#Talk 3: Non academic careers

Veröffentlicht am 29. Juli 2019

Non-academic careers: Doctoral students in conversation - Part 3

There are many ways out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? In the summer semester, we talk to doctoral students who are already gaining professional experience outside the university while working on their dissertation. Tabea Koepp talked to us about her work for the organisational consultancy "Metaplan".

Impressions of Tabea’s working place Photo: Tabea Koepp

Tabea, you are working forMetaplan. Where are you working at exactly?

Tabea Koepp: Metaplan is a consulting agency that offers Structure & Strategy Consulting on the one hand and advises executives of companies on the other hand. On the other hand, there is the Leadership & Organization Academy with a wide range of seminars and training courses for managers and consultants. I have already worked in both areas, but I am currently more strongly employed in the Academy. Because that can be better combined with a doctorate at the same time.

In structural and strategy consulting, you have to be relatively spontaneous and available. That's not possible in a small position like the one I have now. At the Academy, I can also work with a smaller proportion of the staff. There, for example, it is my job to help develop new seminar content, such as a module on "Organizational Culture". The aim of this work is to develop sociological concepts that can be intuitively applied by practitioners.

What does your work - status: now - look like?

Tabea Koepp: When developing seminar contents, for example, I first consider together with my colleagues which contents are important. Then I research and develop the content and prepare the poster sets. Metaplan always works with a poster presentation method they invented: the Metaplan method. Occasionally I am also a speaker for these modules.

The picture shows a seminar structure with the Metaplan method. Typical for this is the visualization by means of large-format posters. On the right side of the picture you can see the corresponding partitions and materials. Photo: Tabea Koepp

What are the main tasks you have at work?

Tabea Koepp: At the moment I have two main tasks. On the one hand I'm in charge of the editorial side of Metaplan's customer magazine: the "Versus". The consultants publish texts there that are sociologically informed and at the same time relevant to practice. I edit these texts and work together with a graphic designer on the layout. I also write shorter texts myself. On the other hand, I am in charge of project management for a small English-language self-publishing publishing house that I founded for Metaplan: "Organizational Dialogue Press". Some of our consultants write books in German. I coordinate all the steps on the way from the German manuscript to the finished English book, e.g. translation, editing, typesetting or the development of a new book cover. These are tasks that I am now taking on for Metaplan in addition to my doctorate and my position here at the university. übernehme.

What knowledge and skills do you bring to your work as a sociologist?

Tabea Koepp: Dadurch, dass Metaplan eine dezidiert soziologisch arbeitende Beratung ist, ist mein Fachwissen eine Kernkompetenz. Das Qualifizierungsprogramm der Academy ist zu einem guten Teil im Prinzip eine anwendungsorientierte Einführung in Organisationssoziologie für Praktiker*innen – dort geht es um zentrale soziologische Konzepte wie etwa die „Entscheidungsprämissen“ nach Niklas Luhmann. In den Beratungsprojekten sprechen wir vielleicht nicht von „Entscheidungsprämissen“, sondern übersetzen das in die Sprache der Welt, in der wir uns jeweils bewegen. Wir sagen dann zum Beispiel „robuste Regeln“ – nutzen aber unser analytisches Know How über die Funktionsweise organisationaler Strukturen, um den Anliegen unserer Kund*innen auf die Spur zu kommen.

What tips do you have for colleagues who are looking to get started in your industry?

Tabea Koepp: In any case: do an internship. If you come from university and have no work experience outside of science, in principle you have no other option for starting a career. Some of the interns at Metaplan already have a doctorate. And of course it is extremely useful to gain work experience outside the university and to work in an organisation - no matter what kind. Even if you've only taken on small temporary jobs: For example, you know how meetings work and have practical work experience in organisations. If you want to start at Metaplan not as an intern but as a consultant, you have to have leadership experience in at least one company and be able to work in at least two languages.

Tabea, thanks for talking!

You can find the complete interview as PDF (german) here:

Komplettversion als PDF


Further information on the project "Non-academic careers"

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Science meets Art: ABC-Sculptures as door openers

Veröffentlicht am 17. Juli 2019

Thomas Abel (l.) conceived the exhibition "The ABC of History and Sociology". The research projects of the BGHS are presented - for example by Aanor Roland (m.) or Marcus Carrier (r.). Photo: University of Bielefeld

 The ABC of the BGHS - Door opener into the world of sociology and history

Striking letters between the buildings of the University of Bielefeld have triggered a great riddle in recent weeks: What do they mean, who is behind them and what do restored doors have to do with the BGHS?

