BGHS.NEWS - Kategorie Allgemein

Doctoral students in conversation #Part 18

Veröffentlicht am 3. März 2021

::Non-academic careers::

Doctoral students in conversation - #Part 18

Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? We talk to doctoral students who are already gaining professional experience outside the university during their time at the BGHS. Kerstin Schulte talked to us about her work experience at the Wewelsburg Memorial.

Photo 1: Wewelsburg Remembrance and memorial site

Kerstin, you are doing your doctorate in history and are working at the Wewelsburg. Where do you work exactly?

Kerstin Schulte: I work for the Wewelsburg Memorial. The place where I work is the administrative building on the former SS guard house, which is next to the Wewelsburg.

What does your work for the memorial look like?

Kerstin Schulte: I mainly do research on the Niederhagen concentration camp. There are sources in the memorial. But there are also sources in other archives such as the federal archives or the state archives of North Rhine-Westphalia. I collect these sources, systematize them and evaluate them, among other things, for exhibitions and scientific work on the Niederhagen concentration camp and with a view to the educational work at the memorial. When working with schoolchildren, for example, perpetrator biographies are used. I look through lists of supervisors and reconstruct who worked in which area of the camp and when. On the basis of de-nazification court files, I then also investigate how the perpetrators were dealt with after the end of the war. I also create a chronology for the prisoners: What happened where and when? How many prisoners were in the camp at what time? And what work did the prisoners have to do? So, I am expanding and structuring the stock of knowledge and material that the scientific and educational staff of the memorial can access in their work.

What are your most important tasks?

Kerstin Schulte: My most important tasks are: researching, evaluating, and excerpting sources on the Niederhagen concentration camp. You have to know: Sources are often collected in a memorial on a project basis. For a specific exhibition or publication, files on various topics and from various archives are compiled. I have been given the task of creating thematic and chronological registers for these sources in order to make them easier to access. Topics according to which I sort the registers are, for example: the SS personnel; the different areas of the concentration camp; the violence of the SS; the violence of the kapos against their fellow prisoners; or the different phases of the camp.

As a historian, what knowledge and skills do you use in your work?

Kerstin Schulte: On the one hand, there are research skills. If I had known at the beginning of my dissertation how the various archives are structured and how I can get the documents I need as effectively and as quickly as possible, I would have made faster progress with my dissertation. On the other hand, it is specialist knowledge that I have acquired and that I now need: I know the structures of the SS, the structures of concentration camps, and also the procedures that the British occupiers used when dealing with former National Socialists. I acquired this knowledge while working on my dissertation and thought: apart from the dissertation, I will never need this again. But, that is really great: I can now fall back on this knowledge.

Photo 2: Wewelsburg Remembrance and memorial site

What tips do you have for colleagues who are interested in a job like yours?

Kerstin Schulte: Even if it takes a lot of time, my advice would be to speak to people who work in this field at conferences and then get into conversation with one another. I would not have thought that either: If people find your lecture interesting, they will remember you for a long time.

Kerstin, thank you very much for the conversation!

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

You can find the complete interview here:

Komplettversion als PDF

Weiterführende Informationen zu dem Projekt "Außeruniversitäre Karriere" sind (hier), die vorherigen Interviews der Reihe (hier) verfügbar.

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Non-academic careers: Practitioners in talk #17

Veröffentlicht am 2. Februar 2021

:: Non-academic careers: ::

Practitioners in talk Part #17

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. Daniela Pollich spoke to us about her work as professor for police science at the University of Applied Sciences for Police and Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia in Duisburg.

Abbildung 1: Daniela Pollich

Daniela, you did your PhD in Sociology at Bielefeld University in 2009. Currently, you are working as professor for police science at the University of Applied Sciences for Police and Public Administration in North Rhine-Westphalia (HSPV NRW). If you remember when you started your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Daniela Pollich: I got started with a position at the State Office of Criminal Investigation in North Rhine-Westphalia, where I worked before I was appointed to the HSPV NRW. After finishing my dissertation, I really wanted to continue working in the subject area of my dissertation: in criminology. But I didn’t necessarily want to stay at the university. And so I started looking for positions in non-university, criminological research. However, it happened to me several times in job interviews that I was asked: “What do you want here? That’s second choice for you! Can’t you make it to university and now you’re coming to us?” I had the feeling that I had to prove that I really want to. I tried to show that with advanced training courses on crime prevention, for example. The fact that I actually found a job in non-university criminological research came more by chance through a contact with the State Office of Criminal Investigation in North Rhine-Westphalia, which I had made for a research project on violence against homeless people as part of my postdoctoral fellowship. That was my ticket. And again by chance, after a few years as a research assistant in the criminalistic-criminological research center of the State Office of Criminal Investigation, I discovered that the HSPV NRW had advertised a professorship that required exactly my combination of subjects: criminology and sociology.

