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BGHS.NEWS

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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Panel Discussion: Society in Permanent Crisis?

Veröffentlicht am 14. September 2022

::Society in Permanent Crisis?::

On the occasion of the 41st Congress of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Soziologie (DGS), which will take place in Bielefeld, the Bielefeld Graduate School in History and Sociology (BGHS), in cooperation with the Volkshochschule Bielefeld, is organising a panel discussion on 27 September 2022, 6 to 8 p.m., in the Historischer Saal of the Volkshochschule Bielefeld.

 

When crises or disasters occur, they must be responded to and managed. We expect politics, science and other responsible actors (including ourselves) to take countermeasures. Here, disputes can already take place: What is considered a crisis? What is the appropriate countermeasure? What means should or must be used? Can lessons be learned from dealing with previous crises?

At present, a variety of crisis experiences and crisis discourses overlap. Climate crisis, Corona pandemic and war in Ukraine keep shifting the attention of politics, the media and academia. The various crisis scenarios and crisis perceptions compete with each other, they overlap and they are played off against each other. But what does this mean for dealing with crises? Are measures or reforms prevented or made more difficult by this opposition? What does it mean for our own attention and perception of crises when the crisis mode becomes a permanent state?

In an Interdisciplinary Dialogue between sociologists and historians, the mechanisms of social perceptions of crises, crisis management and their transformations will be discussed.

With:

Oliver Dimbath (Professor of Sociology, University of Koblenz-Landau)

Eleonora Rohland (Professor of Environmental History, Bielefeld University,

Markus Schroer (Professor of Sociology, University of Marburg) and

Silke Schwandt (Professor of Digital History, Bielefeld University).

Introduction and moderation: Sabine Schäfer (BGHS) and Dr. Klaus Weinhauer (BGHS).

The Discussion will be in German.

Admission is free.

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Reports about Practical Projects #7

Veröffentlicht am 5. September 2022

:: Non-academic careers::

Reports about Practical Projects #7

 

“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 seventh part of the series, Gladys Vasquez Zevallos reports on her practical project with the Kuskalla Abya Yala.

As stated by the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, although indigenous people represent less than 6% of the world’s population, they speak more than 4,000 of the world’s approximately 6,700 languages. This statistic shows that most indigenous languages are under the threat of Language Loss. One of the main reasons for this is that throughout state formation, states implemented integration policies, especially in education, which ended up being assimilation policies. This policy meant the imposition of Western values, one of the most notable cases being the imposition of a unitary language that reinforced discrimination against indigenous nations, their culture, and languages. However, in recent years there has been a growing movement for recovering the indigenous language based on revitalization practices. These are practices to foster new speakers when the intergenerational transmission of the language has been interrupted. For this reason, I organized, in collaboration with Kuskalla Abya Yala, a workshop dedicated to the practices of the revitalization of native languages, focusing on the case of the Quechua language. Kuskalla Abya Yala is a non-governmental organization primarily devoted to the revitalization of the native languages of Quechua. Indeed, Quechua is the most widely spoken Indigenous language family in America; 7 to 9 million speakers.

 

Image 1: Most spoken indigenous languages © Gladys Vasquez

 

Kuskalla has implemented free educational programs through technological opportunities while building international solidarity networks. Thus, the workshop’s purpose was to share the experience of different actors with diverse intellectual backgrounds in diffusing the Quechua language in two main aspects:  Reflection on post-colonial structures in the production of indigenous knowledge and alternative experiences of visualization and dissemination of the Quechua language. The workshop was divided into two days, and the results were directly related to strategies for disseminating indigenous knowledge outside the educational spaces that have historically promoted linguistic discrimination.

One of the primary reflections was on the stereotypes surrounding indigenous languages and how to see them as something of the past. Indigenous communities are perceived as timeless when adaptation and migration have been their constant feature. Another reflection was that Indigenous languages are not only used for communication but also as a system of knowledge, history, memory, and identity. Much of the discussion was on how the Quechua people are revitalizing their language while recovering their identity.

All this is thanks to different practices in rural and urban areas using their educational pedagogies, music, artistic representations, and media. While many of these initiatives began, especially in the Andes, many indigenous immigrants in the United States are now promoting the Quechua language in academia and community groups. In the United States, it is the most widely taught indigenous language in universities, with approximately fifteen programs. The basis of these programs is partnerships with indigenous organizations. In this sense, the workshop promoted the creation and strengthening of networks among the actors that disseminate knowledge of the indigenous world.

