Melanie Eulitz, former member of the BGHS-Office has published the article "Übergang zur Promotion. Das Shortcuts-Programm der Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) als Instrument zur Karriereplanung" [Transition to doctorate. The Shortcuts Programme of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) as a tool for career planning] in the BGHS Working Paper Series.
The transition from studying to a doctorate can also be understood as a transition from students to scholars. The paper explores the question of how this transition can be designed in universities and what measures are helpful for the prospective doctoral researchers. The interlinking of financial and academic support is reflected on the Shortcuts programme of the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS). The decision to do a doctorate is understood as a process that requires both information and reflection. What is also decisive is the exchange within the group, which is discussed by the example of the programme module “peer coaching”. (Abstract of the Article)
:: Non-academic careers ::
Reports about Practical Projects #Part 1
„Reports about Practical Projects“ are written by doctoral students who have designed and carried out a practical project in cooperation with a non-university organisation. The BGHS has been supporting these projects with scholarships since 2020. In the first part of the series, Yannick Schöpper reports on his study on onshore wind energy.
Acceptance in the area, protest in the local?
Study on onshore wind energy by Yannick Schöpper
Yannick Schöpper's project, which was realised within the framework of a BGHS practical scholarship, deals with a currently controversial topic: the local acceptance of onshore wind turbines. No debate on renewable energies seems to be able to do without the keyword of acceptance at the moment. This is also reflected in various regulatory adjustments by federal and state legislators, which have been explicitly linked to the intention to increase the local acceptance level of onshore wind energy. In this respect, the "Citizen and Community Participation Act" of the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, which was passed in 2016, attracted much attention. This law obliges project developers to financially participate in the operation of wind turbines by the municipalities and local citizens - a real novelty at that time. How is the reception of the state law today, after four years? This and other questions were explored by Yannick in the context of the practical scholarship.
The project was carried out in cooperation with the Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien e.V. (AEE). The AEE is working to convince people of the need for energy system transformation, to promote a sustainable energy supply and to provide information on the status quo of renewable energies in Germany. The organisation is financed by annual contributions from various associations and companies in the renewable energy sector as well as project-related funding. It also offers various services in the field of event management, press and public relations and graphic design. AEE does not pursue a political agenda; it operates on a non-partisan and intergenerational basis.
The complete study is available here: (Link).
Further Information about the project "Non-academic-careers" is available on the BGHS website: (Link).
:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 5
Many roads lead out of the BGHS. But where do paths lead to after the doctorate? In the winter semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Karin Werner talked to us about her work as a publisher at Transcript Verlag.
Karin Werner at her working place.
Karin, if you remember the beginnings of Transcript: How did the idea of founding a publishing house come about?
Karin Werner: Well, the idea was in the air for a long time. And Transcript was not the first company we founded. We met in 1984 in the university's computer centre: Roswitha Gost, Oliver Schönebäumer and I. Roswitha and I transcribed our interviews there at that time - they didn't have PCs back then. Oliver studied mathematics. In the computer centre, space was scarce and he always wanted to have our seats. That's how we got to know each other. We all had to finance our studies ourselves, and Oliver was in the process of founding a limited company together with a fellow student. I needed money and asked if I could join in. That's how it started, that we did book typesetting in this company. So, we had contact with scientists who were publishing and we set them the books.
Between 1990 and 1999 I was at the university for another ten years, first with a doctoral scholarship, later with a habilitation scholarship. The GmbH and a second company, which we had founded in the meantime, continued to operate. As a sideline I also produced music. In 1999, I had a decision: either to aim for a professorship or to do freelance work more intensively. I decided to put all my eggs in the Transcript basket with Roswitha and Oliver. And to professionalize the publishing house, which we had founded in 1997 as our third company and a further source of income. Well, we never had much money - it was enough for us - but we had accumulated a lot of know-how. Even though not everything was crowned with success.
This is the long history of a few youngsters, 24 years old, who founded their first GmbH. Quite naive. But they also learn: What does it mean to serve customers? You have to develop products. You have to set up an accounting department. You have to get to know a company as a financial construct. With all tax and legal aspects. That was possible - or necessary - from 1984 onwards. In 2000, we stopped cooking in a lot of pots and made a cut: we acquired representatives and built a professional sales structure; we won our first interns and our first saleswoman. And then we quickly reached 50 or 100 new publications a year. That went relatively quickly.
The website of Transcript
What do the Transcript Verlag of 20 years ago and the Transcript Verlag of today have in common?
Karin Werner: Transcript is still one of the very few publishing houses that is managed by editors. At larger publishing houses today, business economists or business people are at the top, and the editors are more in the position of product managers. This means: We also accept a moderate calculation if we want a title at all costs and if we think that the title is good for our programme and for scientific reception ecology. This is an approach to publishing that used to be more common and has become very rare. I would estimate that 75 percent of the titles result from requests to us. But we also acquire titles. That means we stimulate science and try to convince scientists to write this or that book. This active development of the program is, I think, our beating heart. I don't believe that you only acquire bestsellers all the time. But we won't stop there. Well, we're fine, but we're modest.
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in publishing?
Karin Werner: If you want to work in an editorial office or a program department, you should have the ability to write, edit and read texts. You should not be afraid of software. You should be fluent in spoken and written German and English. But what I think is generally important for a professional career is that you know yourself and your own working methods well. For example, people who know: I am a slower but also a thorough type - these are the ideal proofreaders. But to be a good program person, for example, you need the ability to develop ideas from an existing set of books. Or: I can organize teams well and I enjoy doing that. As I remember, these skills were never an issue in the graduate college I was in. And I would like to see this reflection - these things suit me, those don't - in the preparation of a professional career also being discussed more at university.
