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hats last won the day on May 24 2018

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  1. How is a linguistics MA not background in linguistics? It sounds like one to me! People with linguistics BAs, or MAs, or training in ESL, are probably the single biggest source for linguistic anthropology PhDs—although BAs no more than people who pick up some linguistics post college—so you've got a relatively normal background already. UCLA and Penn are both obviously strong places for that combination of language and anthropology. I also think of Miyako Inoue and Barbra Meek, and that joint program in Anthropology and Linguistics at Arizona. I also want to note that anthropology sure seems to be the field that's hands-down most comfortable with applicants falling backwards into it once they graduate and realize it answers their questions better than anything else. Sorry I can't give you any more names—that's about the extent of my Intro to Linguistic Anthropology knowledge. You sound like you're on track to me, though!
  2. This is a person who already asked you something ethically dubious....is that the first person you want to put your trust in right now? I can see scenarios where this would make sense—they hinge on him not knowing this norm and now being sorry—but also, you know, are there any other warm bodies in your general vicinity you could collaborate with?
  3. Hi everybody, thanks in advance for any advice you have to offer. When I started graduate school, one of my two primary advisors seemed like a very warm and caring person. Unfortunately, the more we go on, the more I feel like every conversation with him shreds my soul a little more. Specifically, I cannot stand the style he uses to give me criticism. Now, I've seen threads like this devolve into people telling OP that criticism is part of academia and makes your work better, so I'd like to note at the outset that I have a lot of savoir faire with regard to criticism in general. I am, however, having trouble adjusting to Advisor A's style. I'm a brash, big city girl, to use some shorthand. Blunt criticism does not phase me, even when it's really harsh. A, however, is midwestern nice. By his own account, he has a lot of trouble expressing his preferences directly. That doesn't mean A doesn't have strong preferences; they just sneak out backwards in remarks I find to be catty and hurtful. It's hard to give examples, because honestly, it's relatively subtle. If I wrote an unclear paragraph, Advisor B might say, "This paragraph is a mess; fix it," and that would be fine. Advisor A might say something like "Written in haste...? I am left wondering what, if any, point was meant to be communicated..." Even as I write this, I feel like that comment fails to function as supporting evidence for the word 'soul-shredding.' It doesn't sound that bad. While no one example is all that problematic, though, the pattern has been bothering me more and more over time. For an example that actually happened—and that makes me think some of A's apparent frustration is specific to me—one time in my first year I misinterpreted a small class assignment. After this, he spent the next three months remarking "Ah, it's nice to finally see some evidence you're serious about professionalization." At least once a week. I probably deserved the first instance—I thought his remark was kind of funny—but boy did I get sick of hearing that he still thought I wasn't 'serious' after I made one small mistake and then did three more months of work correctly. I suppose I've written my way to the conclusion that it's not actually the style, but the fact that I suspect he either doesn't like me, doesn't like my work, or doesn't think I should be in graduate school, or perhaps all three. That attitude then finds its expression in this (annoying but not per se problematic) style. That said, the sort of passive implication that all of your work might be garbage does bother me more than direct criticism, so if you've adjusted from a more direct style to a less direct one, I would also appreciate advice separate from my working relationship with A. Some answers I'd want if I were reading this: no, A isn't like this with everyone. Almost all the other students think he's the nicest and most caring member of the faculty, so when I tell them some of the things he's said to me—direct quotations, without editorializing from me—they invariably suggest I'm exaggerating or misheard. (On the other hand, I once saw him ream out a classroom of students in such a 'nice' way that I don't think more than 2 out of 20 actually noticed what was happening.) No, I don't know what I could be doing better. I work really hard and my CV looks fantastic. Unfortunately, asking A about areas where I have room for improvement seems to offend him, so he doesn't answer. Yes, I could work only with B and ditch A and still graduate...given A's status in our peculiar subfield, I'm pretty sure this would 100% consign me to finding a career outside of academia. (Which is, you know, fine, but I don't want that to be a certainty before I've even turned in a dissertation chapter.)
  4. Can you tell us anything about why they didn't think you'd be a strong candidate? Just looking at your resume, it looks like you'd do great, so I'm wondering if there are any remediable red flags.
  5. Honestly, I wish my undergraduate GPA was a bit lower. I had about a 3.8, which I tried really hard to get because I wanted a certain level of honors. I didn't get it anyway, so I wish I had taken those couple courses in science and art I was always eyeing, the ones I avoided because I thought I was likely to get Bs. You do want to keep your GPA in a high range, and your philosophy grades very high (although finding a few courses more challenging is fine), but focusing too much on GPA rather than learning is something some people—like me—can regret.
  6. hats


    I would prioritize getting more evidence about Alabama. I know Alabama has a reputation, but it's also a university (which can distinguish itself from its surrounding political/cultural environment to greater or lesser degrees, depending) in a state with a large African-American population (although I would believe you if you told me UA is in an exclusively white part of the state). You should make it a priority to speak to POC students in the department to see what their experience is like there. It's a longer shot, but I would also ask Alabama if there's funds for you to visit, yourself. If you go to Case, I would treat it as just a plain old master's (mph) degree. A PhD in anthropology without funding is absurd, exploitative, and unethical. (I know some places still do it...!) How much would the MPH run you for two years? If it's on the low side, I think that might be a reasonable decision: to go, pay minimal or low tuition, and plan to apply to PhD programs when your MPH finishes. One of those PhD applications could be Case, but for it to be a serious option at that point, they had better pay you a reasonable stipend. If you have to pay a lot of tuition at Case—I can't tell whether 'no funding' means 'tuition waiver but no stipend' or 'thirty thousand dollars a year of tuition'—and Alabama embodies all its worst stereotypes, your best option for the upcoming year may be neither of them, unfortunately.