Click here for Kuskalla Abya Yala.

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

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Reports about Practical Projects #6

Veröffentlicht am 31. August 2022

:: Non-academic careers::

Reports about Practical Projects #6

“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 sixth part of the series, Sinmi Akin-Aina reports on her practical project with the Mathare Social Justice Centre.

Mathare is one of the oldest and largest informal settlements in Nairobi, Kenya, with a population of 500,000 people. Mathare is replete with history and has been the staging ground for multiple struggles for democracy, social justice, and human rights. The Mathare Social Justice Centre was an initiative begun by young community members in Mathare in 2014 to promote social justice and to combat the extrajudicial police killings of young men in the community. Mathare is a site where daily forms of physical and structural violence have historically been allowed to occur with impunity, and with little hope for redress and justice for those in the community. Some of these forms of violence include forced evictions, land grabbling, police abuse of power and extrajudicial killings, political violence, and other forms of economic, social and psychological marginalization.  In light of these abuses, a group of young activists from the community set out to create a centre focussed on the promotion of various forms of participatory justice. This led to the creation of their foundational campaign  Extrajudicial Killings and Police Abuse of Power, which documents extrajudicial killings and state-sponsored violence. The 2017 Participatory Action Report: Who is Next? A Participatory Action Report Against the Normalization of Extrajudicial Killings in Mathare was released three years after the creation of the centre, and is one of the first of its kind, detailing the human rights violations by the state in the informal settlement of Nairobi, participatory action research compiled, lead and written by community-based researchers.

 

Image 1: The emblem of the Mathare Social Justice Centre

 

As such, in the framework of the practical project for doctoral studies at the BGHS, the aim of this initiative was to leverage skills in research, policy, or monitoring or evaluation for social change, particularly in collaboration with grassroots and community-based organizations in the Global South. Thus, I proposed a project to conduct a Program Evaluation on the Mathare Social Justice Centre’s foundational campaign on Extrajudicial Killings and Police Abuse of Power.

Much of the international development literature speaks to an existing capacity gap, between the work that is done by grassroots organizations, and the work and time commitment required for the reporting and donor accountability in said programs. Grassroots and community organizations may have fewer material resources, less opportunities/time for training, and have little time to engage in projects that are not the primary mission of the organization—as with much of the work required in monitoring and evaluation. Thus, my  project aimed to bridge this gap, when possible, for grassroots organizations engaged in critical social change and transformation.

Information for the evaluation was collected primarily through interviews, a focus group and document analysis. This included three interviews with: community members (1), program staff (1) and a board member/founder of the organization (1). The focus groups included six participants including: community human rights monitors, community mobilizers as well as program staff.  Interviews and the focus group lasted from thirty to 90 minutes.

The key strengths of the Extra Judicial Executions campaign lie in its savvy capacity for dynamic movement building and mobilizing, as well as it’s keen use of adaptable and interconnected programming responsive to the needs of the community. Despite this, certain challenges of a structural nature remain, however these are implicit to the Kenyan justice and policing system, and a culture that allows for the killing of poor, mostly male youth with impunity.

 

Click here for the Mathare Social Justice Centre.

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

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Practitioners in Talk Part 27

Veröffentlicht am 26. July 2022

::Non-university careers::

Practitioners in Talk - Part 27

 

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. Andrea Schneider-Braunberger spoke to us about her work for the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte e.V. and the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte mbH.

 

[Figure 1: Andrea Schneider-Braunberger]

 

Mrs Schneider-Braunberger, you did your PhD in History in 1996. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Andrea Schneider-Braunberger: My entry was, I think, unusual. The day after the disputation of my doctoral thesis, I received an amusing phone call from my doctoral supervisor. He told me about a vacancy at the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte (GUG) for the position of managing director and asked me if I was able to formulate business letters in English. I was actually very good at that because I had worked in a typing pool during my studies. Then I applied here the same day, was invited for an interview the second day after my disputation, and got the job. At the time, I had also applied for a volunteer position at the German Historical Museum and for a position as an advisor to the German Bundestag. So it could have turned out very differently. – But that is how I ended up, without having the goal, in the position I still work in today.

 

To be managing director just a few days after the disputation: How did you experience it?