Karin, thanks a lot for your time!
The talk was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
For a complete version of the interview (german) click here:
Further Information about the project "Non-academic-careers":
:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 4
Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do pathways lead to after the doctorate? In the winter semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have chosen their profession outside the university. Linda Groß talked to us about her work at the Service Center for Young Academics at Bielefeld University.
The homepage of the service center of the University of Bielefeld
If you remember the start of your career: How did you find your way in?
Linda Groß: The entry was done in the classic way by an application. The job was advertised here at the university. That was quite good, because I had defended my dissertation shortly before. That was the change of profession: from the doctorate at the BGHS to the job here. At the time, I focused my applications on science management positions - and there were a few positions where I realized that my profile fit. Which was a pretty good feeling, because I actually only started looking when I handed in my dissertation.
Where do you work now inside or outside the university?
Linda Groß: Yes, so, non-university: That doesn't really fit to my job here at the university. I work as a consultant in the Service Center for Young Researchers. We are assigned to the Department for Research Promotion and Transfer (FFT) and the Vice Rectorate for Research, Young Academics and Equal Opportunities. The FFT is the interface between scientists and the Rectorate, and in this context we advise on the application and processing of third-party funding, which is requested by young scientists, but also by experienced scientists who want to apply for a graduate programme - for example a DFG Research Training Group.
As research officers, we support the scientists and decentralised administrations in particular in meeting the respective requirements of the funding organisations. For the Prorectorate, my work consists of coordinating interdisciplinary services and structures in order to support young researchers in the development of their scientific careers. This also includes information events and funding instruments, which we ourselves offer as a service centre for young researchers.
Promotion of young researchers. Photo by Thomas Abel
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology and history who are interested in entering your professional field?
Linda Groß: My tip is not to take the doctorate too instrumentally - that would be the case if I chose the topic in such a way that I also have chances on the job market. I think the most important thing is to first follow your own interests and thus create a good motivational basis for you to master the doctoral phase on the one hand and to get where you want to be on the other. And if, during the doctorate, I notice that science as a system interests me and I can imagine working in a science-supporting function, then I would consider how to acquire the necessary entry skills. Through informal discussions with people who are already working in this field, for example, I can gain knowledge of the labour market and get advice on which skills I can still acquire and how
There are now also a large number of in-service training courses for science management, which show that the field is becoming increasingly professionalised. However, in individual cases, I would carefully examine whether these represent an added value or whether one does not already have sufficient knowledge and experience through one's scientific practice and can acquire everything else "on the job". But I would start with personal interest. I am convinced that this is exactly what will help me find a job later.Linda, thank you for talking to us.
The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
You can find the complete conversation as PDF (german) here:
Further information about the project:
:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 3
Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do pathways lead to after the doctorate? In the winter semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have chosen their profession outside the university. Hans-Walter Schmuhl talked to us about his work as a freelance historian.
Hans Walter Schmuhl at his working space.
Mr. Schmuhl, if you remember your entry into your profession as a freelance historian: How did you find your entry?
Hans-Walter Schmuhl: That was in the phase when I had completed the habilitation and was a private lecturer. Then the ox tour starts: That you apply for professorships. That's a pretty frustrating thing to start with. Because it takes quite a while until you are invited. And then you are allowed to audition. You could say casually: I lost my patience. Because it's a phase in your life: you're actually in your prime - your late thirties, early forties - and you actually want to work on the content. But basically you feel like you're in a kind of waiting room. And you don't know exactly how it will end: Which door opens? Do you get a chair or any other permanent job with pension entitlement? Or is that ultimately a dead end? And do you have to reorient yourself in the end?
And in this situation I decided - very active. The concrete background was that I had an offer to work in science. But I did not accept the offer. Because it would have been a job where it would have been only about science management. And I am a researcher: I want to do my own research. And I took that as an opportunity to realize plans I had been considering for some time and to say: Now I am going into self-employment. And I'm doing a very offensive information policy: I'm saying that to all people. That was a leap into the unknown at the time, because very few colleagues did that. Somehow there were no indications of what that was like: with the acquisition of contracts; whether that would ultimately pay off; and how to calculate. So, basically: That was a beginning with many question marks.
As a freelance historian you have been working for 20 years on behalf of various organizations. If you describe it using one of your current projects as an example: What is a typical process of such a project?
Hans-Walter Schmuhl: In the beginning there must be an interest. So, the client must come up with the idea of placing an order. A typical pattern can be seen in one of my current projects in the field of social welfare history: The occasion is a scandal. There have been press reports that in the fifties and sixties violent attacks took place in the facilities of this institution; and that at least in one case there was a drug testing which moved in a legal grey area. And this is of course a question of image for a company, also for a diaconal company, to say: Well, we commission independent researchers*. They should investigate that. At our expense. And then we face up to our responsibility.
Well, there was interest there. Then the question is: How do clients and contractors get together? And that was pretty easy in this case, because our team, in which we carry out the order: We had previously worked at another facility that had hit the headlines. We did a good job, even though the previous press coverage had created a tense atmosphere between the institution, those affected and their advocates. In the end, our findings were recognised by all sides. And then the new client said: Can you do the same for us? That's typical. Then you enter into negotiations and have to conclude the contract.
