This blog will detail my grad school research and progress: studying for and retaking the GRE, looking at different graduate schools, the application process, and eventually the (hopefully) good news.
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Professors: 1. Laura F Edwards, 19th century women's history & legal history 2. Edward J Balleisen, legal history 3. William H Chafe, Alice Mary Baldwin Professor, women's history & economic history Others: Glymph, Koonz, Gavis, Deutsch Admission: Applications must be submitted online by December 15th. If submitted before November 15, the fee is $65. After November 15, the fee is $75. 1. Transcripts; 2. Writing Sample (at least 10-15 pgs); 3. Letters of Recommendation 4. Statement of Purpose
Requirements: 1. 5-6 full time semesters 2. required courses 3. foreign language requirement 4. supervisory committee 5. continuous registration 6. preliminary examination 7. dissertation 8. final examination
Schedule: Fall 2009 -301: course on historiography & theory. The primary goal is to introduce students to basic theoretical and historiographical readings in the discipline. The secondary goal is to encourage the creation of community among graduate students around intellectual ideas. -readings: -readings Spring 2010 -302: course on research methods and interpretation of primary sources.The primary goal is to introduce students to the process of finding and interpreting sources, with the emphasis on research as an intellectual project, not just a process of collection. Specifically, students will work different kinds of sources and become acquainted with different methodological approaches to those sources. The emphasis will be on working with the sources, rather than on producing a polished, article-length piece of written work. Students will have the opportunity to pursue their own individual research interests in 302, while also engaging in exercises and discussions that will broaden and deepen their understanding of that research. -readings -readings or research seminar Goal: To develop a basic familiarity with what distinguishes history as an academic discipline and how the concepts and methodologies used by historians overlap with and diverge from those of other disciplines. To have ranged outside my primary fields of interest in coursework, while also building on preexisting knowledge in a primary field, developing a familiarity with crucial scholarly debates in that field. To develop an independent scholarly agenda, reading beyond assigned books and articles, and forming at least tentative ideas of their likely preliminary examination fields, as well as the likely membership of their preliminary examination committee. Reader: 1. Identify central argument of scholarly works; 2. Access use of evidence by historians; 3. Place a piece of history into larger historical context 4. Interpret primary sources imaginatively & with attention to context Writer: 1. Produce clear and engaging prose; 2. Execute key disciplinary genres, such as book review & historiographic essay Researcher: 1. Devise strategies to corroborate evidence in a primary source; 2. Familiarity with a range of research methodologies, including some approaches that extend beyond previous experience in historical research; 3. Familiarity in finding and using a wide range of historical primary sources; 4. Familiarity in identifying scholarship on a particular subject, through both traditional library techniques, and the use of web databases; 5. Familiarity with note-taking software, extending to significant experience in using such software to organize research work and assist in research-related writing; 6. Facility in developing compelling research questions from rich historical documents or from vibrant scholarly debates; 7. Facility in connecting those questions to plausible research agendas, with sensible methodological approaches, clear historiographic relevance, and accessible primary sources. Seminar Participant: 1. Ask good questions; 2. Engaged in constructive criticism of methodology & use of evidence; 3. Think of my feet; 4. Disagree agreeably & listen constructively
Fall 2010 -303: course on teaching and pedagogy. The goals of the course are to provide support for T.A.s in their first year in the classroom, and to allow students to develop teaching techniques and approaches they can draw on to create a teaching portfolio, for use on the job market and when they begin teaching their own courses. -readings -research seminar Spring 2011 -readings -readings -research seminar Goal: Identify clear field of study. Deeper grasp of the relationship between history and its related disciplines in the social sciences and humanities, and a sharper sense of how to relate wide-angle synthetic views of the past to more particular scholarly inquiries. Reader: 1. Capacity to assess the strengths of scholarship, along with its weaknesses; 2. Skills in conceptualizing particular historical fields -- in periodizing change within those fields, and relating specific developments to more global contexts; 3. Language requirements. Writer: 1. Conceptualize a complex