What does your work at the University of Applied Sciences for Police and Public Administration look like now?

Daniela Pollich: It is primarily teaching: 18 hours per week. That doesn’t mean that I prepare nine different courses each semester; but that I give two or three courses on criminology at the same time, because we always teach in small groups. After the first few years, in which this teaching workload was actually very strenuous, research is now definitely possible again; even if the time is short. And finally, I work in academic self-government and I am spokesperson for our Institute for Police Sciences and Criminology.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?

Daniela Pollich: If you want to go to the University of Applied Sciences for Police, you should have an interest in police-related topics and ideally also a practical understanding of them. The practical understanding of this field does not necessarily have to be acquired from the police, but could also arise, for example, through experience with social work. But as a “pure academic” you would probably get the feedback relatively quickly: Well, you know the university, but not real life. Regarding the professorship at a university of applied sciences in general: Sure, you should seek contact with practice and prove this, for example, through further training. One should have teaching experience. And that is my experience after I left university: when selecting professors, universities of applied sciences pay more attention to the didactic qualifications of applicants than universities do.

Daniela, thank you for the conversation.

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann. The complete conversation is available here (only in German):

Komplettversion als PDF

"Further information on the project "Non-academic careers" is available (here.), the previous interviews in the series are available. (here) verfügbar.

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Non-academic careers: Practitioners in talk #16

Veröffentlicht am 18. Januar 2021

:: Non-academic careers::

Practitioners in talk Part #16

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. Mirko Petersen spoke to us about his work at the office of university communications at Leuphana Universität Lüneburg.

Photo 1: Mirko Petersen

Mirko, you did your PhD in History at Bielefeld University in 2017. Currently, you are working in international university marketing at Leuphana University Lüneburg. If you remember when you started your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Mirko Petersen: During my doctorate, I concentrated on completing the dissertation. And only after submitting the dissertation did I take the time to get an idea of it: Where do I want to apply specifically now? What did I do during my doctorate? And how do I translate this into a language in which I can present my skills to my potential employer? After a certain period of time, I gained ground with temporary jobs: First I worked for “uni-assist”; an association that evaluates international student applications for many German universities. I then worked as a managing director in the third-party funded project “The Americas as Spaces of Entanglements” at Bielefeld University. I had already completed my doctorate as part of this third-party funded project. After the third-party funded project ended, I changed over to Leuphana University. Here I work as a consultant for international student recruitment.

Where do you work now exactly?

Mirko Petersen: I work for the Leuphana University in Lüneburg. My position there is at the office of university communications. My job in international student recruitment is to make the university known among international applicants and to make them aware of the various study programmes.

How does your work at Leuphana University look like now?

Mirko Petersen: On the one hand, we present in particular the English study programmes on international online platforms on which those interested can search for programmes, for example on the DAAD portal, “International Programs in Germany”. These portals and the fact that the portals are at the top of the list by search engines are often the answer to the question: How does someone in Brazil, India or Spain decide to study in Lüneburg, for example? On the other hand, we design the communicative infrastructure that the university offers international students. This can be a brochure for international students. Or that could be information that is available on the university’s website about a degree programme. In addition, I create analyses and data evaluations and advise various departments and people at the university with regard to addressing international prospective students.

What advice do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?

Mirko Petersen: On the one hand, I would recommend thinking about everything I did during my doctorate in order to then answer the following questions for myself: What qualities were necessary for this and what skills did I acquire? And how can I use these qualities and skills in the fields in which I would like to work after completing my doctorate? For example, my international experience in the academic world was very important to me. On the other hand, however, it is about developing work contexts that differ from academic activities. For example, when starting out in international university marketing, one should ask: What structures exist at the university for addressing and supporting international students? And how can I find out more about it? For a lot of work in university administration, it is an advantage of – on the basis of a doctorate – knowing how science works. At the same time, it is important to detach yourself from your own scientific achievements for this activity: the list of publications is no longer the most important reference, but rather certain problem-solving skills that are central to the aspired position in science administration. This transition is not always easy, which is why you shouldn’t expect a smooth transition. A certain “idle” should be planned.

