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Two DAAD scholarships awarded

Veröffentlicht am 29. March 2023

Two DAAD Scholarships awarded

Last year, the BGHS successfully applied to the Graduate School Scholarship Programme (GGSP) of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and was awarded a total of four scholarships for international doctoral researchers. The first two scholarship holders have been selected in the BGHS' established gender- and diversity-friendly procedure and have just been confirmed by the DAAD. Yukun Sun from China and Anastasiia Serikova from Kazakhstan will start their doctorate at the BGHS in the winter semester 2023/24.

The two young researchers prevailed in the selection process against great international competition. A total of 65 applications were received in response to the call for applications of the BGHS, 25 of which were considered in principle. Based on reviews from potential supervisors, six persons were invited to the selection interview via Zoom, where they presented their research project and discussed it with the selection committee and the potential supervisor. Subsequently, four persons were selected by the BGHS and nominated to the DAAD for funding, of whom the two first-placed will now receive doctoral scholarships.

The call for applications for two more scholarships in the GSSP, which will be awarded for the summer semester 2024, is currently running until the end of April. The call is aimed at international doctoral candidates, especially from developing and emerging countries. The maximum duration of the scholarships is four years. Click here for the call for applications.

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Working where others go on vacation

Veröffentlicht am 17. March 2023

Working where others go on vacation

Field report about an archive trip to South America

Internationalization is one of the basic principles of the BGHS, and quite a few BGHS members are doing their doctorates on topics that involve different countries and nations. One of them is Tim Rieke, who reports on his experiences during a research trip to Brazil, Chile, Argentina, and Uruguay from May to September 2022, during which he collected source material for his dissertation project on German consuls in South America between 1840 and 1918. Tim's doctoral project is funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation, which also co-financed the archival trip.

My research in the archives focused primarily on correspondence between the consuls and the South American authorities to shed light on the interaction between the two, as well as on any archival material that provided biographical information about the lives of the consuls on the ground. The research trip was a tour for which I planned two to three weeks in each place. I started in São Paulo (Brazil) because I knew the city well already. Although it is enormous and has a sea of skyscrapers in large parts, it always offers corners with a particular charm. I continued to Santiago (Chile), where winter is most noticeable in South America, and not only because of the view of the snow-covered Andes.

(National Archives Chile, Copyright: Tim Rieke)

During my stay, the temperature only rose above 15 degrees Celsius once and was in the single digits most of the time. Buenos Aires (Argentina) came next, an amazing, sprawling and diverse city. After crossing the Río de la Plata, I was in the next South American capital, Montevideo (Uruguay) with its magnificent waterfront. 

(Waterfront Montevideo, Copyright: Tim Rieke)

From there, I travelled back to Brazil and spent time in São Paulo again to complete my research. This was followed by a stay with many sudden downpours at mild temperatures in Salvador da Bahia, a centre of Afro-Brazilian culture.

(Salvador da Bahia, Copyright: Tim Rieke)

And the finale was Rio de Janeiro, the Brazil cliché par excellence, but that doesn't make the city any less worth seeing and spectacular.


Work in archives

My journey has taken me to both state archives and private institutions. The latter are mainly institutes for the history of German immigration and are often run by foundations. There, the number of visitors is usually smaller, the procedures are less formalised, and it is possible to get into a professional exchange with the staff more quickly. But even some of the major archives, such as the archive of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry in Rio de Janeiro, were surprisingly sparsely visited. These archives of foreign ministries are often located in representative buildings worth seeing. It even happened twice, in Rio and Montevideo, that, as a researcher who had travelled from Europe, I was offered a small guided tour of the palaces.

There was a special event in Santiago de Chile when, surprisingly, a strike of the employees at the National Archive ended my research prematurely. The strike started right at the beginning of the second week of my stay there. At first, I still had the hope that I would be able to do at least one or two days of research during my last week in Santiago, but this did not come true. The strike was organised by a union for workers in the field of national cultural heritage (Anatrap). It therefore also affected many other smaller archives and the National Library, which also remained closed for weeks. The union made demands on Chilean politics that were certainly worthy of consideration, which, in addition to better pay for employees, primarily concerned the issue of working conditions. After a while, the archives were open to the public again. Even though it, unfortunately, threw a spanner in the works of my research, I hope it may have ultimately produced a helpful result for one or two of those employed in that field.

