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glycoprotein1

Fall 2018 Applicants

103 posts in this topic

3 hours ago, kyjin said:

This is a quandary a lot of Asianists have. My MA advisor put it simply to me when I was applying to programs: "With a History degree, a History department will take you seriously. With an EALC degree? Less so." Basically, it comes down to the job market: where do you want to end up at the end of the day? Would you like to be in a History dept? If so, it might be safer to apply in History. If you're more excited to work in an East Asian specific dept, then you can go with either. (Similar quandary also for those who do Asian Religions in choosing between Religion or EALC.) In my cycle, I ended up applying to three History programs and one EALC. 

 

I hadn't thought about this. I'm interested in the M.E.N.A region. I'm applying to 6 history PhD programs and 3 master's programs in Middle East and North African studies (not history). Should I be looking at master's in history departments if I end up going that the MA-->PhD route? I assumed, with my undergraduate degree in history and hypothetical master's in MENA studies, I would look more focused than some who just got a general history master's degree and wrote a master's thesis based in the MENA region. 

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28 minutes ago, miami421 said:

I hadn't thought about this. I'm interested in the M.E.N.A region. I'm applying to 6 history PhD programs and 3 master's programs in Middle East and North African studies (not history). Should I be looking at master's in history departments if I end up going that the MA-->PhD route? I assumed, with my undergraduate degree in history and hypothetical master's in MENA studies, I would look more focused than some who just got a general history master's degree and wrote a master's thesis based in the MENA region. 

The master's degree won't matter - the above advice is for the job market. But be aware that a lot of program administrators look at area studies MAs and see dollar signs. It can be hard to find internal funding.

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, telkanuru said:

The master's degree won't matter - the above advice is for the job market. But be aware that a lot of program administrators look at area studies MAs and see dollar signs. It can be hard to find internal funding.

Thanks for the response. Should've read more into the context, but I just briefly skimmed the discussion on my break at work. 

And I'm aware of the funding aspect, which is why I've chosen these three masters program (they offer funding). I chose area studies MAs over history MAs because the former tend to focus more on language training. 

 

Edit: grammar >.>

Edited by miami421

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12 hours ago, narple said:

Hi all, 

This is my second time through the process. I am finishing up my thesis (due Friday..YIKES) at UChicago's version of the History MA (MAPSS)--if anyone has questions feel free to pm me.

Broadly, my current research focuses on World War II France and Korea. I find the comparison between these countries interesting and worth pursuing, but not really an easy pitch to give to POIs and schools who usually focus on one region or the other. I do find Koreanists slightly more interested in this type of comparative work though. Which brings me to my question...

I am curious about people's opinions on History vs. EALC (or similar regional programs). I am completely sure that I want to do History, but am having trouble finding POIs in Korean History. I find many more in the EALC programs, but I would rather be affiliated with History to do more on the French side.

Suggestions? Possible POI's I am overlooking?

 

I'm not an Asianist, but do you absolutely need a Koreanist right now? 

I ask this because in my case (I'm a Latinamericanist) and other people's (from other fields) our primary advisor is not a person who studies our country but we do have specialist in our dissertation committee from outside the department/campus. So I would consider also finding a POI specialized in world history/East Asian history/studies more generally or comparative history so that they can advise you on your broader perspective during coursework/exams and cultivate a relationship with a Koreanist for the dissertation. It's just an option.

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Posted (edited)

@AP but aren't 90% of them Hispanists? I think East Asian history is a bit different since China, Korea and Japan are very distinct in terms of culture, history and language. And the relation is not reciprocal. Koreanists have a better chance understanding Chinese (and Japanese) historiographies and languages but not the other way around. Most Sinologists would choose Japanese over Korean as the second research language.

Same in the field of Eastern European History. Russianists know less about the rest of Eastern Europe than Polonists, Bohemists, Slovakists, Ukranianists and Balticists know about Russia. That's why if an Eastern Europeanist does not say which specific cultural/ethic groups he specializes in, it probably means he only studies Russian history. And if he doesn't say he studies Seberia or South Caucasia, it probably means he only focuses on the Russian heartland. 