Mirko, thank you for the conversation.

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

The complete conversation (in German)is available here:

Komplettversion als PDF

Further information on the project "Non-academic careers" is available (here), the previous interviews in the series are available (here).

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BGHS Annual Review 2020

Veröffentlicht am 11. Januar 2021

:: BGHS Annual Review 2020::

Unfortunately, we were not able to meet as usual in December 2020 for the BGHS members’ meeting and the subsequent winter party. An overview of the BGHS community and activities as well as the activities of the Doctoral Representatives can be found in the BGHS Annual Review 2020:

Komplettversion als PDF

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Reports about Practical Projects #2

Veröffentlicht am 7. Januar 2021

:: Non-academic careers::

Reports about Practical Projects #2

"Reports about Practical Projects" are written by doctoral students who have designed and carried out a practical project in cooperation with a non-university organization. The BGHS has been supporting these projects with scholarships since 2020. In the second part of the series, Daniele Toro reports on his exhibition project on Forced labour under German rule during World War II in southern Westphalia.

Forced labour under German rule during World War II in southern Westphalia (1939–1945)

In my practical project, I have begun to organize a small-format traveling exhibition that contributes to the regional confrontation with the complex of topics of forced labor under the national socialist rule.The background of my project is that the scientific reappraisal of mass shootings of Soviet and Polish forced laborers in March 1945, which was started in spring 2019 by the Regional Association of Westphalia-Lippe in the Warstein-Meschede area, and especially the archaeological findings about it, generated a broad public resonance in the local society of southern Westphalia. It became clear that Nazi forced labor as a historical topic met with lively interest. This attention can be traced back to the fact that the region was only peripherally involved in the historiographical reappraisal, which in the 2000s pushed ahead with a detailed investigation and clarification of the so-called "use of foreigners" under National Socialism. There is still a public need in the region for a historically informed reappraisal.

Image 1: The analysis and digitization of archival records in the reading room of the city archive of Iserlohn (Photo: Daniele Toro, 2020).

I completed the research of the scientific basis and the location of the archive materials in the spring during a stay at the Institute for Social Movements and the Library of the Ruhr Area in Bochum. Now that the practical project is over, I am summarizing the results of my archival research in an essay. These results also form the basis for exploratory talks and networking with other institutional actors on the ground who are interested in creating the exhibition. In the hope that 2021 will bring continued improvement and more concrete prospects, the exhibition project and applications for third-party funding are now in the starting point.

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Practitioners in talk #15

Veröffentlicht am 11. Dezember 2020

:: Non-university careers ::

Practitioners in talk #Part 15

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. Christian Möller spoke to us about his work as scientific employee of the foundation „Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen“.

Christian Möller (First from right) at the "Parliament Night" of the State Parliament of North Rhine-Westphalia in September 2019 © Sara-Marie Demiriz

Christian, you finished your PhD at BGHS in 2018, and now you are working for the foundation “Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen”. If you remember when you started your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Christian Möller: After finishing my doctoral thesis, I had a position that lasted a few months after my disputation. After the disputation, I set myself up fairly broadly: On the one hand, I developed an exposé for a postdoc project and looked for scholarships or positions at graduate schools. On the other hand, my wife and I had two children while I was writing my dissertation. And I said from the start: It would be wrong to just focus on your career at university. That is why I looked for advertisements on the “Stellenmarkt NRW”, for example. There are not only advertised positions at universities, but also in the public sector as a whole. This is how I became aware of a call for tenders from the state parliament: there was a planning group “History, Politics and Democracy of North Rhine-Westphalia” that had the task of launching a “House of History” [in German: “Haus der Geschichte”]. That interested me because the position is in my field of work: Contemporary history after 1945. I applied there, was invited to an interview – and then I needed patience. I applied shortly after my disputation in July 2018 and started working in the state parliament in June 2019.

Where are you working now outside the university?

