Layers of Project Management

Sometimes, I am labelling myself as a “queen of side projects”. Basically that means, that I am curious and my main research projects are sometimes not well suited to answer other questions I might have. A lot of the times, I can answer these questions by reading. This is always fun, and always worthwhile.Other times, the answers to my questions just have not been found, yet. Cue another side project. At other times, you’re discussing ideas with friends and colleagues, and someone says “we should do something in this area!” – be aware, I’ll take this seriously, and write follow-up emails to plan for this “something”. Whoops, yet another side project. Some people wonder how it happens that they once again bought books without really meaning to (or, is this also just me?), I accumulate side projects. One consequence of this is a somewhat lack of master narrative in my publications, unless you count individual curiosity as such. I am happy with this consequence. What I am less happy with is the need for more intense projectmanagement because of all these side projects. In addition, my main projects (three at the moment) also have several elements and steps which need to be planned. In the end, projectmanagement has actually become one side project of its own. It is always a work in progress, but I’d like to share some of my approaches and ideas to it to encourage you to reflect on your own handling of projects and side projects. And get back to me about it! I am always interested in the process of other people.

The basic idea is that I separate main projects and side projects in my mind. Mostly, on grounds of volume and time involvement. At the moment, I have three main projects: Deposing Monarchs (finishing the re-writing and turning the research into an academic book), Fiscal-Military System (researching the Baltic in the European fiscal-military system incl. getting really into databases like the amazing Sound Toll Registers Online, organising workshops, and writing articles), and Counsellors (reduced right now, so mostly reading). These are the projects, I spend most of my time on. All of them have several elements to it, e.g. for Deposing Monarchs I need to produce first drafts of the chapters and then transform these first drafts into proper academic writing incl. my beloved footnotes (just not too much since it’s an English monograph). For me, that are two different mindsets which need different approaches. First Draft writing is best done in the morning, in a coffee shop or the common room at my office with a nice cup of tea or a chai latte. 30 to 60 minutes is usually enough, and produces something between 500 to 1,000 words (remember, the research is all done and actually published in German. I only have to think about how to write it for an English audience). Revising these first drafts into academic texts is a bit different. I can add in most of the missing information like references and source quotations from my German book, but I also need to look up some references, esp. if I used a German translation of an English book. I try to use English literature as often as possible to give readers the option to follow-up on my reasoning even without them having the same language skills. Thus, this work is best done in a library setting. Good thing, I have a pretty great one right down the street (ok, 20 minute bike-ride down the street).

Bodleian Library, Oxford

The same is mostly true for my other projects – first drafts in coffee shops or library setting vs. reading and producing finished academic texts in libraries. Moreover, some research which is not “just” reading needs a bit more – more precisely, a monitor more. Reading and transkribing archival sources is such a case, putting information from sources into databases another. I do have an external monitor at the office, so this is used a lot for this kind of work. And for all the administrative stuff which inevitable will come up. Also, there is the microwave and the water kettle in the office to consider…

What this all means for my projectmanagement is that I work with several layers of it. I need an overview of all on-going projects (and I also have a list of interesting things I want to take a closer look at, sometime later). I need to decide when to work on which project, and this depends on space and time. If I am at home because I need to do my laundry, it is very unlikely that I will be writing. If I try to write at home, I end up cleaning the whole flat – also nice, but not what I should be doing to bring my projects forward. So, at home, it’s time for project planning or reading. But it’s also about timing and space: my best writing and thinking time is either for short periods of time in the morning (up to 1 hour, after some time I get anxious about all the other things I still need to do today), and then in the afternoon after about 3/4 pm. At this time, being in the office doing administrative work or data entry is a waste of creative energy. Sitting already in the library or in a coffeeshop with my laptop open on one of my writings projects, however, is the best thing that can happen. I will really get into writing, and more often than not reach the mysterious “flow” state, producing something valuable.

So, layers! Layers to my project planning include time spent on projects, timing according to my own energy and focus, spaces and their different conditions, and finally different activities like first draft writing, reading, serious academic writing, project planning, or transkribing etc.

Ok, I have to finish, I am getting anxious about whatelse I have to do today, and the library is waiting for me! Time to finish this post and let someone else get my spot in this nice Summertown Café.

Writing in Oxford

So, I am here.

At one of the centres for knowledge, surrounded by amazing opportunities for research, for connecting with other academics, for reading academic stuff, but also literature (in Oxford, you really can’t miss that Philip Pullman wrote another book from the world of His Dark Materials) and for engaging with knowledge in the broadest sense. I have to admit, I am a bit overwhelmed.

