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PhD: History or Literature and Culture?


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Hello all,

Longtime lurker, first time poster :)

I'm looking for some information or advice on the direction to take for potential PhD programs.

I am in my last term of my masters program in French literature and culture. My research interests are in the global eighteenth century, early modern travel narratives, French colonialism, and cross-cultural relations in early America. My current research focuses much more on nonfiction (or works which claimed to be nonfiction), such as travel accounts and political theory, than on fiction.

For a PhD, I'm starting to wonder whether I should apply for history or French studies programs. Obviously the source materials and methodologies would be different, but I'm wondering whether, given the type of research I do, this would simply be a matter of degree (no pun intended). I expect the major differences would come with respect to the reading lists and classes I would have prior to the dissertation process. I'm thinking this might be where history has an edge for my purposes, as I suspect I would get more use out of certain history seminars than out of, e.g., Occitan literature...but you never know! That said, I do have an interest in teaching French language and culture courses, and I doubt I would get this experience from a history degree. 

Anyway, these are just some thoughts, but I'm interested to see what others think about what the real 'differences' would be between these programs and for future employment on the academic market. 


(PS: for what it's worth, my BA is in History, Political Science, and French) 

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If you want to get a Masters degree, Columbia has a program that's History and Literature, located in Paris. They have fellowships and need-based financial aid available. That being said, the program has somewhat of a reputation of being a cash cow, but it might be a good back-up option if you can afford it.

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