CfA: GSA Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW)

Call for Applicants

GSA Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW)

We are excited to introduce a new conference format exclusively for graduate students, to be hosted for the first time at the 44th German Studies Association Conference in Washington, D.C., from October 1-4, 2020.

The Emerging Scholars Workshop (ESW) will run parallel to the established seminars and in addition to regular conference sessions and roundtables (for general conference information see

Over the past ten years, graduate programs across the country have contracted. Fewer graduate students now encounter fewer regular graduate courses that have often also become more general in content in order to produce satisfactory enrollment. As a result, much of the specialized but crucial field training has moved into one-on-one tutorials and directed readings. The new Emerging Scholars Workshop seeks to give the up-and-coming cohort of Germanists and historians access to the leading scholars in their field, increase the advice and mentoring they receive, and allow them to come together for sustained professional conversations. The goal is to enable the next generation of Germanists and Historians to produce their best possible work, be competitive across fields, and contribute to the vitality, relevance, and productivity of our field at large.

There will be two ESW sessions:

Workshop 1 (“German Studies, Hyperlinked”), facilitated by B. Venkat Mani (German Literature and Culture), is open to all graduate students at all levels, including students in MA programs.

Workshop 2 (“Dissertation Design”), hosted by Edith Sheffer (History), is directed at PhD students already working on their dissertations.

Beyond these distinctions of level, students from all disciplines within German Studies (literature, history, cultural studies, art history, musicology, anthropology, Queer Studies, architectural history, political science, sociology, and others) are invited to apply to a workshop of their choosing.

Workshop 1: “German Studies, Hyperlinked! Research, Teaching, and Service within and beyond the Discipline,” facilitated by Dr. B. Venkat Mani, University of Wisconsin-Madison (

This workshop is geared toward all levels of graduate students: from those who are just about to conceptualize a dissertation project, to those who are about to go on the job market. The purpose of the workshop is to make students aware of the linkages between research, teaching, and service—as graduate students and as future professionals. In addition, the workshop will help participants identify and highlight in their work the “hyperlinks” between German Studies and other fields in the humanities and social sciences—including but not limited to colonial and postcolonial studies, critical race and ethnicity studies, gender and sexuality studies, migrant and refugee studies—with a view toward a broader, comparative model of German Studies. The three days will focus on the following questions:

     1. Research: What is the significance of my dissertation project in the larger field of German Studies and the Humanities (or Social Sciences)? How do I develop skill-sets to cross disciplinary boundaries? How do I contribute to the public humanities while working on my dissertation? How open or insulated are my research topics?

     2. Teaching: Are there connections that have started emerging between my research and my teaching? What kind of teaching profile do I want to develop as a graduate student and as a future professional? How do I teach my research interests as large enrollment courses in English translation? How aware am I of building an inclusive and equitable learning environment?

     3. Service: Have I been able to think about the value of service to the department, the college/university, and the profession? How am I working toward becoming an aware and proactive citizen of the profession of teaching and learning? What are the skill-sets I am developing in my research and teaching that can help me make a stronger case for the humanities and social sciences?

Workshop 2: “Dissertation Design,” facilitated by Dr. Edith Sheffer, Senior Fellow, Institute of European Studies, University of California, Berkeley (

This workshop is designed for PhD students who have concrete dissertation projects. Students may be at different stages – prospectus, research, or chapter writing. The workshop will discuss individual dissertation projects as well as general strategies for research and writing. One month before the workshop in October 2020, each student will submit an abstract of the dissertation (250 words), a chapter outline with brief chapter descriptions (2-3 sentences), and a writing sample. The workshops will convene parallel to the regular seminars, Friday through Sunday, 8:30-10am. Participants must commit to participate in all three workshop meetings. Please note that workshop participants will not be allowed to submit a paper in a regular panel session. However, they may take on one additional role in the conference independent of their role in a workshop – as a moderator of another session or as a participant in a roundtable. ESW participation counts as full GSA conference participation and may be listed on a CV accordingly.

The ESW is open to students enrolled in a graduate program. To be considered, students need to submit a well-crafted application letter (2 pages max.). Entry-level graduate students (eligible for workshop #1) should introduce their research focus and likely MA-thesis or dissertation plans. Advanced graduate students should address their dissertation projects. The letter should also convey the ways in which the student seeks to benefit from the workshop. The letter must indicate which of the two workshops the applicant wishes to join.

The deadline for the submission of the application letter is Friday, December 20, 2019 by 11:59 pm EST. Please email your letter to both Astrid M. Eckert and Priscilla D. Layne. Late applications will not be considered.

Following the submission of applications, the ESW Committee, in conjunction with the workshop leaders, will select the participants. Applicants will be notified of the Committee’s decisions by January 6, 2020. Students who cannot be accommodated this time will still have the opportunity to apply to one of the GSA seminars or sessions.

The ESW Committee consists of:

Astrid M. Eckert (Emory University) |

Priscilla D. Layne (UNC-Chapel Hill) |

Please direct inquiries to both ESW Committee members. 

We are looking forward to receiving your application!