Essay Award “Bildung Digital” II

This is a quick update to the previous post in which I announced that I had won the second prize in the Stifterverband’s essay competition “Bildung heute – Bildungsideal einer digitalen Zeit”. The essays (1st, 2nd, 3rd) are now available online as audio reading and as pdf file (here’s mine).

After having the pleasure of listening to Maria reading her winning essay, I can only recommend her text. I have seldom come across a text with such depth, clarity and elegance at the same time. Congratulations!

The Post PhD Blues

I haven’t reblogged anything here yet but this post was so tremendously to the point that I just couldn’t resist..The Post-PhD-Blues – familiar to me, as well.

The Thesis Whisperer

This post is written by Brian Flemming, a mathematician working as a Systems Engineer in Edinburgh.  He has recently completed an Engineering Doctorate (EngD) as a mature student at Heriot Watt University, which he found an intensive and enjoyable experience, and which he credits with greatly increasing the effectiveness and authority of his work.  He is now appreciating the freedom to continue studying and spend time away on the hills, without the associated “PhD-guilt” of neglecting the books …

When Brian sent me this post I could instantly relate. In fact, this blog is the outcome of my own PhD blues where I needed something meaningful, creative and interesting back in my life. I know many people who have finished and express similar sentiments. Here are Brian’s thoughts.

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 3.26.52 pmOne of the posts that caught my eye recently commented on the career prospects for the newly-qualified PhD, especially outside academia. …

View original post 998 more words

Essay-Award “Bildung Digital”

At the end of 2014, I participated in a competition which was launched by the Stifterverband Deutsche Wissenschaft, the Hochschulforum Digitalisierung and the initiative Was bildet Ihr uns ein?. Participants were asked to write an essay on the Bildungsideal in the digital age. My text approaches the issue in a creative way, using the setting of a well-known German fairy-tale for the compilation of a whole wishlist of aspects this educational ideal should comprise. The essay was awarded the second prize, which means that I’m invited to present it in Berlin on 2nd February this year – how exciting! The first 12 essays of roughly 90 submissions will be published on- and offline. I will provide a link here as soon as possible.

Current Book Project “The Personal Weblog: A Linguistic History” and Peter Lang Nachwuchspreis

After I finished my PhD-thesis “Textsorten im Internet zwischen Wandel und Konstanz: Eine diachrone Untersuchung der Textsorte Personal Weblog” in June 2014, I immediately published it as open access version. For various reasons, I wrote my PhD in German. One of my first thoughts after publishing it was to turn it into a “proper” book – in English, this time (by “proper book” I mean, for instance, reducing the length from 450 to roughly 200 pages and cutting away typical dissertation rhetorics, orienting not towards examiners but an interested semi-expert audience). The working title is “The Personal Weblog: A Linguistic History”. So far, I have finished a chapter on genre theory (including genre change) and one of the two concluding chapters.

An additional motivation for continuing with this project comes from Peter Lang Verlag: My PhD and the planned English book based on it were awarded the Peter Lang Nachwuchspreis, which includes the coverage of all publication costs for a print and an ebook edition. The award came quite as a surprise but I am really grateful for the opportunity and the additional motivation it offers for my book project!

eJournal Launched

The eJournal I have mentioned in the previous post – 10plus1: Living Linguistics – has finally been launched! In December 2014, my colleague Jana Pflaeging and I took the final step and made the journal public. The resonance so far has been overwhelmingly positive. Currently, we are working on 10puls1’s editorial board, which literally grows every day. As of today, the following scholars have agreed to join the 10plus1 team:

  • Gerd ANTOS, Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Matthias BALLOD, Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Manuel BURGHARDT, Universität Regensburg
  • Bettina M. BOCK, Universität Halle-Wittenberg / Universität Leipzig
  • Alexander BROCK, Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Christine DOMKE, Technische Universität Chemnitz
  • Ulla FIX, Universität Leipzig
  • Martin LUGINBÜHL, Université de Neuchâtel
  • Christian PENTZOLD, Technische Universität Chemnitz
  • Jana PFLAEGING, Universität Halle-Wittenberg / Universität Salzburg
  • Jan Oliver RÜDIGER, Universität Kassel
  • Peter SCHILDHAUER, Universität Bielefeld / Universität Halle-Wittenberg
  • Marion SCHULTE, Universität Bielefeld
  • Martin SIEFKES, Universität Bremen
  • Hartmut STÖCKL, Universität Salzburg
  • Janina WILDFEUER, Universität Bremen

We are looking forward to the contributions to the first issue!

