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Pierre de Olivi

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About Pierre de Olivi

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  • Application Season
    2019 Fall
  • Program
    Religious Studies

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  1. I'm not in media studies, but to your first concern I was able to find the placement record of PhD graduates on the department's website. While this isn't exactly a measure of the regard of the program, placement records are definitely a sign of the ability of the program to get jobs and, by extension, how seriously universities and other hirerers take the program. I didn't have time to read the record systematically, but I am immediately noticing a few things. The formatting of this list suggests to me that it may not be showcasing all PhD alumni, but only those who got jobs or even what the department deems "interesting" or "prestegious" jobs. Note, also, that the years in which people received their PhDs are not given -- this isn't a red flag per se and can easily be cross-checked, but it does make the page less valuable, as the job market is generally perceived as getting worse over time (such that a hire in 2006 doesn't mean the same thing as a hire in 2018). While there is placement into academic and alt-academic jobs here (you can decide for yourself if the latter is a good thing or a bad thing), many of these jobs are hires at UCF itself. I worry that this may stifle the research and diversity of the department in the long term and, in the shorter term, be a sign that its PhD may not be as widely regarded as the overall placement rate would imply. There is some TT placement at non-UCF schools and some placement into other jobs, but neither strikes me as frequent enough to justify doing the PhD here specifically. However, this point is somewhat subjective -- what are your goals of doing this kind of PhD, both in terms of your career and in terms of your research interests? Much more troubling to me is the low rate of funding, and that even the phrasing of that does not specify whether those students receive full or partial funding. I think you are more than warranted contacting the DGS and respectfully but firmly asking some hardball questions about funding before you apply. If anything in that conversation seems off (including the DGS getting defensive, deflecting, or talk about competitive "external funding"), I would recommend not applying to this program at all.
  2. I'm a current MTS student at HDS and can say I strongly suspect your approach may be able to find a home in an MTS/div school/etc. setting. I personally a more "traditional" (historical/philological) approach but I've met several people now who came here to study one or more of the topics you're studying and even 2 current PhD students (at the Committee for the Study of Religion) who graduated from HDS having done work on one or more of these topics. With that being said, you may want to look into how these types of programs are seen on the English side of things as you consider your options. I've seen HDS alumni place into religious studies, history, and interdisciplinary/area studies PhD programs, but can't off the top of my head think of anyone who placed into an English PhD program recently (which is not to say it hasn't happened). From your interests it sounds possible, but I would just advise to make sure it is not like analytic philosophy where divinity school degrees are looked upon with suspicion virtually inherently Feel free to DM me if you have any questions about HDS or master's program applications (this goes for others on the thread too)!
  3. I'm not familiar with Twitter-specific research or methods but you may be interested in reading about quantitative/digital approaches to social science and techniques of web scraping. I did a project using some of these for a professor in religious studies. I had some background in code but used Reyes' Introduction to Data Science for Social and Policy Research to brush up on specific techniques. It does not talk about twitter specifically but explains the foundational methods that you can then apply to gather data from twitter. I imagine there is an API that lets you easily gather (public?) tweets to analyze quantitatively. You can get the basics from Reyes and Google and then search around for how to specifically do this. I just did a very quick and dirty search of "twitter web scraping python" and found several helpful results, but I am hesitant to recommend anything without having used it myself first. I hope this helps!
  4. This generally accords with what I've observed anecdotally. Would you mind elaborating what you mean by "traditional approaches to intellectual history" and what kinds of approaches may be more active? (I realize this is a bit of a meaningless question, since the job market is so bad all around, but I thought I'd ask)
  5. If you're interested in getting an M. Div (as opposed to an MA/MTS/MAR) and have completed an undergraduate degree with reasonably decent grades you may not need the diploma at all. M. Div programs, even at otherwise selective institutions, tend not to demand a rigerous background in the field. Instead, they focus more on a variety of subjective features that will be reflected in your SOP and, possibly, your discussions with faculty before or during the application process. Could you go a little more into why you want the one-year diploma, and what your undergraduate background was like?