We have defined three cornerstones of good scientific practice for ourselves, which we insist on at all costs when drafting contracts: Firstly, that the client cannot give us any specifications with regard to content. Secondly, there must be unrestricted access to the client's sources. And thirdly, there must be no publication reservation. We handle this differently from some of our colleagues in the field of economic history. Companies often commission the presentation of their own history and state in the contract that they will accept the work. In these cases, the client decides whether the work is to be published or whether it is to be placed in a drawer for internal use. And that's where we made the decision: We don't do that. What we research and record in writing must also be published. This is a point where contracts sometimes fail.
However: If we wouldn't do this so well, the client wouldn't benefit from it. If at the end it says: "They found out: It was one way or another. And maybe: Some things weren't as bad as originally feared. Then it's easy to say: "But that's contract research." And the public debate continues. When we finally present our book with the findings of our independent research at a press conference, the discussion in the media usually comes to an end. And of course that's in the interest of the client. That doesn't mean that the issue is over: together with those affected, we look for ways to compensate for the suffering they have suffered; the historical findings are passed on to our staff in internal training courses; they also play a role in current model processes.
Hans-Walter Schmuhl talking during an event.
What tips do you have for historians who are considering starting their own business?
Hans-Walter Schmuhl: Well, the key is: network, network, network. On all levels. I would always advise students to write to scientists working in the field in which they are writing their thesis. In the worst case you won't get an answer. In the best case scenario, you might want to draw someone's attention to you. If you're in the doctoral phase: don't hide away. Going to conferences. Go to workshops. So, the more people you know, in very different contexts, the better. So, a schematic acquisition, according to the motto: "Well, I'm here now. Nobody knows me. But now I'm making a really great advertising brochure and I'm writing everyone up: Experience has shown that this is almost useless. This works the other way round: That your name is known and you are addressed.
Second, I would recommend not to define your own working field too narrowly. If you have a topic on which you have focused completely, and that, let's say, is still a little out of place: You can't do anything with it. Then you have to work your way laboriously into other fields. And thirdly: Yes, it is a matter of attitude. So, if you like to snoop around in the archive for your life, then write it down afterwards and give it something: Then you have the right motivation to do it. If you say: I would like to work from 9 to 17 o'clock. Then I'd like to have the evening off. And what's important to me is the weekend. Then you are out of place as a self-employed person, no matter in which industry.Mr Schmuhl, thank you for talking to us.
The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
You can find the complete conversation as PDF (german) here:
Further information about the project:
:: Research Retreat 2019 ::
Report from Vlotho
A weekend, secluded from the academic everyday work, to be able to focus on the presentation and discussion of new doctoral projects: That's the Research Retreat.
The Research Retreat of 2019 took place from 22 to 23 november in Vlotho near Bielefeld. 21 doctoral researchers took the opportunity to present and discuss their dissertation projects. In addition to the new colleagues Prof. Dr. Ursula Mense-Petermann, Prof. Dr. Peter Kramper and Prof. Dr. Oliver Flügel-Martinsen participated in the presentations and discussions of the projects.
The participants of this year's Research Retreat with Peter Kramper, Ursula Mense-Petermann and Oliver Flügel-Martinsen. All Photos: Hannah Grüneberg
The BGHS-specific format serves to network young scientists who have started their doctoral studies this year and to support the development of their projects
The groups are put together in a mixed way: sociologists meet historians and at the same time get to know interdisciplinary approaches, theoretical framing and methods of the other discipline.
We talked with Filip Vukusa about his experience of the Research Retreat:
Filip, how did you experience the Research Retreat?
For me it was a great opportunity to learn more about the projects by colleagues from different disciplines, as well as to get valuable feedback and insight from a new and fresh perspective. It was interesting to see that regardless of the discipline everyone seems to have similar hurdles to overcome at the start.What was special for you about the Research Retreat?
The fact that it takes place on a remote location over a two day period is really important. Just spending additional time together was a bonus in itself.
The open and friendly atmosphere gave everyone a chance not only to discuss their research, but to get to know each other and talk about things that would normally rarely come up in a more formal and time-constrained setting. All in all, it was a really great experience.