Edited by VAZ

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Posted (edited)

@VAZ Thanks for the rundown. I have targeted a handful of people, many on your list in fact, but I am also trying to be conscious of time periods and methodologies. I am looking through some of your suggestions I hadn't considered.

@kyjin The job market at the end of the tunnel is indeed why I want to be in history. Most schools I am looking at are open to inter-department work, but how did you present your project to align with history despite (I assume) knowing that many of your committee members would be in EALC? Did you still have a solid POI anchor in your history dept?

@AP I have considered trying to align myself with japanologists within the history department (which would be feasible for my focus and time period) and then working with the Koreanists in EALC too, but it is a much less appealing. I also am unsure how this would play out in the application process.

 

Despite the frustrations of application season, I am rather looking forward to all the excitement.

Edited by narple

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35 minutes ago, VAZ said:

@AP but aren't 90% of them Hispanists? I think East Asian history is a bit different since China, Korea and Japan are very distinct in terms of culture, history and language. And the relation is not reciprocal. Koreanists have a better chance understanding Chinese (and Japanese) historiographies and languages but not the other way around. Most Sinologists would choose Japanese over Korean as the second research language.

Same in the field of Eastern European History. Russianists know less about the rest of Eastern Europe than Polonists, Bohemists, Slovakists, Ukranianists and Balticists know about Russia. That's why if an Eastern Europeanist does not say which specific cultural/ethic groups he specializes in, it probably means he only studies Russian history. And if he doesn't say he studies Seberia or South Caucasia, it probably means he only focuses on the Russian heartland. 

Hispanists as we all understand Spanish? Yes. Also, Brazil is a huge field in itself. 

You know your fields and you know what you need better than me. Still, I'm not saying don't get someone in your country concentration, I'm just positing the possibility of having them at another stage. The few East Asianists I know sat for three quals: World history, East Asia, and their specific country of focus. If @narple is having a difficult time making a case for their research focused on Korea at this stage, then maybe thinking in broader terms (comparative history) can help them consider other names. Later on, things can work very differently –projects can change, advisors might leave, your interests may shift– and right now you want to get accepted to a program that fits your needs. 

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8 hours ago, kyjin said:

This is a quandary a lot of Asianists have. My MA advisor put it simply to me when I was applying to programs: "With a History degree, a History department will take you seriously. With an EALC degree? Less so." Basically, it comes down to the job market: where do you want to end up at the end of the day? Would you like to be in a History dept? If so, it might be safer to apply in History. If you're more excited to work in an East Asian specific dept, then you can go with either. (Similar quandary also for those who do Asian Religions in choosing between Religion or EALC.) In my cycle, I ended up applying to three History programs and one EALC. 

 

At some places, it is possible to get a History PhD in an EALC department. I'm in an EALC department. My PhD will be in "History and East Asian Languages," and I think there is basically no evidence that this does any harm to anyone's job prospects. And even at places that don't do this, it's quite common for East Asian historians to be effectively in both departments while getting a degree in History (I think this is the case at both Columbia and Princeton, for instance). If there is a Koreanist you want to work with who isn't in a history department, I recommend writing to them, telling them you'd like to do a history PhD, but still have them as your advisor, and see what they say. You may find that the admissions process for East Asian history already involves East Asian historians who are not located in the history department. Don't give up on a place that would be a good fit just because of where your potential advisor is technically located.

 

12 hours ago, VAZ said:

I believe you already have Charles Armstrong (Columbia), Kyu Hyun Kim (UC Davis), Todd Henry (UCSD), Charles Kim (Wisconsin), Yumi Moon (Stanford), Eugene Park (Penn) (He does supervise History PhDs) and Bruce Cumings (why not stay?) on your list. All of them have a pan-East Asian or global perspective/training.

