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AfricanusCrowther

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AfricanusCrowther last won the day on October 25 2016

AfricanusCrowther had the most liked content!

About AfricanusCrowther

  • Rank
    Double Shot

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  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    History - PHD

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  1. AfricanusCrowther

    Ranking or Advisor? What matters most in picking a PhD program?

    Unless either of these institutions is truly renowned in your field (e.g., MSU for African history or Georgetown for Mideast history, which are really rare examples), look at your prospective advisors' placement records. If neither have placed many students, compare funding and research resources.
  2. AfricanusCrowther

    Which languages should I focus the most on?

    One way to do this is to think about what burning historical questions you want to answer. Then, think about which region and time period is best suited for answering those questions. This exercise will also help you move beyond “a love of history” as a motivation for a PhD, which is not really sufficient to sustain a dissertation’s worth of research.
  3. AfricanusCrowther

    2019 Visit Days/Decisions

    I agree with your advice. I wonder if someone could help this student find resources to work on languages while outside the academy. I worked through a grammar book of Swahili before I applied to programs, and that coupled with some courses from college gave me passable reading knowledge -- of a language I promptly forgot and have never used since coming to graduate school.
  4. AfricanusCrowther

    Applications 2019

    I have referred to everyone in my own institution by their first name from the get-go and haven’t had issues.
  5. AfricanusCrowther

    Do top grad schools care about your course load?

    Didn’t matter at all in my case, as far as I know.
  6. AfricanusCrowther

    Applications 2019

    Other strong Africanist programs to consider the next time around: UCLA, Northwestern, UNC (it's a new program there but with great faculty), UIUC, Indiana. BTW, did Cooper retire?
  7. AfricanusCrowther

    2019 Visit Days/Decisions

    Ditto. Funding at my program is is constant disarray, thanks to an austerity plan imposed by the trustees. I still think it's valuable to ask as much as possible about funding on your visiting day, if only to suss out these fiscal crises. But once you accept, get everything in writing.
  8. AfricanusCrowther

    2019 Visit Days/Decisions

    Here’s an important one, if you work outside the US: what is the grad schcool’s policy on banked semesters for external fellowships? That is, if you win a year-long fellowship (Fulbright, SSRC), do you get an extra year of funding “banked,” or do they just take your money?
  9. AfricanusCrowther

    Applications 2019

    Hi, bitter grad student here to implore you to ask about sixth-year funding on your visiting weekends. Don’t accept vague reassurances along the lines of “well, sixth-year students often find their way to getting funding somehow.” Get a clear answer. Talk to advanced grad students and read the student newspaper/union newsletter if you have to. And treat periods of “austerity” at universities with the utmost seriousness.
  10. AfricanusCrowther

    Applications 2019

    Would it make sense for you to go to this "15-20" rank program if it were your only offer? If so, take it.
  11. AfricanusCrowther

    What is history?

    You've been given some suggestions for reading; I would urge you to start there. They address these very questions more thoughtfully than graduate students on a discussion forum can.
  12. AfricanusCrowther

    Applications 2019

    That's definitely true. Sometimes POIs will let you know about these factors in advance (i.e., "we're not taking early modernists this year"), but unfortunately that's not always the case.
  13. AfricanusCrowther

    What is history?

    I recommend Sarah Maza's Thinking about History as an impressively sweeping introduction to the academic discipline. She also has a section on distinguishing academic history from popular history.
  14. AfricanusCrowther

    Noticing a change in my research interests-- what should I do?

    You should make a plan to acquire the necessary language skills sooner rather than later (not to presume you don't already have them).
  15. AfricanusCrowther

    Applications 2019

    Agreed. One potential question to ask: is this program going to train me to be the historian I want to be? Does it offer the language classes, training, funding, and intellectual environment I think I need? And, on my visiting weekend, did I see evidence of these important aspects of the program? In my own field, HYP&S are generally not the programs that are going to produce strong historians (with important exceptions that admitted students have to keep in mind!).
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