The participant's dissertation projects:
- Aziz Mensah (Sociology): The Association between Work-Life Balance and Self-Reported Health among Working. Adults in European Welfare States: A gender and Cross-Country Analysis
- Alice Farneti (Sociology): The Politics against Sexual Violence in Academia: A Qualitative Study of Institutional Continuity and Change in Quebecer Universities
- Moynul Haque (Sociology):Civil Resistance in Bangladesh: A Study on Student Dimension of Protest Movements
- Ngoc Luong (Sociology): Moral Struggles and Politics of Care under Market Socialism: Provision welfare for migrant workers in global factories in Vietnam
- Abdul Rauf (Sociology):Boundary (un)making by youth refugees in urban spaces
- Anass Khayati (Sociology): To see a World in a Grain of Sand: The Geopolitics of Learning at a German Public University
- Valentina Rivera (Sociology): Changes in gender role attitudes and female employment: a comparative study in Chile and Germany
- Aristeidis Myriskos (Sociology): From inclusive to equal European public spheres: bringing the theories of feminism and agonistic pluralism back in
- Sinmi Akin-Aina (Sociology): Claiming ‘gray space’, re-framing rights: Citizenship, Regional Political Intervention, and Urban Refugees in Dar es Salaam
- Filip Vukusa (Geschichte): (Re)Constructing Urban Medieval Social Networks: A Comparative Study of 14th Century Populations of Zadar and Rab
- Zhenwei Wang (Sociology):Patriarchy in Domestic Spaces in Late-Socialist China: An Ethnography on Young Couples’ Family Life during the Festival. Reunions in Yangtze River Delta
- Yueran Tian (Sociology): Restructuring welfare and care: an ethnographic study of vocational training and migrant factory workers in post-socialist China
- Abel Zekarias (Sociology): Migrants’ Remittances and Rural Livelihood: Concomitant considerately? Evidences from the Rural Ethiopia
- Olga Olkheft (History): Re-conception of Russian Avant-Garde art in the context of Cultural Cold War (1960s - 1980s)
- Priska Cimbal (Sociology): Transformation von Handlungsräumen
- Cansu Erdogan (Sociology): Development of Long-Term Care Policies in Turkey: (Inter)national Actors, Policy Diffusion and Translation
- Lisa de Vries (Sociology): Die Arbeitsmarktsituation von Homosexuellen: Benachteiligung und Diskriminierung im Erwerbsverlauf
- Simon Groß (History): Helmut Schelsky und das soziologische Feld der Bundesrepublik
- Anna Grotegut (History): Besteuerung von städtischen Immobilien. Bewertungs- und Vergleichspraktiken in Deutschland und Großbritannien 1870–1950.
- Malin Houben (Sociology): Die gynäkologische Praxis. Eine ethnographische Untersuchung.
- Nele Weiher (Sociology): Zwischen Selbst- und Fremdbestimmung. Zur Identitätsherstellung von Trans* im Rahmen von Flucht.
Further Information about course formats in the BGHS:
:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 2
Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do pathways lead to after the doctorate? In the winter semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have chosen their profession outside the university. Michael Siedenhans spoke to us about his work as editor-in-chief at TERRITORY Content to Results GmbH.
Michael Siedenhans in an interview with Pelé in 2004.
Mr Siedenhans, you are editor-in-chief. Where exactly do you work?
Michael Siedenhans: At TERRITORY Content to Results GmbH in Gütersloh. We are a subsidiary of Gruner+Jahr and Germany's market leader in the field of content marketing. We develop content for a wide variety of channels for companies from very different industries so that they can reach their target groups - business customers, consumers, employees, but also sports fans. Our communication services help companies to convince these customers of their brands, services and products and thus win and retain them as customers. I am currently involved in customer and employee magazines as well as websites for DAX and family companies and NGOs.
What is your job as editor-in-chief like?
Michael Siedenhans: It may surprise you: Above all, it's a lot of teamwork. Together with colleagues from various disciplines such as strategy, conception, project management or graphics, we develop ideas for media and stories. For example, we ask ourselves the question: Which medium is best for our client to reach his customers? The classic print magazine or Facebook and Instagram? We deal with it because our client wants to position his brand better or perhaps differently in order to reach new target groups. For me, this means: developing, writing, organizing - and all in coordination with the various disciplines that are active in our company. So it's a bundle of tasks that you probably don't know in classical journalism.
During the Olympic Games in Vancouver 2010 Michael Siedenhans worked together with today's IOC President Thomas Bach.
What kind of knowledge and skills do you bring to your work as a historian?
Michael Siedenhans: First of all a lot of general education. It is important in order to familiarize oneself with different topics. These can range from the 2006 Football World Cup in Germany to pharmaceutical, logistics or technology topics for Hexal, Deutsche Post or Miele to the fan magazine for "Deutschland sucht den Superstar". As a social historian in particular, you have the advantage of knowing a little about everyday, economic, cultural and political history. You can always draw from this barrel again. Because of this variety of subjects in your studies, you train a quick grasp. I also bring with me a certain curiosity from my studies, which is very important in my job. Last but not least, internationality: the faculty made it possible for me to study in Baltimore for a year. This experience taught me to think outside the box.
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are starting a career in your profession?
Michael Siedenhans: First, curiosity about people. It is extremely important. Secondly, openness to completely new things that you never got to know during your studies. This also includes interaction with superiors, colleagues and customers. Thirdly, a large portion of humility. When you come from university, you think: you are the greatest superstar. As a career starter, you should quickly forget that. My next tip: As a freelancer, you should gain your first professional experience for a daily newspaper. Unfortunately, only a few people who are interested in journalism in all its facets do so today. However, as a freelancer at a daily newspaper, you get to know many different people and learn to write for the target group of readers. Another tip: you should like to be on the move. This is not a job for homebodies. Over the past 20 years, I've got to know all five continents. After all, this is not a nine-to-five job either. Of course, there are phases when there is less to do. Then again there are phases when you work ten to twelve hours
Mr Siedenhans, thank you for talking to us.
The talk was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
You can find the complete conversation as PDF here:
Further information on the project "Non-academic careers":
2019 Doctoral Researcher Desk Exchange
:: Lund / York / Bielefeld ::
From November 4 to 15, 2019, the BGHS and the Department of History host two PhD students at the Desk Exchange with our partner universities Lund and York: Cheng Li from York and Peter Eriksson from the University of Malmö in cooperation with Lund University. In his dissertation project, Cheng Li is studying how Jeremy Bentham became the intellectual leader of British reformers. Peter Eriksson researches integration concepts for foreigners in 20th century Swedish society, focusing empirically on schools.
