Saturday, July 31, 2010

Create Your Own Niche

I want to go to Grad School to get my Master's in Environmental History. The problem is, there aren't many, if at all, schools here in the southeast that are doing Environmental History. There is one prof I'd love to sit under, but he is at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, OH. That's half the world away from my children! I want to stay in the southeast because of my children.

I have been talking to several people about Grad School. I talked to my Philosophy professor most recently. He said several things (in true Philosophy prof form, where there is never just a two-minute answer to any question), among which were, "Create your own niche" and "You don't go out looking for the knowledge, you create the knowledge (about the subject you are interested in)."

That got me thinking - what exactly is it about environmental history that I am interested in? Can I do it in an interdisciplinary fashion? And why the heck are so few history departments doing environmental history??!! I have yet to speak to a Geo prof and a history prof about this. I will post again when I do.

My own niche . . . hmm. What I'd love to do is take a segment of US history and overlay it with a corresponding segment of geologic history and see where the two intersect. I know that sounds rather vague and absurd, but I want to know how geologic factors affected what happened in human history and how human history impacted what happened geologically. Where exactly do earth science and humanity crash into each other? That's what I want to explore.

In the meantime, are you considering grad school? Are you there now? What has your experience been? How have you created your own niche? Tell me about it. Stay tuned . . .

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