:: Non-academic careers ::
Practitioners in talk #Part 6
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. Jette Prochnow-Furrer talked with us about her work at the „Forum Migration“.
Jette as Doctoral Representative at the inaugural ceremony of the BGHS.
Jette, you did your doctorate at the BGHS in 2013 and are now working as a DAF teacher in Visp. In the beautiful canton of Valais. If you remember the start of your career: How did you find your way into your profession?
Jette Prochnow-Furrer: I found it through volunteering. At the height of the refugee crisis, as it was then called, I was still working at the university. In 2015, people were desperately looking for people to teach German as a foreign language here in Switzerland. Especially for illiterates. Because you have to work in small groups. And I started unskilled in this field. A volunteer was needed to assist a teacher in a literacy class. So I got into it. We were then offered further training as volunteers. And through these further trainings I qualified myself more and more in this field. Although I was only a volunteer at first. But I found more and more pleasure in it and then I started full-time.
Where are you working now outside the university?
Jette Prochnow-Furrer: The institution is called "Forum Migration". It is a relatively small association that takes care of the concerns of migrants: both migrant workers and refugees. The Forum Migration offers various services: legal advice, help in finding accommodation, help in finding work, discussion groups and language courses. The Migration Forum has a mandate from the canton to conduct language and integration courses.
Jette in conversation with language course participants in Visp
What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in your profession?
Jette Prochnow-Furrer: If you are interested in leaving science after your doctorate, I would generally recommend that you start doing further training. I was still working at the university when I started volunteering as a language teacher. And I took an adult education course outside the university. In terms of content, it wasn't all that different from university didactics courses at university. But in this course I met people from my future employer. And I expanded my appearance a little: I was able to show that my life was not just in an ivory tower. After all, in Switzerland it doesn't matter whether you teach yoga in the adult education centre or business German in the language school: you must have the "adult educator". My second tip is not to think about it when leaving science: I didn't get my doctorate for that after all! I would rather say: The earlier you take the initiative to get out of science, the smaller the risk of becoming an unemployed fifty-year-old academic. During my dissertation I had a lot of fun doing science. I wouldn't have wanted to do anything else. But there are still other things that can be just as much fun. After all, we doctoral candidates are not free of talent.
Jette, thank you for the conversation.
The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.
The complete conversation is available here (only in German):
On Friday, 19 June, the BGHS hosted the Welcome Day for the summer semester 2020. Due to Corona, the event this semester could unfortunately not take place in the seminar room followed by a coffee break in the lounge. The six new doctoral researchers, all of them historians, were welcomed by BGHS Executive Mangager Dr. Sabine Schäfer via video conference. Despite the unusual circumstances, we wish all new doctoral researchers a good start at the BGHS.
The presentation of the Welcome Day is available here:
New doctoral researchers and their projects:
- Olga Sabelfeld: Semantiken des Vergleichens in Parlamenten: Sozialpolitik als Stabilitätsbestreben und Veränderungsproduktion
- Lukas Schmidt: Geschichten über Deutschland. Wechselwirkungen zwischen Nationskonzeption, Narration und Identitätskonstruktion in Deutschlanderzählungen
- Catharina Wessing: Kolonial-landwirtschaftlicher Wissenstransfer in der Weimarer Republik
- Maximilian Kucknat: Im Bann des 'fremden' Blickes. Ein Vergleich der Fremd-, Feind- und Selbstbildkonstruktionen in den ost- und westdeutschen Wochenschauen während der 50er und 60er Jahre
- Ioannis Stavroulias: Localizing the Anthropocene: A History of Skouries and Attica through Residues from 1950 to the Present
- Itxaso García Chapinal: Other Knowledges: A Decolonial Analysis of the Wixárika environmental Knowledge and its Shift through the Public Primary School since 1980
Prof. Dr. Detlef Sack, dean of the Faculty of Sociology, and Prof. Dr. Ursula Mense-Petermann, director of the BGHS, got interviewed by the University about the topic of how to deal with (doctoral) students which actively support conspiracy theories or are involved in extreme political parties.
Standing up for freedom of expression and making science the standard
At Bielefeld University, we have a few students and doctoral candidates who are known to support conspiracy theories or who are involved in extreme right-wing parties that propagate nationalist and racist sentiments. Such is currently the case at Bielefeld University’s Faculty of Sociology, where a debate is taking place about an enrolled doctoral student who is politically active in an extreme right-wing party. For some of the discussants, the question is: should he be allowed to continue his studies and do his doctorate at Bielefeld University without further ado, or should he be excluded from the university’s academic life? How do the Faculty of Sociology and the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), where the doctoral candidate in question is pursuing structured doctoral studies, respond to this question? An interview with Professor Detlef Sack, dean of the Faculty of Sociology (FfS), and Professor Ursula Mense-Petermann, director of the BGHS.
For a complete version of the interview click here:
Miriam Kanne, former member of the BGHS-Office has published the article "Von der Internationalisierung zur Internationalität? Über das Spannungsverhältnis zwischen Hochschulstrategie, Alltagsrealität und den Erwartungshorizonten internationaler Nachwuchswissenschaftler*innen: Start-up scholars an der Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS)" [From internationalization to internationality? On the tension between university strategy, everyday reality and the expectations of young international researchers: Start-up scholars at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS)] in the BGHS Working Paper Series.
In the course of the internationalisation efforts of German universities and the critical discourse that is being conducted on this topic, the question of how the strategic plan-ning of 'internationalisation' is reflected in the everyday academic life of all those who are the main subjects of 'internationality' is gaining in importance: How and where do incoming students find their place at German universities – especially those who want to make the step from a Master's degree to a doctorate? The assessments of these questions are based on the evaluations of international Master's graduates in sociology and history who were guests at the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS) at Bielefeld University for four months as part of the program “Start-up scholarships”, in order to make the transition to doctoral studies. (Abstract of the Article)