collapse

Important Announcement

Changing the Guard at The Cauldron

Sunflower is the new Host of The Cauldron: A Pagan Forum
Please read this thread for more information.

* "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" Problem Logging In?

If you get an "Unable to verify referring url. Please go back and try again" error when you try to log in, you need to be sure you are accessing the board with a url that starts with "https://ecauldron.com".  If it starts with https://www.ecauldron.com" (or "http://www.ecauldron.com") you will get this error because "www.ecauldron.com" is not technically the same website as "ecauldron.com". Moving to the more secure "https" means it is more picky about such things.

Author Topic: Considering overseas study; nervous about religious intollerance  (Read 1254 times)

Hariti

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Mar 2017
  • Location: Kentucky
  • *
  • Posts: 874
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 285
  • ( Formerly known as EDF.)
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hindu with Christian and Pop-Culture Elements
  • Preferred Pronouns: Mostly she/her
So, at some point I need to go to graduate school. My desire it to be a history professor, so getting my graduate degree is essential. As a historian specifically, you are generally expected to study in the region of the world you intend to do your your masters and doctorate work studying, be it China, Scotland, or the Congo.

Which means, unless I want to study American history, (which I really don't) I have to go overseas. If I'm going to a non-english-speaking region, I will need to learn the local language well enough to interpret old textual sources, i.e. very fluently.

My main concern with this is my religion. I'm an openly vegetarian, very pious Hindu. I've been to Peru, and I had no problem with religious intolerance there, but I'm afraid I might experience it in other places in the world. A lot of developing countries are plagued by human rights abuse issues, and religion is often one of the things that leads to those abuses.

Does anyone here have any experience with overseas education as a religious minority?
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3101
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 655
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Considering overseas study; nervous about religious intollerance
« Reply #1 on: October 26, 2018, 06:00:40 pm »
My main concern with this is my religion. I'm an openly vegetarian, very pious Hindu. I've been to Peru, and I had no problem with religious intolerance there, but I'm afraid I might experience it in other places in the world. A lot of developing countries are plagued by human rights abuse issues, and religion is often one of the things that leads to those abuses.

No experience directly, but some thoughts (because I've known plenty of people who've done grad work that involves being other places for a while.)

The biggest one is that it's going to depend a huge amount on the specifics. And to a certain extent, it's going to depend on some discipline specific non-academic skills. (For example, the language learning is really non-trivial in some fields- I have a friend with a PhD in East Asian studies (specifically Japanese history - and she had to be functionally fluent in Japanese and also learn Chinese to a fairly high level. For western European history, you often need English, French, German, plus whatever other languages are relevant, which will depend on area and focus.)

If you're doing history (as opposed to, say, anthropology or archaeology or something), you are likely to mostly be working somewhere that has extensive resources in your area of interest - that might be national archives, or city archives, or big university libraries (or smaller collections, but associated with other institutions.) So you basically are going to have the same kind of range of services and options that you would in many places in the US.

There are countries where being American is more dangerous (and that may become even more so, or differently so, in the next few years). There are countries where being a specific religion is more dangerous for particular historical reasons.

There are various sources of advice for these depending on exactly where you'll be and what you'll be doing, but generally learning how to be respectful for the culture you're living in (both polite language and things like cultural standards of dress), focusing on what the end result needs to be.

For example: "I don't eat any meat, including things like chicken broth. May I ask what's in this dish?" (or just learning the names and how to identify the common dishes that you can eat...) rather than explaining the religious reasons, etc.

(This is honestly a whole lot easier now there's the Internet, both for on the spot translation tools, and for being able to learn what kinds of things might be helpful before you go.)

The bigger one, though, is the non-academic skills. For a lot of fields, where you go to school and who your dissertation advisor is will have a lot of bearing on how good your experience is, and where you end up. An advisor who's really well tied into the field can be a huge help with things like this - they can do things like help you find a small apartment near where you need to do your research work, or introduce you to people in that country who can help you get settled and figure out what the best options for you. Someone who's hands-off or neglectful, that's going to be a lot harder for you.

(The good news is learning how to navigate this aspect of academia will pay off again and again and again - in getting into a good grad program in the first place, in getting settled in a grad program, in picking a dissertation topic, in working on other projects, in job hunting.)

