Students will demonstrate their readiness to undertake independent dissertation research by submitting a portfolio of their graduate training and scholarship in Cultural Anthropology.

Required Portfolio Content

  • 3 annotated reading lists (2 theoretical in focus; 1 geographic) displaying the contours of each of your fields
    • Each field list should include 20 items. Annotations may vary in length (from a short paragraph to a page) - a balance to be determined by the faculty examiner for that particular reading list in consultation with you. The list for each field should be introduced by a synthetic overview that charts the genealogy of the readings and/or that critically reviews its key themes (2-3 double spaced pages per list).
  • Dissertation prospectus (20-25 double spaced pages)
    • This document is largely the grant proposal for dissertation fieldwork. In addition a short supplement  (2 - 3 pages) outlining theoretical or ethnographic issues pertaining to the project not raised in the proposal, any logistical or practical issues to be discussed with the committee concerning fieldwork, and issues regarding security/ethics/safety in the field both for you and your interlocutors. The status of your IRB (Internal Review Board) permission to do fieldwork with human subjects--which must be obtained before embarking for the field--must also be included.
  • 1 syllabus on a topic pertaining to your dissertation research

Portfolio Logistics

One member of your Ph.D. committee will be responsible for the evaluation of each field, and will provide you with guidelines identifying the kind of materials that should be included within the field reading list, and the nature of the synthetic writing about each field. The chair of your committee may be responsible for one of the fields. You should meet regularly with each examiner to discuss progress on the respective field reading lists. You will assemble your material for the portfolio on your own website, provided by the department, although committee members may also request hard copy of parts or all of the contents.

At the end of the semester in which you will prepare and annotate the list, you will be examined independently by the faculty member responsible for that list. You must pass these examinations in order to sit for the Portfolio Workshop.

Timetable for Portfolio Work:

Year One: Students begin assembling materials for their portfolios. This should begin even before they have finalized their choice of fields and have determined their entire Ph.D. committee. As per guidelines above, at least one committee member must be identified by the end of the first year.

Year Two: By February 1 of their second year, students will have identified and established the remainder of their Ph.D. committee. In April of their second year students will have completed annotations for one of their three readings lists and finalized the remaining two lists. Also in April, students will have the Field Specializations Workshop, led by their Ph.D. committee, in which they will discuss the field lists (with the focus of attention paid to the list that has been completed), their summer research proposal, and plans for the doctoral research project (grants for which will be written and submitted fall of the third year). The student must provide the field lists and research proposal to her committee at least one week prior to the workshop. At least three committee members must be physically present for the workshop; only one may be on speakerphone. After the meeting, each committee member will inform the student of any revisions or additional material they require in their field's section of the portfolio. By end of the summer following the second year, annotations for the second reading list must be completed. 

Year Three: Students will spend the fall writing, and submitting, grant proposals.  (For current third year students) by late March the list exams should be finished and lists and portfolio materials should be turned in to the committee for the portfolio workshop in April.  ( For incoming students) By November 30th, annotations for the third reading list will be completed. The Fieldwork Proposal Workshop will be held early December. Students will submit the dissertation prospectus and entire portfolio to the members of their committee at least one week prior to the workshop. 

Portfolio Workshop (Preliminary Exam Certification)

Before students can proceed to candidacy for the Ph.D., they must receive Preliminary Certification from the department. The student's entire Ph.D. committee will participate in this oral discussion of the portfolio, which can have a duration up to two-and-a-half hours. The first half of the workshop will focus on the three fields, and students will be expected to demonstrate fluency in the key themes in these fields. The second half of the workshop will focus on the dissertation prospectus and plans for research. 

If the student fails to defend their portfolio by the end of the fifth semester, they risk not being allowed to continue in the program. If their Ph.D. committee feels that the student has not performed adequately, she/he will be allowed to reschedule the workshop only if the entire committee supports this recommendation (pending approval of the Graduate Dean). All Ph.D. committee members must participate in the workshop, with no more than one member participating via conference call.

Students are expected to complete all of their course work before going into the research field.    An Incomplete is not acceptable.