Postgraduate Students' Conference 2014

Friday, 10. January 2014

10.-11. Januar 2014, Konferenz, DHI London

The German Historical Institute London held its 17th postgraduate students' conference on 10-11 January 2013. Its intention was to give postgraduate research students in the UK and Ireland working on German history an opportunity to present their work-in-progress, and to discuss it with other students working in the same field. The Institute also aimed to present itself as a research centre for German history in London, and to introduce postgraduates to the facilities it offers as well as to the Institute's Research Fellows.

In selecting students to give a presentation, preference was given to those in their second or third year who had possibly already spent a period of research in Germany. Twelve projects in all were introduced in plenary sessions held over two and a half days. Sessions were devoted to the early modern period, the nineteenth century, the First World War, the Weimar Republic, the Third Reich, the 1930s/60s and the GDR. Most of the papers concentrated on the twentieth century. Participants gave a short summary of their work containing general ideas, leading questions, sources, and initial findings, and this was followed by a discussion.

As well as discussing their subjects and methodologies, the participants exchanged information about practical difficulties such as language and transcription problems, how to locate sources, and finding one's way around German archives. Information about institutions that give grants for research in Germany was also exchanged. The German Historical Institute can offer support here by facilitating contact with German archives and providing letters of introduction which may be necessary for students to gain access to archives or specific source collections. In certain cases it may help students to make contact with particular German universities and professors. The German Historical Institute also provides scholarships for research in Germany (see above).

The coffee and lunch breaks offered ample opportunity for informal contact. In the closing discussion, participants were asked to express any criticisms and make suggestions for how the next postgraduate student conference could be improved. The idea as such proved its worth over the two days of the conference. The suggestion that separate conferences should be held on specific periods or themes was rejected by the majority of participants, who valued the broad range of topics and the chance to look beyond their own historical horizons. It was also pointed out that the discussion of methodological problems spanned all the sessions, and could be treated most effectively in the plenary sessions.

Next year's postgraduate students' conference will take place from Thursday 9 to Friday 10 January 2014. If you are interested in attending, please inform the Secretary (email: abellamy(ghi) before 30 November 2013 and include the following details:

  • full contact details (including email address and telephone number),
  • the exact title of your project,
  • the date you started your project,
  • the name, address, email address and phone number of your university and supervisor,
  • confirmation whether you have undertaken research in Germany.

Please note that all 2nd and 3rd year students are encouraged to present a paper on their PhD project. Applicants will be contacted as soon as possible.

On the morning of Thursday 9 January 2014 there is a planned course on Paleography to read German handwriting. If you are interested in taking part in the Thursday morning course, please confirm your attendance in your registration.

Please note that accommodation and/or travel reimbursement claims can only be considered for those eligible and who attend the entire event.

DHI London