Andrea Schneider-Braunberger: I found it appealing to find a job where I could apply the knowledge I had acquired in my history studies. At the same time, I have to say: I studied modern history and did my PhD there, but I knew nothing about corporate history. I will give you an example: It was one of my first tasks in my first year here at GUG to organize a symposium. That was in 1996, when I looked through the list of topics of the GUG symposia since their foundation in 1976. And that is when I noticed: National Socialism was not on that list. That would be an exciting topic! The symposium on National Socialism actually took place here in early 1997. At the same time, pressure was being exerted in the USA on Deutsche Bank and Allianz AG to come to terms with their own Nazi history. And it was only after the symposium that it became clear in Germany as well: you have to come to terms with corporate history in the Nazi era. So, looking back, I would say: This symposium on National Socialism also took place because I was a bit naive.

 

You work for the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte. Where do you work, exactly? 

Andrea Schneider-Braunberger: When the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte e.V. was founded in 1976, it had the task of strengthening the subject of corporate history as a non-university institution: on the one hand, by organizing scientific conferences, symposia and working groups, and on the other hand, by publishing the “Zeitschrift für Unternehmensgeschichte”. These are the tasks we still have today as the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte. In addition, as a non-profit association, we also carry out, for example, a project in which we develop material on corporate history for school lessons. In addition to these non-profit activities, we are economically active: Since the 1980s, GUG has been commissioned by companies either to set up a corporate archive or to carry out a study; be it on a specific question or on the entire history of the company. Due to the fact that we have received more and more orders from companies, a good ten years ago we came to a limit that we are not allowed to exceed as a non-profit organization: to generate more than half of our revenues in the economic field. That is why we founded the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte mbH in 2012.

 

You head the Gesellschaft für Unternehmensgeschichte. What are your most important tasks? 

Andrea Schneider-Braunberger: First, I design our scientific projects: in terms of their content and their budget. Secondly, I have the role of a mediator between different actors: On the one hand, it is my task to explain to the companies why it is important to work on corporate history scientifically and what scientific work means in this context. On the other hand, it is my job to ensure that our authors, who are employed on a fee basis, have the confidence that we do not engage in any whitewashing and that the authors’ scientific freedom is guaranteed. Sometimes the press also comes in as a stakeholder. So it is a translation job that I have between different social worlds. Thirdly, as managing director, I have commercial tasks, contractual matters to take care of, and also strategic planning to drive forward.

 

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

Andrea Schneider-Braunberger: Gain practical experience to find out where your own passions, strengths and weaknesses lie! On the one hand, the working environments in which historians or sociologists work are very different. On the other hand, we also learn about ourselves in these working worlds: For some people, it is great to deal with many people or to work in a group. And others manage well as lone warriors, for example in the basement of an archive.

 

Mrs Schneider-Braunberger, thank you for the conversation!

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

You can find the complete (german) interview here: pdf.

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

The previous interviews in the series are available here

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Good News

Veröffentlicht am 19. July 2022

Just in time for the summer break, there is good news to report from the BGHS.

Firstly, we have succeeded in extending the position of our coordinator for internationalisation, Clara Buitrago, by one year. Clara will therefore remain with us until the end of June 2024. We are very happy about that!

Secondly, we were able to recruit three new doctoral researchers for the BGHS positions advertised in the spring. Exciting doctoral projects await us in the Faculty of Sociology, which offer excellent opportunities to connect with historical studies.

And thirdly, we were successful with our application to the DAAD Graduate School Scholarship Programme, which is not affected by the austerity measures currently being discussed. At the end of August, we will be able to announce two DAAD doctoral scholarships for international candidates, especially from developing and emerging countries (scholarships will begin in October 2023).

And then we are particularly happy with our BGHS members who were able to complete their doctorates this year:

Lasse Bjoern Lassen (History): The “Castro Doctrine”: Cuban Diplomacy in Global Solidarity Organizations 1959-1967. Propagating Democracy of the Marginalized and Defending National Sovereignty in a Hostile World (10.01.2022)

Georg Kessler (Sociology): Kriminalität im jungen Erwachsenenalter - Bedeutung für kriminologische Theoriebildung und Methodologie (09.02.2022)

Laura Lükemann (Sociology): Gender inequalities in German work organizations: differences in claims-making for career progress and working time adjustment (14.02.2022)