Now the university is unveiling the secret behind the project, which was developed by Thomas Abel to provide insights into the worlds of sociology and history. Each letter stands for a doctoral project by BGHS PhD students. Aanor Roland's letter "N", for example, stands for the term "Not", Marcus Carrier got the "Z" as in "Zeuge".

Thomas, Aanor and Marcus explain exactly what this means here:

Blogpost by Uni Bielefeld (german)

Aanor Roland (l.) and Marcus Carrier(r.). Photo: Universität Bielefeld

26 sculptures - 26 research projects. Photo: Universität Bielefeld

Have fun discovering!

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#Talk 2: Non-academic careers

Veröffentlicht am 4. Juli 2019

Non-academic careers: Doctoral students in conversation - Part 2

There are many ways out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? In the summer semester, we talk to doctoral students who are already gaining professional experience outside the university during their time at the BGHS. Stefanie Haupt talked to us about her work for the edition "Die Verfolgung und Ermordung der europäischen Juden durch das Nationalsozialistische Deutschland 1933 - 1945".

Talking: Ulf Ortmann (project coordinator) and Stefanie Haupt Photo: BGHS

Stefanie, you are working for the edition „Judenverfolgung 1933 – 1945“. Where are you working at exactly?

Stefanie Haupt: This is a project that publishes a 16-volume source edition on the Holocaust. This long-term project has been funded by the DFG since 2005 and is based at the University of Freiburg and the Institute of Contemporary History. The institute has its headquarters in Munich and two departments in Berlin. I work in one of these departments, in Lichterfelde in the project office of the Edition. This is a collection of sources that uses contemporary documents to illustrate the Europe-wide dimension of the Holocaust: Over 200 archives are represented with documents in the edition.

For the different geographical and temporal focal points, there are tape editors* - mostly freelance historians* - who search for sources in the various archives and comment on them. In addition, there are translators spread across Europe, scientific editors, translation editors, proofreaders and graphic artists. These different stakeholders are coordinated from the project office.

What does your work - status: now - look like?

Stefanie Haupt: Well, I've worked as a student assistant for the edition before. And now, as a scientific project assistant, I'm actually doing less research than I did as a student assistant back then: At that time I concentrated on a single volume and, for example, researched documents in archives or worked on footnote commentaries. Now, as a scientific project assistant, I coordinate the work on the overall project together with my colleague: for example, we network the translators with the translation editors and the tape editors. Or we take care of the contracts of the student assistants and the finances. I'm doing a lot more administrative work now.

What are the main tasks you have at work?

Stefanie Haupt: The aim is to coordinate the project: to ensure that project plans are adhered to; that texts go from A to B; that invoices from freelancers are paid; or that contracts are concluded with the translators. We also organise book presentations: For each volume of the edition there is at least one event after its publication in which the book is presented to the public. Twelve of 16 volumes have now been published - and four volumes still have to be published until the end of the project in April 2020.

Stefanie at her working space Photo: Stefanie Haupt

What knowledge and skills do you bring to your work as a historian?

Stefanie Haupt: On the one hand, these are all contemporary sources, which are edited, commented on and made accessible to a larger audience through the edition. This is the core competence of historians: that you can work critically with historical sources and classify them. On the other hand, through my studies and my activities during my studies, I know the subject of "National Socialism" and the archive landscape.

When a document facsimile goes through my hand and "NARA" is written on my back and nobody knows: Where did this come from? Then I can say: This is the National Archives and Records Administration, the US Federal Archives. Or, to give another example: We create the registers for the edition, and the institutional register, for example, is very complex. It helps if I know what an extermination camp is and what a concentration camp is. So what is the difference; which camps I classify into which categories; and how the register is then structured.

What I lack for my job, however, is that I didn't learn how to file. That's a challenge when so much writing accumulates: How I file and structure it so that I can still find the information after two years. I don't bring that with me as a historian, and that's learning by doing.

What tips do you have for colleagues who are looking to get started in your industry?