In terms of actual religious practice, that's going to depend a lot on where you end up. If you're honestly wide open to a number of places right now, I'd start at looking at what places have significant Hindu populations (including substantial immigrant populations) and what history interests you there, and then talking to your current professors and other people in the field you know about how to triangulate on something that makes sense for you.

I also need to do the standard note, which is that jobs in academia are hard to get, and getting harder every year. There are some parts of history where there's more demand - East Asia, for example - or areas of history like environmental history. But it's really a total guess whether you'll get a job in the future. Figuring out what your plan B is - teaching high school? building up transferrable skills like strong writing skills, statistics, data analysis, etc? that you are also sincerely interested in and could do well at - is a really really good plan.

I will also say that strong tech skills (in the sense of 'power user of applications, ability to learn new stuff fast' has never ever been a waste of time for me, and librarianship is oversaturated in many of the same ways as academia at large.) And it can and will make a lot of other research tasks much easier if you're adept with learning new tech tools fast.
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 06:03:53 pm by Jenett »
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Hariti

  • Sr. Master Member
  • *******
  • Join Date: Mar 2017
  • Location: Kentucky
  • *
  • Posts: 874
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 285
  • ( Formerly known as EDF.)
    • View Profile
  • Religion: Hindu with Christian and Pop-Culture Elements
  • Preferred Pronouns: Mostly she/her
Re: Considering overseas study; nervous about religious intollerance
« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2018, 07:52:24 pm »
Figuring out what your plan B is - teaching high school? building up transferrable skills like strong writing skills, statistics, data analysis, etc? that you are also sincerely interested in and could do well at - is a really really good plan.

Plan B is working as a research librarian at a university, plan C is working as an archival consultant at an archaeology firm, plan D is working in a public school somewhere in the US. I've got a minor in archaeology and have contacts in the compliance archaeology industry, so that's my main fallback if I can't get a university job somewhere.

As for what kind of history I want to do, I haven't decided specifically.

One area I'm thinking about is SE Asia, specifically Singapore. Another area is Latin America, specifically Peru or Mexico, and a third area I'm considering is Nepal.

I know academia is in decline right now, but frankly, It's my only option. I've got severe asthma, as well as poor vision and severe dyspraxia. I don't have the spoons for hard labor.

I suppose I could've gone into medical school, law school, or something like that, but it's a little late to change that after I've already spent lots of time and money on a History degree.

Besides, I'd probably go crazy if I wasn't doing something I enjoy. I have a strong passion for research and I don't think I could be happy doing anything else. I have no interest in doing anything other than research.

I enjoy art and creative writing, but that's the one field that's even harder to get jobs in than academia! 


"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." ... "Whichever devotee desires to adore whatever such Deity with faith, in all such votaries I make that particular faith unshakable. Endowed with that faith, a votary performs the worship of that particular deity and obtains the fruits thereof, these being granted by Me alone." - Sri Krishna

Jenett

  • Senior Staff
  • *
  • Join Date: Jun 2011
  • Location: Boston, MA
  • Posts: 3101
  • Country: us
  • Total likes: 655
    • View Profile
    • Seeking: First steps on a path
  • Religion: Initiatory religious witchcraft
  • Preferred Pronouns: she/her
Re: Considering overseas study; nervous about religious intollerance
« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2018, 08:59:55 pm »
Plan B is working as a research librarian at a university, plan C is working as an archival consultant at an archaeology firm, plan D is working in a public school somewhere in the US. I've got a minor in archaeology and have contacts in the compliance archaeology industry, so that's my main fallback if I can't get a university job somewhere.

So, a bunch of this is either my field, or closely adjacent, so a few thoughts...

Research librarian positions, also sort of dire, and the number of positions for people who are liaisons to history departments or doing instruction is tending to go down rather than up. (there are reasons I'm no longer in that side of the field). The places there are more reliably openings are systems librarians, science librarians, or people who can do serious data and digital services stuff. (Like I said, tech skills are never going to be a bad choice to boost your chances.)

(My usual line about library jobs is that especially when you're starting out, you can usually get a job that is one of the following three: a place you would like to live, a specific type of library job, or a specific type of library. Sometimes you get lucky, and get more than one - my current job is shockingly all three. But I got it when I was firmly mid-career and had some specific quirky skills that made me a particularly good fit. Volunteering for LiveJournal's Terms of Service team 15 years ago paid off, in part!)

