This March, historians from around the country will be gathering at Drew University to discuss the state of graduate education in the field. Like many disciplines, particularly (but by no means exclusively) in the humanities, history departments have been burdened for years by aging graduate curricula and cultural expectation that promote what the American Historical Association called (10 years ago!) “striking for its narrowness,” still based on academic job market conditions from the middle of the twentieth century.
The conference, “Crossroads: The Future of Graduate History Education,” will bring together people interested in revamping the now very dated ways historians are trained. Many of the conference panels will likely focus on broadening training, so that historians will be better able to compete for jobs other than Assistant Professor, and on finding ways to shape the desires of graduate students, whose career aspirations have been found to narrow as they progress through graduate school as they absorb the values of an institutional culture that considers outcomes other than the professorate as failure.
SIF fellow Dylan Ruediger, thanks to generous funding by GSU’s CII, will be among the presenters at the conference, where he will spread the word about the work we are doing in the SIF program and it’s implications for the training of humanists at GSU. He will also be learning from the other speakers in attendance, knowledge which will help the SIF as it works to transform graduate education at GSU. His participation in the conference will supplement efforts on campus to integrate the SIF into a proposed Digital Humanities degree and certificate program at GSU and to a host of ongoing discussions around campus about reforming graduate curricula in the humanities to better provide grad students with technical skills.