Author Archives: Kate Antonova

“My prof is so stupid”

I’ve heard this said on my campus. Often by a student who is also making fundamental factual and grammatical errors in the process of an extended whine that, I can only assume, was prompted by a lower-than-expected grade. I’ve also … Continue reading

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“Grades are so subjective”

Actually, they’re probably less subjective than you think. And to the degree that there is still some subjectivity, it probably works in your favor, not against you. First, in many classes these days grades may be almost completely objective, as … Continue reading

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ASEEES and AHA

In the last few months I’ve enjoyed the rich alphabet soup of attending ASEEES and AHA in NOLA. Say what? I mean I attended the annual conference of Slavicists and Eastern Europeanists and that of the American Historical Association, which … Continue reading

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I’m on the OUP blog!

Check out my guest post today on the Oxford University Press blog, about a mid-nineteenth-century Russian stay-at-home-dad.

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Book!

My first book is now available as an ebook, and will ship soon in hardcover from Amazon! It has already made its appearance at the annual conference of the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies in November. And … Continue reading

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Adventures in Russian archives

I first arrived in Ivanovo, Russia, in the fall of 2004 by overnight train from Moscow. We pulled into Ivanovo at seven in the morning, and I peeked out, still sleepy and disoriented. I asked the elderly gentlemen getting off … Continue reading

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Dickens and Dostoevsky Just Got Real

Check out this nicely written and detailed summary of a recent dissertation that should be getting a lot of attention, in my totally-not-humble opinion (the author may just happen to also be my spouse). Which reminds me to mention that … Continue reading

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What Is Socialism?

Judging by the way the media and the GOP talk about it, you might conclude that socialism is anything the GOP disagrees with. Teaching what socialism actually is is part of my job, so I get asked this quite a … Continue reading

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Russians Love Their Children Too

I’m quoting Sting, of course, in his famous — and at the time daring — song, released in 1985, during the Cold War. He was hoping that Russians, though our enemies, are human too, loving their children enough not to … Continue reading

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Unlearning High School in Five Painful Steps

This is addressed to all the college freshman out there. There are a few habits you may have learned in high school that will have to be adjusted in college. Remember that the chief difference between high school and college … Continue reading

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Revision

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who revise, and those who don’t. The former are writers, the latter are not. This implies that the way to become a writer, is to revise. A lot. And that’s … Continue reading

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Obama the Professor

There have been a lot of profiles written about Barack Obama, and I have read many of them with interest. As usual, I tend to read them with half my mind thinking about the difference between these kinds of profiles … Continue reading

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Rules

Sometimes my students get a little too hung-up on rules, when it comes to writing essays. Mind you, some rules are vital—if your writing is ungrammatical, readers will have trouble following what you are saying. Other rules (which are really … Continue reading

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Bias

When historians read a text, we are trained to filter what it tells us through an understanding of who wrote it, with what purposes and with what intended audience. Author, audience, and purpose are all important factors in shaping the … Continue reading

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Objectivity

Many students come to college believing that academic writing is objective writing, or is supposed to be, and if it’s not, it’s “biased,” which is another way of saying “bad” or “useless.” There is no such thing as objective writing. … Continue reading

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Why you shouldn’t feel bad you didn’t go for (or finish) the Ph.D.

Sometimes when I tell people what I do for a living, they tell me they almost got a Ph.D. Sometimes, they say this unapologetically, just as a factoid of interest, but unfortunately sometimes it’s said with a direct or implied … Continue reading

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What is a Ph.D., Really? And What Is It Good For?

I’ve gotten the impression that many people think a Ph.D. program is like a master’s program, but longer. That you just keep taking courses—like a million of them—and then eventually you write another really big paper, and you’re done. This … Continue reading

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Should you go to the best school you can get into?

Students ask me this question a lot, usually about graduate programs, and sometimes I get asked about it with regard to choosing an undergraduate program as well. Especially in these days of astronomical tuition costs and uncertain job market potential, … Continue reading

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What is academic history?

History is unique in being counted (or confused) as falling under both the social sciences and the humanities. From its beginnings in oral storytelling, history was a partly literary exercise (and thus a part of the humanistic tradition) until it … Continue reading

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“Summarize”

If you’re a college student you may often be asked to “summarize” a text or film. The tricky thing about this is that people use the word “summarize” pretty loosely, and what is being asked of you might not be … Continue reading

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Scrivener: A Love Story

When I was in the early to middle stages of revising my dissertation into a book, I discovered Scrivener. At the time, the Windows version had just been released in Beta. I tried it, and it was still too buggy … Continue reading

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Money

I learned not long ago that as a tenure-track assistant professor* of history I was making the same salary as a deckhand on the Staten Island Ferry. I don’t begrudge the deckhand his salary one bit, because I know as … Continue reading

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Rocky IV

All of the Rocky movies appeared on Netflix recently, and I was inspired to put them on in the background while I was doing some mindless busy work. Ah! How they bring back my childhood. Anyway, I was particularly excited … Continue reading

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Students: What to Do When You’re Drowning

1. Get help If you’re drowning in your schoolwork, the last thing you should do is pretend it isn’t happening or hide. Talk to your professors. Go to the student counseling center. Talk to the dean of students. Make sure … Continue reading

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Syllabus: History 102, Fall 2112

As a historian, when I’m following current events I almost always think about them as I imagine a historian will do a hundred or two hundred years from now. I can’t help myself, because this is just how I think, … Continue reading

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Why Is Academic Writing So Unpleasant to Read?

I’ll be the first to admit that many academic books and articles just aren’t a good read. Sometimes they could be much better written. Sometimes they’re as well-written as they can be, but the subject matter and purposes of the … Continue reading

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What is Academic Writing?

An academic essay is best defined by the PURPOSE that distinguishes it from other kinds of non-fiction writing: It aims to identify and resolve complex problems in relation to ongoing discussions among fellow thinkers about the most difficult or abstract … Continue reading

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Rogue Professors

Okay, so you’ve read my posts about managing your expectations in college, taking responsibility for your own behavior, and understanding what grades do and do not mean. And you still think your professor is being unfair. Okay, it’s possible your … Continue reading

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Being Original

Many students have the mistaken assumption that having an argument or thesis means they have to prove that some professional academic who wrote a book is wrong about his own specialty (an obviously impossible task for an undergraduate writing a … Continue reading

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What is Tenure?

 Many people think tenure means job security. That it means that educators, unlike everyone else, can’t be fired. This is nonsense. Tenure does not equal job security. It does not exist in order to protect the jobs of teachers. I … Continue reading

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