I managed to have a few enjoyable discussions with other academics, engaging with their work and thinking about different stuff, just not as much as I would like, and not as intense as I usually experience it during conference season.
I managed to read a bit, but nothing from beginning to end, so more of a browsing through. I bought books – ok, I already bought a lot of books and now my tiny book shelf here in my Oxford flat is already full, and I need to think about what to do about it. I mean, I could read some of these books, and then just send them home to Germany where I have larger bookshelves (though, also quite full – if anyone knows how to implement the TARDIS/Mary Poppins’ bag/Hermione’s bag technology or magic into bookshelves, please let me know!)
And I even managed to do some research in a few of my projects, joined a writing partnership (shout out to Stephen, sitting beside me and working on an important chapter) which definitely helps to keep on track with Deposing Monarchs, and I am now preparing my first funding application for an event I am hoping to host here in Oxford. But still, in nearly everything I do, I am feeling a bit overwhelmed, and I definitely underestimated how long it takes to get you set up in a new environment, from bank account to phone to reader card for the British Library.
Now, after more than a month of living in the UK, I feel like it’s slowly coming together. Getting to know the city (I am in love with the Botanical Garden, and the libraries in All Souls College and Worcester College), diving into enjoyable research questions on war organisation in the Baltic and figuring out where to add something substantial to this discussion, realising that there are so many historians around that I might not get the chance to talk with everyone (although I will try!) or go to every research seminar, and starting to read two fun books at once.

So, is it time to start figuring out the equally overwhelming cultural options in Oxford? There is theatre, the events from Blackwells and Waterstones, lots of music, and christmas coming up (I solemny swear that I will refrain from buying and wearing earrings in the shape of christmas baubles). Or, is it time to really buckle down, and make use of all the academic resources I am getting slowly used to? The third option would be to learn to skip sleep, or to add more hours to the day – but that is even more unrealistic than adding a small extra dimension in my bookshelves to add more books!


Es ist vollbracht! Zumindest so halb – von den zwei geplanten Buchveröffentlichungen über die Ergebnisse meiner Forschungen zu Monarchenabsetzungen auf den Britischen Inseln und in Skandinavien ist zumindest eine draußen – und zwar in Open Access und für alle mit Internetzugang lesbar. Wer also wissen will, wie Engländer, Schotten, Schweden, Dänen und Norweger in der Frühen Neuzeit ihre Könige und Königinnen absetzten, kann das ganze hier nachlesen.
Die deutsche Version ist dabei voller Fußnoten und diese sind nicht gerade kurz – das liegt vor allem daran, dass ich die Darstellung der Absetzungen möglichst gut lesbar und narrativ in den Haupttext packen wollte und somit die ganzen weiteren Ideen und Ausführungen zu einem kleinen Detail in die Fußnoten gewandert sind. Auch wenn diese wichtige Forschungsergebnisse und Teile der eigentlichen Argumentation enthalten. Viele dieser Punkte werden dann erneut wieder in den Analysekapiteln (Kapitel 4 und 5) aufgegriffen und querverwiesen.
Insgesamt ist das jedoch immer wieder ein Problem, mit dem ich bei jeder Publikation erneut ringe: Wie bekommt man die mehrdimensionale Geschichte auf ein zweidimensionales Blatt Papier? Immer mit Wiederholungen und Querverweisen zu arbeiten, liest sich ja nun wirklich nicht gut. In kürzeren Aufsätzen und Vortägen ist das tatsächlich noch etwas einfacher, da ich mich hier auf ein Hauptargument konzentriere und max. noch 1-2 weitere Aspekte kurz anspreche. Aber in der Monographie stecken einfach komplexere Argumente drin. Klar, ich kann die einfach zusammenfassen: Absetzungen wirken als innenpolitische Konflikte staatsbildend durch Zwang zur Aushandlung eines neuen Herrschaftskonsens. Oder, Absetzungen zeigen, dass in Konflikten Vorstellungen von konsensualer Herrschaft dominanter als Ideen von Gottesgnadentum oder Herrschersakralität sind. — Aber kann man diese Argumente wirklich durchdringen und erfassen, wenn man dazu nicht die einzelnen Elemente kennt? Wen man nicht weiß, warum Absetzungen innenpolitische Konflikte sein sollen? Oder was ich als Unterschied zwischen Gottesgnadentum und Herrschersakralität verstehe? Und kann ich das alles darstellen und entschlüsseln, ohne nicht ständig verschiedene Quellen zu kombinieren und diese natürlich dann auch in ihrem jeweiligen Kontext zu situieren? Abgesehen davon, dass natürlich auch die Ereignisgeschichte beachtet werden muss, zu der auch gehört aufzuzeigen, welchen Einfluss Diskurse auf Entscheidungen hatten (zumindest bei meiner Fragestellung).
Meine Antwort für die deutsche Version waren extensive Fußnoten und Querverweise – die englische Version wird jedoch anders aussehen (allein schon, weil ich da (widerwillig) mit Endnoten arbeiten muss).