Torben Möbius (History): Das Management ständigen Wandels: konkurrenzförmige Vergleichspraktiken der deutschen und der US-amerikanischen Eisen- und Stahlindustrie (1870–1940) (16.02.2022)

Jan-Holm Sussieck (Sociology): Populismus. Die Zuschreibung illegitimer Volksorientierung in der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (03.03.2022)

Isabell Diekmann (Sociology): Good Muslims, bad Islam? Zur differenzierten Betrachtung feindlicher Einstellungen gegenüber Menschen und Religion (14.03.2022)

Eileen Peters (Sociology): Relational inequalities at work: How are social inequalities between cate-gorically different groups (re-) produces in local workplace contexts? (15.03.2022)

Ayomide Kolawole (Sociology): The Ideas and Politics of Universal Social Pensions in the Global South: A Comparative Analysis (07.04.2022)

Katrin Weible (Sociology): Social citizenship for “the poor”? Large N data construction, conceptualization, and comparative analysis of social cash transfers across the global South (04.05.2022)

Karsten Pieper (Sociology): Publikumsbeobachtung im digitalen Wandel. Massen und Verdatung am Beispiel publizistischer Printmedien (11.05.2022)

Paul-Matthias Tyrell (History): „Only a stream between…“ Lokale Strategien im Umgang mit der „Filterfunktion“ der Grenze am Detroit River in den 1920er Jahren (01.06.2022)

Bastian Bredenkötter (Sociology): Mobile Manager als Boundary Spanner. Eine Untersuchung der Grenzstellenarbeit in multinationalen Unternehmen (21.06.2022)

Marcus B. Carrier (History): Der Wert von Methoden - Methodenwahl in der forensischen Toxikologie des 19. Jahrhunderts im deutsch-französischen Vergleich (21.07.2022)

Lili Zhu (History): Deutsch-chinesischer Waffenhandel (1922-1941). Eine Verflechtungsgeschichte (06.07.2022)

Jan Handelmann (Sociology): (Zwischen) Wissen und Nichtwissen: Vorstellungen von Fachleitungen zur Professionalität sozialwissenschaftlicher Lehrkräfte (07.07.2022)

Johannes Nagel (History): U.S. Military Reform and the Observation of the World, 1865–1905 (18.07.2022)

We congratulate them and wish them every success in the future!

Last but not least, a note on our own behalf: From 8 to 28 August, the BGHS office will be on summer break. We will not be available then. Urgent matters should therefore be dealt with immediately!

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Awarded doctoral theses

Veröffentlicht am 30. June 2022

Awarded doctoral theses

The Bielefeld University Society (UGBi) awarded the prizes for the best doctoral theses at Bielefeld University on 29 June. Two BGHS graduates were also honored for their theses:

In his dissertation „Ein „Befreier“, der nicht mehr geht? Die alliierte Besatzung Süditaliens, 1943-1947“, Stefan Laffin examined the construct of this Allied occupation, which was marked by lines of conflict, internal contradictions between military and political functional logics, tensions in the Allied internal relationship, and interactions between occupiers and occupied. Currently, Stefan is teaching and researching at the History Department of Leibniz Universität Hannover.

Figure 1: Stefan Laffin (©Lena Wöhler/ Universität Hannover)

Vera Linke’s dissertation "Common Grounds. A Study of the Shared Foundations of Today's Separate Spheres of Insurance," shows that private and social insurance emerged from a joint specialized discourse in the 19th century, contrary to what separate research would suggest: In it, the current understanding of insurance was constituted as the sociation of risk through organization. Vera is currently working at the Institute for Controlling and Management Accounting at Helmut-Schmidt University/University of the Federal Armed Forces Hamburg.

Figure 2: Dr. Vera Linke (© Vera Linke)

The BGHS congratulates both alumni on their award!

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Linie 4: The Hohenzollern inheritance dispute and the ‘truths’ of history

Veröffentlicht am 13. June 2022

Linie 4: The Hohenzollern inheritance dispute and the ‘truths’ of history

Does historical scholarship provide an authentic picture of the past or does it offer different narratives of history, located somewhere between fiction and factuality? Jan Gräber addresses this question in the public lecture series Linie 4, organised by the BGHS together with the vhs Bielefeld. In his lecture “Which present does historical science produce? An examination of the Hohenzollern inheritance dispute”, he takes the example of the inheritance dispute between the Hohenzollerns and the state of Brandenburg, which is about castles, cultural assets, money and, not least, prestige. In the discussions about the inheritance dispute, in addition to the legal and political issues, the circumstance of the “considerable advance” is particularly prominent, i.e. the question of whether the Hohenzollerns played a significant role in the rise and maintenance of power of National Socialism. On this point of contention, history provides the essential and scientific expertise and accordingly helps to decide the Hohenzollerns' right to inherit. However, the dispute also makes it clear that it is not about a quick or even correct answer to historical questions. Rather, it proves to be a struggle for historical truth and its consequences for the present. This ultimately leads to the question of which present the science of history actually creates with its interpretations of history.

