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Best Cultural Anthro PhD programs?


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Hi All,

 

I'm considering applying to a PhD in Cultural Anthropology with an emphasis on visual anthropology. Would you have some recommendations in terms of department ratings and funding available for grad students?

 

Thanks

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I don't know about ratings or funding, but I would recommend that you look into different schools and the work the professors have done in your field. I did research of so many universities, and many really prestigious ones don't have solid programs or even one professor in linguistic anthro (which is what I want to study). If you really fit into a school and the research being done there is similar to your interest then the funding could come from the university being really interested in you!

 

This website tells you about ratings and funding which you could look at to get an idea too: http://graduate-school.phds.org/rankings/anthropology

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There's also visual anthropologists in several departments outside of anthro (communications, interdisciplinary, different types of studies departments), so I'd start with the professors since it seems to be a smaller, though growing, field.

 

It really depends on the work you want to do.  Are you interested in making films, images, etc., or using the visual as your jumping off point for research?

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Well, some people you might look into are Faye Ginsberg and Jay Ruby (though I think he's retired). Ginsberg, in particular, has done a lot for visual ethnography and is a super nice person. Temple seems to be doing a lot of interesting visual stuff and here at Penn we have a small but growing group of people doing some visual ethnography, led mostly by John Jackson (who is faculty in communications and in anthro).

 

There's also Anna Grimshaw at Emory in the Institute for Liberal Arts.  I'm not an expert by any means, but I'd be happy to help.

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Also Harvard has a center in their department, run by Lucien Taylor. NYU has a formal certificate that I understand Faye Ginsberg runs. USC might also be helpful, and there's an MA program at San Francisco State (I think!)

It might also be worth looking at Goldsmiths, Manchester and Oxford.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Do you already have a body of work in film or photography?  The few dedicated visual/media anthro departments are extremely competitive.  You may find more luck looking for a program centered on your cultural interest, then augmenting your visual skills on your own.  This is what I am doing: lots of practice, meetup foto groups, and the occasional continuing-ed class.  If you just want to make films, without really being a social scientist, then consider an MFA or film school.

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  • 1 month later...

Hello all

 Since this thread looks related I am hoping some of you can help me.

 I am looking into applying to Anthropology programs for Fall 2014. I really want to do gender violence work - intergenerational sexual violence- to be specific within South Asian communities/ South Asia. I have looked at a few programs and the list is very very slowly growing. I feel like I am onto something when I looked at Deborah Sharpe's (Upenn) work. But I am wondering if people know of other researchers/ programs that might be a good fit for me and my interests in gender violence. 

 

Thanks much

 

Sangi

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Hi Sangi -

A new up-and-coming program is a joint PhD at the University of Notre Dame in Anthropology and Peace Studies. I'm currently in the program and love it (looking at intersections of gender, violence, truth-telling and reconciliation very broadly). The Anthro department at Notre Dame has a handful of folks working on issues of violence - and some specifically on gender and violence (Carolyn Nordstrom, Cynthia Mahmood) - both who have worked in South Asia and Southeast Asia. Here is a link to just Anthro: http://anthropology.nd.edu/

and to the joint PhD: http://kroc.nd.edu/

you can apply to both

Hello all

 Since this thread looks related I am hoping some of you can help me.

 I am looking into applying to Anthropology programs for Fall 2014. I really want to do gender violence work - intergenerational sexual violence- to be specific within South Asian communities/ South Asia. I have looked at a few programs and the list is very very slowly growing. I feel like I am onto something when I looked at Deborah Sharpe's (Upenn) work. But I am wondering if people know of other researchers/ programs that might be a good fit for me and my interests in gender violence. 

 

Thanks much

 

Sangi

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  • 5 years later...

Good evening guys!

I'm Carlos, from Colombia. I've got an undergrad in Social Anthropology and now I'm in an MFA in photo/video program. I'm looking forward to continuing my education within the US with a PhD Cultural Anthropology program that allows me to use my photo/video 'expertise', either Visual or Media Anthropology.

Thanks a lot for this useful information. How about an update? 

I'm doing my research and will share it here soon, but if anyone has experience or know something about, please share that out. 