Love Letter to Literature Software

I can’t even imaginge writing an academic text without any literature software. In particular, I am using Citavi which is also the reason why I am not changing to a Mac. The only reason!

It is especially helpful when changing citation styles – this is literally done by clicking a button. And since I am still getting the hang of Chicago Style, nevermind all the other ones, I am pretty thankful not to need to think about this. German citation styles differ as well, even between disciplines. In book studies, I got used to also including the publisher which you usually don’t do when writing German historiography, and which you once again do in English historiography. Honestly, it does make a difference if something is published by Random House and therefore aimed at a more general audience, or by an university press, therefore, I prefer to include the publisher.

Aside from citation styles and the automatic generation of the bibliography – even fancy ones which automatically separate sources from research literature -, the most important things in my literature software are all the many possibilities to sort titles. I can tag each title with keywords, categories, groups, tasks, and libraries and collections. I can add notes to it: abstracts, links to reviews, quotes, thoughts, excerpts, and so on – and I can search and sort for any of the aforementioned. So, if I want to know which books I still need to include in a chapter I am writing, I usually will search for this chapter in my categories but exclude all literature marked as “done” (”done” is my most important category – it includes books I’ve read and included as well as books which sound like they are relevant for something but actually are not). If I only want to see my sources for this chapter, I’ll combine a search for the category with a group search or even a search for a free field. I use a free field to mark if a title is a source or research literature. This allows me to also automatically group titles in the bibliography into sources and research literature.

Basically, used consequently, my Citavi is my external brain which works much better in keeping details than the brain I was born with… However, as part of my usual routine when reading, writing, or thinking, I’ll sort Citavi. If a new project for a book chapter or an edited volume or even a monograph comes up, it needs to have its own category/ies. So, I’ll sort through all my (at the moment, ca.4,000) titles and mark the relevant ones with this new category. Usually, this is where keywords come in since I try to be very generous with keywords and include temporal and geographical keywords as well as topics like “state formation”, “aristocracy”, “political thought”, or “rulership”.

Since there is always something to do when tending to your literature collection, it is also a fabulous way of procrastinating from the “real” writing – such as I am doing now when I should be getting back to my revisions. Time is running, and still so much to do…

Sweden is record holder for deposing monarchs

At the moment, I am re-writing the chapter presenting the case studies, including cutting most details needed for the German dissertation out of the upcoming monograph. I’ll try to roughly work parallel on the editing of the German publication and the re-writing of the English monograph, and I am now coming to the end of the Scandinavian case studies.

So, what brought me to include the Scandinavian kingdoms into my research? England and even Scotland were pretty clear, the English even have a reputation for being “king-slayers” – it’s a bit undeserved; usually they deposed their monarchs first, or more precise, forced them to abdicate – afterwards, they killed them, so it should be something like “ex-king-slayers”? But even the English with all their depositions from 1327 (Edward II) right through the Wars of the Roses and until Charles I and James II in the 17th century, do not hold a candle to the Swedish.
Very early on, it became clear that if I want to understand deposition, I have to include Sweden. If I counted correctly, from all the kings between ca. 1350 until 1600, only three were not deposed. Plus Margaret who ruled but was never crowned. In between were also a few regents (riksföreståndare) who were deposed though more of them avoided deposition. There is then a break in the Swedish favourite pastime of deposing kings until the late 18th century. Then they start again – Gustav III gets shot during a masquerade ball which even inspired Verdi to write his opera Un ballo in maschera about it. He also brought in a (fictive) love triangle for reasons unknown to me. I thought the events were dramatic enough but I am also not writing operas… Gustav’s son, Gustav IV, was deposed as well in 1809 before Sweden finally stopped deposing all their monarchs. At least until now.
As early modernist, I focussed on the depositions of the 16th century – 1501 started with the deposition of John II, and up until Sigismund’s deposition in 1599, two further kings were deposed. Out of the six monarchs of this century! The other two, Gustav I and John III, were also involved, but as deposers themselves. As it turned out, the sixteenth century was a defining century for Sweden and formed much of the later monarchy. Depositions were a part of this struggle and search for a political identity.