(Strike Notice, Copyright: Tim Rieke)

Tips for preparing a research trip

Overall, I am very satisfied with my research trip. Perhaps the most important reason for its success was the early contact with other scientists in the South American countries I visited. On such a trip, it is enormously helpful to exchange ideas in advance with people who know the local conditions (and often also research similar or related topics). They can give you important information about research opportunities and also practical and organisational tips. Corresponding contacts can be established easily through professors from the respective subject area at one's university, in my case, South American history, who can give many recommendations.

Moreover, it is always worthwhile to get in touch with actors in South America on my own initiative. One or another time I simply wrote an email to researchers at the universities there from whom I had read interesting essays or other contributions. And this also applied to the preparation of visits to the various archives. Most of the institutions answered my emails quickly and reliably and also took care of follow-up questions in detail. In any case, I did not sense any of the sluggishness that is sometimes attributed to Latin American research institutions.

My trip was anything but a holiday, despite the exotic places, but the beautiful surroundings and supportive people make it much easier.

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BGHS Year in Review 2022

Veröffentlicht am 18. December 2022

BGHS Year in Review 2022 


 Finally we were able to review the almost past year together and in presence again and even have a Christmas party. On Wednesday, 14 December, the BGHS members’ meeting took place, followed by a party. All those who could not be there or who would like to look back on the year in quiet can find the presentation of the event here.

We wish you a cheerful holiday season and a happy and healthy New Year!

The BGHS office will be closed from 22 December 2022 to 1 January 2023. We will be here for you again from 2 January.

Best wishes from the BGHS team!

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Award for BGHS member Ngoc Luong

Veröffentlicht am 15. December 2022

Award for BGHS member Ngoc Luong

Ngoc Luong, BGHS member and doctoral researcher in the Department of Sociology, has been awarded the VSG Graduate Essay Prize by the Vietnam Studies Group (VSG) in the Association for Asian Studies. Her contribution entitled "Betting on the Future: Financial Activities by Migrant Factory Workers in Vietnam" was chosen by the selection committee as the best text by a young scholar this year. We congratulate her very warmly!

Since the winter semester 2020/21, Ngoc has been doing her doctorate on the topic of "Moral Struggles and Politics of Care under Market Socialism: Welfare provision for migrant workers in global factories in Vietnam" at the BGHS and is working in Prof. Minh Nguyen's EU research project WelfareStruggles. The photo shows Ngoc doing field research in Vietnam.

(Copyright: Ngoc Luong)


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Practitioners in Talk Part 30

Veröffentlicht am 14. December 2022

 ::Non-university careers::

Practitioners in Talk Part 30


Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? We talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their career outside the university. Andreas Wenninger spoke with us about his work at the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt).

[Figure 1: Andreas Wenninger © bidt/Klaus D. Wolf]

Andreas, you did your PhD in Sociology in 2017. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

I trained as an office clerk, took my Abitur on second chance education and then studied. Relatively soon after graduating, I worked as the coordinator of the research training group “World Society” at Bielefeld University. That was from 2008 to 2012, and at the same time I started working on my dissertation. Looking back, I would say: that’s how I got started in the profession I have now. In 2015, I then moved to the TU Munich, completed my dissertation there and did teaching and research here. You also have to know the academic business “from the inside” in order to successfully manage coordination tasks in science. Even now, I have many research-related coordination tasks. Since 2019, however, I have been employed at a non-university institute: the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation (bidt), which belongs to the Bavarian Academy of Sciences and Humanities.

How did you come to your current position?

There was a job advertisement that I thought: I fit the bill both with my professional experience of coordinating research projects and with the topic of my dissertation and my postdoc projects: I have been working on the topic of “media and public communication” since my dissertation. Now I am the research coordinator here at bidt for projects that examine, among other things, changes in the digital public sphere.

You work for the Bavarian Research Institute for Digital Transformation. Where do you work exactly?

The bidt is one of several institutes that have been founded in Germany in recent years to study the effects of the digital transformation on society. On the one hand, bidt conducts interdisciplinary research projects itself. In our “Think Tank” department, for example, regular surveys have been conducted since March 2020 on the topic of the home office before and during the corona pandemic, the results of which had a comparatively large response in the media. On the other hand, bidt funds research projects in Bavaria: interdisciplinary research projects on digital transformation in which social and technical science approaches are combined. The results of our projects are addressed to scientific communities, to the interested public as well as to politics and business. bidt is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Science and the Arts.


[Figure 2: Andreas Wenninger at work © bidt/Klaus D. Wolf]

You are research coordinator at bidt. What are your most important tasks in this job?

