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About thedig13

  • Rank
  • Birthday 03/20/1992

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  • Gender
  • Location
    New England
  • Interests
    20th-century United States: urban history, race, policing, consumer culture
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    History PhD

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  1. My two cents: Take some time off, which is always a good idea between undergrad and grad school. In the meantime, try reading a few seminal books in your two fields of interest. If one set of books excites you more than the other, it might be a sign. This may also give you a few ideas regarding where to apply to pursue your interests.
  2. I use MS Word for anything that I'm planning to eventually show to others (e.g., dissertation chapters, prospectuses, course assignments). I use Google Drive to keep notes on everything I read in graduate school (e.g., archival materials, book-reading notes).
  3. I've heard similar things about the admissions process. Professors at different universities will call up their buddies and be like "Yo, if you send an admit to student X, I won't, because he'd probably go to your school." Or, "Student B is easily the best student to apply here, so we won't admit him because he'll probably accept an offer elsewhere!'
  4. I will say that one of my advisors was ~13 years out of college before she herself started graduate school. Age itself isn't an issue. As others have mentioned, however, it may behoove you to keep in touch with old professors and make sure they're up-to-date on your plans. If you ask for a letter of recommendation from someone who hasn't heard from you in 5-10 years, it's unlikely they'll remember you well enough to write anything substantial.
  5. Good luck breaking into the historical profession, where the very definition/meaning/purpose of "objectivity" has been thrown into question. All interpretations of anything are subjective. The very notion of "objectivity" was invented by white European men trying to argue that their own knowledge systems were more valid than those of nonwhites/non-Europeans/women.
  6. I used to think this (especially about my own project--am I making any new arguments?), but the more time I've spent in grad school, the more I realize that there's plenty still to be done. Only this week, I had another (minor) breakthrough in my dissertation's intervention. I'm now convinced that every generation of professional historians feels like the well is running dry, but every generation has also had a revolutionary breakthrough (see: social turn, cultural turn) that reveals another untouched layer of historical thinking.
  7. The fields that I'm crafting for myself are as follows: 20C US (major); Race in the City; Nation/Race/Empire; US-Pacific Transnational. PM me if you want to peek at a (tentative) list of my readings.
  8. Aha. Yeah, I hear you. Novick definitely veers towards the Americanist/modernist. Not sure he'd be as helpful for people outside those categories.
  9. I suspect that's part of it. It's also a really great introduction to the politics of the historical profession and its defining pretenses. Out of curiosity, if you needed to introduce a first-year grad student to the historical profession, what would you assign instead?
  10. Peter Novick's book is bomb as all hell, and there's a reason it's the most frequently assigned state-of-the-field monograph for first-year historians. I hate theory as much as anybody, but over time, you pick up enough here and there to be able to engage in those conversations (and even employ a tiny bit in your own work).
  11. That's kind of what I was ultimately trying to get at.
  12. I will agree that your former advisor seems like an asshole, and will also add that graduate school kicks everybody's ass. Nobody completes a year of graduate coursework without losing all confidence in their abilities. I'd speculate that your problems were more imagined than real (i.e., perhaps you didn't do as poorly as you think), and it doesn't sound like your mentor was particularly helpful either. If you must address your performance, I'd try to spin it as a positive (as you have done here): you tried your hand at graduate school years ago, you had some difficulties, it turned you of
  13. Here's a question: why are you so disinterested in taking language courses? Anybody who's vaguely familiar with history programs knows that foreign language training is usually par for the course among History PhDs, so I'm curious to know why you're trying to get around this requirement.
  14. I suspect their record of successful placements has something to do with the pressure to pick up TAships. Teaching experience is becoming more and more of a must-have on the job market.
  15. As a follow-up to my previous post, what Klonoa experienced is pretty common in grad school. Like I said, students feel like they're stupid/inadequate/underprepared/falling behind all the time, regardless of what their actual level of competence/ability/experience/performance is. For me (and others I know), one of the big challenges of being a first year was getting over that paralyzing sense of inferiority so that you can buckle down and focus on getting work done.
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