Jan Gräber studied history and political science at the University of Tübingen and is doing his doctorate in history at the BGHS on the topic of "The Contradictions of an Intervening History".

The lecture will take place on Monday, 20 June 2022 at 6.15 pm in the Murnau-Saal at the vhs Bielefeld , Ravensberger Park 1. The event will be held in German

Here you can find information about Linie 4 and the lectures in the series.

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Linie 4: Algorithms in the World of Work

Veröffentlicht am 1. June 2022

Linie 4: Algorithms in the World of Work

 

Granting loans, allocating machines or selecting personnel - companies and other work organisations are increasingly using digital techniques when it comes to making decisions. Fundamental to this are algorithms, i.e. clear rules of action that solve mathematical problems. In the public lecture series Linie 4, organised by the BGHS together with the vhs Bielefeld, Elisa Gensler deals with the challenges and opportunities that the use of algorithms in the world of work can have on employees. In her lecture “I am not a robot" - When algorithms take over decision-making processes in the world of work”, she asks about the importance that algorithms already have for work processes and the effects on the self-determination of employees when algorithms shape decisions or even take them away from them completely.

Elisa Gensler has been working as a research assistant at the Research Institute for Cognition and Robotics (CoR-Lab) and in the research area “Technical and Social Change” at the Faculty of Sociology at Bielefeld University since 2019. Since 2019, she has also been a doctoral researcher in the interdisciplinary NRW Research College „Gestaltung von flexiblen Arbeitswelten (Arbeit 4.0)“ (Design of Flexible Working Environments (Work 4.0)) and in the BGHS. She is doing her doctorate on the topic of „Die Gestaltung und Bewertung algorithmischer Steuerung und Kontrolle in Arbeitsorganisationen und ihre Auswirkungen auf die Arbeitsautonomie von Beschäftigten“ (The design and evaluation of algorithmic management and control in work organisations and its impact on employees’ work autonomy). She studied sociology at the universities of Bamberg and Bielefeld.

The lecture will take place on Monday, 13 June 2022 at 6.15 pm in the Murnau-Saal at the vhs Bielefeld, Ravensberger Park 1. The event will be held in German

Here you can find information about Linie 4 and the lectures in the series.

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Practitioners in Talk Part 26

Veröffentlicht am 31. May 2022

::Non-university careers::

Practitioners in Talk – Part 26

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. Urs Ruf spoke to us about his work at Technologieberatungsstelle NRW beim DGB NRW e.V. (TBS NRW).


Figure 1: Urs Ruf

Mr. Ruf, you did your PhD at the Faculty of Sociology in 1999. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Urs Ruf: After my doctorate, my job search was not easy. That was in 2000: when the first big internet bubble was heading for its peak and burst a little later. I had an affinity for IT and my theory was: if you can read and write, youʼll find a job in the growing IT sector. Through acquaintances I got in touch with an IT company that had been working as an SAP consultant for a long time and was entering the internet business at that time. I was employed there and then got involved in the IT business. So, after my PhD, I turned around 180 degrees in order to get a job.

How did you come to your current position?

Urs Ruf: By a job advertisement in the newspaper. In 2003, the TBS NRW advertised a position as a technology consultant for works councils at its Bielefeld site. I applied and said: If they donʼt take me, then they havenʼt heard the shot. Because by then I had good IT consulting skills, a social science background, vocational training as a toolmaker, experience working in works councils and was a trade union member. I was actually offered the job and thatʼs how I came to TBS.

You work for the Technologieberatungsstelle NRW beim DGB NRW. Where do you work exactly?