I am mainly active in the area of research. Research funding, for example, is an area of responsibility in which the tendering process, the selection of projects, the review process in accordance with the rules, and the consultation of external experts have to be organised. Following the approval of the successful projects, an onboarding process takes place, which begins with a so-called grant agreement. While the projects are running, we organise six to eight meetings per year to network the actors. At these “sprint reviews”, the project partners give short presentations: What have they done since the last meeting? Where do they stand at the moment? Where do they want to be before the next sprint review? And finally, I support the projects in communicating their results to the broader public, for example through a post on our blog or a workshop that we organise together with our colleagues. Our professional dialogue team at bidt actively supports us in this.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in the occupational field you are in?

Shortly before I applied for my current job, I thought about enrolling in a further education course in science management at the TU Munich, where I was employed at the time. And there are even degree programmes in science management. But I think that people with experience in scientific work can apply for jobs that involve coordinating research, even without special training or a degree in science management: in collaborative research centres or in faculties as well as at non-university institutes or academies.

Andreas, thank you for the conversation!



The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann. You can find the complete (german) interview here.

Further information on the non-university careers project is available here.

The previous interviews in the series are available here

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Reports about Practical Projects #9

Veröffentlicht am 7. December 2022

::Non-academic careers::

Reports about Practical Projects #9

„Reports about Practical Projects“ are written by doctoral researchers 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 ninth part of the series, Tipu Sultan reports on two workshops, he conducted in cooperation with the District Population Welfare Office in Gujrat (Pakistan).

Gender Role Attitudes and Work-Life-Balance among Dual-Earner-Couples in Pakistan

In the recent decade the trend of dual-earner couples has been increased in Pakistan more than ever before. This new trend of dual-earner families has significantly affected their personal life. In the patriarchal society of Pakistan, where the primary responsibility of females was to look after the family and the domestic affairs, only the male was expected to be the breadwinner. With the increase of female education and employment opportunities, more and more females are entering in the labor market in Pakistan. Therefore, the duties and responsibilities of dual-earner couples, especially women, have increased. Moreover, balancing work and family life is more complex in the patriarchal society of Pakistan because of the social expectations of gender roles. A dichotomous behavioral reflection is being observed in Pakistani society. The one group of people having egalitarian attitude are supporting the new gender roles of female, whereas the other group of people having traditional mindset is still in the favor of patriarchy. Therefore, gender roles are re-evaluated. The District Population Welfare Office is an organization of the Government of Punjab, Pakistan, and provides among other things family counselling services in the district Gujrat to promote balanced families.

Figure 1: article in the Pakistani newspaper Shana Bashana sharing my project on 30.11.2022

For the accomplishment of the practical project I cooperated with the Family Welfare Department of the organization. I contributed my services as a Family Welfare Counselor. The project was divided into two phases. In the first phase, I organized an awareness seminar at the District Population Welfare Office with dual-earner families. There were 40 participants (20 dual-earner families) in the workshop. The concerns of the families and possible strategies to balance work-life based on empirical knowledge were discussed among dual-earner couples. In the second phase, I arranged a training workshop for the Family Welfare Counsellors and Family Welfare Workers that are the employees of the organization. There were 40 participants in the training workshop. I trained the workers how to deal with stereotyping and societal taboos still existing in Pakistani society. Gender role attitude is one of the important reason of work-life imbalance among working couples. That was very important for both participants point of view and also from the organization’s point of view. The certificates were awarded to the participants of the both events. To increase the impact of the project both of the sessions were covered by the local and national media of district Gujrat. Here are the photos of the certificates awarded to participants for both events and the screenshots of the project sharing at differ forums including the newspaper.

Figure 2: certificate of participation awarded to dual-earner families who participated in the seminar dated 29.11.2022

The participants benefited directly from this knowledge to get awareness and new strategies to balance their work-life. Moreover, the empirical information based workshops contributed to the organization’s existing goals. The practical project added a new perspective that is the influence of gender role attitude on work-life balance. Another big advantage of this project for the partner organization was that it provided the training opportunity to the organizations workers to improve their knowledge to further continue the counselling process.

Figure 3: certificate of participation awarded to the family welfare workers and family Welfare Assistants for their participation in the training workshop dated 10.11.2022.

Click here for the district population offices in Punjab/Pakistan where the district of Gujrab is part of.

Further information about the Non-University Careers Project can be found on the BGHS website.

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Practitioners in Talk Part 29

Veröffentlicht am 1. December 2022

 ::Non-university careers::

Practitioners in Talk Part 29

Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? We talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their career outside the university. Susanne Kill spoke to us about her work for the Deutsche Bahn AG.


