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hats last won the day on October 1

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  1. Fall 2018 Applicants

    My position tends to be that for places with inane requirements, like a ten page writing sample, a few norms can be bent which would be courteous and wise to observe elsewhere. For example: endnotes. I think Penn expects this, too, or they wouldn't have explicitly included the note about how you can have your references at the end.
  2. Prepping for the 2018 cycle!

    Don't try to be broad, try to show you're flexible. If you don't give specifics, professors may not think you can propose an actually feasible project to tackle an aspect of your broad questions. The advice you received not to seem like you are committed to one, and exactly one, project, and are uninterested in considering any other ways to investigate these issues is correct. The solution is not, however, to say "I'm interested in the rise of social inequality in the North American woodlands" and then stop. You have to continue. Say, here's one way I imagine taking it! That shows you actually have the skills to visualize all the steps you need to complete a dissertation. Maybe you can say two or three kinds of data or two or three kinds of sites that might speak to your work. There's a middle ground between over-rigid commitment to a narrow project and a hand-wavey breadth of interest that doesn't give committees a sense of how you work as a thinker. (I'm interested in 'the rise of social inequality in the woodlands civilizations', too, but I've never been on a dig or analyzed any archaeological data, so you shouldn't admit me to an archaeology program based on my ability to state a broad archaeological theme that interests me!) Can I direct your attention to these two threads? Of the recent discussions in this subforum, I think these both had good discussion about how to balance this issue.
  3. Anth GPA

    It sounds like the former, but I would ask the relevant administrative staff member at the program.
  4. favoritism in seminar

    Are you close with any of your classmates, especially ones who say "To echo @Sapphire120" more or less frequently? Can you check in with them about what they think is happening? Some possible answers: Yeah, I've noticed that, too! I think it's because I'm a man and you're a woman. I keep trying to draw the professor's attention to it—that's why I'm always emphasizing your contribution, but I'm frustrated that Professor seems not to be picking up on it and giving you the credit. You take a long time to get to your points, and you do so in a rambling way. I think the substance of your comments is really smart, which is why I echo them, but you're right that Professor doesn't seem to follow your train of thought in the same way. I sometimes write down an outline of my comments before I make them to make sure they're structured—have you tried that? What? I thought it was obvious that Professor likes your ideas! Professor takes a while to process things, though, have you noticed? It's not just you, Professor reacts a bit slowly to turns in the discussion. (It's possible it's a combination of all three.) After checking in with your friendliest and most socially aware classmates, there may be proactive steps you can take to refine your discussion style. Everyone has something they could improve, so that might be worthwhile. Whether or not the intervention 'takes,' on the other hand, I would definitely have a note about this professor's listening skills—especially if they are demographically selective listening skills—in my mental file about them.
  5. What would you do if your University Professor cheat?

    As far as upholding academic standards, nobody is arguing that he shouldn't fix the CV. He should fix it. He should be thorough about fixing it, including as much public notice as you want. After he's fixed it, if you argue that he needs to face consequences to show this kind of error isn't "tolerated," sure, that's fine, we can add consequences. Let's brainstorm: what kinds of consequences might be fair and proportionate to an offense of this magnitude? a small fine? mandatory training? assignment to less desirable committees? Any of those would seem appropriate for small errors about his undergraduate (!) research. You keep asking questions of us, but I have a couple questions for you: Has anyone ever cited the articles you object to? If you find many citations, my understanding of how serious this misstep is goes from about 2 to about 4.* If you just haven't been clear, and these were in fact field-defining articles or even in that general tier of importance, you should have led with that. If these articles he was taking credit for became that influential, that would be where this misrepresentation could shoot up to an 8 or 9. I doubt that level of influence is even possible with these articles, however, because, as you keep pointing out, there are no full PDFs for people to read. *On my scale, '7' would be about the level of a firing offense; '10' is reserved for things that might involve jail time. Let's say you convince us and we all say "YES! He should be fired!", like you seem to want. You've identified us as "less mature" academics; we're early career, and we don't know anything. Sure, fine, we're immature and have bad judgment. So why are you appealing to us? What do you think we can do about it? Are you trying to convince us to write a letter-writing campaign to this department, or...? As to your post on the previous page, obviously this man has standing to request that his students not plagiarize. If I got a speeding ticket ten years ago and now I'm teaching my teenage daughter to drive, do I have the "moral basis" to tell her that she should obey traffic laws, too?
  6. What would you do if your University Professor cheat?

    As a graduate student advised by this person? 1) Wow this is not my business. 2) I do not have anywhere near the level of institutional power, influence, or support, to do anything about this. 3) Gee I will wait with my head down for my professor's colleagues to sort this out. When I say "with my head down," I especially mean that I will not gossip. 4) I trust they will sort this out fairly, even if this means severe consequences for my advisor, like firing them. 5) This seems like a good time to strengthen my relationships with other faculty members in my department, to see what I can do about making a Plan B for if they do fire the guy.
  7. Prepping for the 2018 cycle!