Christian Möller: Initially, I worked in the state parliament and now I’m working for the foundation “Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen” which was established by law of December 19, 2019 and was constituted in spring 2020. On the one hand, we have been commissioned to design an anniversary exhibition for the coming year on the subject of 75 years of history in North Rhine-Westphalia. And then, beyond that, to design and build a permanent exhibition with a collection for a “Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen”. Comparable to the “Haus der Geschichte” in Bonn.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?

Christian Möller: I slipped into museum work without aiming for this occupational field and without doing a traineeship ship on the way there. I'm an exception, and this has to do with the fact that the “Haus der Geschichte Nordrhein-Westfalen” is planned both as a museum and a research institute. Anyone who aims to work in a museum should do a traineeship. In general, I would like to give one more tip that contradicts the goal of completing a doctoral project in three years: On the one hand, it makes sense to consistently pursue your own topic in the course of a dissertation and to complete the dissertation project quickly. On the other hand, part-time jobs – including activities that have nothing to do with your own dissertation topic – can bring experiences that later turn out to be highly relevant. For example, I worked on the history of the Red Cross association in Halle/Westphalia on a freelance basis. When applying for my current position, it was an important detail to show that I was concerned with local history in North Rhine-Westphalia. If you decide to finish your own dissertation project consistently and quickly, or to take up a part-time job to “set yourself up more broadly”, I would recommend the part-time job.

Christian, thank you for the conversation.

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

The complete conversation is available here (only in German):

Komplettversion als PDF

Further information about the project "Non-university careers" is available (here), previous interviews in the series (here).

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Information on stays abroad and academic writing

Veröffentlicht am 24. November 2020

Information on stays abroad and academic writing

On 11 November 2020, the BGHS organised an information meeting with the International Office and the Writing Centre at Bielefeld University via Zoom. At the meeting, Karin Kruse from the International Office explained financing options for stays abroad during doctoral studies. Stefanie Haacke-Werron from the Writing Centre gave general tips on the writing process of the dissertation.

The presentations of the meeting can be found here.

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Mentoring Program “Non-university careers for humanists and social scientists“

Veröffentlicht am 12. November 2020

The BGHS fosters PhD candidates’ individual career planning and awards. Starting on January 2021, up to four places will be offered in the mentoring program “Non-university careers for humanists and social scientists” for the duration of nine months. Applications must be submitted by November 30th, 2020.

The BGHS mentoring “Non-University Careers for Humanists and Social Scientists” is aimed at doctoral candidates at the BGHS. As part of the mentoring program, the participants exchange ideas about their career plans as humanists and social scientists with their own mentors from non-university organizations (“mentoring tandem”), among the participants (“peer mentoring”), and as part of an accompanying program organized by the BGHS.

You can find the call for applications here (Link). Information on the mentoring program is also available on BGHSʼ website (Link).

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Welcome Day Winter Term 2020/21

Veröffentlicht am 29. Oktober 2020

Welcome Day Wintersemester 2020/21

:: 21 new doctoral researchers at the BGHS ::

On Wednesday, 28 October, the digital Welcome Day for the winter semester 2020/21 took place at the BGHS. BGHS Directors Thomas Welskopp and Ruth Ayaß welcomed the 21 new doctoral researchers, who had the opportunity to introduce themselves and get to know the doctoral representatives and the staff of the BGHS office. Sabine Schäfer then introduced the BGHS doctoral training and study programme. Despite the unusual circumstances, we wish all new members a good start to their doctoral studies at the BGHS.

The presentation of the Welcome Day is available here:

Komplettversion als PDF


New doctoral researchers and their projects:

