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hj2012 last won the day on June 24 2014

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  1. I have friends and colleagues who transitioned into PhD programs from Georgetown's Arab Studies MA program and UT Austin's Middle Eastern Studies MA program, so perhaps those schools will be of interest? For PhD programs, the recommendation usually is that the writing sample supplements one's stated research interests, but I don't know to what extent that matters for MA admissions. My only concern with your stated writing sample is that it might not demonstrate your language skills nor your growing familiarity with the Arab World. I don't think a writing sample needs to be in excess of 10-15 pages; actually, that range sounds about right for MA applications. Are there other, more relevant papers that you might be able to revise? Best of luck with your transition!
  2. What could I do with my program?

    If you choose to reapply, I would definitely think strategically and tread carefully. It will likely be difficult for you to gain admission to "a better program" without a letter of recommendation from your current school attesting that you are not leaving due to your inability to flourish in doctoral-level work. Staying in your current program may become more difficult -- as you very well might strain relationships -- if they hear that you are trying to leave. I wouldn't take the decision to reapply so lightly.
  3. What could I do with my program?

    When you say "apply out," do you mean apply to different PhD programs? Considering that you're concerned with time to completion, I can't imagine shifting to another program (with all the adjustment that entails) would somehow help speed things along. Switching PhD programs based on this one factor alone seems a bit crazy, assuming you don't have other significant complaints about your department. FYI: there's nothing stopping you from making progress on your own. What are your program's qualifying exam requirements? Since you've already taken a significant amount of coursework, I imagine at least some of the work is review. Can you get a head start on putting together your lists and assembling your committee? In my department, there are always a couple enterprising individuals (many of whom come in w/ MAs) that take the QEs early.
  4. Art history PhD programs w/ focus on theory

    This is quite good. You'll have opportunities to brush up on French as a grad student, but you seem well-positioned to take a translation exam (and I would mention your French education in your SOP). I think you should definitely apply directly to PhD programs and throw in a few MA programs into the mix. Check out earlier threads for funded masters programs: https://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/40233-funded-masters-programs-in-art-history/ https://forum.thegradcafe.com/topic/39410-funded-masters/ In your SOP, I recommend that you emphasize one area of the world over the another, and since your senior thesis was on Yinka Shonibare it might make more sense to talk about African diasporic art & visual culture, though of course you can mention your interest in drawing parallels to other British postcolonies throughout the world. The conversations emerging from South Asian cultural and visual studies are quite distinct -- though related, of course -- to conversations in African/African diaspora cultural and visual studies, FYI.
  5. Applying for Grad school

    Great! Would you be applying to start a PhD program during the 2019-2020 school year? If so... 1. You're a few years out from undergrad. You'll need 3 letters of reference from professors for most programs. Do you still have the connections to ask for strong letters that can speak to your research potential? If not, you might think about re-forging those connections. 2. Do you have an existing senior thesis or independent research project that you could revise into a writing sample -- ideally a sample that connects to your future research interests? This is a time-consuming task, and I recommend that you start early and get as much feedback as possible. 3. I'd also take the time to really think about what you want to study and why. In addition to demonstrating your preparation for doctorate study, your PhD statement of purpose should (loosely) indicate a possible research project and what you see as the proposed significance of your research. In preparation for this, you might consider browsing top journals in your field to see which conversations interest you and which methodologies you might want to use. You could also get a head start on studying for the GRE.
  6. Applying for Grad school

    Can you say a little more about your educational background/training and what your research interests might be?
  7. Grad school is all about the process of specialization. In fact, the whole point of PhD training is to become "a X person" with a deep, rigorous knowledge of a particular place, community, group, or way of life. You need to indicate in your SOP the rough outlines of a project that will entail site-specific fieldwork, and once you get in, you will need to build expertise in the area in which you will conduct fieldwork (through language, courses, etc) and prove it through qualifying exams. Most PhD programs will require you to do 3-4 fields in somewhat recognizable categories, one of which will likely be an area-focused list such as "Anthropology of China" or an outside list such as "History of Latin America & the Caribbean." If you can't commit to this process or you don't like the idea of specialization, an anthropology PhD is probably not right for you. Also, I wouldn't base your SOP on the cumulative work of senior scholars, because it's comparing apples to oranges. You'd be hard-pressed to find an anthropologist whose dissertation research was about India, Mexico, and England, though their career might later encompass multiple places. Think about it this way: you are learning a method (which includes specialization and a commitment to local knowledge) that you can later apply to other sites you may wish to study. But you will never be admitted to a PhD program without demonstrating commitment to a first project -- the dissertation is difficult enough to complete, even for those with single-minded focus! FYI -- multi-sited ethnographies are not usually comparative in nature. Building on @hats, they might compare the trajectory of a single group of migrants across multiple locales, track the production of commodity X, or explore the imagination and implementation of international governance code Y.
  8. It seems like you have some idea of the theory you'd like to use and the abstract questions you'd like to ask. However, from what you've posted, I don't get the sense that you know what your field site(s) might be, and that doesn't give confidence that you'd be able to successfully conduct an ethnographic research project. Do you have experience conducting fieldwork, perhaps for a senior thesis or through a field school? Check out these sample SOPs from Duke Cultural Anthropology: https://culturalanthropology.duke.edu/sites/culturalanthropology.duke.edu/files/file-attachments/2011-2012GradStmts_0.doc You'll notice that they all are able to articulate their interests within the context of a specific location or geographic site, and they are able to explain how their past training (language, study abroad, etc) and experiences might help them successfully carry out dissertation research. The growth of pet-keeping in Shanghai (which might deal with consumption, class, urban space, etc) will be very different from the politics of iguana consumption in Nicaragua (which might deal with environmental law, post-socialism, land tenure, etc). Both of these projects might let you approach some of the themes that interest you -- but explaining your interests through a specific problem or phenomenon will make you a more convincing candidate. If you are unable to explain your project contextually, then I would say that an MA would probably be best.
  9. Art history PhD programs w/ focus on theory