Figure 2: Logo of the TBS NRW

 

Urs Ruf: The TBS NRW is a registered association supported by the NRW Ministry of Labour and the DGB NRW (DGB: Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund; Confederation of German Trade Unions). We advise workplace interest groups: works councils, staff councils or – in the church sector – employee representatives. One matter on which a works council has a say is the introduction of IT systems that enable the monitoring of workersʼ behaviour and performance. Thatʼs why we are called Technologieberatungsstelle. We support interest groups, for example, in finding out: Where is behavioural and performance monitoring possible with the help of the new technological system? How can behaviour and performance monitoring be technologically or organisationally designed so that the monitoring is not excessive? And how can the employee and employer sides find compromises with each other on this issue? Other matters of workplace co-determination are, for example, working time and health. So we advise at the workplace level, especially on conflicts between the workersʼ and employersʼ sides. In addition, we organise expert conferences on topics such as mental stress at the workplace; or working groups in which representatives from different companies in the same sector come together.

You are heading Technologieberatungsstelle NRW. What are your most important tasks in this job?

Figure 3: Urs Ruf at work

Urs Ruf: I can ask myself that every morning. Above all, it is important that our services address current issues, that we are professionally qualified and that we listen to the needs of our clients. Our employees are the decisive factor: it is important that our people have a good job; that they are well qualified for their work; and that the working atmosphere is good. As a leader, I organise the internal processes that work on these issues. Finally, one of my tasks is to strengthen networking with our providers and partners. These are mainly the Ministry of Labour and the trade unions, but also employersʼ associations or research institutions, to name but a few.

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

Urs Ruf: My first tip is: Get in touch with people who work in counselling! Contact with people provides an opportunity, for example, to find out what is important to me about my professional activity: The contact with people? Or maybe that I make something? My second tip is: If you have a soft spot for being on the road in changing constellations, then counselling can be the right field of activity. You have to like it: every day can start at a different time, lead to different places. And if you think: Now we have a longer project here, then it can be over again tomorrow. Because the clients say: we have changed our priorities. Thirdly, I want to share an experience from shortly after finishing my PhD: I did my PhD on nomads in West Africa and then went to work for an internet company in East Westphalia. I had colleagues there with degrees in biology, theology or physics. So, I would say: If you have learned to familiarise yourself with topics at university, then you can also open up new fields of activity. Provided you allow yourself to say: that was a nice part of my life – and now Iʼm doing something new.

Mr. Ruf, thank you for the conversation!

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

You can find the complete interview (in German) here:

Komplettversion als PDF

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

The previous interviews in the series are available here.

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Linie 4: Solidarity Among Neighbours

Veröffentlicht am 17. May 2022

Linie 4: Solidarity among neighbours

Organising neighbours, overcoming social isolation, building solidarity and fighting injustice together. Such issues are addressed by neighbourhood grassroots groups in Germany, which have recently tried to initiate lively politics from below in their neighbourhoods. Marie-Sophie Borchelt deals with the work of neighbourhood grassroots groups in the public lecture series Linie 4, organised by the BGHS together with the vhs Bielefeld. In her lecture ”Solidarity among neighbours - political action from below, she explains what grassroots work in the neighbourhood actually is and how it works. First-hand information will be provided by an activist from a neighbourhood grassroots group who will report on how it is possible to motivate neighbours to take political action.

Marie-Sophie Borchelt has been working as a research associate in the Work Unit Politics and Society at Bielefeld University since 2019 and has been doing her doctorate at the BGHS since 2020 on the topic of “Raus aus der Subkultur – Rein in die Gesellschaft: Perspektiven zur Überwindung gesellschaftlicher Marginalität am Beispiel von Stadtteil(Basis)arbeit in außerparlamentarischen linken Kontexten in der Bundesrepublik”. She studied Gender Studies, German as a Foreign Language and German Studies as well as Spanish in Bielefeld.

The lecture will take place on Monday, 30 May 2022 at 6.15 pm in the Murnau-Saal at the vhs Bielefeld, Ravensberger Park 1. The event will be held in German

Here you can find information about Linie 4 and the lectures in the series.

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Practitioners in Talk #Part 25

Veröffentlicht am 10. May 2022

::Non-university careers::

Practitioners in Talk – Part 25

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. Nicole Zielke spoke to us about her work as project manager and art director at the Theaterwerkstatt Bethel.


Figure 1: Nicole Zielke

Nicole, you did your PhD at the Faculty of Sociology in 2019, and you are now working as project manager and art director at the Theaterwerkstatt Bethel. If you remember starting your career: How did you find your way into the job?