    I agree with @kittyball. Personally, I failed to apply to one program for what is, objectively, a stupid reason: there was some bureaucratic nightmare with my pre-reqs/eligibility for something or other, and the administrative staff with whom I was trying to resolve it were brusque with me in like two emails. Dumb! But I think I crossed it off my list because it was a huge stretch for fit anyway, so I was willing to cross it off for more trivial reasons.* So, if a POI not responding is your sign that you weren't that into that program anyway...go ahead and cross it off. But if it's a really good program for you, every single cell in my body screams, no, don't take it off your list just for that! People have health crises! People have babies! People have policies about not emailing students back! If you get in and you find out the POI is in fact like that—i.e., non-responsive and detached even from their current students—feel free not to say yes to their offer. The better juncture for that decision is after admission, however, not before. *I then got access to an academic library again and actually read this POI's book, a POI who was the main-to-only reason I was considering the program. His research matches mine thematically, like, exactly, but OH BOY do I ever have (angry) thoughts about how he actually approached his subject. In the end, that application fee was well avoided.
  8. @Sigaba You seem to have taken the first sentence of her post out of context; I think the rest of the post makes it clear what she means something different than you've responded to. When she says "people of color are underrepresented in history," she meant "people of color are underrepresented in history" as its practitioners. I don't see anywhere in her post that she claims that race is "under-represented" as an object of study in history. Rather, the statistics she cites show that she is talking about diversity in the demographics of professional academics, not in the distribution of the topics they study.
  9. If you don't mind, let me just direct you to this other post on this subject I wrote: This idea seems quite specific to anthropology (my field of comparison includes sociology, linguistics, and many humanities: other disciplines I can't say)—that your SOP should be a mini dissertation proposal. I think this idea is a) pernicious and b ) incorrect. I suspect it's fed mostly by the fact that the best/only anthropology sample SOPs available on the internet are the ones from Duke, which shared only essays from applicants with master's degrees. Those essays are really good! It's great that Duke made them available! But that they're only from applicants with master's seems to distort how other applicants picture what they should be aiming for. Your interests as listed above are somewhat too broad, yes; you'll want to make them more specific for your SOP, as I'm sure you know. 'Miniature dissertation proposal' is, however, not the correct standard. (It's not even the correct standard for the NSF GRFP research statement, which asks for a longer and more detailed attempt at defining your research project than do regular applications; there are a lot of winners who acknowledge uncertainty about their projects, even while they propose a compelling, narrow-ish set of questions to investigate.)
  10. Contacting LOR writers

    My advice would be to contact the departmental administrator at, respectively, your institution and at SAR. "Do you know how best to get in touch with so-and-so?" you ask each of them. Do try to send this message to one of the more appropriate administrators—i.e., not the coordinator for undergraduate affairs or similar. If they don't know, that's when I'd start looking at backups like Facebook or less relevant letter-writers. Side note: what kind of retirement did the one who promised you an LOR take? I might not ask her again if I knew she had retired for serious reasons. Otherwise, it should be fair to seek a yes or no on whether she can still commit to doing it. It does sound like email isn't the way to go, though, so good luck finding a different medium.
  11. @Quant_Psych_2018 I think it's generally fine to mention a previous research interest, specifically. "I just didn't know what I wanted to do" is a bad way to frame it, though. My usual advice would be to say, "I was interested (or perhaps say, tentatively interested) in pursuing clinical psychology, during which period I explored x, y, and z. Now I have come to be more interested in quantitative psychology, where I want to pursue topics a and b." The whole decision-making process is still omitted, but with more specificity on the 'before' and 'after' halves of the timeline. However, it often sounds like clinical psychology is this whole thing, to which general advice does not always apply, so I think it would be better to go back to your professors and rephrase a few things and ask again how they think you should play it. Can you ask them more specific questions about this problem? I see now why you wrote the paragraph in the first post the way you did, but I think you split the baby. You were trying to address it, following one professor's advice, but vaguely enough not to offend the other professor. Even though it's a controversial topic, it might be better to follow one professor's advice a bit more than the other—whichever you find more compelling, based on the content of their advice and their position to be giving it (e.g. track record of placing students in PhD programs)—rather than trying to split your approach exactly down the middle.
  12. I'm not sure about your professor's exact advice, but this is all too long. Couldn't you shorten all the relevant information to something like: After graduating from University, I was interested in psychology research. While exploring the field during my master's at Other University, I started to focus on Current Topic. (Topic switch to more about your proposed research.) If you don't mind a play-by-play on your paragraph, I have more thoughts below: First, regarding the bolded sections: narrate your thought process less. There's no need! You don't have to make any kind of evaluative comment on whether the master's degree was a positive or negative for you: describe the skills you've gained and let the reader exercise their own judgment. I think this answers the actual question you asked: you don't need the sentence you asked about, and you don't need to write the professor's sentence if it feels dishonest to your experience, either. Just skip that part. You got a master's. You learned skills. You now have a research topic you're proposing to graduate schools. That's really all they need to know; the process that led to those steps isn't really relevant. Second, about the underlined parts: in my first paragraph, I totally cut out any discussion of your research experiences prior to your current project. I don't think that's wise, actually; mentioning what you learned from each of them is a better way to go. But don't do it like this, not in the way I've underlined! What "variety" did you have? Technically, "variety" doesn't mean that much. Were you in charge of something very trivial and mindless for every lab on campus, like some paperwork thing? I assume not, but to make sure your readers know what you mean, be more specific. Rather than saying "a variety," if you really have a lot, pick a couple to emphasize. In this project (that you are no longer pursuing), you became familiar with this computer program that will help you in your current research. In your next project (which you have also left behind), you used some quantitative techniques that you plan to use in part of your PhD work. I hope that helps.
  13. I would be a lot more inclined to avoid a department that had been embroiled in scandal than a university as a whole. If I studied public policy, the Chelsea Manning thing would quite possibly stay my application to Harvard's Kennedy School. If I studied chemistry, though? I don't see that leading me to avoid the Harvard chemistry department. Universities are too big to find one that's entirely "pure." On the other hand, departments are small enough that you should probably be able to avoid one nationally known for its toxic atmosphere! Purity is a tough ask, but avoiding the most scandal-ridden programs in your field should be feasible.
  14. Cultural Anthro PhD after BA -- SoP Tips?