Writing a dissertation vs. writing an academic monograph

What I really like about the chance to rewrite my German doctoral thesis as an English academic monograph is the possibility to re-structure the book, and to make it about the reader (hopefully, some people will read it…). When I started the PhD journey, I took my time researching and later on, writing and researching. While writing, new problems turned up, details were unclear (to me), and more research and more reading needed to be done. In the end, the German dissertation shows this thought process, no matter how many times I edited. I can still tell which parts I wrote first, and where I already found out where this writing is going. Maybe you can see this as well when reading the German (Open Access) version.
First of all, there were the usual expectations to a doctoral thesis on an extensive literature and methodology review, detailed source interpretation, and broad contextualising (incl. to place the own research in research fields which turned out to be not that relevant for my work). I am grateful that I spend quite a lot of time on this, and especially on the introduction where I summed up relevant research on the vast field of “Herrschaft” (authority, rule, government, power…) and political history (incl. political thought or history of ideas) and really dug deep to also form my own understanding of power, authority, and rule in the early modern period. This time and research investment has certainly paid off, and parts of this text has been re-used and re-written for several book chapters, journal articles, and grant applications. It will certainly find its way into the English monograph as well, just in a very reduced way and much more concentrated on my main arguments.
Second, the extensive research on my ten case studies (eight monarchs deposed in ten realms, or even twelve realms if you count Christian II in Norway, and James II in Ireland as own case studies – which I didn’t) will be cut. And I mean, going from Rapunzel to Skin (Skunk Anasie). In word counts, going from about 100.000 words to about 15.000. This is actually the chapter I am working on right now, and so far it’s going well (maybe, I’ll need to go up to 20.000 – let’s see if I can squeeze Charles I into 2,000 words, or if he will be obstinate, as he usually is). There is a simple reason behind this: the case studies were needed as my data, but they are not the focus themselves. Here, the thinking-writing-researching was especially prominent: I had to find many, many, many details how each deposition worked, what was said, who said and did what, what were the problems, what were reactions and unexpected events, and so on. But basically, I did not add much to already existing research on each case study (a bit, because a comparative view actually shows patterns not visible when only looking at one example). The real new addition to research of my thesis is the comparison and the analysis of deposition events in more general, e.g. I could identify several phases of how deposition needed to be concluded (and I’ve seen these phases repeated in the recent depositions in South Korea and Brazil). Identifying such phases, identifying several actor groups needed, and identifying several recurring legitimation strategies was my main scholar work. The details of all case studies are just the raw data from which I drew these insights. In the doctoral dissertation, this raw data needed to be presented, including the extensive research discussion for each case study (think, Mary Stuart and Charles I). In the academic monograph, this will be reduced to the most important insights as well as to a very short presentation of the history of events. Of course, more details from each deposition will also be mentioned in the rest of the book (as they were in the rest of the dissertation) – I don’t want to write a completely abstract book, and try to “show, not tell” as often as reasonably possible and sensible.
At the moment, these are the main differences between a (German) dissertation and an academic monograph – less methodology and research context,and less presentation of raw data. Let’s see if I encounter more important differences later on. I’ll keep you posted!

Publishing in Germany

The last post was about publishing with English publishers, written in German for a German audience… To make it even, this will be about the German academic publishing system based on my experiences with it. My first two co-edited volumes were both with a German publisher (transcript) although one of them was in English.

Furthermore, I had book chapters published, and I am planning on publishing the dissertation in Open Access via the university server.

And that is one specialty of the German academic system which – in my opinion – leads to many other idiosyncracies for publishing here. A doctoral thesis has to be published before the doctoral candidate can use the title “Dr.”! Depending on your discipline, this can be cumulative in several articles, is easily done via the university server, or – mostly in the book sciences like history – with an established publishing house. Usually, the regulations at the university does not care much which way you choose, but the traditional way of using a publishing house offers visibility and more reputation. Also, it’s nice to hold the product of your hard work for many years in your hands, finally. In general, I quite like the idea that a doctoral thesis has to be published: this work is often well researched and fundamental, and should not disappear into some drawers. However, for two years I’ve been explaining why I cannot wear the title “Dr.” yet, even though I am one, count as one in most other academic systems (I submitted, had my defence, and so on), and when the book is published, I will have been a “Dr.” since my defence date in February 2017. Just in the meantime, I cannot claim the title… It’s thought of as a control mechanism so that you’ll really publish (there is also a time limit on it), but it would also work the other way round: having a time limit when you’ll loose the title unless you had published by this date. And much easier for the international field.
Alright, back on topic: doctoral candidates have to publish. As you can imagine, publishing houses are well aware of this, and we now have a culture in which academic authors of all stages pay for publication. I am not exactly sure if there is a causality? It remains, that for publication, academics pay a so-called Druckkostenzuschuss (subsidy for printing costs). Depending on volume, images, paper quality and so on, this can be anything between ca. € 2,000 and € 10,000, or more. Usually, doctoral candidates start saving as soon as they found out about this practice. Of course, there is also the possibility to apply for specific grants to cover printing costs. The whole system is prepared to take this on…

In terms of the argument for open access, this means: the taxpayers pay for the work of the doctoral candidates if they are employed by an university,or funded by one of the public funding agencies (most of them are). Then, taxpayers pay (via the grant for printing costs) to have the work published. And then they pay for the public libraries to buy this work (we have to face it: most academic books are bought by libraries, not by the interested private person).