Stefanie Haupt: So, on the one hand, practical experience is useful in archival work. I'm working at a non-university research institute where I worked as an assistant during my studies. And at that time, for example, I was entrusted with archive research or inventory listing. When I took up my position, I didn't need a long familiarization period: neither in the archive nor in the institute, nor in the editing project. For those who are interested in working at non-university research institutions, I recommend looking at the job portals of the umbrella organisations, such as the Leibniz Association. There are always job offers to be found.

Stefanie, thank you very much for the interview!

You can find the complete interview as PDF (german) here:

Komplettversion als PDF


Further information on the project "Non-academic careers":

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Report: Lund-York Conference

Veröffentlicht am 2. Juli 2019

Participants of the conference. Photo: Greta Darkow

Lund York Bielefeld - Conference report:

At the BGHS there are many possibilities for transnational work. An example of this is the Bielefeld-Lund-York conference, which took place this year from 11 to 13 June. Here you can read what it is all about and how participants experienced the conference.

Since 2016 the Department of History and the BGHS cooperate with the National Graduate School of History at Lund University, Sweden, and the PhD Program in History at the University of York, United Kingdom, in doctoral training. A joint PhD conference is held every year and hosted by the partner institutions in turn.

Within the conference the partners aim to support PhD students in creating and sustaining cross-border networks, and to foster commu-nication between young researchers in Europe. The goal of the conference is to practice the short and precise oral presentation of projects in English.

Mehran Haji Mohammadian tells us how he remembers the conference:

"The conference was great! Absolutely! As a student of sociology, I was really excited by the numerous details that historians discussed. The doctoral projects that for at least three years focus on Medals, Intarsia or under the microscope in the seventeenth century! Research about sleep! Or Social Networks in an Early Modern Town. All of them! Before the conference, I had thought historians and sociologists do the same research. But not actually! We normally do not go into this level of details. Many thanks historians."

Maja-Lisa Müller reports positive impressions as well:

"The PhD-Conference Lund/York/Bielefeld has been an overall great experience. As a PhD student in the newly established study programme "Image Science and Art History" it was exciting to connect with other doctoral students in the field and learn about differences and similarities in academic culture. I have profited a lot from the exchange of ideas among the students as well as the valuable advice given by the professors and I'm looking forward to future projects with our partner universities Lund and York."

And Anastasia Zaplatina adds:

"The conference exceeded all my expectations. I have learned a lot from each panel and received a lot of inspiration from each presentation. In particular, I want to notice the workshop prepared by Dr. Chris Renwick which was dedicated to the interdisciplinary approach in social sciences. During the workshop we discussed the ongoing process of changing of borders between disciplines, the impact of interdisciplinary approach on publishing and searching for funding. I am very grateful to all the organizers and participants for the amazing experience."

We thank everyone for joining!

Further Information:

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Annual Seminar 2019

Veröffentlicht am 1. Juli 2019
11th Annual Seminar of the BGHS: 4-6 July 2019

Programm als PDF

The Annual Seminar is a renowned three-day conference format of Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) approaching 11 years in 2019. In cooperation with the collaborative research center (SFB 1288) on "Practices of Comparing", in this year's conference international researchers at an early point in their careers will present their work. The conference deals with the construction of race as well as structural and practical dimensions of racism in an interdisciplinary framework.

Whether in natural sciences, social and human sciences or humanities, race as a concept or central category has been widely contested and criticized. But the construction of race is a crucial part in the processes of making mankind and as an analytical category it is intertwined with the emergence of disciplines in their respective epistemological contexts (e.g. "scientific racism"). The interdisciplinary conference will discuss connections to related discourses such as astronomy, medicine and health as well as philosophy.

Furthermore, racism often finds its expression in a more complex set of practices by actors, institutions and structures that transverses and involves other categories and relations of (in-)equality such as gender and class. For this reason, the conference asks for the status of racism in the reproduction of power relations, processes of social differentiation and material inscriptions, e.g. in schools as institutions, memory culture, state formation or the literary canon.



Another highlight will be an experimental collage film by the artist Ojudun Taiwo Jacob and an exhibition of Diana Ejaita's art works - both related to the topic of the conference.

Location: Bunker Ulmenwall Date: Friday, 5 July, 7:30pm


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