  • Mathilde Ackermann: The Man in the Middle. Soziale und hierarchische Beziehungen auf den Sklavenplantagen auf Saint-Domingue im 18. und 19. Jahrhundert
  • Clara Camille Held: Zwangsarbeit in OWL während der NS-Diktatur. Der Einsatz der Gefangenen des Lages Stalag 326 in Stukenbrock
  • Frederic Kunkel: Standardisierung der Immobilienbewertung in Großbritannien 1970-1995
  • Malte Wittmaack: Fremde Körper in fremder Kultur? Die christlich-europäische Wahrnehmung der Bevölkerung des Osmanischen Reiches
  • Hannah Louise Brown: Tensions between environmental and social goals: An analysis of climate change policy in the European Union
  • Alina Isakova: Do international organizations actually cooperate? Factors influencing cooperation between inter- and non-governmental organizations in early warning and response to violent conflicts
  • Jonas Fritzler:Who defends human security norms in times of crisis? Western small states and middle power norm entrepreneurship against the backdrop of a changing world order
  • Frank Meyhöfer: World diagnoses: Social theory between science and public intervention
  • Robin Schulze Waltrup: Ideas and discourses on eco-social policy as a new paradigm in global governance? Exploring the merging of environmental and social policy ideas in the OECD and the World Bank
  • Zaza Sophie Louise Zindel: Using Social Media for Recruitment of Rare Populations
  • Susanne Dimmer: Stigmatisierung oder Selbstbestimmung: Eine empirische Untersuchung zu den Effekten von Etikettierungsprozessen auf die Identität polyamorös lebender Frauen
  • Maximilian Wächter: Zur Messung populistischer und konspiratorischer Einstellungen
  • Katerina Volkov: Between multilateralism, bilateralism, and unilateralism: An analysis of the Russian Federation's involvement in international organizations, 1945-2020
  • Oday Uraiqat : Populism in World Society
  • Minh Ngoc Luong: Moral Struggles and Politics of Care under Market Socialism: Welfare provision for migrant workers in global factories in Vietnam
  • Maria del Carmen Mayer: Transformative Strategien und kollektives Handeln in der COVID-19 Pandemie. Ein Vergleich der Solidaritätsbrigaden in Mailand und Neapel
  • Yiming Zhang : Modern Practice of Traditional Craftsmen from the Perspective of Field Variation
  • Weijing Wang : Returning Migrants for Rural Revitalization: Changing Rural Development Discourse and Practice in China
  • Tatiana Saraseko: Urban renaissance in world society: Actorness of global cities in global governance
  • Malte Neuwinger: The emergence of large-scale field experiments in social policy: How boundary organizations shape global institutions
  • Katherina Lampe: Interaktionssoziologische Analysen der Schiedsrichterkommunikation im Handball
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Successfully completed doctorates

Veröffentlicht am 16. Oktober 2020

Successfully completed doctorates

In the summer semester 2020, eight BGHS members altogether successfully completed their doctorates, seven in the Faculty of Sociology and one in the Department of History.

Krunoslav Stojakovic (Geschichte): Die politisch-kulturelle Avantgarde in Jugoslavien 1960-1970

Justus Heck (Soziologie): Vermittlung im Streit. Gesellschafts- und interaktionstheoretische Studien unter besonderer Berücksichtigung des Mediationsparadoxes

Susanne Richter (Soziologie): Hallo Schönheiten! Performances und Aushandlungen von Weiblichkeit und ihrer Position in der Geschlechterordnung in der YouTube Beauty Community

Henrik Pruisken (Soziologie): Mechanismen geschlechtsspezifischer und statusbasierter Anpassungen beruflicher Ziele im Ausbildungsverlauf

Simon Lange (Soziologie): ASEAN: Die globale Diffusion regionaler Integration. Eine Analyse am Beispiel der sicherheitspolitischen und sozio-kulturellen ASEAN-Gemeinschaft

Yasin Sunca (Soziologie): The International Constitution of Democratic Confederalism: Lineages of Hegemony and Resistance in the Kurdish Political Space

Aziz Elmuradov (Soziologie): Russia and EU in the New World Disorder. Revisiting ‘old’ concepts in the study of Russian foreign policy

Anatoly Boyashov (Soziologie): Networks of the UN Human Rights Council in Prevention of Human Rights Violations

The BGHS congratulates and wishes all the best and much success for the future!


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Practitioners in talk #14

Veröffentlicht am 28. September 2020

:: Non-academic careers::

Practitioners in talk #Part 14

Many roads lead out of the BGHS. But where do paths lead to after the doctorate? In the summer semester, we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Christoph Karlheim spoke to us about his work as head of the “Innovation & Research” department at the Evangelisches Klinikum Bethel (EvKB).

Christoph Karlheim (second from left) and his colleague Gerrit Eliaß in front of the EvKB’s “Waldlaboratorium”.

