Teachings

Compared to my professional activity of the past years, there turns out to be plenty of valuable experience that I can rely on – certainly more than I thought at first. Team management, project management, administration, international relationships, networking on different scales, opening eyes and ears to new cooperations and concretizing them: this is all still at the core of my job. But I was really expecting this part not to be so different from what I had known and done before. I am much more surprised to see how much of my teaching relies on my work of the past three-four years.

I am in fact surprised because I had the feeling to do very little teaching over these years. Continue reading “Teachings”

Next on

What silenced me so long is the state of application. Month after month, job applications determined my life.  When you are applying for jobs – depending on the jobs, obviously, but still -, blogging and tweeting can easily be perceived as a sign of vanity or of an unprofessional leisure. Every time I was tempted to write, I worried that future employers might interpret it the wrong way, and at some point I simply decided to wait. Since I finished this long round of applications and interviews yesterday, let me tell you first about the good news, and then about a few general conclusions I draw from this process.

Continue reading “Next on”

The energy of despair, the energy of passion

Two weeks to the first time a PhD candidate I tutored defends her PhD. Four days until summer term starts. One week to the March for Science. Is it a beginning or an end? It is, in any case, a moment of some quiet before a surge of energy. Preparing, hoping, wondering. Will any of it change anything? Will it make a difference? Does it even matter if it does – or doesn’t? Why do we choose to do one thing rather than the other – like, say, preparing the March for Science instead of writing a grant application?

We make choices in the way we dispose of our time and energy. Continue reading “The energy of despair, the energy of passion”

What are we marching for? (#MarchforScience, in Berlin and Paris)

The Marches for Science are gaining momentum all over Europe now. While it is still not easy to predict what the 22nd of April will actually look like, it is interesting to see how each country or city gives their interpretation of the meaning of the March for Science. For me as a researcher moving between Germany and France, the differences between what comes from France and what I experience in Berlin are palpable, but the initiatives all have a common ground behind their national or local specificities. Continue reading “What are we marching for? (#MarchforScience, in Berlin and Paris)”

Families, I do not hate you

For the third time since I started the project “Berlin intellectuals 1800-1830”, great luck has come to me from descendants’ families. Unexpectedly, material turns out to be recoverable. Letters – answers to other letters we have edited in Letters and Texts – happen not to be lost after all. They are in a box, the box in a cabinet, the cabinet in the home of an elderly lady. And they have been there at least since the first edition (a censored edition, of course) was realised in the 1930s.

The moment when you get a phone call at your office with someone presenting themselves with the last name of an author you edit is a moment of blessing, for many reasons. One of these reasons is that they call you because they found your research online, which means: open science is not a vain word, and the effort of making one’s research easily accessible online makes a difference – for them and for you. With that phone call, new worlds open for your research, like in this case finding the answers to decades of correspondence. We will date better, understand allusions, see how the relationship evolves, grasp contexts. We will put the puzzle pieces back together, something we can do virtually without displacing documents but for the few hours needed to digitize them. Continue reading “Families, I do not hate you”