Thanks!

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11 hours ago, Carlos Tobon Franco said:

Good evening guys!

I'm Carlos, from Colombia. I've got an undergrad in Social Anthropology and now I'm in an MFA in photo/video program. I'm looking forward to continuing my education within the US with a PhD Cultural Anthropology program that allows me to use my photo/video 'expertise', either Visual or Media Anthropology.

Thanks a lot for this useful information. How about an update? 

I'm doing my research and will share it here soon, but if anyone has experience or know something about, please share that out. 

Thanks!

Hi Carlos,

I don't know of all universities out there that specialize in visual anthropology, but the University of Southern California is one of them. You might also consider broadening your search and and look at linguistic anthropology programs, as a lot of linguistic anthropologists work on photos and videos.

Hope this helps!

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 2/20/2019 at 11:27 AM, anthroeducator said:

Hi Carlos,

I don't know of all universities out there that specialize in visual anthropology, but the University of Southern California is one of them. You might also consider broadening your search and and look at linguistic anthropology programs, as a lot of linguistic anthropologists work on photos and videos.

Hope this helps!

Thanks a lot, anthroeducator. That information indeed helps. I'm adding at the end of this thread one list with the universities I'm actually considering, just in case there's a generous soul within those schools to connect with. I'm trying hard in reaching information and visiting the universities as soon as this summer, 'cause as an international student and with English as a second language, I don't feel that confident about my application to those high-profile universities. Any thoughts?

Visual/Media Anthropology PhD Programs
Harvard and their SLE
NYU (prof Faye Ginsburg)
UPenn (prof John Jackson)
Emory (Anna Grimshaw)
Temple University
University of Southern California
UC Irvine and UC Davies

Thanks a lot!

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Johns Hopkins interestingly has quite a few people working in and around visual anthropology. Deborah Poole readily comes to mind. You could also check out Anand Pandian's work, especially his book called "Reel World: An Anthropology of Creation". In fact even Naveeda Khan is also interested in studying photography, alongside her other research interests. They're all in the dept of anthropology at Johns Hopkins.

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Re: John Jackson--

He's now the Dean of the Annenburg School for Communication, so he does not seem to be very available as a primary adviser, though he is on a few peoples' committees in Anthro. And he may be more involved in Communications, now that he's pretty much over there exclusively.

However, in anthro, I'd suggest getting in touch with Deb Thomas (incidentally, his wife and a an absolute powerhouse academic herself) who has just started the Center for Experimental Ethnography, which has a bit of an emphasis at this point on multi-modal ethnography (esp. film) but she is hoping to expand it in creative ways.

https://www.sas.upenn.edu/anthropology/content/center-experimental-ethnography

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On 3/5/2019 at 12:34 AM, AgnesNutterWitch said:

Johns Hopkins interestingly has quite a few people working in and around visual anthropology. Deborah Poole readily comes to mind. You could also check out Anand Pandian's work, especially his book called "Reel World: An Anthropology of Creation". In fact even Naveeda Khan is also interested in studying photography, alongside her other research interests. They're all in the dept of anthropology at Johns Hopkins.

Thanks a lot. John Hopkins appears to be a great place to seek for opportunities. I'll write to them as soon as the next week.

On 3/6/2019 at 10:03 AM, RepatMan said:

Re: John Jackson--

He's now the Dean of the Annenburg School for Communication, so he does not seem to be very available as a primary adviser, though he is on a few peoples' committees in Anthro. And he may be more involved in Communications, now that he's pretty much over there exclusively.

However, in anthro, I'd suggest getting in touch with Deb Thomas (incidentally, his wife and a an absolute powerhouse academic herself) who has just started the Center for Experimental Ethnography, which has a bit of an emphasis at this point on multi-modal ethnography (esp. film) but she is hoping to expand it in creative ways.

https://www.sas.upenn.edu/anthropology/content/center-experimental-ethnography

Yep. UPenn is one of my favorites places so far. I didn't know about the Center for Experimental Anthropology, though. Awesome information.

 

Thanks a lot guys, I truly appreciate your help with this.