Christoph, if you remember when you started your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Christoph Karlheim: During my doctorate, I had coaching advice in order to find out: Do I want to stay in the academic field? Or do I want to get out of science? If you have studied sociology like me and have a PhD in health sciences: What areas are there outside the university in which I can work? And do I want to go there? During my doctorate, for example, I worked on projects in which health insurance companies or the “Landeszentrum Gesundheit” (Regional Health Center) in North Rhine-Westphalia were involved, i.e. actors at the interfaces between scientific and practical fields. Before I defended my dissertation, I then started applying for postdoc positions because I thought: Well, you will definitely find something there. The coaching made it clear to me, however, that I would only accept a postdoc position if I couldn't find anything else. I then became aware that the EvKB had announced a position for a “research officer”. I still work at the EvKB today.

What does your work look like now?

Christoph Karlheim: When I started at the EvKB in November 2016, I had a position as research officer to support actors in the hospital in the application for research projects. In the meantime, this position in the EvKB has become a small department called “Innovation & Research”, in which I work with two colleagues. To give an example: An employee of the hospital has an idea for a scientific research project. Our task is then to find suitable funding institutions or programs, to assist in writing the project application, and to calculate the costs of the project with the departments involved. If I am familiar with the topic of a project – these are primarily health services research projects – I will also contribute to the content of the application. The initiative for research projects can also come from clients who want to carry out clinical studies on the use of drugs, medical devices, other new innovative processes or therapies with us.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?

Christoph Karlheim: From my perspective, it is very important for sociologists or historians which topics one has dealt with. So, if you have dealt with illness and health as a sociologist, for example, then you are qualified for many activities in this field. These do not necessarily have to be activities that have to do with research. For example, I know many sociologists who work for health insurance companies and who organize, coordinate or take on management and administrative tasks there. So, there are two questions that are important to clarify: What subject area am I interested in as a sociologist or historian? And how can I acquire additional skills in this area? Contacts are also madefrom there: You get them anyway when you are involved in a subject area.

Christoph, thank you for the conversation.

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann

The complete conversation is available here (only in German):

Komplettversion als PDF

Further information about the project "Non-university careers" is available (here), previous interviews in the series (here).

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Practitioners in talk #13

Veröffentlicht am 17. September 2020

:: Non-academic careers ::

Practitioners in talk #Part 13

Many roads lead out of the BGHS. But where do paths lead to after the doctorate? In the summer semester we talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their profession outside the university. Devrimsel Nergiz spoke to us about her work as managing director of the Federal Immigration and Integration Council.

Devrimsel Nergiz © private

Devrimsel, you did your doctorate at the BGHS in 2012 and are now working as managing director of the Federal Immigration and Integration Council (BZI). If you remember when you started your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Devrimsel Nergiz: I must say that I was able to gain practical experience at a relatively early stage. I started working for a member of the Bundestag during my doctorate, and towards the end of my doctorate this led to another position for me. I really enjoyed working in the Bundestag because I was able to experience and help shape various perspectives of political practice. At the same time I was able to integrate scientific impulses, approaches and concepts into political work.

Where are you working now outside the university?

Devrimsel Nergiz: I am managing director and project manager of the BZI and its support association. The BZI is the nationwide association of the regional organisations of municipal integration, migration and foreigners advisory boards. The BZI stands for 6,000 politically active people with a history of immigration in about 400 democratically legitimized municipal migration advisory boards in almost all German states and is thus a symbol of lived democracy and a culture of responsibility that works even without a German passport. We work across religious, ethnic and party lines. The expansion of the possibilities of political participation of migrants and the sensitization for the different possibilities of participation within the liberal-democratic basic order are a special concern of ours. To this end, we are in close dialogue with the German federal government, ministries, members of the German Bundestag, and national and state institutions such as federal and state centers for political education, broadcasting corporations, and civil society organizations.

What does your work look like now?

Devrimsel Nergiz: My task is to support the organisation on the one hand in building up its office in terms of structure, personnel and strategy and on the other hand to represent the organisation to the outside world. This includes, among other things, developing new projects in order to act more independently and sustainably; setting political priorities for our vision of helping Germany become a more democratic, diverse society - but also purely organizational matters such as project, event and personnel management, public relations and networking. My previous professional positions help me a lot in structuring political lobbying and association work, because I know how the political business and science tick.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?