 

 

 

 

 

I would be wary of working with either Armstrong or Cumings as a primary advisor - I'm not going to discuss this publicly, but most people in the Korea field are probably well aware of the (very different) reasons why.

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7 hours ago, miami421 said:

Thanks for the response. Should've read more into the context, but I just briefly skimmed the discussion on my break at work. 

And I'm aware of the funding aspect, which is why I've chosen these three masters program (they offer funding). I chose area studies MAs over history MAs because the former tend to focus more on language training. 

Yep, the MA dept shouldn't matter so much. I did my MA in an East Asian dept, then moved to History PhD. Much more language training in the regional programs, and your advisor may be in History anyway. My advisor was a historian. 

6 hours ago, narple said:

 

@kyjin The job market at the end of the tunnel is indeed why I want to be in history. Most schools I am looking at are open to inter-department work, but how did you present your project to align with history despite (I assume) knowing that many of your committee members would be in EALC? Did you still have a solid POI anchor in your history dept?

I've always done inter-departmental work; my BA was in History and East Asian Studies, MA was in East Asian Studies but I worked under a historian. In my case, I identified a POI in each History dept as main advisor, but also talked about how I wanted to work with people in EALC depts. My project, however, is very much under the field of "history" so this wasn't a stretch, rather I discussed using the EALC profs for reference and language work. In my case now, my advisor is a Japanese Historian in the History dept, and my committee is also made up of a Chinese historian, Japanese literature specialist, and Japanese religion specialist, the latter two of which are in EALC. 

3 hours ago, pudewen said:

At some places, it is possible to get a History PhD in an EALC department. I'm in an EALC department. My PhD will be in "History and East Asian Languages," and I think there is basically no evidence that this does any harm to anyone's job prospects. And even at places that don't do this, it's quite common for East Asian historians to be effectively in both departments while getting a degree in History (I think this is the case at both Columbia and Princeton, for instance).

Yes, this can also be the case! Apologies for not bringing this up. It does depend on the program, so be sure to look into your specific programs of interest to see if this is a possibility. 

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Hi all,

 

I'm making my go at PhDs this round. Last year, I got into a Master's program in Germany for Global History and I plan to finish by August 2018. I'll be making an attempt at getting into post-war Germany / Cold War history. I have a couple topics I am playing with, but they all revolve around the idea of "Germany in the World," institution based economic history and complicating both the theological and ideological driven history written about the Cold War.

 

As for the universities, I have them sorta narrowed down based on whether it will be a national history or global history degree. My top universities in the USA (at the moment) are Columbia, UNC, and Vanderbilt. Meanwhile, I'm looking at University of Birmingham, Cambridge, and London School of Economics in the UK. I have about another 8 or so, but these will get further cut down as the process of reaching out to professors begins this summer/fall.

 

Best of luck to everyone this cycle!

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Hi everybody,

I just read the 4 pages. This is an incredibly helpful resource as it's my first time applying for PhD programs. I could not thank enough those who post regularly around here. :)

I am applying to a few history programs that has a public health, medicine, and environment focus. Additionally, I am applying some historical anthropology, historical sociology, and other interdisciplinary science studies programs that focuses on public health, medicine, and environment. I approach these topics from a political economy (and political ecology, when appropriate) perspective. My master's thesis was on the history and political economy of the current opioids epidemic. I would ideally prefer to continue this work on substance use, although I am willing to expand my horizons.

For specific History PhD programs, I am currently eyeing Columbia History and Public Health dual program, Uni of Chicago Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, UPenn History and Sociology of Science, and U Michigan Anthropology and History dual program.

Does anybody has any other recommendations? I would deeply appreciate them.

Thanks! And good luck with the applications!

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On 8/1/2017 at 3:03 PM, syza said:

Hi everybody,

I just read the 4 pages. This is an incredibly helpful resource as it's my first time applying for PhD programs. I could not thank enough those who post regularly around here. :)

I am applying to a few history programs that has a public health, medicine, and environment focus. Additionally, I am applying some historical anthropology, historical sociology, and other interdisciplinary science studies programs that focuses on public health, medicine, and environment. I approach these topics from a political economy (and political ecology, when appropriate) perspective. My master's thesis was on the history and political economy of the current opioids epidemic. I would ideally prefer to continue this work on substance use, although I am willing to expand my horizons.

