thedig13

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About thedig13

  • Rank
    Mocha
  • Birthday 03/20/1992

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    New England
  • Interests
    20th-century United States: urban history, race, policing, consumer culture
  • Application Season
    Already Attending
  • Program
    History PhD
  1. How to narrow field of interest?

    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. Google Docs or Microsoft Word: What do you use?

    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. U.S. history job market

    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. Maximum Age to Enter Graduate School

    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. Has history as a dscipline been diluted?

    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. Has the American Well Run Dry?

    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. Oral Examinations Reading Lists

    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. Fall 2015 Applicants

    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. Fall 2015 Applicants

    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. Fall 2015 Applicants

    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. Should I bother and if so, how to explain?

    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 off from academia; however, you retained your love of history, have intellectually matured a lot, and are ready to give it another shot. Don't say anything negative about your mentor (you never know who your former mentor might be close to, and an application isn't the place for politics anyway), and keep it short and sweet--you only get 1-2 pages to really sell yourself as a prospect, and an SOP is really supposed to be less about your previous forays into academia and more about your interests and your ability/training to pursue them.
  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. Fall 2016 Applicants

    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. Terrified to Tears

    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.