history, sociology or anthropology

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Report Thread starter 6 years ago
Hi there
So I do BA Language and Culture at UCL. This basically means I can study almost anything I want. Some people specialise in literature, others in gender studies, others in film studies...
Basically I have no idea what my specialism is.
I intend to go to graduate school in the USA and I already pretty much know WHAT I want to study, but I don't know what I should apply to.
I want to write about the politics of memory, Holocaust memorial sites, Holocaust studies generally, dead body politics (it's a real field of study, I promise :/)...
I know I'm a social scientist, or something like that, but I have never taken a course in sociology or anthropology. I know I don't do archeology or ethnography so I'm not anthropology, but because I won't be doing sociological surveys or oral histories so I'm not sociology, surely I don't fit into either group?
Am I history? Is history the general term for people who do social sciences in historical time periods but don't do sociological research or archeology?
The professors and people who write about stuff I'm interested in are history teachers, sociology teachers and anthropology teachers. The people who teach my courses are also in these three categories.
I'm aiming at Harvard/Northwestern/Berkeley type schools so traditional but with big ass libraries. Don't know if that helps anyone figure anything out.
As you can maybe tell, I'm a bit exhausted from turning it over in my head.
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Report 6 years ago
(Original post by nb0)

I want to write about the politics of memory, Holocaust memorial sites, Holocaust studies generally, dead body politics (it's a real field of study, I promise :/)...

You don't need to go to the US for this (it's monumentally expensive for a start), there is lots of serious work going on at UK Unis in this area.

Bristol Uni's History Dept is one - and several of the staff involved are not Historians by training (ie. they did different subject undergrad degrees too).See http://www.bris.ac.uk/history/staff/cole.html The MA History course includes a special topic on the Holocaust called 'Politics and Places of Memory'. There is funding available.

There is also a named 'Holocaust Studies' MA at Holloway and Manchester - neither require a History undergrad qualification, just any soc sci/humanities first degree.
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Report 6 years ago
Also Goldsmiths, who I think have an MA in Cultural Memory.

I agree with returnmigrant and I think this is a much better represented field in the UK and the rest of Europe than in the US, though I don't know loads about it. Though Emory, Chicago and Minnesota strike me as more likely US schools for this type of study than those you mentioned, oh yeah UMass too.

You need to decide what the object of your study is: is it written texts? Physical monuments? More general cultural practices? Once you know that, then use it to guide you in determining what departments to apply to. Also consider methodolgies and what disciplines use the methodolgies you find most useful. I know a lot of people that do the kind of stuff you're talking about in English and, particularly, Comp Lit departments but if your focus is not on written texts and/or film then that will not be right for you. History may work...but if you are interested in the trauma theory side of things, and the highly theoretical side of holocaust studies, then History might not be the best fit. I'd look for interdisciplinary centres (of which there are many for Jewish/Holocaust/Trauma/Cultural Memory studies) at universities and use their resources to guide you towards which departments at each uni are most suitable.

Though to add: it is not necessarily 'monumentally expensive' to go to the US, especially for postgrad. Master's degrees, especially at Ivies and other private unis, are (admittedly) often only partially funded with exorbitant fees but at well-off public uni's they're usually pretty affordable and sometimes fully funded; PhDs are most often fully funded (and you really shouldn't go, if you are not offered full funding - plus it's practically impossible to attend as an international visa-wise if you don't get full funding anyway).

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