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TMP last won the day on October 10

TMP had the most liked content!


About TMP

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    Cup o' Joe

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    Becoming Carmen Sandiego
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    Transnational History

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  1. I would definitely add NYU to the list. If you are undecided at this stage, I'd take time off, really. It takes a long time to polish the statement of purpose and writing sample and usually deadlines are around the beginning of December to mid-December. Most people use their polished portions of their senior thesis (or master's in MA programs) for writing sample. You want to put forward the best foot possible as entering PhD programs is still extremely competitive. Even at places like Brandeis and GW get over 100 applications for only 3-6 spots. Most people have found taking a year off worthwhile, especially if they haven't really had a chance to study abroad or take a gap year since high school. Have you considered exploring the transnational links between women in the United States and in Europe, especially the Soviet Union? Take a look and see if it's worth learning Russian, German or French as a second language. Tony Michels at Wisconsin is certainly in your area of interest (though not so much on gender but I think one of his grad students does...) and he's using Yiddish to explore the Jewish connection between the US and Soviet Russia.
  2. TMP

    Comp prep question

    At this point, entering into my 8th (and final!) year, my comps feel like another lifetime. I do agree with both @Sigaba and @AP. DO go to the job talks in your department even if no other graduate student does. Even if it's not in your field. Do it. You're going because you need to see how job candidates draw out big themes in his or her work to connect to the audience and how the audience-- faculty members in DIFFERENT fields-- find ways to connect. I recall one job talk by a 18th century French cultural historian and a 20th century Chinese cultural historian raised his interest and question to her project. "I'm a Chinese historian BUT I LOVE your work on cultural networks of presses in France! Here's my question...." Not only this but you will be SO far ahead of the game from your peers. Do ask what the committee member's expectation is. Every person is going to be different. Either I was awful at phrasing my questions of "what are we really going to talk about?" as @Sigaba warned of, or my committee was reluctant to be specific, either way, I actually failed my oral exam for that reason (among a few other critical areas). Once I picked up the pieces (with the help of my saint adviser), we were able to outline clear expectations in writing. Only with this list was I able to determine when I was truly ready to re-take my oral exam. Truthfully, try to have at least one committee member who is very down-to-earth (but intense), patient, and "harmless" (like a whale shark among the white sharks). The person will make a huge, huge difference to your sanity. I had a senior, top-of-the-field professor who had nothing to lose in her ranking by throwing soft balls in my way while everyone else (including my adviser) wanted to engage deeper, provoking, out-of-the-left field questions. I could not wait for her turn during the orals. It's okay to be traumatized, even if you have (mostly) nice group of professors who mean well. Until that point, you will never have experienced that kind of stress. (Ask me again the spring when I finish my dissertation and whether that was more stressful...)
  3. I would definitely wait. You need more time to establish relationships with these new professors and for them to see how you work and think like a historian. They will better able to describe you and offer more concrete examples in their letters, not a write a boiler template. You'll also be able to present a more polished writing sample and statement of purpose. A year away from academia in preparation for the PhD has never killed anyone-- as far as I know
  4. @Sigaba Can't help but point out this wonderful homophone typo that's so apt from the perspective of the patriarchy. @historygeek, agreed. Put all of that away and just focus on your final papers. They will take up more time than you think.
  5. Studying for PhD comprehensive exams is the trick
  6. This is quite easy. You're interested in the question of the body and how it functioned in the discourses of gender, beliefs, and public health in different geographical contexts. This is grounded in your interest in how cultural and scientific ideas of the body migrated from one place to another. Physicians, magicians, and related people did travel, after all.
  7. there is no "average." Some people can financially afford a lot of applications. Some people have uncommon interests that they just can't apply widely as they'd like. Some people are constrained by their families' needs. Do what's best for YOU.
  8. What @Sigaba is suggesting is that reading the author's reviews of others' works gives insight on his/her areas of expertise and how s/he read works slightly outside of his/her realm. Few reviewers ever get to review books directly related to their work because they're already part of the conversations that helped the author shape the book, which, in turn, the author thank them in their acknowledgments. As such, people mentioned in the acknowledgments aren't permitted to review the book in question. Reading the author's reviews of other books gives you a sense of how critically s/he engages with the scholarship and research and his/her capacity to be even-handed. Most scholars are fair but you get the occasional outliers who are extremely critical of others' in a negative sense and their own works will usually reflect their self-righteousness.