For specific History PhD programs, I am currently eyeing Columbia History and Public Health dual program, Uni of Chicago Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science, UPenn History and Sociology of Science, and U Michigan Anthropology and History dual program.

Does anybody has any other recommendations? I would deeply appreciate them.

Thanks! And good luck with the applications!

I'm not an expert in your field, clearly, but I wonder if the History of Science is a good path given the Public Health-y perspective you want to get. 

I know several people that did a 'regular' PhD in History but took courses and exams in the school of Public of Health or Environmental Sciences Dept at their university. I'm sure you have POIs in mind, how do they work? Do they co-teach with people from the departments you are interested in? Have they done any scholarly collaborations? 

Also, scout the Digital Humanities infrastructure as many scholars of Public Health use digital tools for visualizing data (in case you haven't already, of course). 

thinking out loud here. 

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On 7/3/2017 at 5:41 AM, lordtiandao said:

Wow, thanks for all the recommendations! Yes I realize medieval is more of a European history characterization, so Mid-Imperial is correct. I'm studying the Song-Yuan-Ming transition, maybe more political/fiscal than political/economic. For Harvard, Szonyi seems to be doing late Imperial and Modern. I was thinking of applying to Peter Bol, who is actually the adviser of my adviser here in Hong Kong. Yes, Chicago is probably going to be dropped from my list, unless Pomeranz is willing to take students who do Mid-Imperial history.

Christopher Atwood and Christian de Pee are definitely both on my list.Mark Edward Lewis (he might be too early yes) and von Glahn I am not sure right now, I would have to discuss it with my advisers first. I know von Glahn studies this period but I'm very disinclined to apply to him. I'm considering R. Bin Wong instead. It's a shame Nicola di Cosmo isn't taking any students. My adviser highly recommends him.

Why don't you wish to study with von Glahn? I attended his seminar at UCLA some years ago and he was wonderful.

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42 minutes ago, kindkw123 said:

Why don't you wish to study with von Glahn? I attended his seminar at UCLA some years ago and he was wonderful.

This is more of a personal decision as I have heard some negative things about his character that makes me question whether or not I want to study with him.

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Posted (edited)

10 hours ago, lordtiandao said:

This is more of a personal decision as I have heard some negative things about his character that makes me question whether or not I want to study with him.

I see. It's definitely important that you choose an adviser with whom you are completely comfortable. However, while I don't mean to undermine your assessment of him, I do feel inclined to stick up for him in this public forum. I personally found him to be very warm, modest, and brilliant. While he wasn't my adviser, I did work closely with his students. Of course you may have heard things to which I'm not privy, so I'm not dismissing your reservations. Just my two cents.

That being said, Bin Wong is also great. Andrea Goldman is also at UCLA, so there are three faculty members there that are working on late imperial China. It's pretty great if that's your interest.

Edited by kindkw123

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8 hours ago, kindkw123 said:

I see. It's definitely important that you choose an adviser with whom you are completely comfortable. However, while I don't mean to undermine your assessment of him, I do feel inclined to stick up for him in this public forum. I personally found him to be very warm, modest, and brilliant. While he wasn't my adviser, I did work closely with his students. Of course you may have heard things to which I'm not privy, so I'm not dismissing your reservations. Just my two cents.

That being said, Bin Wong is also great. Andrea Goldman is also at UCLA, so there are three faculty members there that are working on late imperial China. It's pretty great if that's your interest.

Well, that's certainly good to hear. But UCLA is not my top choice. I think for my research interests, the East Coast is a better option.

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On 8/8/2017 at 7:54 PM, AP said:

I'm not an expert in your field, clearly, but I wonder if the History of Science is a good path given the Public Health-y perspective you want to get. 