Public schools, still an option! It's harder to get history jobs, but independent schools (private, often non-religious or nominally religious at best) generally don't require teaching certificates, so can be a great option. (I worked in one for a decade.) Some of them will include things like comparative religions in the social studies department, which might be a great fit. The trick is finding a school that treats people decently, both staff and students.

In terms of archives, archives are full of asthma triggers - a well-managed space will have good air filtration, but old books and papers basically constantly generate allergens. I can do about 45 minutes in our archive stacks before my lungs start complaining and then I need to take a break for the rest of the day (and most of our stuff is paper or materials from the last century that are not horribly deteriorating.) Given how severe you describe yours as being, I'd really look at doing some ongoing regular volunteer or internship work that helps you check how your body copes.

Quote
I know academia is in decline right now, but frankly, It's my only option. I've got severe asthma, as well as poor vision and severe dyspraxia. I don't have the spoons for hard labor.

I don't either. But staying in the library field (and more generally in education) has meant doing three major moves in 18 years, two jobs that made it difficult to treat medical issues (that became significantly worse as a result), and a lot of compromises in my personal life. I don't regret those (like you, I really love research, and I am a really amazing reference librarian when given the opportunity) but I have always had a backup plan.

There are tons of research-adjacent jobs (like I said, data management, records management, translator-between-tech-and-end-users, technical writing and documentation, complex customer service work/community management, etc.) that use a lot of the same skills, plus being able to teach comfortably in person and on the fly. That gives me some options if I need them (and various of those have also made me a successful candidate for jobs as opposed to a person who didn't get hired, in the past.)

Anyway, the next stage of your education would involve narrowing down the field quite a lot (I mean, you go into a master's program in history not just picking a region, but generally a very narrow geographic area and a time period.) If you don't already have a serious advantage with languages for any of the places you're considering, give a really good think to how you'd fix that.

(The friend who did Japanese? Had been studying it with various degrees of seriousness since early in her undergrad, went off and did other things including a master's in a different field that turns out to be helpful with the history she ended up doing, and coming back for her PhD later. She is one of the most brilliant people I know, and there were like 4 jobs that were a serious possibility for her the year she was on the job market, and she was coming out of a top university, both in general terms and in her field, and with multiple publications under her belt.

I continue to like her comment, which is that getting a PhD is a wonderful job while you have it, if you can do it without taking on more debt for the grad work (tricky itself, in the humanities) but you need a plan for after. Because even if you're on the top ranks of the field as a candidate, there are at least 50 other people along with you, going for a handful of jobs.)

(edited to fix a quoting fail - Jenett)
« Last Edit: October 26, 2018, 09:06:11 pm by Jenett »
Seek Knowledge, Find Wisdom: Research help on esoteric and eclectic topics (consulting and other services)

Seeking: first steps on a Pagan path (advice for seekers and people new to Paganism)

Tags:
 

Related Topics

  Subject / Started by Replies Last post
20 Replies
3536 Views
Last post November 19, 2011, 01:16:24 am
by MoonChild78
9 Replies
927 Views
Last post March 06, 2012, 03:01:07 pm
by Aqua
9 Replies
514 Views
Last post August 30, 2012, 08:32:42 pm
by Sage
14 Replies
1818 Views
Last post January 05, 2013, 05:29:02 am
by Elementalist
24 Replies
1128 Views
Last post November 19, 2017, 05:14:37 pm
by Bluerose31

Special Interest Group

Warning: You are currently in a Special Interest Group on the message board with special rules and focused discussions.

* Who's Online

  • Dot Guests: 28
  • Dot Hidden: 0
  • Dot Users: 1
  • Dot Users Online:

* Please Donate!

The Cauldron's server is expensive and requires monthly payments. Please become a Bronze, Silver or Gold Donor if you can. Donations are needed every month. Without member support, we can't afford the server.

* In Memoriam

Chavi (2006)
Elspeth (2010)
Marilyn (2013)

* Cauldron Staff

Host:
Sunflower

Message Board Staff
Board Coordinator:
Darkhawk

Assistant Board Coordinator:
Aster Breo

Senior Staff:
Aisling, Jenett, Sefiru

Staff:
Allaya, Chatelaine, EclecticWheel, HarpingHawke, Kylara, PerditaPickle, rocquelaire

Discord Chat Staff
Chat Coordinator:
Morag

Cauldron Council:
Bob, Catja, Emma-Eldritch, Fausta, Jubes, Kelly, LyricFox, Phouka, Sperran, Star, Steve, Tana

Site Administrator:
Randall