The theoretical framework and empirical peculiarities of the dissertation projects were discussed in depth in individual discussions with experienced scientists. The available discussion partners were Bettina Brandt, Lars Deile, Kay Junge, Martina Kessel, Jörg van Norden and Willibald Steinmetz. Also the discussions with doctoral students enriched the stay, especially the colloquium organized by the doctoral students Theresa Hornischer and Sisay Megersa, which took place on November 8th. Here, exciting perspectives on content and the methodological approach to the respective dissertation projects were discussed.
Accompanying leisure activities were not neglected either: One highlight was the Sparrenburg excursion on Sunday followed by dinner in a German brewery.
About the program:
The Desk Exchange is part of the trilateral cooperation between the Bielefeld Department of History and the BGHS with the National Graduate School of History at the University of Lund and the PhD Program in History at the University of York. It enables doctoral students from Lund, York and Bielefeld to get to know the other university over a longer period of time, to exchange ideas with local colleagues and to network internationally. During their stays in Lund, York and Bielefeld, participants have the opportunity to attend seminars and present their dissertation projects. In addition, they are given the opportunity to exchange ideas and ideas with teachers at their host university in one-on-one discussions.
The trilateral cooperation of Bielefeld History and BGHS with the National Graduate School of History at Lund University and the PhD Program in History at the University of York promotes the European networking of young scholars and the exchange of various research traditions and theoretical perspectives in history. Since 2016, the partners have also organized an annual International PhD Conference Lund/York/Bielefeld, which takes place alternately at one of the three universities.
The Participants and their Projects:
Peter Eriksson: "Social categories and the integration of foreigners in Swedish society during the 20th century with a particular focus on the link between governmental policy and school practice".
Cheng Li: "Jeremy Bentham and his lawyer friends in changing public attitude towards law reform, 1807-1832".
:: Non-Academic Careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 1We start the winter semester with new perspectives from practitioners who are also historians or sociologists. The range is wide - from publishing work to communication design to European trade union activities. Every month we publish a new interview.
You can read our last series of BGHS members' reports about their activities outside the university here:
Many paths lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead concretely? In the winter semester, we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Peter Scherrer spoke to us about his role as Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation.
Mr Scherrer, until May 2019 you were Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). What were perhaps the three most important tasks for you?
Peter Scherrer: The most important task is to introduce the position of trade unions into European legislation. That is quite central: just before the European elections this summer, the Commission took a number of legislative initiatives that it absolutely wanted to implement before Parliament split up. There have been several legislative initiatives related to the so-called European Pillar of Social Rights. The second task is to develop positions supported by all ETUC member organisations: European Trade Unions speak with one voice. This is not automatically the case. There are major differences of opinion on trade issues, for example: TTIP has not only met with rejection. Or differences in energy policy: Polish miners see coal renunciation differently from civil servants in Luxembourg.
All are members of the ETUC though. The third most important task is to support our trade unions. In particular, member associations from countries where, for example, there is no functioning social dialogue and where trade unions are weak. In "Brussels Speak", this is called capacity building: helping trade unions and, depending on the situation, employers' associations to be strong. We also want employers' associations that are assertive. And we also have member organisations outside the EU, in the so-called candidate countries, such as Serbia, for example: there is a need to strengthen trade unions, some of which are not taken seriously by the respective governments. There, economic and social policies are made past the unions.
Peter Scherrer at a union demonstration.
What knowledge and skills do you bring to this work as a historian?
Peter Scherrer: I would say: a good general education. But I think I could have also been a political scientist or a sociologist for the work I did there. What is important is the tool of scientific work: analysing, summarising or reproducing things. I have always written relatively much in my profession and have now, for example, co-edited a volume entitled "Jetzt für ein besseres Europa!" published by the European Trade Union Institute (EGI). I have to say that for me the study of history has always been very important. Now that I am out of the immediate office routine, books are piling up again that I absolutely have to read. I have time for that, because I will use the summer break to see how things will continue professionally.
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are starting a career in your profession?
Peter Scherrer: First of all: write a lot and draw attention to yourself. So, for example, when someone writes a thesis on the history of agriculture: Agriculture is still the largest budget item in Brussels and there are many issues related to agriculture. As a graduate, I would take a look at the associations and their publications; I would research what is on the agenda in Parliament. And then I would look where freely accessible events are, make me a reasonable business card, talk to people and also apply unsolicited. If someone can say on an application: Here I have my focal points, then I find that more convincing than pumping up every detail of life experience.
When someone at the age of 26 applies with a Master's degree and a giant slat of experience, I always think: My God, you can just admit that this is your first work experience now. But that the topic is important to you and that you have been dealing with it for a long time: something like that convinces me. And another tip - I wouldn't have thought 35 years ago that I say something like this: Good manners are always appreciated!I got that point. Mr. Scherrer, thank you for talking to us.
The talk was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
You can find the complete conversation as PDF here (german):
Further Details about the project "non-academic-careers":
Welcome Day 19/20
:: 22 doctoral students join the BGHS ::
On Wednesday, 9 October, the Welcome Day took place at the BGHS in the winter semester 2019/20. Ursula Mense-Petermann, Director of the BGHS, welcomed the new PhD students. Afterwards Sabine Schäfer, academic director of the BGHS and Bettina Brandt (scientific director of the School of Historical Research) informed about the BGHS, the Faculty of Sociology and the Department of History. In addition, the Doctoral Representatives and the coordinator of the project "Extra-university Careers for Humanities and Social Sciences" introduced themselves Ulf Ortmann. At the subsequent coffee break in the BGHS lounge, all participants were able to talk to each other and get to know each other.