I know several people that did a 'regular' PhD in History but took courses and exams in the school of Public of Health or Environmental Sciences Dept at their university. I'm sure you have POIs in mind, how do they work? Do they co-teach with people from the departments you are interested in? Have they done any scholarly collaborations? 

Also, scout the Digital Humanities infrastructure as many scholars of Public Health use digital tools for visualizing data (in case you haven't already, of course). 

thinking out loud here. 

Chiming in here, @syza if you're interested in policy, you might look into STS programs. I have a lingering suspicion that they parallel your interests more than a typical history of science program may.

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On 7/1/2017 at 1:39 AM, TMP said:

Apply to MA programs first.  No question.  You'll have a chance to get your feet wet in history courses and decide if earning a history PhD is for you.

I have looked into this some, but most of the history MAs I looked at at least expect you to have SOME prior history coursework, and I have absolutely none, except maybe for one literature course that strongly emphasized historicism. So I'm not even sure if it's worth applying to history MAs, if they are just going to tell me, "You need to pay X amount to take some classes for a semester or two before you can even start our MA program." If I had that kinda money I would, but I just don't. I was always told "The classes you take during undergrad don't really limit you in the future," but it seems like they actually do.

I have done a good bit of independent reading related to my historical interests: the history of psychiatry/mental health in the US, LGBT history, and the intersection of the two fields. For my undergraduate thesis I did some historical analysis with primary sources, close reading of some published letters and official documents that were fairly easily accessible and directly related to my topic, but I didn't do any archival work or anything along those lines. I'm very interested in getting training in historical methods and perspectives to sharpen my overall interdisciplinary approach, but I'm thinking my best bet is to focus on interdisciplinary graduate programs with a historical element, like history and philosophy of science programs or UPenn's History and Sociology of Science program.

I'm already planning on applying to UChicago's Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science PhD, but I'm wondering if I should also apply to the MAPPS program directly? It does look really appealing to me, for helping me figure out what I want to do next in case my PhD applications are all a bust, but I suspect I wouldn't be able to qualify for 2/3 for 100 percent funding, and I don't think I'm interested in taking out $40k in loans. I'd be okay taking out a huge chunk of loans if I knew I would be able to get an okay job in 10 years or whatever, but realistically I understand that going outside disciplinary boundaries like that can make it a lot harder to get a job, so I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by also taking out a bajillion dollars in loans for MAs.

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@infovore That's not true that you must have some coursework prior to entering a MA program.  You will simply have a steep learning curve upon entering the MA  Demonstrate in your application your understanding of history/historiography based on your independent readings and thesis. Don't reject yourself before they reject you.  They may well see potential in you and take a chance! Your thesis will help you.

You can give PhD programs a shot but don't reject MA programs that can give you some real grounding.

 

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@infovore I would suggest looking abroad then. I agree with @TMP that a Master's degree would be very useful in formulating your ideas and expanding your horizons within the field of history. Going abroad may sound daunting, but my undergraduate advisor really pushed me to make the leap (in the end he was right). The jump across the pond has given me the opportunity to change my research interests, grasp a foreign language, and prove to PhD programs that I am prepared to take on a PhD project (hopefully). If you do look for foreign universities, you can find plenty of programs in English and with very low costs or guaranteed funding. Also, there has been a fairly recent shift to studying North America in Europe which gives the opportunity to study with some energetic and thought-provoking professors.

I would not close the door on PhD programs, though. The American system requires applications to be in by January 15ish with responses coming in March. If you are rejected, the European system opens applications in February and closes in May and June. Therefore, you could realistically play out both options and see what happens.

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11 hours ago, infovore said:

I'm already planning on applying to UChicago's Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science PhD, but I'm wondering if I should also apply to the MAPPS program directly? It does look really appealing to me, for helping me figure out what I want to do next in case my PhD applications are all a bust, but I suspect I wouldn't be able to qualify for 2/3 for 100 percent funding, and I don't think I'm interested in taking out $40k in loans. I'd be okay taking out a huge chunk of loans if I knew I would be able to get an okay job in 10 years or whatever, but realistically I understand that going outside disciplinary boundaries like that can make it a lot harder to get a job, so I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by also taking out a bajillion dollars in loans for MAs.