Devrimsel Nergiz: Being open and willing to learn is very important to me. For me, this also includes putting aside a bit of the vanity of the academy. Important work for the society/societies is done at the grassroots level. To paraphrase Karl Marx: you have to dare to change, instead of just interpreting the world differently.

Devrimsel, thank you for the conversation.

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

The complete conversation is available here (only in German):

Komplettversion als PDF

Further information about the project "Non-university careers" is available (here), previous interviews in the series (here).

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Scholarships for Practical Projects

Veröffentlicht am 31. August 2020

The BGHS fosters PhD candidatesʼ individual career planning and invites applications for up to four scholarships for Practical Projects, starting in January, February, or March 2021. The Scholarships have a duration of three months. Applications must be submitted by 15 October 2020.

Practical Projects offer doctoral researchers the opportunity to compare and further develop their own skills, experience and goals with the requirements and circumstances of a potential professional field – and to discuss these issues both with colleagues at university, and with social scientists and humanists that started their careers beyond university.

You can find the call for applications here (Link). On 1 October, a meeting to inform about practical projects will take place at the BGHS-Lounge (X-B2-109) at 2:15 pm. Information on Practical Projects is available on BGHSʼ website as well: (Link).

Gesendet von MChrist in Allgemein

Dominik Hofmann: Via DAAD Scholarship to Mexico

Veröffentlicht am 29. Juli 2020

It has been almost exactly one year since the moment I was informed that I had received the DAAD scholarship I had applied for to spend half a year at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico City in order to advance the work on my dissertation. I was informed that I had been given the Gustav-Schübeck-Scholarship (Link), which is awarded by the DAAD Foundation, an affiliate to the DAAD e.V.
The amount of the grant, adapted to the cost of living in the destination country, was generous and enabled me to travel to different parts of the country, which helped me enormously in my work. I was given much independence in organizing my stay. Taking care of the flight, the accommodation, the contact with the host university and my life and project planning on site were left up to me, but were covered by the scholarship or by corresponding additional lump sums transferred monthly to me. I found it very pleasant to have this freedom, especially since I was always given prompt and competent advice in case of questions and doubts.
The moment when I received the confirmation email—separated from the present by the outbreak of the pandemic and my experiences in Mexico—right now seems to have passed a very long time ago, but I nevertheless still clearly remember it because it was a moment of strong relief—more than joy—for me.
As far as I know, the exact statistics on accepted and rejected applicants are not published, but the rate of accepted applications is, according to hearsay and the opinion of all those who have advised me, much higher than in other funding agencies. My relief, however, was not only due to the resolution of the general uncertainty about the success of the application, but also to the fact that some other uncertainties had disappeared. I had invested a reasonably large amount of time and effort in my application, which included the expected (letter of motivation, work plan, certificates, proof of language skills, two letters of recommendation). There were some complications with getting one of the letters of recommendation to the DAAD, the communication with the DAAD, which was only possible via the online forum where the application was also managed, was rather slow and during the whole spring I had not been able to plan for the second half of 2019, of which I didn't know if I would spend it in Germany and in Mexico. I had waited a few months longer than originally announced for the notification I now received.
Correspondingly, the relief changed almost instantly into the necessary busyness, because I only had one month until my departure. The DAAD offers two variants of country-specific PhD scholarships: for 1-6 months and for 7-12 months. In both cases, for the application one chooses the period of time that seems appropriate and specifies a departure date that must be within the period until the start of the next application phase. In my case, I had chosen a rather early date, corresponding to the beginning of the Mexican semester, so that a lot had to be organized in a short time. For example, it would not have been possible to apply for a student visa in that time (fortunately, tourist visas for Mexico are issued without prior application and for 180 days upon entry).

