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Four-field anthro approach - your thoughts?


tistre

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I'm completely unfamiliar with what it's like to be in a four-field anthro department. I did my undergrad at UofT in a very interdisciplinary program, and I only took a few upper-year anthro courses, so I really didn't get a sense of what kind of narratives around studying anthropology the department had. For my MA, I came to an exclusively social anthro program with a couple of archaeologists in the mix. I don't know a thing about archaeology, let alone biological anthro or linguistic.

Did this influence anyone's decision to apply to schools? My sense of what anthropology is is quite isolated from the other subfields. I'd like to hear more thoughts on this from others.

And to those who are currently graduate students in four-field programs -- what is that like? Other than taking requisite core courses and so on, what is the level of interaction you have with the other subfields?

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I'm completely unfamiliar with what it's like to be in a four-field anthro department. I did my undergrad at UofT in a very interdisciplinary program, and I only took a few upper-year anthro courses, so I really didn't get a sense of what kind of narratives around studying anthropology the department had. For my MA, I came to an exclusively social anthro program with a couple of archaeologists in the mix. I don't know a thing about archaeology, let alone biological anthro or linguistic.

Did this influence anyone's decision to apply to schools? My sense of what anthropology is is quite isolated from the other subfields. I'd like to hear more thoughts on this from others.

And to those who are currently graduate students in four-field programs -- what is that like? Other than taking requisite core courses and so on, what is the level of interaction you have with the other subfields?

I am a grad in a three-field department, but I did my undergrad in a four-field, and I miss it. When you hit grad, other than a mandatory survey course in the other sub-fields, you really don't take courses outside your immediate discipline. I found myself taking courses in the linguistics department because officially I'm a cultural but most of my previous work included linguistic. We have no interaction with the students in the other sub-fields, and that's a tough one. We bonded as first-years, and then we never saw the others again. It's almost like they don't exist. I think if I'd known we didn't do interaction with the others I might have gone somewhere else to school, actually.

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