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/3/2019 at 3:58 PM, Carlos Tobon Franco said:

Thanks a lot, anthroeducator. That information indeed helps. I'm adding at the end of this thread one list with the universities I'm actually considering, just in case there's a generous soul within those schools to connect with. I'm trying hard in reaching information and visiting the universities as soon as this summer, 'cause as an international student and with English as a second language, I don't feel that confident about my application to those high-profile universities. Any thoughts?

Visual/Media Anthropology PhD Programs
Harvard and their SLE
NYU (prof Faye Ginsburg)
UPenn (prof John Jackson)
Emory (Anna Grimshaw)
Temple University
University of Southern California
UC Irvine and UC Davies

Thanks a lot!

Unless I'm completely mistaken, UCD has not been accepting cultural anthro applicants for the past few cycles. Their focus is strongly in the physical field (esp primatology and I would imagine forensics and/or medical), and from what I've heard they have had a glut of cultural students still within the program that need to finish so funding can be (re)directed to new students. Alan Klima and Tim Choy are both amazing specialists in SE and E Asia though....

Edited by Fantasmapocalypse
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 3/22/2019 at 4:53 PM, Fantasmapocalypse said:

Unless I'm completely mistaken, UCD has not been accepting cultural anthro applicants for the past few cycles. Their focus is strongly in the physical field (esp primatology and I would imagine forensics and/or medical), and from what I've heard they have had a glut of cultural students still within the program that need to finish so funding can be (re)directed to new students. Alan Klima and Tim Choy are both amazing specialists in SE and E Asia though....

Indeed. I chatted with professor De la Cadena some weeks ago and they aren't taking applications for the cultural wing in 2020 as by now. As you wrote, they have impressive faculty in the SE field, what a shame. Thanks for pointing this out! 

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On 4/2/2019 at 12:34 PM, Carlos Tobon Franco said:

Indeed. I chatted with professor De la Cadena some weeks ago and they aren't taking applications for the cultural wing in 2020 as by now. As you wrote, they have impressive faculty in the SE field, what a shame. Thanks for pointing this out! 

Yeah it's too bad. I would apply to UCD in a heartbeat but I also respect them not taking students they can't/won't fund!

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  • 10 months later...

Hello again, I just want to update this post, based on the research I did during the last year. I need to clarify that despite there are some or perhaps several schools working with media/sensory/multimodal anthropology, just a few of them have both faculty related and institutional support for non-text-based approaches. I mean: some a few universities are interested in your media creations along with your anthropological inquiries. This is changing, of course, but this list could be taken as a photograph of the current situation in the genre. I focused my research on cinema, photography, and sound, as these are the tools I use.
- Harvard: Anya Bernstein, Lucien Taylor, and Ernst Karel.
- NYU: Faye Ginsburg, Arlene Davila, Elayne Oliphant, and Tejaswini Ganti.
- UPenn: Center for experimental ethnography, with Deborah Thomas, John Jackson, and compelling post-doc scholars. 
- UTexas at Austin: Craig Campbell, Marina Peterson, and Kathleen Stewart.
- UCLA: Jason de Leon, Philip Burgoise, and Norma Denton.
- Cornell: Natasha Raheja just arrived there, she's NYU alumn. 
- UC Santa Cruz: Nancy Chen and Megan Moodie.
- Emory: Anna Grimshaw, though she's retiring.
- Programs with faculty interested in media but not based in production: JHU (Naveeda Kahn and Anand Pandian), UC Davis (Alan Klima), Brandeis (Patricia Alvarez), Rutgers (Zeynep Gursel just arrived), and Columbia (just Brian Larson, as Michael Taussig retired in 2019).

Edited by tob0nfranco
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  • Duke has the Center for Documentary Studies, and Ralph Litzinger works on media
  • UC Davis also has Tarek Elhaik
  • Chicago - Julie Chu (another NYU alum)
  • Berkeley - Karen Nakamura 
  • U Washington used to have Danny Hoffman, who's now based in the African Studies department there

 

And this has been very US-focused but Sarah Pink is at Monash in Australia

 

Also Davis did accept funded students for 2020, in case anyone was wondering.

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