Archival Summer Seminar in Germany 2006

Jun 19, 2006 - Jun 30, 2006

Seminar in Germany | Convener: Anke Ortlepp (GHI)


Call for Papers

The Summer Seminar, organized by the GHI and supported by the German Department of the University of Wisconsin at Madison, is a program for advanced graduate students in German historical studies. The program trains participants to read old German script, familiarizes them with German research facilities (archives and libraries), provides a forum for discussing research methods, and helps prepare them for their prospective dissertation research trips to Germany. The program has practical and theoretical dimensions. The group will spend the bulk of their time in various German archives, thinking about research methods and discussing practical information on using archives and libraries. Students will learn how to contact archives, use finding aids, identify important reference tools, and become generally acquainted with German research facilities. In theoretical terms, participants will be exposed to various approaches that archivists, librarians, and scholars use to locate source material in an exceedingly complex repository landscape. They also will gain insight into how historical materials are acquired, stored, and made accessible to scholars. Participants will hear from scholars actively engaged in research, and will have the chance to ask them questions on research methods, strategy, and planning. 

Potential applicants should note that the program is exploratory in nature and should not be considered a pre-dissertation research grant; participants will have limited opportunity to do their own work. Most institutions that we visit will not have materials specifically related to the topics of most of the participants. However, over the course of the seminar participants learn tips that are directly related to their projects as well as meet archivists and librarians who may be useful contacts in the future. We hope that participants will gain an appreciation for the various kinds of archives and special collections located in Germany, either for future reference or for their general edification as scholars of German culture, history, and society. Of course, students are welcome to extend their stay in Germany to do their own exploration and/or preliminary research after the tour ends. 

Applicants must be enrolled in a Ph.D. program at a North American institution of higher education. The program seeks qualified applicants interested in historical studies in a broad range of fields (art history, history, literature, musicology, etc.). The program is open for advanced graduate students whose projects require that they consult source material in German archives and research libraries as well as handwritten materials in old German script. Preference will be given to those who have already chosen a dissertation topic, have already written a dissertation proposal, but have not yet embarked on actual research (ABD). Prospective candidates must have excellent knowledge of written and spoken German. All parts of the program will be conducted in German. The organizers will evaluate applicants’ German proficiency by telephone interview before participants are selected. 

A complete application consists of: (1) a cover letter that outlines the candidate’s motivation to participate; (2) a curriculum vitae; (3) a dissertation proposal (4-8 pages), and (4) a letter from the doctoral adviser. 

The deadline for submission is December 31, 2005. All applicants will be notified by February 15, 2005. For more information, contact Anke Ortlepp, German Historical Institute. Phone: (202) 387 3355; e-mail:

Send application materials to:

German Historical Institute
Dr. Anke Ortlepp
1607 New Hampshire Avenue NW
Washington, DC, 20009-2562