Nonetheless, doctoral theses are usually peer-reviewed, just a bit differently. Instead of a book proposal which is send out to various blind reviewers, a doctoral thesis is, first of all, graded by a committee. We have actual marks, ranging from summa cum laude, magna cum laude, cum laude, (satis bene) to rite. If you’re below, you failed. If you don’t have one of the two highest marks (summa or magna), you probably should not try to stay in academia – which is fine, and we have a lot of jobs outside of academia in Germany where you need (or should have) the doctoral title, e.g. in public service for the highest pay level, in archives, libraries, museums, research institutions, and so on. #altac is actually a reality here. So, the first peer-review is from your committee, and the mark is a trusted standard for the scientific quality of the thesis. Also, after your defence, you’ll get the copy of the thesis in which everyone from the committee added their thoughts and corrections back, and you have to consider them for your review. Before you are allowed to publish, you have to show your advisor the reviewed manuscript, and they have to give the imprimatur (it can be printed). If you publish on your university server (as I will), this is actually the only peer-review (my research had another peer-review since I will publish it also with Routledge). If you publish within a book series at a publishing house, you’ll have to hand in the manuscript, or a shortened form of it, or even something close to a book proposal (the requirements are changing at the moment), and the book series editors will decide if they accept you for publication. If you publish outside of a series, the editor(s) at the publishing house will decide. If you apply for a grant, you’ll also have an additional step of peer review – if you pay out of your own pocket, you’ll skip this step.
Finally, the thesis (or another academic book) is accepted for publication! The manuscript is written, and you have the imprimatur. Then, often, you’ll do the typesetting, or pay someone else to do it for you. Either the people at the publishing house, or private enterprises and freelancers (I actually did the typesetting for another thesis as a freelancer).
When the book is printed, you’ll receive a few copies for yourself, can buy more with a discount for authors, or buy other books from the publisher with this discount, and then the moment has come to hold your book in your hands. This is actually quite the same as in international publishing. One thing more: you might want to consider joing the VG Wort which is a collection society for the printed word. If you authored publications, you’ll get some income from them (not enough to cover printing costs, but still).

I hope to have given you some (subjective) insights into publishing in Germany, and how it differs from international publications, esp. considering the need to publish the doctoral thesis.