The eJournal-project

My colleague Jana Pflaeging and I have started thinking about launching an eJournal. What an introductory sentence… No on to the content:

Our idea is a cross-cutting journal addressing a particular linguistic problem or subdiscipline with each issue. We hope to set ourselves apart from the many journals with narrow topical foci which are already in existence. By cross-cutting I also mean: Each issue is meant to display a cross-section of the scholarly community – from professors on tenure to post-docs, doctoral students and students working on excellent papers. We hope to offer a publication platform especially to younger researchers and to enable them to publish in a peer-reviewed journal on work-in-progress, preliminary results and fresh, innovative ideas. The journal will be their megaphone inviting responses, critical comments and helping them to extend their network.

Jana has found an excellent article by Dr. Gerry Coulter, editor of the International Journal of Baudrillard Studies. His article reports his experiences as an editor – from the launch of the ejournal until the present day. As crucial factors of success, he identifies (Coulter 2010: 2):

  1. a good idea
  2. a strong organizing force
  3. the ability to gain acceptance among experts in the field
  4. excellent content
  5. a plan for publicizing the launch
  6. appropriate ressources
  7. a long-term plan for managing the journal

Provided our organizing force is strong enough, there are still a couple of things to sort out according to this list:

  1. We have to present our idea to a number of scholars to get feedback (as Coulter did).
  2. Acceptance among experts in the field is a difficult point for us, as we do not address a particular field but rather a special type of authors (not only renowned scholars but also “newbies”) and special types of articles (work in progress, dialogues, synopses etc.). The consequence is to look for the potential audience and ask them for feedback – but who could that be? Will settled scholars be interested in this kind of content? Will students be?
  3. Ressources are the next most pressing problem: Will our university provide us with server space? Will we have to apply for funds or can we count on free-to-use software, for instance? In other words: Can we afford the project, both in terms of time and money?
  4. Making the journal known and accepted. One step towards this is applying for an ISSN. This does not seem to be THAT difficult as there are national ISSN agencies to which the application can be addressed. Guidelines and the offical ISSN-website provide easy-to-use step-by-step information.
  5. The future: Laying out a plan not only for the next year but for – say- 10 years.

In sum, more questions open than answered and many things to tick off from our list until the journal can be launched – hopefully in March 2015.

Feedback on Chapter 8: Textual Function

Last week, I my mentor gave me detailed feedback on chapter 8 of my thesis. All in all, the feedback was quite positive. The most important points to work on include:

  • The chapter could do with some restructuring. Unti the feedback session, I did not realise that some aspects that are discussed in point 8.3.1. of the chapter (functions as ethnocategories and their prototypicity) could tightly be linked to the first point, where some theoretical considerations on textual functions and a methodology for their analysis are offered together with a review of research on Weblogs’ functions (see Table of Contents May 2013).
  • In general, we started thinking about restructuring the thesis in order to increase readability. Chapter 2, that was actually intended to develop a genre model in detail, including discussions of the individual layers, might probably just serve as a rough sketch of the genre concept and its socio-cognitive components as well as the layers; the detailed discussions should be postponed until the first part of each analytical chapter. I hope that works out… I also started thinking about how I could shorten the thesis and be more concise in the end.
  • The ethnocategories should be discussed in more detail especially concerning the question whether they are really functionally determined or rather bundles of features containing a whole lot of structure as well. I tend to assume the latter, but should strengthen this aspect, especially because my chapter contains a whole lot of structural analysis as the basis of arguing for functional ascriptions.
  • Maybe some part of the structural analysis become redundant when chapter 7 is developed; then I could shorten the analyses a little bit.
  • My “entertainment” function is analysed as an appellative function urging readers to view a text as entertaining. That is, actually, meta-communicative and therefore situated on another layer than all the other functions… I should therefore treat the entertainment aspect in a different sub-chapter (and not next to advertisments, for instance).
  • Other functions, such as teasing or boasting could also be adressed in this rather small sub-chapter..

All in all, I start realising that I am reaching a point where I have to start thinking about the whole of the thesis again… so I am entering some phase of transition into the last stage of the thesis already. I hope I can manage the amount of work still before me till the end of the year…