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16th Century English Reformation PhD advisors?


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I am looking to apply to PhD programs in Religion or History, but preferably religion if the university offers a religion program. I am trying to find potential supervisors for a Phd focusing on the English Reformation. My research broadly focuses on the English Reformation and the intermixing between the role of the state and populace in the matters of religion. I also do a lot with the Book of Common Prayer and the transformation of liturgy.

Unless an extraordinary circumstance happens, PhDs outside of the US offer very limited and very hard to obtain funding. So for that reason I am trying to stay within the US. The professors and universities i have at the moment are:

Peter Lake - Vanderbilt

J Patrick Hornbeck - Fordham

Ethan Shagan - UC Berkeley


People I am unsure about due to vague biographies on the university website.

Linda Pollock - Tulane. Focuses on religion but a greater emphasis on family.

Lee Palmer Windel - Wisconsin- Madison

Euan Cameron - Columbia


Thank you for your help and suggestions!



Edited by AGingeryGinger
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Paul Lim at Vanderbilt works in the 15th and 16th C. so he's in your ballpark. That said, Lim is very peculiar about the kind of student he takes under his wing and I'm pretty sure VDS gave him a student last year. Well, I know Lim extended an offer to a student but I don't know if she accepted it.

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Lee Wandel took a grad student this year, so I'm not sure if she'd take another so quickly. She's not bad for your interests, but Johann Sommerville is probably better, should you choose to apply to UW-Madison. On another note, the academic job market for history is way better than for religion, and history of religion is actually a growing field.

It's not "one grad student at a time," but generally speaking, departments like to be equitable to all faculty and spread out their grad students among faculty members.

Edited by psstein
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As @psstein noted, it's not a strict one at a time policy but it's fairly close. They try to give a prof. one student that is strongly within their field and then cycle through. As a loose matter of policy, Vandy takes two students (sometimes three, rarely) within each field/department in Religion (history, ethics, theology, etc).

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Thank you all for your comments!

I had actually note considered Johann Sommerville, and I was unsure about David Whitford at Baylor given his broad area of study. However both are excellent recommendations and I am adding them on to my people to contact .

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One thing to keep in mind is that the POI does not have to be an expert in exactly what you want to do. Things obviously vary department to department, but my experience has generally been that faculty take on students whose projects they find very compelling and whose projects can be supported by the general resources of the university, which includes the specific resources of the faculty in question in varying ways. In other words, you really just need someone who works in the English Reformation broadly (or close enough to it) who finds your project very compelling where he/she and the rest of the adcom feel you'd be supported by the resources of the school. A few years ago, my department (Northwestern) admitted someone interested in working on Calvinism in the 17th century--not a single faculty member works on Calvin or 17th century Europe. But Richard Kieckhefer, who is a really well-known medievalist, was interested enough in the project and wanted to take it on. The student ended up declining for a number of reasons (none of which had to do with choosing a different PhD program), but the department felt that NU's resources could have supported that project.

I wouldn't say this kind of advising situation is more common than the "perfect match" scenario that I think most of us envision during the application process, but it's definitely much more common than many prospective Ph.D students think it is. And, of course, how this is defined is certainly a sliding scale, not a black or white thing.

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