  7. @Adelaide9216 I read that thread, and I thought that comment to you was somewhere between microaggression and straight-up aggression. No matter the identity of the person saying it, I think "you should just study your own [not straight-white-cis-male] community"* is wrong and essentializing to scholars of color, female scholars, etc. *I have heard of communities that cannot be ethically studied by outsiders, or certain kinds of outsiders. Sure. However, that only requires saying, "you can't study us, I would suggest you find some other topic." And that is a VERY different statement than, "you can't study us, you should just go study other black people because you're black." Although I am white, this 'mining your trauma' is something I have been very angry about as it pertains to me as a queer, disabled woman. Most of the time, I would prefer my work just stood on its own, you know? I don't want to have to talk about just the degree of trauma being queer caused in my family relationships or whatever to get into graduate school. It often feels like, or is actually, required, however.
  8. Really? I've met people who travel back and forth between San Francisco and New York every week. Now, I realize that's only possible for the economically privileged, but if you're a lobbyist, I would have thought you'd be in the class of folks to whom travel is available. Plus, academia has long breaks. Even if you only see each other three times a year, at Christmas, and before and after she does her summer research, those visits could easily last four weeks each. I'm also not quite sure what to do with this framing, "Should she have chosen Yale or Princeton because it’s closer to DC?!" If I said "yes," what would you do then?
  9. I think it's time to start experimenting on yourself. Beyond the good answers already given—and that continuing counseling is a must—I would try a lot of different hacks from the internet/self help circles. Yoga. Exercise. Meditation. Journaling (this one makes things worse for me, personally). I haven't liked plain old meditation, but staring at/near a candle does the trick. Good scents: essential oils, scented candles, etc., near your bed. A nice bath before bedtime? It might take a while for you to find some combination of things that help at all, and maybe there isn't any shortcut to feeling more peaceful, but hopefully a couple of these will help.
  10. @lm3481 Your current advisor has threatened you with retaliation after you asked him his opinion about this. This is especially obscene for him to do because school B really does have benefits that school A does not offer. For example, at School B, you could form a functional committee, something School A actively prohibits you from doing. (Which is ASTONISHING.) That leads me to the question: if you choose to stay with this advisor for your PhD, are you really confident, given his behavior so far, that you can get through four or five years of working with him without doing anything that offends him so much that he cuts you off?
  11. @Kaitlynjoy Can you tell us some more information about yourself? How to improve depends crucially on what you've done already. For example, if you applied in your senior year of undergrad, at a traditional age, the advice that would help you is probably pretty different than the people who've been living in Japan for ten years with a sociology bachelor's degree, who are now looking to switch fields.
  12. School B is a problem; Chinese is better than Japanese for you. B should be right out. School C might be okay, but I'm not sure what school C gets you that A does not. Do any of the professors who are offering to do independent studies with you at A study anything that's at all connected with Buddhism or China? (I feel like you would've mentioned it if one of them had experience with Tibetan studies.) Real talk, though: do you know any Tibetan? Can you find a way to start learning Tibetan on your own? Are there internet resources that are good enough for you to start with, or can you take summer classes at another university? For example, you DO NOT need to attend an institution to be able to access their summer language-learning FLAS scholarship funds. I never did it as an undergraduate, but I believe you would be eligible to apply for tuition and a stipend (do undergrads get the stipends?) to learn Tibetan over the summer at e.g. University of Wisconsin, no matter where you study during the school year. The deadline has passed for that scholarship for this year, and this is the year that FLAS centers might change universities (so in 2019, it's possible that the University of Michigan, not UW, would be offering those Tibetan scholarships and/or classes, for example). Unless the federal government closes the FLAS program, you should apply to every funded Tibetan language opportunity you can find for summer 2019. I feel uneasy even mentioning this, but if you stay with school A and have that little debt, it might be worth saving up from a job for and/or taking out a very limited amount of loans to pay for a Tibetan summer program yourself, once and only once. I'd advise against worrying about that this summer if you have anything else going on in your life that makes you money, gives you experience, or just generally doesn't require LOANS, but it might help you enough to be worth it at some point....once. When @NTAC321 talks about language experience, there are ways.
  13. @Leenaluna If it comes up, you say: "I know, right? It's so funny the things you get stressed about sometimes!" Treat it like it's funny (it's kind of funny) and everybody else will treat it that way, too. I really don't think it will come up, but if it does, now you're prepared to handle it. People say sillier things than this to their advisors fairly regularly, and nobody ever remembers for more than like three weeks.
  14. I agree with @jrockford27 think you should come clean, but I also would not stress about timeline on when to come clean. The more sense of humor your advisor shows about their own human foibles, the sooner I would be inclined to tell them.
  15. So, it seems like there might be different ideas of "tiers" in this conversation. R1/R2 is usually used by professor types to designate PhD-granting/research-intensive institutions (R1) and master's-granting/some-focus-on-research institutions (R2). Hearing about a competitive PhD program at an R2 is therefore surprising by definition, because most R2's don't grant PhDs. (An R2 PhD isn't an oxymoron—an R2 can have PhD programs in like two departments without becoming R1—it's just relatively rare.) If what you meant was, I've found a "tier 2" PhD program by that article's definition, i.e., it's ranked 15th among programs in my field, that has good placement, that's not surprising. A "tier 2" that's fifteenth in the field is still going to be pretty good! Even for programs ranked like 30-50, it's relatively common for them to be really quite good in one specialty, like how it's well-known that Michigan State has one of the top five programs in African history. If what you meant is that you found a "tier 2" PhD that places graduates well, I'm not surprised...although that level of placement numbers still sound shockingly high. If you did mean R2 i.e. not generally PhD-granting except for your department, well, that is a surprise, but there's more things in heaven and earth Horatio etc.
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