Three contributions provided the doctoral students with knowledge for future challenges after the break: What opportunities are there for scholarships during the doctorate? How can I structure my writing process? And how can I integrate stays abroad into my work?
We would like to thank the Service Center for Young Researchers, the Writing Centre and the International Office for their valuable input.
Links above: Bettina Brandt; center: Stefanie Haacke; top right: Antonia Langhof. Photos: Hannah Grüneberg
Links: Sabine Schäfer; right: Karin Kruse. Photos: Hannah Grüneberg
The new doctoral candidates at BGHS
22 new doctoral students started their dissertation projects at the BGHS in the winter semester 2019/2020: Four historians and 18 sociologists.
Photos: Hannah Grüneberg
New BGHS PhD students and their research projects:
- Lorena Albornoz Garrido (History): Developing a strategy to recover the parliaments ethnopolitical negotiations
- Wojciech Wientzek (Story : "Silence but you can't!") Peter Weiss, Heiner Müller and Luigi Nono as "political brokers" and intellectual border crossers in the Cold War, 1960-
- Simon Groß (History): Helmut Schelsky and the Sociological Field of the Federal Republic of Germany
- Nicole Schwabe (History): The Own in the Stranger? Diachronic discourse analysis on historical-didactic world designs in the 20th century
- Verena Stern (Sociology): "We're not Nazis." On the cooperation of 'concerned citizens' with right-wing extremists in protests against asylum accommodations in Germany
- Valentina Francisca Rivera Toloza (Sociology): Female employment in Chile and Germany during 1990-2015: How public policies and cultural changes shape or un-shape gender equality?
- Malin Houben (Sociology): Gynaecological Practice. An ethnographic investigation
- Felix Maximilian Bathon (Sociology): Communication in small groups - Studies on small groups as a social system
- Lisa De Vries (Sociology): The labour market situation of homosexuals: Disadvantage and discrimination in the course of employment
- Özgür Salmanog (Sociology):Analyzing Nietzsche's and Foucault's Concept of Power from the Perspective of the Political
- Emre Cakirdiken (Sociology): Political trends in transformation: the rise of populism and future of democracy
- Cansu Erdogan (Sociology): ´Harmony´ between Actors in Long-Term Care Provision: Different Welfare Cultures Giving Rise to Different Modes of Regulation?
- Nele Weiher (Sociology): Between Self-Determination and Self-Determination. To the identity production of Trans* in the context of escape.
- Kristina Willjes (Sociology): Doing digitalization - The introduction of electronic file management in a local job center
- Elisa Gensler (Sociology): The design and evaluation of digitised regulation in work organisations and its effects on the autonomy of employees
- Stefan Wilbers (Sociology): "Historical Sociology of University Rankings. Institutionalization of a Modern Comparative Practice, 1900-1980"
- Dorian Tsolak (Sociology): Explaining Female Migrants' Labour Force. Participation by Family and Cultural Heritage
- Thi Dieu Hien Nguyen (Sociology): Social welfare for workers in Phu Bai industrial park, Huong Thuy district, Thua Thien Hue province, Vietnam: Actual situation, roles and challenges
- Tipu Sultan (Sociology): Gender role and work life balance among dual earner couples
- Janes Odongo (Sociology): Factoring Disaster Management into Regional Development Planning: A Study of Devolved Governance in Kenya
- Md. Moynul Haque (Sociology): Civil resistance in Bangladesh: A study on student dimension of protest movements
- Yueran Tian (Sociology): Restructuring Welfare and Care: An Ethnographic Study of Vocational Training and Migrant Factory Workers in Post-Socialist China
- Abel Yonas Zekarias (Soziologie): Migrants' remittances and rural livelihood: concomitant considerately? Evidences from the rural Ethiopia.
:: Non-academic careers - Doctoral students in conversation ::
Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do pathways lead to after the doctorate? In the summer semester, we talk to doctoral students who are already gaining work experience outside the university while working on their dissertation. Filiz Kutluer talked to us about her work for the von Bodelschwinghschen Stiftungen in Bethel.
Filiz Kutluer and Ulf Ortmann in conversation. Photo: Hannah Grüneberg
Filiz, you work in an "expert office" of the von Bodelschwinghschen Stiftungen. Where exactly do you work?
Filiz Kutluer: The "Special Office for Migration and Disability" is linked to the regional management and has a bridging function between grassroots staff and the clients*. This means, firstly, that I am responsible for advising and mediating. On the one hand, it is important to understand: What problems do people with disabilities from immigrant families have? What difficulties do their relatives have? Do they have access to the help system? If not, why is that? And if they are in the system: What problems do they have there? On the other hand, I also capture the perspective of the employees: What experiences do the employees* have with this target group? What problems do the employees report in this context? Secondly, I am working on the development of suitable concepts for my organisation: we have a target group that is difficult to reach and has difficulties in the help system - what can we do to solve or deal with these difficulties?
How does your work look like?
