOSs for the same job. This happens. I was hired in a philosophy of technology search the ad for which mentioned that candidates with a different AOS whose work strongly related to phil tech. were encouraged to apply. Personally, when someone mentions a specific AOS, I'll jump to the publications section and see if this fits.


I'm starting to do research in a particular area which is related to the AOS for which I have done research and published so far. I have given several talks on this new AOS in the past year, and I have a couple of drafts of papers I'll submit soon. I have taught twice undergrad courses in this area, and I am capable of teaching a grad course on it. I was advised to include this area as AOS in my cv.

Throwaway Name

I got a tenure-track job once. On philjobs, it listed AOS as X, and AOC as Y and Z. My AOS is Y, and I can teach X. I said I could teach Z, and I did, though I had never done it before.

This was a small teaching college. I bet that this doesn't fly at research places.

Helen De Cruz

I know this may be a pain to search committees, but... I advise if it sounds somewhat credible, to stretch the AOS. The extra work in making the application is not that much, the potential benefit is huge, so decision theory says: do it. Moreover, you as a candidate do not know the internal politics/compromises. Particularly, I've noticed in mentoring and now also as placement director, women are more hesitant to stretch than men, so I feel it helps gender equity to encourage everyone to stretch. Of course, there is stretching beyond what's credible, e.g., you say "Bioethics" as AOS and never published in it or wrote on it, didn't teach in it etc. But very often a stretch is credible because of interests, experience teaching, etc.
So, I am sorry this causes extra work to search committees but given that I've seen people land jobs on a stretch, I say go for it.

from Europe

From a European perspective, I strongly discourage people stretching, as they often do on the USA market. It is a complete waste of time. Certainly where I work, you must truly be able to show you are trained in a particular area. Indeed, it is even more specialized than the common AOS and AOC in USA ads. Post docs are tied to projects, and you have to have worked on the topic of the project to have any chance.

from Europe too

I applied for a few jobs in Italy. (TT-jobs, not post-docs). I did quite a biet of stretching and this was well received at the on campus stage and also afterwards in informal exchanges. I didn't get any job (yet), which might be an argument in favour of from Europe's point, but I think there is a big diffenrece between post-docs and jobs in Europe.
If you apply for jobs, especially at small university, they will look for your teaching abilities and they will certainly appreciate if you can teach classes outside your AOS.


I think whether applying to a stretch area really depends on how much time you have. While there is a sense in which Helen is right, what that might miss is the cost of applying to more jobs, and the low odds of a return. I know when I was on the market, extra applications could make a big difference in how much time I put into each application.

If you work in an area that has few jobs, then it might make more sense to stretch since you are not applying to that many, anyway. But if you already have a lot of applications, then you probably want to think more seriously about the costs in time and effort.

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