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PhD Anthro -Interdisciplinary: visual arts, animal studies??


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All - I am starting to prep for applications next year and am searching for a good fit.  I am coming in with a BA in Land Use, MA Interdisciplinary Studies (cultural anthro focus), MFA - Intermedia, and grad cert in Gender Studies.  I am very theory based, and have a strong focus on ethnographic and animal studies.  I am looking for a good program that can allow me to work interdisciplinarily with support from animal studies and the visual art/visual culture departments.


Michigan State has a well respected Animal Studies program, and even offers a grad certificate which would allow me some good theory development, but thoughts on the Anthro side?


I am also looking at some American Studies programs but I have been advised by many that with my particular work it would be best to go the Anthro route to ensure better funding and more hiring opportunities after grad.


I guess I am looking at some input to see what anyone might have to say about some programs I am not yet familiar with....



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Have you looked at Multi-species ethnography? I would follow that angle toward people like Donna Haraway, Anna Tsing, and others. You might want to consider an STS approach also - look at some of the work being done by faculty at MIT HASTS, and also look at what you might be able to do at UC Santa Cruz History of Conciousness program. Eben Kirksey is a good example of the kind of work that has come out of these areas recently.

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I agree with Canis; you may find going the "ethno-" route gives you lots of freedom, especially if you can find programs that offer interdisciplinary options. It may be helpful to look for a specialization, e.g. ethnoornithology, if you're interested in a particular type of animal. Having a solid foundation in zooarchaeology can be a major boon, depending on what type of work you're thinking about pursuing; great zooarchaeologists or faunal analysts are few & far between, in my experience.


One of my co-workers this past summer was working on his MA, and he looked at the ethnoarchaeology of rabbits in the prehistoric Great Basin. By degree, he'll be an anthropologist, but he's really a zooarchaeologist-&-ethnolagomorphologist (geez, that's a mouthful). One of his committee members is a bigwig in the zooarchaeology of the area, so he hitched his apple wagon to that star, and filled in the knowledge gaps with his own research.


A way to reconcile the American Studies-Anthropology gap might be to apply to programs with both historic archaeologists and cultural anthropologists (who focus on American peoples) in the faculty. I've heard of a few studies comparing butchery methods to establish degrees of cultural assimilation in 19th & 20th century assemblages from CA. I bet you could do something similar, just with the use of animal imagery.

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