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  1. What are the hottest specialties in history right now?

    "Having said all this, I cannot help but note that this prescription conforms broadly to the vision of layers of time developed by Fernand Braudel and the Annales School. He spoke of structures, enduring features – changing glacially if at all, that constrained human action and of events, mere events, that were as numerous as they were fleeting, and powerless to change anything of importance. But in between these two extremes of historical time he located something called conjuncture. Here events and structures came together in fateful ways. Just what happened in this middle range of historical time, where combinations and sequences of action reset what we might call “the course of events” was only sketched out, and this mysterious category of time was often the butt of jokes by less visionary, more down-to-earth historians. Then historians had few allies among the social scientists. Today there are a good number – a critical mass? ‒ of historical social scientists seeking an historicized understanding of this realm where agency and structure confront each other, and, if I am right, a new era in which historians will seek to offer coherent explanations of change in the past." The great historian Jan de Vries, on "the return from the return to narrative."
  2. What are the hottest specialties in history right now?

    Material culture seems to be growing as well. In general, there seems to be a trend of looking beyond texts: to material culture, the natural environment, and the built environment as well.
  3. Spanish Fall 2018

    Got an invitation for an on-campus interview at the Spanish & Portuguese Department at Princeton! So glad
  4. How many applications are too many? - English Reformation

    What about Yale? Both Carlos Eire and Keith E. Wrightson teach there -it looks to me like quite a great combination for anyone wanting to work on the Reformation!
  5. Hello, Does any couple have any experience with Harvard GSAS housing? I have not been able to find much... Does Harvard offer affordable rooms for couples? Is it possible for two people to share a large room in one of Harvard's residence halls? (a large room in Richards, for instance?)
  6. First Generation Academics

    This has also been very useful to me, marketing it as a job where you teach etc in addition to research. It also helps that I come from a country (Spain) where the average salary falls well below the stipend of a top PhD program.
  7. Best Art History books/articles

    Panofsky is great of course, and I find Baxandall endlessly fascinating, although I would have picked The Limewood Sculptures over Painting and Experience. What about Georges Kubler? Is there any better initial sentence than "Let us suppose that the idea of art can be expanded to embrace the whole range of man-made things, including all tools and writing in addition to the useless, beautiful, and poetic things of the world."
  8. Theories of History

    I always find it valuable to step out of your area of focus and read broadly, across different periods and methodologies. I second the recommendations of Anthony Grafton (delightful book reviews too!) and Lorraine Daston. I add Peter Brown, Moses Finlay, Caroline Walker Bynum, Thomas Bisson, Daniel Lord Smail (esp. Legal Plunder), David Niremberg, Bernard Bailyn, Peter Galison, Robert Danton, Natalie Zemon Davis, Simon Schama, Carlo Ginzburg, George Chancy, Walter Johnson, Linda Colley. Of those who are dead, I would add Edward Gibbon, with his delightful footnotes, Richard Cobb, John Boswell, Henri Pirenne, Tacitus, Peter Laslett... I would also be remiss not to add the delightful French historians: Braudrel (is there any better first quote than "I have loved the Mediterranean with passion, no doubt because I am a Northerner like so many on whose footsteps I have followed"?), Marc Bloch, Philippe Aries, Emmanuel Ladurie, Georges Duby... (So many!)
  9. GRE cutoff

    Writing came to a 5.0, which is fine for me. Fingers crossed!
  10. Top 10 programs in Art History

    As a matter of fact, if you want to do Egyptian you should probably consider Berkeley (Whitney Davis). Also, I remain skeptical of an advisor-centered approach. Yes, your advisor is important. But there are other things that matter too: teaching load, stipends, resources, connections, etc etc. Of course, it is true that you need to apply to a top program with an advisor that fits your interests (even if only to secure admissions). But if Joseph Leo Koerner leaves Harvard next year for OSU, that does not make OSU as good as Harvard for someone who wants to do a PhD with Koerner, regardless of funding packages. Also, in order to overcome this impasse, I suggest an approach based on Rawls' veil of ignorance. Let us imagine that we need to pick a PhD program without knowing what our field will be once we arrive there. How will we order our preferred programs?
  11. What are my chances?

    Which would you say are the hottest trends right now (meaning topics/approaches rather than specific periods)? Is it material culture, environmental history of the digital bent (GIS and stuff), "global" history/mobility studies?
  12. International PhD Market?

    I have not seen any recent discussion on the international job market for PhD students in History. It seems to me that, while some people might do Post-Docs abroad, most return to the US for longterm teaching positions. Is there any reason for this? Is the international market more dire or less welcoming of American PhD students, or does this reflect geographical preferences? While a fair share of people do go to the UK, I am struck by the low numbers of people who decide to teach in other countries with strong academic communities, such as France or Germany. Do language skills also play a part? Or are those positions tilted towards domestic applicants? As someone from Italy considering to do a PhD at the US, I wonder about opportunity o return to Europe.
  13. Hey! I thought I would start a thread to share books and articles that people have found influential in their own thinking. The point is not to make a list of great books, but rather to get a better sense of which books have resonated with people on a particular way, perhaps shaping our choices of subfield or our decision to pursue art history. From the top of my head, I can think of Kubler's The Shape of Time, Koerner's Bosch and Bruegel, Nagel and Wood's Anachronic Renaissance, Alper's The Art of Describing, Bahrani's The Graven Image, and Michael Baxandall's The Limewood Sculptors of Renaissance Germany. What about you? Which books have influenced you and why?
  14. Top 10 programs in History

    Yes, but consider the fields in which both scholars work. Anthony Grafton is vastly more influential than Ann Blair in early modern europe, whereas Peter Brown's influence in Late Antiquity/Early Medieval stuff is simply unparalleled, even if I do think that McCormick is an excellent scholar and his Origins of the European Economy is one of the great economic history books, of any period. Simply put, it is hard for me to see evidence of a substantial difference between Princeton and Harvard, while that index seems to imply that there is one.
  15. Top 10 programs in History

    Do these numbers reflect actual differences in quality? Is Harvard really significantly better than, say, Princeton? I guess it depends on your subfield, but it is hard for me to find many people in the ranks of the Harvard faculty that have exerted a comparable influence in their fields as some Princeton profs. I mean, I haven't checked when this study was made, but is there anyone at Harvard who is, to his subfield, as influential as Peter Brown to Late Antiquity or Anthony Grafton and Natalie Zemon Davis to Early Modern Europe or Linda Colley to Modern Britain?