Movin’ On Up: The History PhD At York University

York University

I am happy to announce that I will be pursuing a PhD in History at York University starting in September!

Those of you in academia already know the sort of effort that goes into the PhD application process—the research proposals, personal statements, transcripts, and reference letters that comprise a successful application. My process was no different. At the end of the day, I applied to two programs that offered the best fit for what I do, University of Toronto Classics and York University History.

I was very fortunate to receive offers from both programs! The decision wasn’t easy by any means. But let’s face it, being able to choose between two strong PhD offers is a “high-class problem.”

I chose York because it offers the sort of innovative and interdisciplinary framework I believe is so essential for doing scholarship in an interconnected world. I can’t give you a run-down of all the ways York is a top-ranked school, or how prestigious the program is. York gets a bad reputation that isn’t made any better by botched promotional efforts (like this ad campaign that misspelled “engineering”) or York’s unofficial slogan, “If you can hold a fork, you can go to York.” What I can say is that York is stacked with amazing faculty who are doing important research despite the dodgy optics.

My PhD research will focus on questions of death and religiosity in Roman antiquity. Although we have a lot of work on epitaphs, graves, and burial in antiquity, we tend not to have too much in-depth research on the religious concerns that might have informed these burial practices. Focusing on death also allows me to continue to dip my toes into areas like cursing and magic—two areas which tend to take up the bulk of my research time, despite my efforts to do more “serious” scholarship!

In many ways, this is a return to form for me. My first degree had a concentration in history, albeit the modern political sort. (If you want to talk détente, rapprochement, or the two Germanies, come at me! Actually—don’t! It’s been awhile!) I am excited to be joining York’s History Department for my PhD and look forward to doing some serious history on Roman antiquity over the next several years.

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