Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Calling All Grad Students

Dan Allosso

Part of the title of my last blog post was “Notes from Grad School.” This is the tentative title of a series of posts by me and other graduate students, about our thoughts and experiences as we prepare to become professional historians. We’re hoping some of these posts will come from grad students who read this blog, whether or not they have posted with us before.

Graduate students in history face a series of challenges and opportunities. Some of these are similar to those faced by all grad students, some of them are shared primarily with grad students in the humanities, and some of them are ours alone. Among the topics we might cover in this series of posts:

Why did we enter a Masters or PhD program in history?

What do we hope to do and what do we expect to do when we complete our programs–especially if those two things differ?

How do we see and how does society seems to see the role of historians in our culture–especially if those two things differ?

How will changes in economics, technology, academic standards, and the nature of the historical profession impact our career choices and opportunities?

What is our sense of mission, and do the changes going on all around us signal new opportunities?

These are just a few of the topics on which it might be interesting to see the perspective from graduate school–there are probably many others that will occur to us as contributors come forward, and as the column develops. Contributors need not be experts in order to venture their opinions (as my prior post demonstrates), but in general this is envisioned as a place where criticisms are paired with suggestions for change, and the overall direction is toward solutions.

The perspective of the graduate student, of course, is the perspective of someone who is relatively new to the profession and seeing it with fresh eyes. Naturally, there will be some degree of “reinventing the wheel,” as a new generation of budding historians makes discoveries that may already be well known to older members of the profession. But, since every generation encounters a unique set of circumstances, and since our generation enters the profession during a period of remarkable technological change, we hope these notes will be fresh and interesting for the blog’s general readers.

If you are a grad student interested in sharing your observations about these or other issues, please contact me at Even if you have just a brief idea or a reaction to something, and you don't want to put together a blog post, drop me a line. I may be able to add your reaction to those of others, and say something more general about what people think as a result. And, if you're not a grad student but have some ideas you really want to get off your chest, fire away! The world is changing all around us--what does it mean for historians?

1 comment:

Randall said...

Dan: As I've said. I think this is a great idea.

I know that there are many grad student lurkers out there. Come out, come out, wherever you are.