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AfricanusCrowther

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AfricanusCrowther last won the day on October 25 2016

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About AfricanusCrowther

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  • Application Season
    2016 Fall
  • Program
    History - PHD

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  1. I'm glad you made this concession (in your similarly thoughtful post). For those of us who have based their proposed dissertations on rare manuscripts held in resource-poor institutions abroad or on extensive international fieldwork, our projects cannot be adapted to digital sources in an honest way. Those projects are over, and my friends who are in this position are looking for ways out. (I fortunately gathered enough archival materials in the months before the travel restrictions were put in place to write...something.)
  2. Good to have a collection of public statements, but please, applicants: don’t get your hopes up about any other top programs not listed here.
  3. Being fluent in Chinese is a major asset, but most PhD admissions come down to the applicant's written materials. If your statement of purpose and writing sample are effective, you will be in a strong position for admission to a top program. But to perfect these things requires strong writing and research skills and a highly developed historical sensibility. For international applicants, that last item is particularly important; you will encounter skepticism that non-American academic cultures are invested in the same historical problems and ideas that history departments here specialize in. To that end, if money is truly no object, any of these MA programs will allow you to develop your budding historian's sense of taste and refine the specific topics that you're interested in.
  4. I briefly discussed an anecdote, the story of what led me to my research question. I think this is a good strategy if it gets you to your research questions quickly (the “why I became a historian” story is better for a personal statement.) As to your third question, my department will, at the least, be admitting fewer students.
  5. For a long time, anthropology has been an extremely reflexive discipline, and the ethics of fieldwork are a major topic of scholarship. It would surprise me if this applicant aroused any suspicion for discussing this.
  6. Statement of purpose = how do I want to advance the field, what will I do to get there, and why is this university the best place for me to do it Personal statement = What about my background/life story led me to apply to your PhD program Personal statements are mainly intended to boost the diversity of life experiences in the graduate cohort.
  7. Is classical history relevant* to your research interests and the historical questions that interest you? If so, mention it; if not, you could restrict your work on Rome to a sentence that illustrates your prior engagement with food studies themes, or not mention it at all. Ditto language skills. Having your language skills might help you pass the department language competency exam even if you aren’t going to use Latin or Greek in your research, but if that will be the extent of your use of them, just list your language abilities in your CV. *That is, do you imagine it playing a key role in your intellectual project/research agenda?
  8. Did you explicitly ask if he's accepting students? It's possible he does this with all prospective graduate student queries -- there are some (particularly older) professors who believe that communicating with applicants before acceptance is inappropriate (but others think it's not only appropriate, but necessary -- go figure!). Or it's possible that your email was unclear, and sounded like a general question about the admissions process.
  9. The sad fact is that even when faculty want to support you, the structure of the graduate program is not flexible enough to handle students who want to take time to develop non-academic career skills and pursue internships in their field. Faculty may sincerely want to help you achieve your professional goals outside of academia, but they probably will not be able to help you, and, in my experience, even dedicated "alt-ac" career officers (for those lucky enough to have them) will be unable to help you with many specific non-academic career interests. So if you're planning on taking six years out of your life to pursue a career outside of academia, I would do so feeling relatively confident about what you need to do to get there, and knowing that you will be allowed to take those steps, and when you will be allowed to take them. I would imagine that contacting alumni who recently did this is a must. And all of this is assuming these jobs will be available in the medium term.
  10. Having found mixed advice online mainly targeted toward scientists, I was wondering how people approach writing cover letters to journals. In the past, I've written out full-length, four-paragraph documents that take me several days to perfect. Is this necessary? How do you structure your cover letters?
  11. The main benefits of doing a funded MA would be to convince the faculty you want to work with that you are comfortable in American academia, to conduct additional research and read more historiography that might help you form a persuasive research agenda, and to meet scholars who can write letters of recommendation for you. Does completing a prestigious MA help you get into prestigious PhD programs? Maybe. There do seem to be a lot of people who get into top PhD programs after paying for degrees at Oxford or Columbia, although this may be selection bias, because those who are willing to spend that kind of money are driven enough to get into graduate school. But it's a ton of money to spend on tuition and living expenses for an uncertain benefit. As I said earlier, you may be ready to apply for PhD programs directly.
  12. If you're going to go for an MA, make sure you do a funded degree; there's a stickied thread listing some programs. Even for the best PhD programs, your GPA probably won't be a problem if you can write a convincing statement of purpose, a writing sample that demonstrates awareness of historical methodology and disciplinary orientation, and you can secure strong letters of recommendation from faculty in the social sciences and humanities. Don't go to a bad PhD program because you can't get into a good one. Having an article in a major history of science or history of medicine journal like the ones I listed is definitely impressive, especially if you can tie it into a coherent research agenda in your statement of purpose.
  13. Because you are a history of science applicant, they will definitely be intrigued by your substantial scientific publications and your experience working in healthcare. Your challenge now is to write an effective writing sample and statement of purpose that demonstrate your ability to cross disciplinary and epistemological boundaries and communicate convincingly as a future historian of science. I would read as many classic texts as you can get your hands on, as well as the latest journals in Isis/Osiris/BJHS plus leading history of medicine journals like the Bulletin of the History of Medicine and Social History of Medicine. What, specifically, are you interested in?
  14. 1. Think about what historical questions you want to answer. 2. Think about what period of time and geographical area would best allow you to answer these questions. 3. Think about what sources allow you to answer these questions. 4. Think about the historiographical import of these questions. 5. Consider your language abilities and the availability of sources as potential limitations. Do you know Latin and Greek? Have the archives permanently closed?
  15. A completely unreported aspect of this, by the way, is that courts have steadily chipped away at the legal scaffolding for adjunct faculty unions. It's just a matter of time until they're taken out of the NLRA completely.
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