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psstein last won the day on November 9 2018

psstein had the most liked content!

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About psstein

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    History of Science

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  1. psstein

    American Religious History

    I honestly don't know the field of US religious history particularly well. My own knowledge of religious history is predominantly early modern Europe and that of Judeo-Christian origins. From what little I do know, I believe Berkeley, Harvard, and Duke all have robust programs. It's probably to your advantage, given your background and interests, to go to an institution with ties to a divinity school. It also may help you to expand your search slightly to intellectual history, depending upon the methodological approach you want to take. A useful way of finding programs is as follows: take the books that have most interested you in this field. Look at where the authors either teach or received their PhDs. Constructing this sort of intellectual network will give you better answers than anyone else can. FWIW, I would discourage you from applying to Wisconsin. US religious history, which was very prominent 20 years ago at Wisconsin, is now barren.
  2. psstein

    American Religious History

    Either go to a top-tier program or don't go at all is my advice. UVA, Baylor, Emory, and to a lesser extent, Notre Dame, do not place people exceptionally well. Yale and Chicago, of course, have very good placement and more resources than you can shake a stick at.
  3. psstein

    Online MA for the Writing Sample

    To answer your question, I don't really know. It sounds like your major deficiencies may be in language preparation. I wouldn't be so worried about how long it took to do your BA in history. Honestly, I would consider waiting a year or two before starting the MA. You may find that you like your job enough that you don't want the MA or PhD.
  4. psstein

    Online MA for the Writing Sample

    Why do you not think the WS would be adequate for a PhD application? You really only need a MA if you're changing fields or have severe deficits in your preparation (e.g. you need to know Latin, but don't yet).
  5. I can't say I agree with you here. The history of science/tech/medicine market has always been very small and not particularly robust. History of science is kind of in a liminal position right now. There's been an ongoing trend towards history of science departments/programs consolidating into history programs, which is not good in the long term for history of science. Certain areas of history of science are particularly trendy right now, but the field as a whole is much less so.
  6. psstein

    How can I strengthen my application to Oxbridge?

    Are you applying for the MPhil or the D.Phil?
  7. psstein

    How to take notes- in history specifically?

    Yeah, this was my approach as well. I rarely take notes during a class, unless it's some particularly insightful point someone made or I want to say something down the road. @historygeek, I'd recommend reading with a heuristic tool called IPSO. It stands for Issue, Position, Support, and Outcome. I stole it from my friend, who uses it for reading/teaching. It's very useful for teaching undergrads how to break down a piece of dense writing into its constituent parts. It works like this? Issue: What is the research question? What is the author examining? Position: What is his/her argument or thesis statement? Support: What evidence does the author use to support the thesis? This includes not only data points, but secondary source scaffolding. Outcome: So what? If we accept the author's argument, what are the other avenues for research? I do realize that this framework seems a bit reductive and simplistic, but trust me, it's really helpful when you're reading scholarship that submerges the ideas. In my own field, it's helped me demystify Latour and Simon Schaffer.
  8. psstein

    History MA Programs

    Most of my undergrad was devoted to academic study of the New Testament. I've translated passages and said "these words don't make sense as presented." Whoever wrote Revelation could barely write in Greek.
  9. psstein

    History MA Programs

    Toronto has an intensive Medieval Latin program, but I know very little about it beyond that. You're probably a bit better off learning classical Latin and then moving to Medieval rather than the other way around... many Renaissance texts eschew Medieval Latin and attempt to classicize their Latin. As you can probably imagine, this happened with varying degrees of success. Some texts read like Cicero, while others are much more like reading a very badly jumbled maze. As for honing your early modern interests, there's a lot of great global early modern work. Again, my own bias is coming through here, but Cook's Matters of Exchange is a great read.
  10. psstein

    History MA Programs

    To be a competitive applicant for early modern, you'll probably need Latin. In total honesty, though, I didn't have much Latin when I applied to do early modern history of science, but I do know French exceedingly well (I've had 8 years of French education and near fluency in reading). I would also advise some type of self-study if possible. There are several good books (Wheelock's is the standard textbook) for teaching oneself Latin. I would also encourage you to think about how you'd position yourself among the current trends of your fields of interest. Please don't take this the wrong way, but the job market for medieval Europe alone is not particularly robust. The early modern job market is better, but if you're doing strictly Early Modern Europe, you're going to encounter some problems. Most of the jobs right now are something like "Europe and the world."
  11. psstein

    History MA Programs

    @telkanuru is on the mark, as usual. I would probably add CUA into your list, as I said elsewhere. I believe they have a good medieval history program, as well as some funded MA places. I, too, would counsel avoiding Columbia. I slightly disagree with him as to Latin. It depends what you're working on and how easily you acquire languages, but it's not impossible to do something worthwhile with less Latin than you may think. That being said, my knowledge comes largely from working on medieval astronomy, which has a pretty limited vocabulary. Most historians of science who "know Latin" know it well enough to muddle through it with a dictionary and a grammar. I imagine that it's a bit different for dedicated medievalists.
  12. CalTech doesn't have a graduate program, so I won't discuss it. I'd rank MIT among the best STS/HoS programs (on par with Harvard/Penn), and their placement reflects that fact. I don't think it's any tougher to get a job out of that program, and that's keeping in mind that most historians of science are employed in history departments (including here in WI). Historically, some of the "science-oriented" universities have had exceptional history of science programs. I don't know if Cornell qualifies as "science focused," but they have an outstanding STS program and a very good, though older, historian of science in Peter Dear.
  13. psstein

    NYU vs. Oxford for Masters in Middle Eastern Studies

    The prevailing view of the Columbia MAs is that they're cash cows, with all the attending concerns (lack of real preparation/faculty attention, price tag, etc.). The NYU MAs vary in reputation, but they've a decent reputation for not being cash cows.
  14. psstein

    Entering Academic Philosophy with a Non-Phi Major

    Yes, I've read that too, especially from Edward Feser. Right, the first book you should look at is H. Floris Cohen, The Scientific Revolution: A Historiographical Inquiry (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994). I'd strongly advise not reading the whole thing, as it's often a summary of existing scholarship. I'd recommend reading the relevant sections and then examining the footnotes. That would probably be the best use of your time.
  15. psstein

    Entering Academic Philosophy with a Non-Phi Major

    No, that really helps. You might do really well in a history/phil. of science program (e.g. Pittsburgh, who have faculty who love this sort of work). Your proposed project sounds absolutely fascinating to me, as historians of science have usually assumed that Galileo's world system finally killed Aristotelianism. There's a lot of good literature to this end, most of which is tied to the Sci. Rev. one way or another. Even of the questions you've put forward, I'd encourage an even narrower dive into one, as well as situating yourself within the literature. I'm happy to point you towards works on the history and phil. of science side. There are also, generally speaking, ways to learn how to read Latin without MA coursework. I'd also point out that many, if not most early modernists, aren't talented Latin scholars. Most know enough Latin to muddle through sources with a dictionary and a grammar. If you're self-motivated, there are some great self study aids out there, and not just the rather dry Wheelock's Latin.

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