Publizieren bei britischen Verlagen

Wie bereits hier kurz angekündigt, werde ich also die nächsten Monate damit verbringen, die gleiche Forschung direkt zweimal zu veröffentlichen: einmal in Form der deutschen Dissertationsschrift (entsprechend den Auflagen meiner Promotionsordnung mit recht wenig Änderungen an der eigentlichen Qualifikationsschrift, die abgegeben und bewertet wurde) und einmal als eine englischsprachige wissenschaftliche Monographie. Warum tue ich mir diesen Sch… an? So eine Veröffentlichung ist ja schon in einer Sprache kompliziert genug, warum dann in zwei Sprachen und auch in zwei unterschiedlichen Verlagslandschaften?
Kurz gesagt, mehr Leute lesen Englisch als Deutsch. Bei dem Thema Monarchenabsetzungen auf den britischen Inseln und in Skandinavien gehören die Forscher, die sich mit ebendiesen geographischen Räumen in der Frühen Neuzeit beschäftigen, sicherlich zu einer der wichtigsten Zielpublika meiner eigenen Forschung. Und im Vergleich zur betreffenden Forschung in den skandinavischen Ländern bzw. in den UK ist die deutsche Forschungslandschaft bei dem Thema eher überschaubar. Naja, und deutsche Forscher lesen eher englische Texte als englische Forscher deutsche…
Aber wie funktioniert nun das Publizieren bei einem nicht-deutschen Verlag? Bekanntermaßen haben sich bei uns aufgrund der Veröffentlichungspflicht von Dissertationen bestimmte Unsitten entwickelt, die es so auf dem internationalen Buchmarkt nicht gibt. Ganz zuallererst: ich zahle keinen Druckkostenzuschuss! Ich wiederhole: kein Druckkostenzuschuss! Im Gegenteil, ich erhalte sogar Geld in Form von Tantiemen. Keine Ahnung, wieviel das sein wird und ob sich das lohnt; das hängt dann von den Verkaufszahlen ab. Aber allein die Ersparnis der Druckkosten – sei es aus eigener Tasche oder mit beträchtlichem Zeitaufwand verbunden durch eine entsprechende Förderung – macht sich bemerkbar auf meinem Konto.
Eine Folge von diesem System ist, dass ich ein sog. Book Proposal schreiben musste, in dem ich die wichtigsten Thesen meiner Arbeit, die Zielgruppe, die Gliederung inkl. kurzer Kapitelzusammenfassungen, Formalia wie Umfang, Bilder u.ä., Konkurrenztitel usw. aufführen musste. Da habe ich auch so einiges an Zeit hereingesteckt. Gemeinsam mit diesem Book Proposal habe ich meinen Lebenslauf (das ist ja in Deutschland auch so) sowie zwei Beispielkapitel eingereicht. Diese wurden dann zunächst vom Lektor beim Verlag begutachtet, dann ging das Ganze raus an Peer Reviewer, die im gleichen Forschungsfeld wie ich arbeiten. Bei mir waren das also entweder Experten zur frühneuzeitlichen Staatsbildung, zu mittelalterlichen oder modernen Monarchenabsetzungen (da gibt es noch nicht viel Frühneuzeitliches, meine Forschung füllt da tatsächliche eine zeitliche Lücke) oder allgemeiner zu Herrschaftsgeschichte und Monarchie. So ganz genau weiß ich das natürlich nicht, es ist ja blind review (wenn auch nicht double-blind, wie bei vielen Zeitschriften).
Da ich ja selbst übersetze bzw. meine Forschung auf Englisch neu schreibe, war ein ganz wichtiger Aspekt für mich die Zusammenarbeit mit jemanden, der sprachlich den Texten den letzten Schliff gibt. Dank meiner zahlreichen Konferenzbeiträge und englischen Veröffentlichungen bin ich zwar inzwischen auf dem Level angelangt, dass ich auch im Deutschen den englischen Satzbau nutze (im Englischen dafür einen deutschen) und also manchmal komplett sprachverwirrt bin (sehr zur Erheiterung meiner Studenten sowie meines Schwedisch-Kurses, wenn mal wieder zuviel Englisch hineinrutscht), aber proper academic English ist dann doch eine andere Hausnummer. Zum Glück habe ich mit Margaret Hiley jemanden gefunden, der fachlich und sprachlich passt. Margaret ist nämlich bilingual Deutsch-Englisch und kann daher wunderbar deutsche Konstruktionen in englischen Texten erkennen. (Nur so als kleiner Exkurs: ging mir auch schon so, dass mein Wissen zu dem schwedischen Verb “läsa” (lernen, aber auch lesen) hilfreich war, um zu erkennen, warum jemand in einem Abstract “reading” und “learning” verwechselt hatte. Der Jemand war nämlich skandinavischer Muttersprachler und da macht es eben keinen Unterschied…).
So, nachdem also die Gutachten der Peer Reviewer positiv zurückkamen, ging es schon an den Vertrag. Abgabetermin und Umfang, Anzahl Bilder u.ä. hatte ich ja schon im Book Proposal angegeben, aber hier wurde es nochmal festgeschrieben und ich hätte hier auch noch etwas ändern können. Ganz besonders wichtig war mir, dass die deutsche Veröffentlichung und die englische Veröffentlichung sich nicht in die Quere bezgl. Urheberrecht u.ä. kommen, was ich eben auch nochmal schriftlich mit meinem Lektor abgestimmt habe. Was mir dann schon eher Kopfzerbrechen bereitet hat, ist die Anpassung an das Routledge Format. Viele wissenschaftliche Bücher, die ja ohnehin nur ein eher begrenztes Publikum haben, werden inzwischen nämlich gleichzeitig auch als eBook, und dieses sogar kapitelweise, angeboten (nicht nur bei Routledge). Bei Sammelbänden finde ich persönlich es ja ganz sinnvoll, die Option zu haben, nur den einen Aufsatz zu kaufen, der mich interessiert; aber bei Monographien erschließt sich mir das nicht so recht. Aber ich habe auch keine Einsicht in die Verkaufszahlen – vielleicht lohnt es sich ja? Jedenfalls führt diese Verkaufsstrategie dazu, dass jedes Kapitel seine eigene Bibliographie hat sowie generell Kapitel-Endnoten genutzt werden. Dabei bin ich so ein Fußnoten-Fan! Die Errungenschaft bei meiner (deutschen) Diss, auf die ich am stolzesten bin, ist die Tatsache, dass ich mehr Wörter in den Fußnoten habe als im Haupttext (ca. 96.500 im Haupttext zu 101.500 in den Fußnoten)! Ich gebe zu, ich habe die englische Version ohnehin mit weniger Fußnoten (und auch generell weniger Wörtern) konzipiert, aber die intensiven Diskussionen zum Forschungsstand, Quellenproblematiken oder Bezügen zu vom Hauptargument wegführenden Themen werden wohl entfallen bzw. in den Haupttext wandern müssen, wo sie den Erzählfluss stören. Nachdem ich diesen Frosch also schlucken musste, konnte ich dafür endlich den Vertrag unterzeichnen!
Insgesamt hat es von der Einreichung des Book Proposals bis zur Vertragsunterzeichnung etwa 6 Wochen gedauert – das ist recht schnell. Gut, letztes Jahr hatte ich ein Book Proposal für einen Sammelband bei ARC Humanities Press eingereicht, welches innerhalb von 3 Wochen positiv beantwortet wurde. Allerdings war das auch im Rahmen einer Buchreihe, bei der ich vorher bereits mit einigen der Reihenherausgebern, die bei Buchreihen ja mitentscheiden, schon im Kontakt stand. Aber normalerweise sollte man schon so eher 2-3 Monate einplanen – das hängt von der Schnelligkeit der Lektoren ebenso wie der der Gutachter ab. Und auch davon, wann das nächste Mal die Reihenherausgeber und/oder Verlagslektoren zusammenkommen, um über die Aufnahme von Werken zu entscheiden.
Und jetzt geht es eben ans Re-Writing. Anders als inzwischen oft in deutschen Verlagen üblich, muss ich mich nicht um den Satz kümmern. Dafür um den Index – das wird bestimmt noch mal zu einigen Problemen führen; die Indizierung ist für mich sowas wie die Königsdisziplin der akademischen Veröffentlichung. Da gibt es auch himmelweite Unterschiede und gerade englische Bücher sind da den deutschen reinen Personen- und Ortsangaben oft weit voraus. Aber dazu später mehr.
Ich hoffe, ich konnte ein bisschen Einblick in das englische Publizieren aus deutscher Perspektive geben!