Regarding MAPSS: it's my understanding that full funding for MAPSS is most often offered to those who don't get into the PhD program the first time round. MAPSS is a well-known stream for entering the University of Chicago's PhD program -- the idea is that you'll apply only to Chicago after finishing MAPSS. U of C doesn't have a waiting list for the PhD, so admissions folks are keen to admit only people they have a pretty sure idea will enroll.

As for the steep price of a masters: I second @Tigla's advice. I've mentioned this in posts before, but it is relatively simple to get accepted to French masters programs if you have a decent language level (B2, also known as advanced intermediate, usually suffices). Tuition is 500 or so per year (and you get health insurance!). Of course you gotta pay your living expenses, but that's manageable if you tutor expat kids studying for the SAT/ACT. There's good, easy money in that. 

Given your interests in psychology, sociology, and history, the EHESS sounds like a good fit. The school was founded to support interdisciplinary projects and is known for its high percentage of foreign students. 

Perhaps those with expertise of other European countries or of programs in English could weigh in as well? I'm familiar only with the French system.

Edited by laleph

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17 hours ago, infovore said:

I have looked into this some, but most of the history MAs I looked at at least expect you to have SOME prior history coursework, and I have absolutely none, except maybe for one literature course that strongly emphasized historicism. So I'm not even sure if it's worth applying to history MAs, if they are just going to tell me, "You need to pay X amount to take some classes for a semester or two before you can even start our MA program." If I had that kinda money I would, but I just don't. I was always told "The classes you take during undergrad don't really limit you in the future," but it seems like they actually do.

I have done a good bit of independent reading related to my historical interests: the history of psychiatry/mental health in the US, LGBT history, and the intersection of the two fields. For my undergraduate thesis I did some historical analysis with primary sources, close reading of some published letters and official documents that were fairly easily accessible and directly related to my topic, but I didn't do any archival work or anything along those lines. I'm very interested in getting training in historical methods and perspectives to sharpen my overall interdisciplinary approach, but I'm thinking my best bet is to focus on interdisciplinary graduate programs with a historical element, like history and philosophy of science programs or UPenn's History and Sociology of Science program.

I'm already planning on applying to UChicago's Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science PhD, but I'm wondering if I should also apply to the MAPPS program directly? It does look really appealing to me, for helping me figure out what I want to do next in case my PhD applications are all a bust, but I suspect I wouldn't be able to qualify for 2/3 for 100 percent funding, and I don't think I'm interested in taking out $40k in loans. I'd be okay taking out a huge chunk of loans if I knew I would be able to get an okay job in 10 years or whatever, but realistically I understand that going outside disciplinary boundaries like that can make it a lot harder to get a job, so I don't want to shoot myself in the foot by also taking out a bajillion dollars in loans for MAs.

Hi, @infovore. I think you might benefit from developing two answers to the question "What is history?" One answer can center around how professional academic historians answer the question and how you presently answer the question. From there, perhaps spend time developing a provisional understanding of how you want your scholarship to close the gap as well as the resistance you may face: no matter how much professional historians celebrate interdisciplinary approaches, there's a point where they're going to say "No, that's not history--that's something else." Some of this resistance will be self-interested parochialism--academic historians often think the world would be a better place if people were more like them. (Only diplomatic, military, and naval historians are correct in this view)  But most of it will come from professionals doing what professionals do: define and defend the borders of their domain of knowledge.

I also recommend that you sketch out what you'd want to do with a doctorate in history. What kind of job would you want? What kinds of professional activities and accomplishments would qualify as moving the needle? Do you see yourself having an interest in matters of public policy? Do you want to be grey or a leading light/rock start? Do you want to expand slightly the boundaries of academic history or do you want to blaze new trails?