historical argument; 2. Complete two strong essays based on original research & reflecting solid historical logic (these essays will typically constitute the research component for the M.A. degree); 3. Engage effectively with constructive criticism -- when advisable, reconceive the basic contours of an historical argument, rework narrative flow, and/or tighten up presentations of evidence or historiography. Researcher: 1. Ability to craft and refine a research problem of appropriate scale for a semester-long project; 2. Developed extensive familiarity with Perkins Library and its databases, building on the training provided in the first-year course on research methods (History 302); 3. Significant experience in working in archives beyond Duke, subject to the availability of funding to support such work; 4. Pursued extended detective work (both bibliographic and archival) in the research for the year's two research papers; 5. Kept track of "data" in a system that works for the individual student; most likely in some kind of database software; 6. Placed research findings within broader historical and historiographic frameworks; and shown the capacity to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the methodologies used in the two research papers, and as a result, possess a healthy respect for the difficulties of connecting historiographical debates to concrete research agendas. Teacher: 1. Developed the basic skills of leading section discussions, fostering close readings by students, and responding constructively to student writing; 2. Develop the crucial skill of synthesizing large amounts of material into accessible public presentations, such as the lecture; 3. Begun to find my way around the key information technologies used in the collegiate teaching of history; 4. Begun the process of developing syllabi; 5. Begun the process of developing innovative assignments; 6. Begun to develop the basic skills of overseeing undergraduate research. Seminar Participant: 1. Leading a discussion in a graduate seminar context; 2. Engaged substantively, intensively, and constructively with the research and writing of fellow students, particularly in the context of research seminars; 3. Honed the skill of posing challenging questions in public settings, whether in seminars or public presentations; 4. Participated regularly in departmental, university, and area intellectual events, such as a lectures, seminars, or workshops Professionalism: 1. Develop grant-writing skill and applied for at least one competitive grant beyond Duke; 2. Attend at least one professional meeting, whether regional, national, or international.
Fall 2011 -304: course on prelims & dissertation proposal. Not graded. Any student who (1) submits a draft of their dissertation prospectus and (2) completes one field section of their prelim portfolio (verified by faculty examiner) by term's end will pass. The first part of the semester will include discussion of the following: 1. the certification requirements; 2. how to write a dissertation proposal; 3. how to apply for research fellowships; 4. how to revise a research paper for the purposes of publication. The remainder of the course allows students to pursue their individual work for prelims, in consultation with the professor. -independent study with committee members Spring 2012: -independent study with committee members -prelims Possible option: Do prelims and prospectus in second year (2010-2011). Requirements: 301, 302, 303, 304, 1 research seminar, & 2 readings colloquia. Must have approval by advisors. Also: Students are encouraged to take readings courses outside the department. Research seminars also may be from outside the department, as long as the primary result is a research paper, based in primary materials. Duke students can take graduate classes at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill , North Carolina Central University in Durham , and North Carolina State University in Raleigh , and at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. UNC-Chapel Hill is the most frequently used of these options. The numbering system at UNC-CH differs from Duke's: UNC's 100-level courses are the equivalent of 200-level courses at Duke; UNC's 200-level is like Duke's 300-level.
I'm a historian-in-training working on southern women's history. Right now, I'm in the middle of writing my master's thesis on the early period of woman suffrage in Alabama.
I've moved 16 times in my life. I've got friends from one side of the Atlantic to the other. History is one of the few things I don't think I could ever give up. Books are probably my favorite physical possession and coffee is my ambrosia. I never intended to end up in Mobile but I came back because this is where my credits are.
Among the lessons I've learned: I feel less alone by myself than in a crowd of people, friends are fleeting-the ones that stick around are worth keeping, relationships shouldn't be used as a buffer for loneliness or as a reason for happiness, family-for better or worse- will always be family, and a pretty spring day can cure just about any ill if you let it.