Writing, Editing, and Publishing Two Books at Once

Actually, it’s the same research but it will be published in two different books – the German dissertation which needs to be published to fulfill all requirements for the title “Doctor”, and an academic monograph, published in the Routledge Research in Early Modern History series. The research on depositions of monarchs on the British Isles and in Scandinavia, 1500-1700, has now been part of my daily life for ten years (although I did submit in 2016, and defended in 2017). It really is time to share the complete work with the academic community. Parts and ideas of the whole had been presented in journal articles, book chapters, and uncounted conference presentations, but now it’s time to publish it – let it leave the nest, take flight…

But first, the German version has to be edited: I need to include comments from my dissertation committee, add some of the new research to it (a few books which I could only reference as “xyz is working on this right now” are now published, and can be referenced properly), shorten the whole thing a bit, put some of the ideas which I presented in footnotes in the main text, add the acknowledgements, and finally, check everything again in regards to citation, format, the next-to-last typos (the last typos are only found after publication – it’s an unwritten rule of publication), and make it pretty.

The German version is around 200,000 words (400 pages), so it will be lot but doable.
At the same time, I am also re-writing the research into an (English) academic monograph with only half of the words (aiming for c. 110,000 words). Because, let’s face it, my audience will mostly come from scholars interested in British and/or Scandinavian history, and they prefer often English over German. Also, an academic monograph is quite a different thing than a dissertation. It was actually pretty easy to decide what to leave out: the research on the deposed monarchs, the case studies, needed to be presented in much more detail for the dissertation than they will be necessary for my argument in Deposing Monarchs.

My deadlines are also pretty clear: I want to complete the German publication as long as I am still in Mainz which means until mid of September 2019. And Routledge expects my manuscript in mid of December 2019, although I want to have most of it re-written also by mid of September to give it to reviewers and linguistic editors.

So, as usual, I have much on my plate, and I am re-activating this blog after five years to keep me accountable, and share a bit about this experience of re-writing, editing, and publishing research, both in German and in English. Also, I was very much inspired by Natalia Nowakowska’s blog she wrote while writing a book! Let’s see how it goes…

Looking back at the AHA 2014

A few weeks ago, I went to the annual meeting of the American Historical Association, this year in Washington D.C.

Every year in January, around 4,500 to 5,000 historians all come together to make talk history. There are panels on the history of every epoch, geographical area or approach. Maybe a bit more on US-History, but that was to be expected. Luckily for me there were also a lot of interesting panels on Early Modern European History – unfortunately, often parallel to other interesting panels on teaching history, the digital humanities, challenges for doctoral researchers and early career scholars, or just random cool stuff I had no idea about. So, for every time slot the question was anew: something from my own research field, some teaching, some methods, something for my upcoming challenge of being on the job market, or getting to know something completely new?