 (Figure 1: Susanne Kill, Copyright: Susanne Kill)

Mrs Kill, you did your PhD in History in 1995. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

I joined the Deutsche Bahn AG (DB AG) shortly after the railroad reform. The railroad reform, i.e. the transformation of the Bundesbahn and Reichsbahn into Deutsche Bahn AG, which is organized under private law, meant that from 1994 onwards the railroad was no longer obliged to hand over files to the Bundesarchiv. Files created before 1994 are offered to the Bundesarchiv. All files from 1994 onwards are stored according to commercial law deadlines. Selected documents are permanently stored in the Historische Sammlung of the DB AG. I have been working there since 1999.


(Figure 2: Railway Journal, Copyright: Deutsche Bahn)

How did you come to your current position?

In the mid-1990s, I was in charge of a research project on the railroads in Germany at the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte: on the cultural, economic and political history of the railroads from the 19th century to reunification. In this context, I was asked if I would like to apply for the newly created position as head of the Corporate Archives of DB AG. When I applied, I had an interview at the DB Board of Management in Ruschestraße in Berlin-Lichtenberg. This is where the Stasi had its headquarters until 1990. That is an impression that will stay with me forever: Everything still smelled like the GDR. It was a completely different world than Frankfurt University or the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte. There were many and very different people working there. I think that is also something that has kept me at Deutsche Bahn until now: That Deutsche Bahn is so diverse and always a part of contemporary history.


(Figure 3: Annual reports of the Deutsche Bahn, Copyright: Deutsche Bahn)

You work for Deutsche Bahn. Where exactly do you work?

We have a Historische Sammlung here in Berlin, where three of us work. We have been trying to preserve the history of Deutsche Bahn since 1994 in files and publications. At the same time, we offer historical advice and, because we operate a large archive database together with the DB Museum in Nuremberg, we are also able to provide information on the history of the predecessor organizations of Deutsche Bahn AG: i.e. the Bundesbahn, Reichsbahn and Länderbahnen. At the moment, for example, I am working on a traveling exhibition on the railroads under National Socialism.


(Figure 4: Negative cabinet in the Deutsche Bahn archive, Copyright: Deutsche Bahn)

You head the Corporate Archives and Historische Sammlung at Deutsche Bahn. What are your most important tasks? 

Firstly, my job is to be able to classify historical topics and provide information, especially on the subject of National Socialism and German division. Secondly, we look after the Historische Sammlung and – in cooperation with the DB Museum in Nuremberg – the archive and museum software. Thirdly, it is my job to bring inquiries in the area of historical public relations to the right place, to answer them myself and to prepare them for the website, for example.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in the occupational field you are in?

My first tip is: cultivate contacts! For example, it is a good idea to attend a conference of the Association of Business Archivists. This is the contact exchange for business historians and archivists. The contact exchange is important for us, because you have to imagine: You are relatively alone as an archivist or historian in a large company. That makes it all the more important to network with other colleagues in other companies. Secondly, I think that a scientific interest does not contradict the work in the company archive. If you don’t know the sources, you can’t do serious corporate history. It is clear to everyone by now that if you talk garbage, you are going to fall flat on your face in public. Corporate historians should also know the critical parts of corporate history. This knowledge can also be important for corporate management. Thirdly, I have noticed that many historians and sociologists work in large companies, for example in corporate communications. For example, in analyzing long-term economic and societal developments in order to prepare strategic decisions for corporate management. Those who are interested in this are faced with the question of whether it is really history or sociology that they want to stay with thematically.

Mrs Kill, thank you for the conversation!


The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann. You can find the complete (german) interview here.

Further information on the non-university careers project is available here.

The previous interviews in the series are available here

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Reconciling academia and professional practice

Veröffentlicht am 23. November 2022

Reconciling academia and professional practice

Practical Projects at the BGHS

(Figure 1: Poster of the Discussion)

 80 to 90 percent of researchers with a doctorate will not work as employees in academic research in the long term. This fact has been scandalised for years and solutions are primarily demanded from the universities, for example by creating more permanent positions alongside professorships and predictable career paths. As right as these efforts are, they will not change anything significant about the fact that the vast majority of young researchers leave academic science sooner or later. It does little good to suppress this fact; it must be given more attention, both by doctoral researchers and supervisors. And perspectives must be developed that link academic science and the non-academic world. This is the quintessence of the panel discussion on the topic of “Transitions between doing a doctorate and profession”, which took place at the BGHS on 10 November 2022.