Filiz Kutluer: The work is varied. First of all, I am responsible for determining how employees*, clients* and relatives work together and what their needs are. Secondly, I network myself and try to keep up to date: How do other organisations and sponsors, such as the AWO or Caritas, etc. deal with this topic? What is being done about this in other cities in Germany or abroad? Thirdly, I draw up concepts for the intercultural opening of institutions and accompany their implementation in Bethel. This also includes staff training on intercultural competences. And fourthly, I take on the public relations work on this topic and give lectures or write articles for specialist journals. So, it may be that I am occupied on one day first with a client, then with an employee, then with the regional management and at the end of the day with a report.
What are the two most important tasks you do?
Filiz Kutluer: One of the most important tasks is: If there are difficulties in an institution between employees, clients* from a migrant background and their relatives that employees cannot cope with, then I am called. So, for example: relatives come to the institution without announcing their arrival beforehand. Then I try to grasp the problem first: How do the relatives understand the work being done in the institution? Do they know the rules on meal times or pick-up times? Do they know that they have to register as relatives before visiting the institution? And then it is my job to explain to the relatives how the institution works. For example: "Your daughter has a daily structure here; and if you arrive here unannounced, this structure is lost".
The experience I gain in such case-related work I finally prepare and develop suitable concepts and recommendations that I present to my supervisor. In this context, it is important to strengthen intercultural competences. And that's where these concepts come in: For example, in the case of communication problems, as I have just described, there is no point in translating words alone. Rather, language mediators* need to know the institution and the help system before they can interpret. For example: Why is it important for a foster child to use a tricycle? From the perspective of relatives, the tricycle can be unimportant; but from the perspective of educators, it promotes development and is therefore very important.
What knowledge and competences do you bring to your work as a social scientist?
Filiz Kutluer: For one thing, my work is very much about structuring. Because problems are described to me from different perspectives and my task is to relate these perspectives to each other - and then to pass this on to those involved: I try, so to speak, to sort out the problem areas described by both sides (educators and relatives) and to give them a structure for a better understanding - I learned that during my studies and I still like to do that today.
On the other hand, division of labour, for example, is a big issue when I mediate between employees* and relatives. Because division of labour is the be-all and end-all in Germany; in Turkey, for example, everyone knows everything about everything. For some, division of labour is a matter of course: "That's my job now; and if you need this or that, then go to someone else, and there! For the others, division of labour is a jungle in which they get lost: "I can't look right and left and I'm only responsible for this area here; if you need it, go somewhere else! And it is my job to make sure that the people involved get in touch with each other anyway. Without this dialogue, there is a danger that people with disabilities and migration backgrounds will not be able to access the help system.
What tips do you have for colleagues* who are looking to get started in your industry?
Filiz Kutluer: I think it makes sense to ask: What do those who work in organizations like the von Bodelschwingh foundations do? What are the different activities and occupational fields there? And which of these activities are what for me? There is, for example, an "information day for prospective students" at the Diakonie University of Applied Sciences in Bethel, and in this context the various professions and fields of work that exist in Bethel are presented. The central public relations department in Bethel is also available for information. You will always find people to talk to.
Filiz, thanks for talking to us.
You can find the complete conversation as PDF here (german):
Further information on the project "Extra-university career":
"Now we have gathered here a Latin American summit in Bielefeld."
:: Guest contribution ::
by Lasse Bjoern Lassen
Group photo during the Workshop. Photo: BGHS
In July the workshop "From Bolívar to UNASUR - 200 Years of Latin American Political Integration" took place in BGHS. We use the summer break to take another look at it. Lasse Bjoern Lassen organized the event and recorded the experiences in an exciting diary format. Particular focus is placed on Santiago Pérez, Cuban historian and deputy director of the Center for International Policy Research in Havana.
Impressions of the workshop Photo: BGHS
What tiger stripes have to do with Cuba and whether the Left of Latin America is really wasting away - read it in the entertaining workshop report!
Diary of a workshop:
An animated discussion in the workshop Photo: BGHS
"Supporting young scientists is a permanent task!"
For Deutschlandfunk Dr. Sabine Schäfer gave an interview about the future of graduate schools.
What does it mean if this form of promotion of young researchers is removed from the programmes of the Excellence Initiatives? What possibilities are there outside of state top-level funding? And what is the value of graduate schools?
Here you will find Sabine Schäfer's answers: Link Interview (german)
:: Guest contribution ::
by Daniele Toro
From 19 March to 25 June 2019 the lecture series Line 4 under the title "Dealing with Discrimination" took place, which was jointly organised by the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) and the Volkshochschule Bielefeld (VHS). In the VHS rooms of the Ravensberger Spinnerei, six doctoral students of the BGHS presented their own research to the Bielefeld audience.
The lectures looked from different disciplines at how individuals, groups and institutions can fight discrimination or resist it.
Impressions: Zeynep Demir and Hannah Grüneberg; Malika Mansouri; Carla Thiele and Daniele Toro Photos: BGHS
Through a variety of topics and approaches, the framework conditions and causes of discrimination phenomena as well as how to deal with them were dealt with: From the UN Convention against Racism to the 1966 Tricontinental Conference, from the Yezidis to the health policies for refugees, from the commitment of Bosnian genocide survivors to Erika Mann's intellectual exile activities in the 1920s and 1930s - the audience always actively discussed the various lectures from history, sociology, jurisprudence and psychology.