    While breadth is very important, I would encourage you to narrow your focus for the purpose of PhD applications and think about the language that will be most useful to that body of work. If you're thinking about pursuing jobs in the academy, they are still for the most part "divided" by areas of the world. Essentially all PhD programs are going to require some language component, so if you're starting with nothing I'd consider taking classes at the local community college or something. My sense is that French makes most sense for African/African diaspora/Caribbean, but you should confirm with your advisors.
  10. Art history PhD programs w/ focus on theory

    Are you only considering art history programs, or are you considering other disciplinary "homes" (e.g. comp lit)? Do you have a specific area of the world that you're working on (e.g. African/African diaspora, Latin America & the Caribbean, South Asian, etc)? You might also consider Chicago, Northwestern, Berkeley.
  11. I also agree that sticking to 12 pt font is best. 1.5-2 pages with 1" margins and up to 1.5 linespace seems reasonable IMO.
  12. Converting the 10-point ccgpa to the U.S. gpa system is a bit funky, and usually the "minimum gpa" requirement is on a 4.0 scale. I'd email the department grad coordinator directly to ask how they convert 10-point ccgpa to get a clear answer -- chances are that a 7/10 is an acceptable score, though I wouldn't take my word for it. For general inquiries, you could also message/visit your local Education USA office, as they tend to have lots of experience dealing specifically with students from your country and would have a good idea about how local gpa's are viewed by admissions offices in the U.S.
  13. This PPT presentation might be helpful: https://grad.uchicago.edu/sites/default/files/career-resources/DiversityStatement_Presentation.pdf Rather than "specific forms of diversity that academia wants," it might be more useful to think of the reality of diversity within universities and how you will attend to challenges that diversity inevitably raises. Even if you do not have a demonstrated commitment to underprivileged communities, you will be (and likely have been) teaching, collaborating, and interacting with groups and individuals who come from enormously different backgrounds. Universities essentially want to ensure that you will not be a liability as a co-worker and educator, and that you have at least put some thought into pondering the very real challenges of teaching and researching across diversity. They want to make sure that you are aware that you will be teaching students and working with individuals who come from different backgrounds, and that a one-size-fits-all model is not always the most effective. The diversity statement is also a way to show that you are capable of considering alternative perspectives and can show some level of sensitivity, tact, and empathy. What has equipped you to effectively communicate with individuals who are different than you, and what are some strategies to build connections across difference? How would you pedagogically approach a classroom with students who come from different linguistic, national, class, and racial backgrounds, and what steps might you take to ensure that everyone benefits from the diversity of experiences in the room? What is your approach to mentoring students who might not be as familiar with North American academic norms (e.g. first generation students, international students, etc)? These are questions that I think everyone applying to academic jobs should at least consider.

    You'll likely get more responses in a law-school specific forum such as http://www.top-law-schools.com/. You can also browse statistics here: http://www.top-law-schools.com/forums/stats.php
  15. Choosing PhD Topic

    While long-term thinking is good, you should also consider the likelihood of reaching your most immediate goal, which is acceptance to a fully-funded PhD program in the United States. Not to be a total party pooper, but what you've written thus far does not inspire confidence that you understand what is required to gain acceptance to these highly selective programs. First, PhD programs -- at least in the U.S. context, with which I am more familiar -- do not take students and train them from scratch. That is, if you don't already have training in statistics and mathematical modeling, it is difficult to imagine a program accepting you to pursue #2. Likewise for #1 if you have no significant research experience using or engaging with ethnographic theories and methods. If I were you, I would choose the research agenda for which you are already most likely to be successful in the short-to-medium range term. Second, rather than thinking about just a bounded research topic, it might also behoove you to think about disciplinary constraints and training. That is, PhD programs also seek to mold you into a disciplinarian -- i.e. a political scientist, anthropologist, sociologist, historian, etc. To be accepted into a PhD program, you must be able to explain your project in the language and norms of the discipline that you enter. I encourage you to stay away from "Big History" and "cliodynamics" in your SOP, as these are still decidedly outside of mainstream academia. Topic #1 seems to be most immediately legible IMO, though you should also think more specifically about the population you want to specialize in (i.e. what area of the world?). For Topic #2, you might want to look through the literature on world systems theory or browse the leadership of the Political Economy of the World-System section of the American Sociological Association, as those scholars might be more sympathetic to a project such as yours.