Over the past four years, the BGHS has embarked on a new path that has enabled doctoral researchers in the humanities and social sciences to gain practical experience in the non-university professional world while focusing on their own interests and skills. In the pilot project “Non-University Careers”, which is funded from the rectorate's strategy budget from 2019 to 2022, doctoral researchers at the BGHS were able to apply for practical projects in cooperation with a non-university practical partner, which were funded by three-month scholarships. A total of eleven projects were carried out, and the last two are nearing completion. At the event, Marie Kaiser, the current Vice-rector for Personnel Development and Gender Equality, and Martin Egelhaaf, the former Vice-rector for Research, Young Researchers and Gender Equality, discussed with Gladys Vásquez and Yannick Schöpper, doctoral researchers and scholarship holders in the programme, as well as Ulf Ortmann, the programme coordinator, what experience has been gained in the programme and what this means for Bielefeld University's activities in the area of (non-university) careers.

When asked by moderator Ulf Ortmann how the BGHS’s project application was approved in 2018, Martin Egelhaaf reminded the audience of the “Tenure Track Programme”, which was launched by the German federal and state governments in 2016 to create 1,000 additional professorships for young researchers. To apply for these tenure-track professorships, Bielefeld University had to create a personnel development concept for the young researchers and also address the fact that not all of them can stay in academic science. And in this situation, the BGHS application fell on “fertile ground”, according to Martin Egelhaaf.

Yannick Schöpper is one of the scholarship holders who were able to carry out a practical project. He cooperated with the Agentur für Erneuerbare Energien e.V. (AEE).

(Figure 2: Results of the Study)

He gave a lively account of how he had dug deep into the theory of his political science doctoral project before starting the project and was then confronted with the empirical field in the practical project. The big challenge in applying for the project was to find a topic that was connectable to professional practice perspectives and had a relevance that was not only scientific but also social. And his choice fell on the question of how local acceptance of onshore wind turbines is, which he illuminated in a very readable background paper for the AEE. “The direct contact with empiricism has clearly broadened my perspective and this has also changed the dissertation project,” he summed up positively. (Link to the Report)

Historian Gladys Vásquez also described the positive experiences she had during her practical project. When she applied for the project, her (doctoral) thesis had just expired and she was also thinking about her professional future in addition to working on her dissertation. She had already worked in the field of public history in Peru before her doctorate and wanted to return to this professional field. “Doing the academic work, I had forgotten some of my qualifications,” Gladys Vásquez recalled. But she also lacked a corresponding network in Germany. During a scientific symposia, she met her future project partners from “Kuskalla Abya Yala”, an NGO dedicated to the revival of Quechua, a widespread indigenous language family in America.

(Figure 3: Most spoken indigenous languages, Copyright: Gladys Vasquez)

This contact with the researchers of “Kuskalla Abya Yala”, who are also activists, made her aware of the social relevance of their work. And so she organised a joint workshop on the experiences and practices of efforts to disseminate Quechua languages. The biggest challenge was to communicate with the activists in the field, who did not always have access to the internet or even the telephone. Almost unimaginable in our supposedly digitalised world. Gladys Vásquez said she had become more realistic as a result of the project. “I want a job that fulfils me.” And she is more likely to find that outside the university, of course after completing her dissertation. (Link to the Report)

Marie Kaiser was impressed by the stories of the two doctoral researchers about their experiences in the practical projects. The university should not be a ‘bubble’, but what the scholars do must have relevance for the professional fields, she emphasised the aspect of knowledge transfer through the practical projects. In the discussion with the audience, it became clear that there are already many offers at Bielefeld University, for example from the Career Service and the personnel development for researchers. But, according to Marie Kaiser, counselling is something different from practical experience. “We have to think about that.”

The fact that the practical projects not only enable experience in professional fields, but also bring something to the content of the doctoral theses, as Yannick Schöpper told us, was a surprise for Martin Egelhaaf. It was questionable, however, whether this applied equally to all dissertation topics, for example, also to very theoretical work. On the other hand, there was no question for him that the concept of practical projects is transferable to other fields, for example to the natural sciences. Thus, it could be beneficial for applications for collaborative projects, which always have to address the promotion of non-university careers. The question of whether and how such a programme could be set up university-wide remained open.

The event “Transitions between doing a doctorate and profession” showed in how many areas Bielefeld University already offers a wide variety of support formats for young researchers in their academic and non-academic careers. But it also showed that the special format of scholarship-funded practical projects, which was developed and tested in the pilot project “Non-University Careers” at the BGHS, very successfully fills an existing gap. The development and implementation of a project lasting several months in cooperation with a non-university partner, which is based on the skills and interests of the young researchers, enables practical professional experience that is closely related to their own academic training. At the same time, it allows them to examine the social relevance of their own doctoral project and to develop their academic work accordingly. In this way, the practical projects also contribute to a considerable degree to the mutual transfer of knowledge between academic science and professional practice. They show: Science and non-university professional practice are not contradictory, they are reconcilable.