Lecturers and organisers of Line 4 from left to right: Lasse Bjoern Lassen, Malika Mansouri, Carla Thiele, Anja Henkel, Daniele Toro(fehlt: Johanna Paul) Photo: Hannah Grüneberg
The fact that the audience and speakers have to benefit from the mutual exchange was the aim of the lecture series Line 4 from the very beginning. The intensive discussions were particularly interesting this year because the audience regularly made its own experiences and knowledge available. This proved to be extremely productive for the speakers: All participating doctoral students did indeed report on the exciting and useful impulses, stimulating questions and comments. With their active, communicative participation, the numerous visitors showed that the focus of the lecture series had met with lively public interest.
A particularly exciting, interdisciplinary contribution was the art installation that accompanied Johanna Paul's lecture:
From left to right: artist Anita Zečić and moderator Daniele Toro, the art exhibition from outside and inside, as well as lecturer Johanna Paul
Thanks to all speakers and guests of line 4!
Further Info about Linie 4:
Annual Seminar 2019: „The Making of Mankind: Tracing Race & Racism“
:: Guest contribution ::
by Lena Gumpert and Malin Wilckens
Group photo on the second day of the Annual Seminar 2019. Photo: Simon Grunert
Some time after the end of this year's Annual Seminar we would like to share our impressions with you here. As members of the organizing team, we were looking forward to the conference with both joy and excitement. In retrospect, we can say that the Annual Seminar was distinguished by a friendly atmosphere and an in-depth discussion. For us, all the work in the run-up to the seminar has paid off.
Flyer and lists of participants – the conference begins Photo: Rebecca Moltmann
Nikita Dhawan opened with an impressive keynote speech and it was immediately clear to us: This was the right start for the conference. Her critical examination of both the German Enlightenment and the German university system sparked a fiery discussion. Directly in the first panel, the topic of knowledge production in the Enlightenment was taken up and expanded with a perspective on modern Brazil. It also dealt with the scientific construction of 'race'.
Den Abend rundete Demetrius Eudell rounded off the evening with a comparison: How do 'caste' and 'race' relate to each other? Through his knowledgeable lecture he was able to extend the conference by a further perspective. We like to quote Mark B. Brown, political scientist at California State University, Sacramento: "This was a very rich talk. „This was a very rich talk.“ (Memory Protocol)
The conference dinner in the late evening offered the opportunity to get to know each other better and to fill the empty stomachs. The participants* were able to get to know each other and their projects better in an informal atmosphere and exchanged ideas with each other even apart from conference-related topics.
Nikita Dhawan during her keynote; Discussion before the lecture: Demetrius Eudell with Eleonora Roland and Ulrike Davy; Manuela Boatcă during her keynote (from left to right) Photos: Rebecca Moltmann
The next day Manuela Boatcă opened with her contribution to a current research discussion. She asked the question which mutual influences the worldwide distribution of wealth and the sale of citizenships and 'race' have. For many of us this was a new perspective.
The following two panels showed the closeness to the co-organising SFB: It was about the connection between 'race' and comparative practices. There was literally interdisciplinary discussion - from anthropology, sociology and law to literary studies.
Afterwards, the topicality of our conference topic was again clearly emphasized by means of educational institutions. The focus was on the one hand on how racism should be discussed in (German) schools, and on the other hand on the experiences of racism that students at German universities experience.
A personal highlight of the two authors of this article was the evening event in the Ulmenwall bunker. We wanted to bring the socially relevant topic of the conference into the urban public and to extend it by an artistic perspective in order to represent the diversity of the confrontation with 'race' and racism. We had the great good fortune to experience the perspectives of performance artist Taiwo Jacob Ojudun and graphic artist Diana Ejaita .
The presenter of the evening Ouassima Laabich in front of an excerpt of the video installation by Taiwo Jacob Ojudun Taiwo Jacob Ojudun during the performance. Fotos: Corinna Mehl
In his performance and video installation entitled WHAT IF?, Taiwo Jacob Ojudun presented in particular the brute violence of the colonial division of Africa by the Berlin Conference (1884-85) and its aftermath.
Diana Ejaita (Bild 2) introduces her work. Photos: Corinna Mehl
Diana Ejaita has pointed to a specifically European racism experience in her prints, in which she deals with May Ayim's blues in black and white. The series is entitled To May Ayim.
Discussion at the last panel Photo: Rebecca Moltmann
In the last panel the connection of space and race was discussed along different disciplines. The Annual Seminar came to a successful end with a stimulating reflection on the past days in the final discussion moderated by Sabine Schäfer
Our conclusion: High level, broad content and emotional experiences. All the work was worth it.
It was also nice to experience how productive working in a team can be. We are both writing this article, but the organization and planning was a joint task. That is why we would like to list the names of all team members: Lisa Baßenhoff, Andreas Becker, Ina Kiel, Julian Gärtner, Lena Gumpert, Malika Mansouri und Malin Sonja Wilckens.
A critical discussion did not only take place before in our team and during the conference, but continues. It is not only for this reason that we are planning a publication that makes these critical thoughts transparent. This also includes a critical examination of the title "The Making of Mankind". In the meantime, it has become increasingly clear to us that the title opens up a problematic perspective and we are grateful that it has been addressed several times. On the one hand, the title seems to refer only to men and, on the other hand, it possibly also refers to a very specific period of time: the emergence of scientific racism in the course of the enlightenment epoch. We explicitly wanted to go beyond the historical location and under no circumstances reproduce racist or gender-discriminatory assumptions. All this is not reflected in the title. We gladly accept this criticism and will work on a revised title for publication. So it remains productively exciting!
Many thanks for the Feedback!Lena Gumpert & Malin Wilckens
More info about presenters and places: