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My research field is Chinese history, but I am also interested in interdisciplinary approaches to cultural history. So far I have applied to and am waiting on history PhD programs with a strong interdisciplinary base, as well as East Asian studies (EALC/EALAC) programs. 

My previous training (undergrad, masters) was in history, and my supervisor assured me that I would still be able to be hired as a historian even if I'd graduate with an EALC degree (because I majored in history during my undergraduate and MA studies). While I am very attracted to EALC programs, which would allow me to incorporate literature & film studies in my own research (that's what I want to do), I am at the same time worried that it would make me less competitive in job market if I'd not have a doctoral degree in history.

I hope I will be able to apply to EALC and history academic jobs after finishing my PhD. My question is, would having a doctoral degree in EALC or history make much difference in this case?

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I think it depends a little on EALC as a subfield. 

In Latin American Studies, there is more gatekeeping. It's hard for historians to get LACS jobs (though not impossible, I know one person) and viceversa, I seriously doubt a history department would hire a person with Latin American Studies PhD. In this field, the area part of the program usually is very language and literature based, with very little historical training. 

Do you know how your subfield works? 

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On 1/5/2020 at 5:44 PM, TMP said:

It is true... but the most important thing about "Area Studies" PhD programs is to look at the placement record of the program AND the adviser.

Also, look at the faculty rosters at history departments where you'd like to work. Are there hiring patterns that suggest a EALC ph.d. will be GTG?

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16 hours ago, AP said:

In this field, the area part of the program usually is very language and literature based, with very little historical training. 

I want to echo this and suggest that the OP spend some time finding out the nature of different EALC departments and what they offer. Sometimes historians are also listed as the faculty of EALC departments even though the EALC departments do not offer a PhD program in history.

I am in Japanese history and technically speaking registered at an EALC department. While some EALC departments are language and literature based in the field of Japanese studies, such as that of U Chicago, others do have a strong emphasis on history. To my knowledge, this applies to the joint PhD program "History- East Asia" of Columbia between its History and EALAC Departments and the HEAL program of Harvard. Also, in the case of Columbia, the degree you get from the joint program is a PhD in history (not in EALAC). 

In addition... this is not the right thread, but in my interviews the question of why applying to a History Dept/EALC Dept instead of the other came up twice. (I applied to the Hist. Dept of UCSB where one of my supervisor is primarily an EALC prof, and I applied to the East Asian Studies Dept. of Princeton instead of the Hist. Dept) So, whichever department the OP decides to apply to, I recommend thinking carefully about your rationale, in case you need to discuss it with potential POIs. In my case, I prioritize the competitiveness (=placement records) a disciplinary PhD will give me over an interdisciplinary degree. Meanwhile, I also am attracted by the well-funded and multidisciplinary experience specific PhD programs would allow me to have. (And of course, the rejection notifications helped a lot with narrowing my options down...)

 

Hope this helps~

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On 1/9/2020 at 2:23 AM, AnUglyBoringNerd said:

I want to echo this and suggest that the OP spend some time finding out the nature of different EALC departments and what they offer. Sometimes historians are also listed as the faculty of EALC departments even though the EALC departments do not offer a PhD program in history.

I am in Japanese history and technically speaking registered at an EALC department. While some EALC departments are language and literature based in the field of Japanese studies, such as that of U Chicago, others do have a strong emphasis on history. To my knowledge, this applies to the joint PhD program "History- East Asia" of Columbia between its History and EALAC Departments and the HEAL program of Harvard. Also, in the case of Columbia, the degree you get from the joint program is a PhD in history (not in EALAC). 

In addition... this is not the right thread, but in my interviews the question of why applying to a History Dept/EALC Dept instead of the other came up twice. (I applied to the Hist. Dept of UCSB where one of my supervisor is primarily an EALC prof, and I applied to the East Asian Studies Dept. of Princeton instead of the Hist. Dept) So, whichever department the OP decides to apply to, I recommend thinking carefully about your rationale, in case you need to discuss it with potential POIs. In my case, I prioritize the competitiveness (=placement records) a disciplinary PhD will give me over an interdisciplinary degree. Meanwhile, I also am attracted by the well-funded and multidisciplinary experience specific PhD programs would allow me to have. (And of course, the rejection notifications helped a lot with narrowing my options down...)

 

Hope this helps~

Thank you for sharing! I applied to Columbia's History-East Asia track through their department of history. It's so weird that I got the interview request from my POI after the Hist. Dept sent out admissions and rejections. Does it mean I was transferred to EALAC? 

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I don't think you are "transferred" to EALAC. The History-East Asia program is a joint PhD program, so no matter which department you apply to, your application will be viewed by the same group of professors in East Asian history, and this might mean the timeline of notification is different from other fields of history. :)  For those already in the joint program, the requirements are the same for those who registered at the Hist Dept. and those who registered at the EALAC Dept., which (I think) are a bit different from Hist Dept. students in other fields. Good luck and best wishes! 

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