Sabine Schäfer

Here you can find more Reports about the Practical Projects.

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Reports about Practical Projects #8

Veröffentlicht am 21. November 2022

::Non-academic careers::

Reports about Practical Projects #8

„Reports about Practical Projects“ are written by doctoral researchers 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 eighth part of the series, Md. Moynul Haque reports on his core activity in the framework of a discussion session titled “Nonviolent Civil Resistance: Insights from Bangladesh and Beyond” that he carried out in a non-university organization called Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V. (forumZFD).

Over the past few decades or so, unarmed people’s contentious mobilization on the streets has become a frequent incidence in many parts of the world. There has been a remarkable rise in the civilian’s uses of nonviolent strategies including sit-ins, slogans, demonstrations, singing, graffiti, art, and media-mediated activism. The dawn of the twenty-first century has witnessed unarmed insurrections, including the Arab Spring phenomena in 2010 in North Africa and the Middle East region and the Occupy movement in the US in 2011. Meanwhile, in the subsequent years, the People Power Movements surged across Europe and Central Asia, notably among the Indignados movement in Spain in 2011, the Gezi Park protests in Turkey in 2013, and the Euromaidan protest in Ukraine which started in 2013. The Shahbag movement of 2013 in Bangladesh represents one of the biggest protests of this kind in South Asia.

Scholars have shown greater interest in studying political violence in South Asia. Moreover, Bangladesh is often portrayed as a country characterized by inter-party violence, rivalry, and political confrontation. The over-reliance on a violent perspective essentially provides a one-sided explanation of Bangladesh’s state-society interaction. It undermines the power of nonviolence which has been regarded as one of the major forces to bring about social and political change across the world.

Drawing from my ongoing doctoral research on civil resistance, I ventured to explore different perspectives, mainly coming from non-academic tradition, on civil resistance cases in order to make sense of how or to what extent theoretical understanding of civil resistance intersects with practical views. To reach this goal, I held a discussion session in the framework of the core task of my practical project with a non-university organization called Forum Ziviler Friedensdienst e.V. (forumZFD) located in Cologne, Germany. It was founded in 1996 by voluntary peace and human rights groups with a vision of promoting peace worldwide. The Academy for Conflict Transformation is a learning space of forumZFD that offers training, lectures, and workshops on peace and conflict-related topics.

My project was integrated into the regular program called “X-changes“: a discussion event for the alumni members of the forumZfD. The participants of this session came with practical insights into the areas of nonviolence for social justice, rights, and freedom.


Figure 1: The emblem of forumZfD and its series "X-change"

From the practical point of view, the project was intended to make sense of how the notion of civil resistance is articulated in the thoughts and practices of the non-academic community. The broader objective was to facilitate a dialogue between a PhD researcher and peace practitioners in answering some of the critical questions of civil resistance at this current juncture.

The discussion of this X-change started with sharing the researcher’s current topic, briefly navigating the known and unknown facts of civil resistance in a relatively under-researched country – Bangladesh. After this, the X-change invited other participants to shed light on their country-specific experience of civil resistance. As such the X-change event turned out to be a resource point for knowing both known and unknown cases of civil resistance, capturing the viewpoint of both the researcher and practitioners.


Click here for ForumZfD.

Further information about the Non-University Careers Project can be found on the BGHS website.

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Bielefeld University services for doctoral researchers

Veröffentlicht am 17. November 2022

 Bielefeld University services for doctoral researchers

How do I write a dissertation? What options do I have if I want to go abroad? And can I take a German course?

On Wednesday, 26 October 2022, the BGHS offered an information session with people from the International Office, Writing Centre and PunktUm to clarify these initial questions and to present the resources of Bielefeld University to support the doctoral researchers in their work.

Below you can find the presentations with the main information about the available services:

    Writing Support at Bielefeld University

    PunktUm: German Language learning

    Spending time abroad

    Spending time abroad (flyer)

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Practitioners in Talk Part 28

Veröffentlicht am 8. November 2022
::Non-university careers::

Practitioners in Talk Part 28


Many ways lead out of the BGHS. But where do postdoctoral paths lead? We talk to historians and sociologists who have taken up their career outside the university. Stephanie Geissler spoke to us about her work for „Arbeit und Leben VHS/DGB im Kreis Herford e.V.“.