Nicole Zielke: During my studies I did an internship here in the Theaterwerkstatt Bethel. That was in 2008. And I stayed – in a wide variety of employment relationships: from freelance work to third-party funded project positions to my current position, 17 percent of which is permanent. So I worked here while I was studying and doing my doctorate. The activities were very different: for example, I had a job to further develop the Theaterwerkstatt conceptually. Then I had a job to do neighbourhood work with the Theaterwerkstatt especially for people who needed support – in Bethel, in other parts of the city, but also in rural areas. And I had freelance assignments to work as a dramatic advisor on theatre productions or to lead ensembles

How did you come to your current position?

Nicole Zielke: By writing a project application to the Landesarbeitsgemeinschaft Soziokultur via the Theaterwerkstatt Bethel. The application was approved and the project aims to evaluate and further develop our artistic work. The method that we have been developing here since 2005 for artistic practice in heterogeneous groups is called “Volxtheater”. In the creation of our plays, experienced and less experienced theatre players cooperate with each other. In this project, we take a close look at this interaction of people with different life experiences, with and without disabilities, and expand our concepts in particular to include theatre work with digital means.

You work for the Theaterwerkstatt Bethel. Where do you work exactly?

Nicole Zielke: The Theaterwerkstatt Bethel is a small socio-cultural centre and free theatre that is basically funded by the von Bodelschwingh Foundation. We are three employees who are employed here. We also have freelancers. And there are fellow actors who do theatre here in their leisure time. These can be theatre productions with children, young people or adults. The players in our ensembles are schoolchildren, seniors, professionals, students, people interested in theatre or people who are cared for on an outpatient or inpatient basis in Bethel or other parts of the city. In addition to theatre productions, we have a number of other areas of work, such as the “Fachdienst Datstellende Künste”. Here we work closely with inpatient and outpatient institutions in Bethel and support clients with a high need for support in expressing themselves through artistic means in order to be able to live more self-determinedly. Second, we organize workshops and conferences on inclusion and diversity. And thirdly, we moderate communication and network processes, such as now for the Rochedale barracks in the east of Bielefeld. The barracks were used by the British Army until 2020, and together with the NRW-wide platform TRANSURBAN we will moderate a process to involve citizens in this urban planning project: What ideas do residents have of the future use of the barracks? And how should the site be designed?

Figure 2a und 2b: Nicole Zielke at work

You are project manager and art director. What are your – maybe: three – most important tasks in this job?

Nicole Zielke: The first is ensemble management. I moderate the theatre productions and keep the ensemble together. Secondly, I acquire the performances, I am in communication with the organizers and I am responsible for the logistics. Thirdly, I have a lot to do with developing the content of the plays. Fourth, I also take part in the plays. These are my tasks as artistic director. At the same time, I’m also in charge of the acquisition of project funds, public relations and the coordination of the network of freelancers. But you asked about the three most important tasks. (laughs)

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

Nicole Zielke: At the time, it was important for me to gain practical experience here in the field of art and cultural activities. To name just one aspect: artistic practice in a large number of changing group constellations can be very stimulating, but also very challenging. I had to clarify that for myself whether I wanted to get involved. And then I had good experiences with career plan talks at the Career Service. That is where I learned about myself: I won’t earn my money with science, but I want to stay in touch with it. To this day, I have teaching assignments at various universities to give seminars on qualitative methods or in the field of aging research.

Nicole, thank you for the conversation!

The interview was conducted by Ulf Ortmann.

You can find the complete interview (in German) here:

Komplettversion als PDF

Further information on the non-university careers project is available here, The previous interviews in the series are available here.

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Linie 4: The Buchenwald Memorial in the Shift of Political Interests

Veröffentlicht am 3. May 2022

Linie 4: The Buchenwald Memorial in the Shift of Political Interests

How is history used and instrumentalised for political purposes? Christoph Herkströter addresses this question in the public lecture series Linie 4, organised by the BGHS together with the vhs Bielefeld. In his lecture “Memory as a political tool. The Buchenwald Memorial between GDR Anti-Fascism and the Remembrance of Victims in the FRG”, he will use the example of the Buchenwald Memorial to look at how differently the past can be interpreted and how history and remembrance are claimed in the process. After Buchenwald had been used as a concentration camp during National Socialism and as a Soviet special camp in the post-war period, it was later expanded by the SED leadership into a "National Memorial" to commemorate the anti-fascist resistance fighters. After the fall of communism in 1989/90, the mediation of socialist anti-fascism was abandoned and the focus turned to commemorating the victims. The lecture is not only about the political instrumentalisation of Buchenwald's history, Christoph Herkströter will give an insight into how he researches such a complex topic as a historian.

