Erica Mukherjee (Ph.D. candidate) has just received a Cornell University Foreign Language Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship and will use it to study Bengali at the South Asia Summer Language Institute at the University of Wisconsin this summer. Congratulations!
Each year, we admit 10-12 students into the doctoral program. Applications for graduate admission are handled through the Graduate School. All students must now apply online. You may begin this process, and see instructions and other information about doing so, by clicking on the following: apply online
If you have any questions about the process, please consult the information below, or for more detail, our page of “frequently asked questions”. Also feel free to call or email us with further questions, either the Graduate School office itself (631/632-4723), or our History Department Graduate Coordinator (Ms. Roxanne Fernandez, (631/ 632-7490), or our Director of Graduate Studies (Alix Cooper).
Completed Doctoral applications for admission and financial assistance, along with all required supporting material, must be postmarked/submitted/received by January 15 (click here for further information on financial aid). Students are admitted only in the spring for study beginning in the fall. Students are admitted for part-time study, though we have found that a high percentage of students who pursue doctoral study on a part-time basis do not complete the program.
Completed Master’s program applications must be submitted and all supplemental materials must normally arrive no later than April 1 for Fall admission, November 1 for Spring admission; however, for Fall 2014 admission, we will be extending the deadline to May 1, due to the news of the approval of our revised two-track master’s program.
We expect all applicants to have at least a bachelor’s degree in history or a degree in a closely related field with a substantial amount of coursework in history and a strong record of undergraduate achievement. In special cases, students who do not have a bachelor’s degree in history or whose GPA does not meet the requirements stated above may be admitted on a provisional basis for M.A. study only.
Applicants are also required to submit scores on the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). The History subject test is not required. It is advisable, especially for financial aid applicants, to take the GRE no later than October to insure that the review of application materials is not delayed. Applicants may also wish to include photocopies of GRE score report (in addition to having the official score reported to the University).
Students whose first language is not English must submit scores on the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL).
Admissions decisions are based primarily upon the admissions committee’s estimation of the student’s potential for scholarly achievement and the ability of the Stony Brook faculty to support the student in his or her intended field of scholarly study. These decisions are based upon:
· the applicant’s undergraduate record
· letters of recommendation that describe the applicant’s achievements and potential for intellectual growth,
· a sample of written work (such as a research paper submitted for an undergraduate class or a master’s thesis) that illustrates the applicant’s capacity for research, analysis, creative thought, and writing skills, and
· GRE Scores
· a statement of purpose describing the intended field of study, the insights or experiences that lay behind the decision to specialize in this area, and the kinds of questions which the applicant hopes to explore. This statement should be as specific as possible, and applicants are encouraged to contact the professor(s) with whom they hope to work before submitting the application.
Later this spring, Ph.D. candidate Gregory Rosenthal will join eleven other scholars from across the country to participate in the Cornell University Institute for the Social Sciences’ 2013 Institute on Contested Landscapes. Gregory will be presenting a paper titled “The Property on/is their Backs: Dispossession and Wage Labor in Nineteenth-century Hawaiʻi.” Gregory has also received two dissertation research awards for this summer and fall: a Michael J. Connell Foundation Fellowship from the Huntington Library in San Marino, California; and an Arthur J. Quinn Memorial Fellowship at the Bancroft Library at UC-Berkeley.
Raquel Otheguy (Ph.D. candidate) has just been awarded the National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for the 2013–2014 academic year. This highly competitive program aims to identify the most talented researchers conducting dissertation research related to education. Raquel’s dissertation fellowship project is (tentatively titled) “Education in Nation, Empire, and Diaspora: Afro-Cubans from 1878 to 1920.” Congratulations!
Froylán Encisco has won a distinguished year-long (2013–14) pre-doctoral residential fellowship at the U.S.-Mexico Studies Center at UC-San Diego, where he will complete his dissertation on the local and global origins of drug trafficking in Sinaloa, Mexico, in the twentieth century. Congratulations!
Congratulations to Carlos Gomez Florentin (Ph.D. candidate), who has just been awarded the 2013 Social Science Research Council’s International Dissertation Research Fellowship (IDRF) funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The IDRF Program supports the next generation of scholars in the humanities and humanistic social sciences pursuing research that advances knowledge about non-U.S. cultures and societies. Since its inception in 1997, the highly prestigious IDRF Program has funded more than nine hundred projects—more than twenty of them from Stony Brook’s history department alone. Carlos’s dissertation research focuses on the unintended environmental, social, and political consequences of dam-building for mid twentieth-century Paraguay and Brazil.
I’ll be giving a presentation at this year’s Susman Graduate Conference on my research into changing beliefs about magic and witchcraft in Enlightenment America (British colonial and early U.S.), and the links between these intellectual changes and the formation of national identity.
Accusations, trials, and persecutions of witches form a fascinating and peculiar episode in colonial American history, with the famous Salem trials as the most well-known example of what is often conceived of as a Puritan, New England, or 17th century phenomenon. However, the memory of earlier beliefs in magic and actions upon those beliefs still exerted influence over British-American colonists and U.S. citizens in the 18th century. A review of American magazines from this period reveals a continued, but different, preoccupation with magic and witchcraft. Elite Americans of this period thought about magic, but at a distance, with distaste and no small amount of shame. Published works repeatedly consigned it to a kind of local dark age; the colonial forefathers had to be defended from criticisms for their prosecution of witchcraft as a crime; and increasingly, magic became less a threat to be controlled, and more a mere “superstition” clung to by the “vulgar.”
A complex process was underway, by which early Americans disposed of their culture of magic, alternatingly forgetting and reconsidering it. Americans of the 18th century distanced themselves from their historical beliefs in magic, and then conceptually relocated this belief elsewhere, reattaching it to a variety of Others: the English, the French, Africans, Native Americans, and the superstitious masses, an “other within.” Through this transformation of memory and history, the myth of an ideal America – enlightened and reasonable, free of the irrational superstitions that plagued its past, its rivals and victims, and its own inferior members – was born. My upcoming paper on this topic will show how a sea change in early American perspectives on the supernatural influenced and constituted the formation of a U.S. American national identity.
The 35th annual Warren and Beatrice Susman Graduate Conference will be held on April 20, 2013 at Rutger’s New Brunswick campus. Its topic is “Myth, Memory, and History: New Approaches to an Elusive Past.”