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Where can I write a doctorate in archeoastronomy?


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Hello everyone! I hope you are well. I am a graduate of Yale, M.A. in African Studies, about eight years ago. I've done a lot of things since then, and I've now received a Fulbright US Scholar fellowship to go teach and do research at the University of Zimbabwe. My research has to do with mythology, ecology and sacred spaces, and the more I do research on the subjects, the more they take me in the direction of what I understand is called 'archeoastronomy.' I would like to apply my fulbright research towards a European style PhD (with a thesis advisor), and I'm wondering where I could do such a thing in archeoastronomy. Anybody know anything about it? I would appreciate any leads! Thank you!


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What a cool research area! It is a very interdisciplinary subject, so I wouldn't be shocked if you ended up applying to several programs in different disciplines. I know a lot of anthropology programs would give you the archeological training you want. Classical archeology is another place to look.

That said, you're going to be dealing with a lot of eurocentrism any route you go. Your research area will make you stand out, but it may be challenging to find thesis advisors who are knowledgeable about your interests. I'd look at academic journals to see who's writing about similar topics. Find out where these people were trained and where they work now.

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I recommend a systematic review of the journals and publications provided at the website of the Center for Archeoastronomy and a general search on Jstor.

What is the state of the art? Who are the key practitioners in the field? Where do they work? What kind of work do they do? Are there opportunities to move the needle on existing debates by bringing to the table a different set of perspectives and skills? How do you want to approach the topic? Will you be an expert in African studies with an emphasis on archeoastronomy or will you be an expert on archeoastronomy with a focus on how its history unfolded in Africa? 

Do you want or need to develop an expanded set of skills? Do you want a career outside of the Ivory Tower? For example would you want to work for SpaceX by making presentations at high schools so young people might say "Hey, I can do that!" and they start thinking about STEM as a path to working in space industry. (During the Cold War, it was not uncommon for people working in the defense industry to visit area public schools to talk about careers in aerospace engineering.)

When you start looking at programs, keep in mind that it's never too soon to think about the kind of research you might do for a dissertation. When you look at the archival holdings and resources of a specific institution, also look at what may be available within a short drive.

ETA: If you are a foreign national, your access to private companies like SpaceX may be limited.

Edited by Sigaba
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