Figure 1: Stephanie Geissler

Stephanie, you did your PhD in History in 2016. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Stephanie Geissler: I had a scholarship at the beginning of my PhD. But as it is with a scholarship: the scholarship is over after three years, but the PhD is not yet finished. Parallel to doing my PhD, I started to develop exhibition concepts and fundraising strategies for museums on a freelance basis. At that time I also came into contact with “Arbeit und Leben”: By chance, an administrative position became available there at that time, and I applied for it. For me, it was a good opportunity to be secured with a half-time job and to be able to continue with my freelance work. No one expected me to finish my PhD. Neither did I. (laughs)

How did you get your current position?

Stephanie Geissler: I started working as an administrative assistant at “Arbeit und Leben” in 2007. One year later, I changed to a position as an education officer and mainly planned and conducted educational leaves, but also took care of finances and event planning. I have been managing director here since 2021.

You work for „Arbeit und Leben VHS/DGB im Kreis Herford e.V.“. Where do you work, exactly? 

Stephanie Geissler: “Arbeit und Leben” was founded by the German Trade Union Federation (DGB) and the Adult Education Centres (VHS) immediately after the end of the Second World War to educate workers in democracy. Today, “Arbeit und Leben” exists in all federal states and – in varying densities – as local working groups. We in Herford are a registered association and offer training for work councils and an educational leave programme. We also run two projects: the “Mobile Beratung gegen Rechtsextremismus” for the Detmold administrative district and the “Fachstelle NRWeltoffen”, which does anti-racism work in the Herford district. We also organise political education events, for example on the war in Ukraine.


Figure 2: Stephanie Geissler during an educational leave in Prora

You head „Arbeit und Leben“. What are your most important tasks? 

Stephanie Geissler: The last two years were very much marked by the topic of “finances”. We are supported by the DGB and the VHS, but we earn most of our salaries through the income from the seminars. Under Corona conditions, however, our seminars, where exchange and networking among the participants are very central, could hardly be offered in presence. And so we got into a financial bottleneck. So, to put it briefly: in the last two years, my main task was to take care of the financial drama. Apart from finances, personnel management is an essential aspect of my work: there are now eleven people employed here in the association. And finally, I have responsibilities in our educational leave programme. However, my tasks in the area of educational leave are not part of my duties as managing director, but are part of the operational business.

What tips do you have for colleagues from sociology or history who are interested in a career in the occupational field you are in?

Stephanie Geissler: I would say: Try it out! So, if someone were to call us now and say, for example, “I've been working on a regional historical, socio-political or trade union topic. Can we do something together?” Then I would think about it and sound out: What can we do together?

Stephanie, thank you for the conversation!

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann. You can find the complete interview here.

Further information on the non-university careers project is available here.

The previous interviews in the series are available here


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Book prize for BGHS alumna Mahshid Mayar

Veröffentlicht am 8. November 2022

Book prize for BGHS alumna Mahshid Mayar

BGHS alumna Mahshid Mayar will be awarded the “Shelley Fisher Fishkin Prize for International Scholarship in Transnational American Studies” on 11 November for her book Citizens and Rulers of the World: The American Child and the Cartographic Pedagogies of Empire. The prize is awarded annually by the American Studies Association for original research in the field of transnational American studies.

Congratulations for this success!


Mashid Mayar)

Mahshid completed her PhD in History in 2016 with the dissertation "Citizens and Rulers of the World: American Children and World Geography at the Turn of the Twentieth Century".

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Welcome Day Winter Semester 2022/23

Veröffentlicht am 20. October 2022

Welcome Day Winter Semester 2022/23

::20 new doctoral researchers at the BGHS::

On Tuesday, 11 October, the BGHS Welcome Day for the winter semester 2022/23 took place, this time again in person at the BGHS. The BGHS directors Klaus Weinhauer and Ruth Ayaß welcomed the new doctoral researchers, who had the opportunity to introduce themselves and get to know the doctoral representatives and the BGHS office staff. Sabine Schäfer then introduced the BGHS training and study programme. We wish all new members a wonderful start to their doctorate at the BGHS.

New BGHS doctoral researchers and their projects:

Jasper Bendler (Sociology): Die Entwicklung von Normakzeptanz. Eine Untersuchung der Entwicklungsverläufe, Einflussfaktoren und Wechselwirkungen der Akzeptanz von Rechtsnormen bei Jugendlichen und jungen Erwachsenen.