  9. I'm not 100% clear. But let me make suggestions: 1) You're right, Divinity schools in the US may not be the best avenue if you're more interested in the social/political/cultural aspects of the Lutheran church's role in the immigrant communities. But it is not to say that if you don't have a deep understanding of the Lutheran church's teachings and history, a master's in divinity or religious studies may be a great way to go. @telkanuru can speak to this more. 2) "Studies" are interdisciplinary, combining literature, language, history, politics, etc. A master's or a bachelor's in that is fine but not a PhD. You need disciplinary grounding to be taken seriously so a PhD in history will be best. 3) You will want to seek out History departments that offer faculty who do religious history or history of religion and history of immigration. You're already fluent in Swedish (it's your native tongue, after all ) and have a degree from Sweden so a faculty member is not so necessary. You have contacts at your university who you can reach out if you have specific question about Swedish related issues. Likewise, if the university which a History Department you're interested in HAS Scandinavian Studies, ALL the better! (University of Minnesota comes to mind) 4) If I understand your interests correctly, you're interested in examining the role of Lutheranism in the Swedish immigration to the United States? If so, definitely look to the Midwest for possible schools since it's where many Swedes settled in the 19th century.
  10. How about going into journalism? There's nothing wrong with doing those things as a hobby as well. Finish up college and see where things stand in your life and the academia.
  11. Since you are interested in becoming a professor, you might do your diligence to conduct "informational interviews" with various professors about their jobs. What is it like? What are the best parts? Worst parts? What could be improved in academia? How do they have their research funded? (Pay close attention to this one, this is definitely true if you are NOT in an Ivy or wealthy public institution like Berkeley and Michigan) What was graduate school like? (Pay close attention once again how long ago the professor received his/her PhD) How many times did it take to land an assistant professor position? Try to meet with "younger" professors as they will have a better grasp on the "new" realities of the PhD and the job market since the financial crash of 2008. Since a huge part of the job is teaching (even in a research-intensive university), you might want to look into opportunity to tutor to start developing your teaching persona. Take the time to read The Professor Is In blog. She has tags for "graduate school admissions" (or something like that)
  12. I almost spit out my wine just reading that the thesis is considered "dead" in your program. Do investigate the outcomes of students who did the thesis and those who did not, and whether those who went onto the PhD did do a thesis. Do know that teaching does take up a LOT of time. If you're thinking of teaching instead of the PhD, find out the licensing requirements of your prospective state. Do know that not everyone is passionate about research as you are. Those who take the teaching internship are in the MA just to teach in 6-12, not much interest in the PhD. If the PhD is what you want, then who cares what other students do? Just find a supportive thesis adviser who will help you see this project through. One of the toughest things one has to learn in a PhD program is to move away from the pack of group-thinkers and fly solo.
  13. You're only a month in already. It's normal to be so surprised by how many topics can be explored. That's the point of the coursework. But by the end of this semester or the beginning of next, you should identify several potential topics for your thesis. Read relevant literature for each and see what's most feasible for conducting original archival research.
  14. This is an EXTREMELY common issue!! Ask your peers who are ahead of you in the program. The most important chapters to read are the introduction and conclusion. Listen to your professors' guiding questions for patterns (i.e. "So, what is X arguing here? What sources is X looking at and how do those sources shape that argument?" etc.). The key is to think very broadly about how the books in your course connect to one another and why they're important enough to be assigned. Also, read at least 2 book reviews to get a sense of what the book's about and what to look out for when "reading" it. Truthfully, to take a graduate seminar, one simply needs to be very well versed in content covered in survey courses. Everything else is just details and historiographical debates. If you've never taken ,say, an undergraduate survey course on China and you're taking a graduate seminar, you'll want to really beef up your knowledge and take the time to learn from others. If you're a an ace in Modern European history (from Enlightenment onward), you should be able to grasp the content and focus on the argument and specific supporting examples. However, say, you're in a seminar focused on a theme/concept such as postwar, know it's just a concept and you do not need to be an "expert" on the aftermath of American Revolution if you're a 20th century US historian. My $.02 on for a Friday night...
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