Christoph Herkströter has been working as a research associate in the Contemporary History Department at Bielefeld University since 2020 and has since been doing his doctorate at the BGHS on the topic of "History Spaces in Transition. The museum mediation of contemporary German history in East and West Germany since 1958". He studied history and German studies in Bielefeld and worked as a research assistant in the “History as a Profession” department from 2015 to 2020. During his studies, he also worked on several exhibitions and brings this practical experience to the lecture.

The lecture will take place on Monday, 16 May 2022 at 6.15 pm in the Murnau-Saal at the vhs Bielefeld, Ravensberger Park 1. The event will be held in German.

Here you can find information about Linie 4 and the lectures in the series.

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Linie 4: An office in the tropics

Veröffentlicht am 26. April 2022

Linie 4: An office in the tropics

What did German consuls actually do in South America in the 19th century? And how can this be researched? Tim Rieke explores these questions in the public lecture series Linie 4, organised by the BGHS together with the vhs Bielefeld. In his lecture “German bureaucracy in tropical climes - How can historians research German consuls in South America in the 19th century?” he accompanies 19th century German state representatives overseas using various source documents. The documents show the manifold activities of the consuls, who conveyed information to authorities and companies, were supposed to promote trade and were contact persons for their compatriots abroad. Like a jigsaw puzzle, the aim is to piece together these sources. However, the lecture not only provides insights into the activities of the consuls, but also into the working methods of a historian in the field of transnational history.

Tim Rieke studied history and German studies in Bielefeld and Bologna and has been working on his doctorate in history at the BGHS since 2021 on the topic of "The socio-cultural role of German consuls in 19th century South America". He holds a doctoral scholarship of the Gerda Henkel Foundation and came to his topic quite unbureaucratically through the chance discovery of a source text.

The lecture will take place on Monday, 2 May 2022 at 6.15 pm in the Murnau-Saal at the vhs Bielefeld, Ravensberger Park 1. The event will be held in German.

Here you can find information about Line 4 and the lectures in the series.

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BGHS-International Workshop

Veröffentlicht am 19. April 2022

BGHS-International Workshop "Social Movements on the Move: Interdisciplinary perspectives on global and local practices of street action, identity politics and remembrance." (19-20 May 2022)

On 19 and 20 May 2022, the BGHS will organise the International Workshop "Social Movements on the Move: Interdisciplinary perspectives on global and local practices of street action, identity politics and remembrance". After two years in remote work due to the Corona pandemic, it will be the first BGHS event on location. The rationale of the workshop follows the basic principles of the BGHS of interdisciplinarity, internationality and the promotion of doctoral researchers' initiative on their way to becoming "research personalities", fostering exchange, networking and cooperation between doctoral researchers and established scholars. The latter include professors from the BGHS, from the international NEOLAiA network and the strategic partner universities of Bielefeld University.

The workshop will bring together experts on women's social movements, worker's movements, street action within democratic regimes in Europa, recent social and popular movements in Latin America and commemorative practices. The following guest lecturers have confirmed their participation:

  • Prof. Izabela Dahl - Örebro University / Guest Lecturer at Department of History
  • Prof. Natalia Krzyzanowska - Örebro University
  • Prof. Nicole Horáková - University of Ostrava
  • Prof. Marica Tolomelli - University of Bologna
  • Prof. Geoff Cubitt - University of York
  • Prof. Miguel Urrego - Guadalajara University/ CALAS Guest

 

On Thursday, 19 May, the first day of the workshop, 13 doctoral researchers, selected after a call, will present short papers in four groups. The papers will be based on their doctoral research projects, and they will discuss them with renowned experts from our international partner universities. This format is based on our experience with the BGHS Research Retreat. In addition, on Friday, 20 May, six professors from Bielefeld University and guest lecturers from our partner universities will discuss in two round tables relevant questions related to social movements and the challenges of a global society. Furthermore, various social activities and information events will allow the participants to exchange ideas and experiences. The social activities are open to the entire BGHS community. To see the programme, click here.

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