I have described my perception of my everyday life, my host university, some experiences on research excursions and my own privileges as a kind of narrative in this detailed report (Link in German), the (necessarily extremely) shortened version of which, is the following:

Let me begin my report, which is really more of a story, with my first day at Universidad Iberoamericana in Mexico, which I will call simply “the Ibero” in the text. I had gotten lost, and, in order to get to the university campus, I had to cross two four-lane roads and an overpass, which turned out to be a walk of nearly an hour. Fortunately, I had planned one and a half hours for just such contingencies, because I knew that my chances of not only getting on the correct minibus, but also getting off in the right place, were very slim. Traffic is one of the main topics of all conversations I had in Mexico City. Since the weather here never changes, the time it takes to get from A to B serves as a common and innocuous topic for small talk (an equivalent to talking about what one has eaten – the common topic in less urban regions of Mexico).
For a while I considered getting a bicycle, but I always discarded the idea, among other reasons because I did not want to expose myself to pollutants and breathe them in. So I kept taking buses, which emit the very pollutants I aimed to avoid. Traffic breeds the necessity for more traffic.
In the shadow of an impressive building ruin at the entrance gate to the university, I was met by Professor Javier Torres Nafarrate, who had invited me to come to Mexico. All entrances to the campus are heavily guarded; access without a chip card is not possible. The Ibero is a private university, founded and financed by the Jesuit order. Though committed to the order’s ideals in general, it is independent in terms of its teaching. Within a highly stratified system of higher education, it is considered an elite university. At the library, I found – as predicted by research I did before my trip – a wealth of books (naturally mostly in Spanish), to which I had no access in Germany. Unfortunately, the computer at the workstation provided to me in Professor Torres’ office was impossibly slow, so I always worked on my laptop.
My “privileged status” there was more structural than situational: it did not directly benefit me in any way. But this was not the case in the academic context of my stay: Not only did I, as is common in academic work, use the contact networks of my professors, but beyond that I am fairly certain that the mention of my home country of Germany in general and my home university Bielefeld in particular helped me with requests I made for interviews and meetings with academics, journalists, lawyers and human rights activists that I needed for my dissertation. I believe I was given appointments that probably would not have been granted to Mexican students at a public provincial university. Despite this, I decided to mention my origins, as the main purpose of my trip was, after all, to conduct these interviews and discussions.

Also, my research project deals with a topic that is widespread in Mexico, but hardly exists in my home country. It deals with “impunity discourse”, meaning the social discussion of the fact that in many regions of the world, the large majority of all crimes goes unpunished. I am mainly interested in the forms in which these discussions occur, as well as the social reactions to such discourse. I went to Latin America because, here, impunity discourse (and I mean explicitly the discourse, not necessarily the phenomenon it refers to) is the most pronounced of all regions worldwide.
This was evidenced by the conference at the Colegio de México (Colmex), which can be considered the peak of Mexico’s academic hierarchy. The opportunity to introduce my research project at that conference was one of the absolute highlights of my visit. On that occasion, I also encountered the institutional library for the first time, whose phenomenal inventory includes practically all of the literature I had previously searched for in vain at German libraries and those of the Ibero. This includes, in particular, the digital library, which can be accessed from anywhere on campus, which is why from then on, I was often drawn to the Colmex to work.
On a personal level, I tried to lead a “Mexican life” – whatever that may be – which was certainly aided by my good Spanish skills, refined by several long-term visits to Spanish-speaking countries. These skills are likely the reason why I was asked by the Ibero to do some translation work for a journal. During my half-year visit, I frequently translated brief articles and, in the end, made arrangements for further cooperation in this area in the future. One of the ways in which I attempted to integrate into everyday life in Mexico was by living in a house with Mexicans.

At the time of my application for the scholarship I had three basic subject-specific objectives for my stay: To present and discuss my dissertation project in the socio-cultural and geographical context to which its content relates to a large degree; to conduct expert interviews and collect material for a discourse analysis; and to generate academic exchange at a general level. My hopes were fulfilled or exceeded on all three counts.
I am honestly convinced that my work advanced significantly during the half year of my stay, not only academically, but personally as well. Thanks to many encounters, I gained innumerable and priceless insights even beyond the realm of a doctorate. I am deeply grateful to the DAAD-Stiftung for making this experience possible.

Gesendet von MChrist in Allgemein

New BGHS coordinator for internationalisation

Veröffentlicht am 29. Juli 2020

Clara Buitrago is the new coordinator for internationalisation in the BGHS office. For Clara it is a return to the BGHS, because she did her PhD at the BGHS. Sabine Schäfer asked her what it is like to be part of the BGHS again, what she finds important for international doctoral researchers and what she is most looking forward to. The interview can be heard here:

Further information on the BGHS-Office: Website.

Gesendet von MChrist in Allgemein

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