InterDisciplines - Summary of a dialogue
Since 2010, InterDisciplines has stood for a supporting pillar of the BGHS, the interdisciplinary and international exchange between social and historical sciences. After 17 successful editions, the last edition 2/2018 "Social History - Historical Sociology: On Interdisciplinary Research" for the time being now takes us back to the beginnings of this idea.
With the end of funding by the Excellence Initiative, editorial work will cease with the publication of the last issue.
That is why we have taken stock and are happy to take a look at the past and present of InterDisciplines with Prof. Dr. Thomas Welskopp and Sebastian Schlerka
Left: Sebastian M. Schlerka.
Right: Prof. Dr. Thomas Welskopp. Photo: Hannah Grüneberg
"A relevant scientific journal and not only an internal magazine."
Thomas Welskopp is Deputy Director of the BGHS and Professor of the Department of History of Modern Societies (18th-20th centuries). Since the first issue he has been editor of the InterDisciplines.
Thomas, how did the idea of publishing a journal come up?
TW : "Our intention was to identify the BGHS as an innovative research context, to offer doctoral students' results a forum that is truly perceived and recognized in the professional world even before they complete their dissertations. And to create an experimental field for interdisciplinary debates that enriches research in all the disciplines involved and has a voice in the international research community."
What is the concept of InterDisciplines?
TW : In our opinion, the above objectives could be achieved best with a well-done online journal (although there were limited print editions). The main criteria of interdisciplinarity and internationality were implemented with themed issues that were of interest to all disciplines and with an openness to contributions from external sources as well as from all academic career levels.
How does quality assurance work at InterDisciplines?
TW : The InterDisciplines were supposed to be a real professional journal, not a BGHS house internal magazine and more than a "grey" working paper series for doctoral students. Therefore, we have installed an elaborate quality assurance procedure, with a two-stage peer review process (double blind) and professional (mainly foreign-language) editing.
What gave you the most pleasure?
TW: The InterDisciplines were an exciting intellectual project in which many interesting discussions about disciplinary boundaries actually took place. The cooperation of the editors, especially with Kathleen Thelen and Peter Jelavich, was also gratifying, as was the commitment of our reviewers. The appearance of each issue was a joyful event. And to be completely honest, I really enjoyed the choice of motifs for the covers.
"It's exciting to experience the process of a publication"
As a valuable and sustainable link between various offers and initiatives of the BGHS, InterDisciplines enabled doctoral students to try their hand both as an author and as a guest editor.
Sebastian M. Schlerka is doing his doctorate at the BGHS under the working title "More than secularism: Islam and Muslims in German parliamentary debates" and has worked as guest editor of the current InterDisciplines.
Sebastian, how did you come to work as a guest editor?
SMS: I was part of the organizing team for the Annual Seminar in 2017. There I had already expressed interest quite early to participate in the publication of some contributions, which has always happened in the InterDisciplines so far.
What was that experience like for you?
SMS: Hard working, but exciting. Of course it was a lot of work, especially because I published an article in the magazine myself, which had to be revised several times and I had to deal with a source that was not easy to interpret for the Diss at that time. Nevertheless, I found it exciting to experience the process of a journal publication first hand, from the completion of the call to the search for reviewers and the selection of contributions to the publication of the issue.
What interested you in the topic of the current issue?
SMS: Since my bachelor's degree in both subjects, sociology and history, I have felt a great closeness between the two subjects and have therefore already worked interdisciplinary in my bachelor's thesis. It dealt with the conflicts within the republican camp in the Spanish Civil War from Bourdieu's perspective. All in all, I think that both disciplines with their common object - human societies that have "become and are always becoming" (Norbert Elias) - can only benefit from cooperation.
In addition to the BGHS internal work on the magazine, the question arises as to how far InterDisciplines could reach. The reception data indicate a high benefit. In 2017, approximately 35,000 different visitors* were registered on the homepage with a total of about 437,000 accesses. A new edition generates more hits. In November 2017, for example, the number of visits to the "Postcolonialism and China" edition rose from 37,000 to 61,000.
The evaluation is based on OJS views and AWStats from 2010-2018.
- Malte Griesse: Isolation, imposture and the impact of the ›Taboo‹ in Stalinist society. A diarist on the verge of loneliness http://doi.org/10.4119/UNIBI/indi-v1-i2-18
- Stefan B. Kirmse: »Law and Society« in imperial Russia http://doi.org/10.4119/UNIBI/indi-v3-i2-67
- Theo Jung: The writing self. Rousseau and the author’s identity http://doi.org/10.4119/UNIBI/indi-v1-i2-19
The BGHS would like to thank all editors, Sandra Lustig (editing), Anne Ware (layout), Melanie Eulitz (editorial manager) and Thomas Abel (cover-design) for their many years of cooperation. In addition, thanks go to all guest editors and reviewers as well as all editorial assistants.
We are happy to remain in touch with possible perspectives and would be pleased if the dialogue could be continued.
Our new InterDisciplines-Homepage: