CGHE Webinar 339

Transitions in the Humanities PhD: A case-study from Denmark

Date: Tuesday, 28 February 2023 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Location: Zoom webinar, registration required
Speaker(s):
  • Søren S. E. Bengtsen, Aarhus University, Denmark
  • Lynn McAlpine, University of Oxford

The Humanities doctoral education in Denmark is experiencing various, and sometimes contradictory, pulls from a variety of different stakeholders. To facilitate career trajectories within academia, Humanities PhD students in Denmark are encouraged to choose the format of the article-based dissertation (dissertation by publication) rather than the traditional monograph. This means that Humanities research is sometimes experienced as being forced into a less hermeneutic and more positivistic, or instrumental, epistemic mindset. At the same time, alternative academic careers are pushed from within the institution in collaboration with career and entrepreneurial units, where the focus is increasingly put on generic competences and transferrable skills relevant for the industry and professional job market. Here, the humanities researchers experience being alienated within vocabularies and trajectories of innovation and entrepreneurship. Further, the Humanities PhD is increasingly funded through external and private funding and partnerships, where individual PhD students becomes part of a research team headed by a PI who is also the main supervisor. The partnership-model directs the focus of the Humanities PhD towards a more strongly predetermined, professionally and instrumentally oriented research design – often in conflict with disciplinary and institutional traditions. The manifold transitions in the Danish Humanities PhD risk creating a ‘torn curriculum’ with implications such as academic ‘schizophrenia’, epistemic confusion, and pedagogical uncertainty – especially in relation to blurred forms of ownership and agency in relation to the PhD seen in the complexity of various stakeholders within and beyond the university. On the other hand, however, there are also signs of new forms of student and supervisor agency, an increased interdisciplinary awareness, and a move from an individual towards a collective understanding of ownership and collaboration.

The seminar presents the background, conceptual framing, and preliminary findings from the research project ‘Research for impact: integrating research and societal impact in the Humanities PhD’, a 4-year Sapere Aude research project funded by the Independent Research Fund Denmark (DFF). The research project is unique in its way of both researching through a multi-layered (national policy, through experiences of institutional leaders and PhD students) and multi-modal (policy documents, job descriptions, and qualitative interviews) approach. Also, the project takes an interdisciplinary research approach drawing from both from philosophy, anthropology, and social theory. For instance, the research undertaken in the work-packages of the project combines an anthropology of policy with critical discourse analysis of qualitative semi-structured interviews with Heads of Graduate Schools at five Danish universities, together with research leaders, doctoral supervisors, and doctoral students. Also, the project has a philosophical anchoring, analysis and critical discussion cutting across the work-packages, with basis in critical realism and speculative realism.

Booking

You will need to register to join this webinar. Please register here

Other upcoming events

CGHE webinar series on HE and geopolitics
Tuesday, 9 July 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
All times BST. Zoom, registration required
Dr Amine Moussa
Dr. Clemens Wollny
Carol Switzer
CGHE webinar series on HE and geopolitics
Tuesday, 30 July 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
All times BST. Zoom, registration required
Emily Dobrich
CGHE Webinar
Tuesday, 2 July 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
All times BST. Zoom webinar, registration required
Sarah Hayes
Michael Jopling
CGHE webinar series on HE and geopolitics
Tuesday, 25 June 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
All times BST. Zoom webinar, registration required
Nex Bengson
CGHE webinar series on HE and geopolitics
Tuesday, 23 July 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
All times BST. Zoom webinar, registration required
Cristina Mazzero
CGHE webinar series on HE and geopolitics
Tuesday, 16 July 2024 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
All times BST. Zoom, registration required
David Kyei-Nuamah