    Your background sounds absolutely standard for an anthropology PhD student in my program, at least—and I even know one student who won an NSF GRFP that way. That said, you do need to show signs that you're thinking about theory and that you will eventually develop a coherent theoretical approach. I would strongly advise you not to frame your theory in broad terms you don't understand very well ("cultural materialist approach"). Rather, what books or articles of anthropology tackle problems or issues that are interesting to you? Can you tell what approaches they use? If you can figure out that your topic could be usefully approached using analytical frameworks from kinship and bioethics, say that. If you can break it down further and discover that works on some of the topics that interest you use diverging models of kinship, all the better. Are you more sympathetic to one or the other? Are you interested in both until you've learned more? Both of those are fine to say. In general, for students (like myself) who come into another field without much background in it, I advise a more exploratory tone than somebody who has a master's degree in the field. (If you want examples of the ideal master's degree kind of application, check out the Duke anthropology website. They are useful in general, although I did not try to emulate that degree of mastery of theory. I didn't have it!) So you can say, I am interested in the ethics of wildlife management in Japan's southernmost islands, which I am interested in approaching through theories of kinship and bioethics, especially as explored through multi-species ethnography. So-and-so's book is a touchstone for my approach because of this interesting stuff it does, although I would be especially interested in using this different perspective to look at the issue. I have also been interested in the transmission of these ideas at different scales, which I could explore through media theory. Note how all of that is rather broad, and uses "could" more than "will." In theory, you don't have to follow up on any of it at all, although I will say that you'll probably end up at a program with a better fit if you do pursue at least one of the themes you mention. (For a personal example, I threw in media theory at the end of mine and spent all my visit weekend at my current university talking excitedly about its possibilities—turns out it is basically not relevant to any of the problems I want to tackle. Oh well! They still admitted me and now I'm not using media theory.) However, even if it has a bit of a brainstorming quality to it, it shows that you've read enough of the literature to have identified some promising paths you'll investigate. It sounds like this is going to take a lot of reading for you. Is that right? I would advise that you start reading in the anthropology of Japan and see what catches your eye, so you can shove some of the bigger themes in the literature into your brainstorming-type theory paragraph. What made you decide that anthropology was the field you wanted your PhD in? Was it anything you read? If so, it would be smart to return to those books or articles and try to see what approaches they're taking and, especially, who they cite. A key thing to look for is which, of the works they cite, they agree or disagree with. That'll be a clue to current topics of interest and inquiry in the field. If you don't have access to a good research library right now, FYI, you can start cobbling some reading material together using JSTOR's three free articles a month, as much as Google Books' preview feature will let you read, and articles scholars you're interested have posted on their pages on academia.edu.
  15. Already...regret

    @FoodDoc If you need somebody to say it, this sounds more than serious enough to go to drop-in hours! If there's a chance you'll fail out of the program (or dig a hole that makes that even moderately possible) before you get to your appointment...that's what drop-in hours are for.