Felix Bitterer (Sociology): The importance of political attitudes for occupational choices and careers in public service

Melina Bonerz (Sociology): Why are we not flooding the streets? A case study of the diffusion of and coalition-building around anti-femi(ni)cide activism in Germany

Felix Gumbert (Sociology): How to Build an Echo Chamber. Virtuelle Ethnographie zur Genese von Kommunikationsräumen in sozialen Medien

Svenja Holste (Sociology): ‘The Arctic We Know?!’ Arctic knowledge, natural scientists’ worldviews and the framing of research agendas

Ricardo Kelm (Sociology): Constructing Identity, Challenging Representations: Hegemonic Struggles in Discourses on ‘European Security Identity’

Stefan Knauff (Sociology): Regionalization of Stereotyping in Online Spaces using Text Based Computational Sociology Methods

Jonas Kramer (Sociology): Das alltägliche Planungsgespräch. Die Herstellung von Zukunft in projektiven Gattungen

Jakob Krusche (History): Gruppen bewaffneter Zivilisten in Mexiko. Historische Einordnung eines Phänomens unter Bezugnahme auf aktuelle Entwicklungen

Talha Minhas (History): Practices of Comparing in late colonial and Modern Nationalist Historiography in Pakistan (1850-1980). Calling for a Global History in Pakistan through a Practice-theoretical Approach to Anti-Nationalist Historiography

Cristóbal Moya (Sociology): The force of injustice and the legitimation of social inequalities

Amelie Nickel (Sociology): Marketization, institutional anomie, and societal consequences

Hoang Long Nguyen (Sociology): Big Spatial Data: Potentials and Limitations for Empirical Social Research

Ingo Pätzold (History): „Wann fangen wie endlich an, nicht nur nachts homosexuell zu sein?“ Die diskursive Verortung der Theatergruppe „Brühwarm“ in der politischen Schwulenbewegung der 1970er Jahre in der BRD. Ein digitales Close Reading ihrer Auftritte

Stefan Rohrhirsch (Sociology): Environmentality. On the Critique of Environmental Reason

Ilgım Şimşek (Sociology): Queer Narratives Throughout Generations in Turkey

Stephan Skolarski (Sociology): Institutional racism in Germany. Intergroup contacts and ethnic prejudices among employees in public institutions

Can David Tobias (Sociology): Nationalstaatenindikatoren in the making – Die Herstellung quantitativer Leistungsvergleiche im Kontext globaler Politik am Beispiel des Financial Secrecy Index

Ragna Verhoeven (Sociology): On Unifying, Communal and Consensual Aspects of Democracy — An Analysis of Potential of the Radical Theory of Democracy

Mikko von Bremen (Sociology): Funding Priorities in Arctic Research – Institutional Structures and Consultation Processes at the Science-Policy Interface

You can find the Welcome Day presentation here:

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Awards for BGHS alumnus Edvaldo Moita

Veröffentlicht am 12. October 2022
Awards for BGHS alumnus Edvaldo Moita

Edvaldo Moita was awarded two prizes this year for his dissertation successfully defended in 2021. First, the Brazilian Association for Philosophy of Law and Sociology of Law (ABRAFI) – a national section of the Internationale Vereinigung für Rechts- und Sozialphilosophie (IVR) – awarded him the prize for the best dissertation in 2021. In September, he also received the “European Award for Legal Theory”, a prize awarded by the European Academy of Legal Theory (EALT). The award ceremony will take place on 24 November at Goethe University Frankfurt.

Last Year, Edvaldo Moita also prevailed against the competition and received a professorship for legal theory and philosophy of law at Fluminense Federal University (UFF), Brazil's largest university.

Congratulations on these successes!

 (©Edvaldo Moita)

Edvaldo Moita completed his PhD in sociology in 2021 with his dissertation "On the Nature and Impacts of Noncompliance: With a Study of Informality and Street Vending in Brazil".

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Book Prize for BGHS alumnus Zoltán Simon

Veröffentlicht am 21. September 2022

Book Prize for BGHS alumnus Zoltán Simon

BGHS alumnus Zoltán Simon has ex-aequo received the 2022 Book Award from the International Commission for the History and Theory of Historiography (ICHTH) and the International Network for Theory of History (INTH) for his book “History in Times of Unprecedented Change: A Theory for the 21st Century” (published by Bloomsbury in 2019). The book prize was awarded for the best book on any aspect of the history and theory of historiography, published between 2016 and 2020. Congratulations for this success!


(left to right: Edoardo Tortarolo, Zoltán Simon, Ewa Domanska, Photo taken by Marek Tamm)

Zoltán completed his PhD in History at the beginning of 2018 and is currently researching the project "The End of History and the End of the World", funded by the Gerda Henkel Foundation.

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