IRT the part of your comment that I highlighted in bold type, I strongly encourage you to develop a different approach to describing your work. Yes, archival research is the coin of the realm in the House of Klio. Yes, you want to develop your skills and gain experience IRT archival research.

At the same time, you don't want to phrase your work so that it has a built-in reason for people to dismiss it. Leave the dismissiveness to cranks who should have retired years ago--and first year graduate students. 

Try this approach instead. Your undergraduate thesis explored a question. To answer it, you used primary source materials that fell into categories a, b, c, ... z. From your research, you drew a conclusion and that conclusion advances the historiographical debate and historical understanding of your topic. Full stop. Now, outline the agenda for additional inquiry on that same topic--what kinds of questions should be asked and what kinds of additional sources might be used to answer those questions.

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18 hours ago, Tigla said:

@infovore I would suggest looking abroad then. I agree with @TMP that a Master's degree would be very useful in formulating your ideas and expanding your horizons within the field of history. Going abroad may sound daunting, but my undergraduate advisor really pushed me to make the leap (in the end he was right). The jump across the pond has given me the opportunity to change my research interests, grasp a foreign language, and prove to PhD programs that I am prepared to take on a PhD project (hopefully). If you do look for foreign universities, you can find plenty of programs in English and with very low costs or guaranteed funding. Also, there has been a fairly recent shift to studying North America in Europe which gives the opportunity to study with some energetic and thought-provoking professors.

I would not close the door on PhD programs, though. The American system requires applications to be in by January 15ish with responses coming in March. If you are rejected, the European system opens applications in February and closes in May and June. Therefore, you could realistically play out both options and see what happens.

The thought of studying in Europe kind of freaks me out, but what you, @TMP, and @laleph are saying makes sense. I'm actively terrible at learning other languages, though (one of the big struggles I'm foresee with any history-focused program, though reading in another language is the one facet I am less terrible at picking up).

8 hours ago, Sigaba said:

Hi, @infovore. I think you might benefit from developing two answers to the question "What is history?" One answer can center around how professional academic historians answer the question and how you presently answer the question. From there, perhaps spend time developing a provisional understanding of how you want your scholarship to close the gap as well as the resistance you may face: no matter how much professional historians celebrate interdisciplinary approaches, there's a point where they're going to say "No, that's not history--that's something else." Some of this resistance will be self-interested parochialism--academic historians often think the world would be a better place if people were more like them. (Only diplomatic, military, and naval historians are correct in this view)  But most of it will come from professionals doing what professionals do: define and defend the borders of their domain of knowledge.

I also recommend that you sketch out what you'd want to do with a doctorate in history. What kind of job would you want? What kinds of professional activities and accomplishments would qualify as moving the needle? Do you see yourself having an interest in matters of public policy? Do you want to be grey or a leading light/rock start? Do you want to expand slightly the boundaries of academic history or do you want to blaze new trails?

IRT the part of your comment that I highlighted in bold type, I strongly encourage you to develop a different approach to describing your work. Yes, archival research is the coin of the realm in the House of Klio. Yes, you want to develop your skills and gain experience IRT archival research.

At the same time, you don't want to phrase your work so that it has a built-in reason for people to dismiss it. Leave the dismissiveness to cranks who should have retired years ago--and first year graduate students. 

Try this approach instead. Your undergraduate thesis explored a question. To answer it, you used primary source materials that fell into categories a, b, c, ... z. From your research, you drew a conclusion and that conclusion advances the historiographical debate and historical understanding of your topic. Full stop. Now, outline the agenda for additional inquiry on that same topic--what kinds of questions should be asked and what kinds of additional sources might be used to answer those questions.

Thank you for your thoughtful response, @Sigaba. I spent some time over the summer trying to get my bearings regarding the different disciplinary boundaries of the fields I'm interested in, and I still don't really have a detailed sense of the answers to that question. Do you have any recommendations as far as papers I could read that might help me get a better sense?