  6. Stepping in from an adjacent field (religious studies) with my two cents on the relationship between CS and your historical interests. In my view, vital to the question of whether you should stay in your program or try to switch soon is the issue of research interests. What area of history would you like to focus on, and what approaches or methods might you bring in? Conversely, is your CS degree mostly training you to be a "code monkey," or does it include a substantial theoretical or mathematical component? Neither of these is necessarily bad, but they will affect your set of "hard skills" and ability to spin your training for history. In my own sub-field, there is a growing interest in digital approaches to pre-modern texts and especially "digital philology," which can include things like OCR, various sorts of technological analyses of manuscripts, and even word frequency analysis. A background in CS could let you fit right in here, and a background in theory could allow you to contribute to fundamental questions and developments in this field that some scholars working with these methods might not be qualified to discuss. This could merge into various approaches based on computational linguistics and, job-wise, could lead into archival or library work in addition to academia. As noted above you could always go the history of science/technology/mathematics route. Don't assume that because your training in CS you have to focus on the past two centuries -- computation theory runs surprisingly deep and a good CS graduate degree should give you a set of technical skills that you can place in dialogue with much earlier forms of scientific and technical thought with the proper historiographic foundation. Also, since your background is also in sociology, you could use CS as a framework to study media/mass cultural phenomena. Here, again, the technical background could be quite helpful and give you an edge on other job/grad school applicants in your area. Her work is more in the realm of anthropology, but E. Gabriella Coleman's work on the hacker movement is a good example of what you can do with a strong foundation in the humanities and a semi-technical knowledge of computers and code.
  7. Hey everyone, I hope everybody has approached a decision with which they are happy. As some of you know, I applied to a few PhD programs directly out of undergrad and did not get into my top choices, which is fine and I can honestly say I am not bitter about. Since I applied relatively young and ultimately decided to pursue an M* degree, is it worth it to contact my POIs at those schools (whom I had already spoken with before applying) just to express my interest in re-applying in 2-3 years? If so, does anybody have tips about phrasing these e-mails? Thanks!
  8. I just turned down my PhD admissions offer from Indiana. The faculty there were great and I respect their work, but the overall offerings of the program did not make it a perfect fit, and I decided I wanted to take more time to build skills and apply to more places next time, especially now that I've gotten into a funded Master's program. I e-mailed my POI, who is also the director of graduate studies, and included in the e-mail a form formally turning down my offer. It was difficult but I hope the professors at Indiana understand, and will update this thread regarding the responses I receive.
  9. Hey guys, I have another quick question about M* programs I could use some insight on. But first, thanks again for all your wisdom and especiall your answers to my other questions in this thread! Does it look bad to PhD programs if one attends an M* program without funding, even if one does well in the program? Leaving aside the issue of whether one can graduate without debt or not, do PhD adcoms percieve one as a flawed or less competitive applicant if one cannot secure funding when applying to M* programs? Or is one's performance in the M* program far more indicative?
  10. Hey everyone, I don't know if it would be better to create a whole thread for this, but does anybody know how relationships between concentrated MAR students at YDS and professors in the religious studies department at Yale tend to be? That is, are there a lot of opportunities to take classes in religious studies and are faculty in that department generally willing to work with YDS students? Or is the divide relatively rigid?
  11. The Academia Stack Exchange tends to give useful advice and has a few regulars involved with academic/graduate religious studies. But, as its title implies, it is not specifically about religious studies (much less grad school in religious studies), and it is in more of a Q&A format than a "forum" per se.
  12. This probably doesn't fulfill your criterion for "top tier," but Rutgers' M.A. program accepts new applicants until June 1 without any loss of funding eligibility. My original plan was to apply to their program if I didn't get in anywhere else, but it seems that will be unnecessary.
  13. I'm not who you were responding to, but do you think it would be appropriate for me to contact the financial aid office about this issue even if I don't go to the open house? I would like to go but unfortunately I do not have access to a reliable means of getting to Boston and back, although I would like to discuss competing offers with the office.
  14. Haha, I actually applied to Indiana for a Master's and got into the doctoral program! I'm mostly holding out on Notre Dame, although I also haven't heard from HDS or YDS yet. Barring Notre Dame's program I'm torn between CUA and Indiana -- both are great programs and I'm tempted by the opportunity to start a doctoral program soon, but Indiana doesn't exactly match my research interests or teach the approaches I hope to cultivate. So I've been doing a lot of research about my opportunities at each program. Where else are you looking?
  15. I believe I am; I posted in late February pretty soon after hearing back and haven't seen anyone else post a waitlist from that program as of a week ago. I also wish we knew how deep the waitlist is, although I hear they have pretty consistently taken at least a few people off of it each year. Good luck!
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