Your comments about framing my work are very helpful, I will definitely keep that in mind as I start working on my SOPs in the next month or so.

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9 hours ago, infovore said:

The thought of studying in Europe kind of freaks me out

Heh well then Europe seems like it's out! Looks like a partially or fully funded masters is the way to go if you don't get accepted to PhD programs this cycle. 

Absolutely agree with @Sigaba's suggestion to figure out what history means for you. I wouldn't be overly  worried, though, about the (admittedly touchy) subject of interdisciplinarity. Some programs (Cornell's, to take one example) actively encourage working with scholars outside the Department of History. Others are known for their strong departments in other social sciences, and are known for blurring disciplinary boundaries in innovative ways (anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the University of Michigan Ann Arbor; sociology at the University of Chicago). Just be judicious in where you send your applications -- avoiding cranky cranks.
 
As for readings:
 
I'd start with the classics (outdated in some ways, but they'll give you lots to chew on):
March Bloch, Apologie pour l'histoire ou métier d'historien, 1941 (trans., The Historian's Craft, 1953)
R. G. Collingwood, The Idea of History, 1946
E. H. Carr, What is History?, 1961
 
Then some newer books/articles:
Various books and articles by Reinhart Koselleck (many have been translated into English)
François Hartog, Le Miroir d'Hérodote. Essai sur la représentation de l'autre, 1980 (trans., The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History, 1988)
Michel-Rolph Trouillot, Silencing the Past: Power and the Production of History, 1995
William Cronon, "Why the Past Matters," 2000
François Hartog, Régimes d'historicité. Présentisme et expériences du temps, 2003 (trans., Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time, 2015)
 
A couple textbook-like resources on historiography:
Caroline Hoefferle, The Essential Historiography Reader, 2011
Eileen Ka-May Cheng, Historiography: An Introductory Guide, 2012
 
My absolute favorite is a book that hasn't been translated into English: Antoine Prost's Douze leçons sur l'histoire (1996, revised 2014). It's a wealth of resources on the practice of history, history's relationship to other disciplines, trends in Western historiography -- and it's written in an accessible, often droll style. If you get less terrible at reading in French, give it a try! I can't recommend it enough.
 
 
Edited by laleph

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On 8/12/2017 at 9:20 PM, infovore said:

I'm already planning on applying to UChicago's Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science PhD, but I'm wondering if I should also apply to the MAPPS program directly? It does look really appealing to me, for helping me figure out what I want to do next in case my PhD applications are all a bust, but I suspect I wouldn't be able to qualify for 2/3 for 100 percent funding, and I don't think I'm interested in taking out $40k in loans. 

I mentioned earlier that I just finished MAPSS, so if you would like more direct info pm me.

In general, I would say it is an excellent option for someone trying to get more coursework under their belt. I don't know that I agree 100% with what was mentioned about it being a great feeder program. Also from my experience, the program never encourages you to apply to only Chicago, this is my first time hearing this. From my understanding last year was more of an exception in terms of the ratio of non-UChicago v. UChicago students accepted. They do usually make an offer to one or two MAPSS students, but sometimes no one will get an offer. Of course the potential to get an offer is higher if you perform well in the MAPSS program, establish solid relationships, and your project also fits the department. 

Some people apply directly to the MAPSS program, but I applied to the PhD program. If you take this route though, there is no guarantee that you will be considered for the MAPSS program (I don't think) and I don't think this has much bearing on your funding offer. At least form my observance (though cannot be backed with hard data).

It is a short program, and really fast. You are in and out. Which can be nice, and allows you to work for a year after (provided you start looking for a job still in the program). I like to think of it as a bootcamp for people to get a taste of grad school. If you do have language reqs you are trying to work with it might be harder. You will not be able to study languages at the school while in the program, but they do offer a language school w/ funding (limited in levels they offer though). 

Lastly, I would also mention that UChicago has a lot of boutique MA programs (some one, some two years). Depending on how you refine your interests these could be good alternatives.

Edited by narple

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