Besides all the panels, there are other things to do as well: the most anxious one seems to be the job interviews which are conducted during the meeting. Hopefully, next year I will be among all the candidates, trying not to bite their nails while waiting for one of these important meetings. More relaxed was a walk over the publisher’s fair: for me it was mostly about seeing old favorites and discovering new publishers. There were also quite some tours to Washington’s interesting places planned, but, however, I was too late to reserve a spot. I’ll pay closer attention to them next time as well.

In many ways, the American meeting was a lot like the German Historikertag, which meets every two years – except for the job interviews. Also very different was the experience of doing such a big conference in a hotel, or better yet, in three hotels instead of a university. Some days, I didn’t even have to leave my hotel. The dominance of Tweed on the other hand was very similar 😉

I did tremendously enjoy the annual meeting – even with it having unusual cold weather. Learning about the way, history is done on the other side of the Atlantic – research interests, questions, methods, teaching, institutions – was inspiring, and reinforced my decision to try to find an academic job there. Talking to a lot of very welcoming and interesting people reinforced my decision to stick to academic history – every conference I’ve been to was just so filled with interesting people doing amazing stuff! However, hearing all the discussions about the job market, also painted a very clear picture of the difficult way ahead of me.

New Spaces – high above the clouds

Originally, I’ve wanted to write a bit about my experience at the AHA conference 2014. But then, I’ve read this interesting article series by Mills Kelly about History Spaces, and I can’t help but putting my own two cents in.

I still plan on posting this other post, which I still have around four hours left to write while still on the plane. And how’s that for a new historical thinking space! A bit cramped, that’s for sure – but also kind of a timeless experience. I am somewhere over the Atlantic, sometime in the night. That is all, I can definitely say. It is kind of awesome, although turbulences can really disturb the flow.

(Ok, that’s how far I got before the guy in front of me reclined his seat and my writing space just vanished; so now I am writing the rest of this post at home at my spacious desk)

Back to the „History Spaces“ of Mills Kelly: He encourages us to think about our working spaces at the university in new contexts. And this is actually a problem, I also encountered.

You see, I really don’t like to sit alone in an office to work. It is so easy to get distracted online or listening to radio. And without being able to see the life going on around, I tend to really forget the time and spent much to long in this distracted mode. So, I’ll usually work at the library. I get distracted there, too, but then someone comes in or this is some noise, and I am forced out of being lost online and to note the time. Also, I like to think that everyone around me is working very hard as well, so I should do the same. Of course, then I notice that they are checking facebook, shopping online or playing card games.

But there is also a disadvantage to working in the library: although you get connected to other people more easily, you really shouldn’t talk with them inside the reading room. And outside where there is space to talk with each other, it still lacks space for working together.

So the idea of open floor plans appeals to me, and the way I work: inspired and energized by discussions with other people. There should be some space to store your books and materials, and there should also be some space for storing students works, which you shouldn’t necessarily share with the whole department. I am just not sure, if this is something which would appeal to everyone and their different ways of working. As an option – yes, definitely. But where to get room for an additional way of working at universities?

Glorious Revolution 1688/89

English version follows in a few (anything between 1-30) days

Heute, wie bereits angekündigt, mal wieder etwas mehr Informationen zu meiner Dissertation: eine der spannendesten Absetzungen von Herrschern war mMn die Absetzung von James II (dt.: Jakob II.) von England in der sogenannten Glorreichen Revolution von 1688/89. Nachdem ich hier keine 20 Seiten schreiben wollte (wie in der Diss), habe ich mich an einem Kurzüberblick versucht, der nun doch recht lang geworden ist. Diese zwei Jahre englischer Geschichte zusammenzufassen, stellte sich als schwieriger als erwartet heraus. Lange Rede, kurzer Sinn: hier nun meine Version der Glorious Revolution (andere Sichtweisen werden demnächst ebenfalls vorgestellt) in 766 Wörtern. Weiterlesen

Ein wichtiger Moment im Wissenschaftler-Leben…

… ist es, die erste Publikation in den Händen zu halten.

Nun sind in den letzten Wochen direkt zwei Aufsätze von mir im Druck erschienen und ganz normal im Buchhandel zu erwerben (und bald auch in den Bibliotheken). Natürlich ist so ein Aufsatz, gerade im Vergleich zur Dissertation und dem darauf folgenden Buch, nur eine kleine Sache – aber toll ist es doch!

Und, hier nun auch die Angaben:

A new approach to an old document – The narrative elements in the Bill of Rights. In: Nünning, Vera (Ed.): New Approaches to Narrative: Cognition – Culture – History, Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier: Trier 2013, S. 213-222.
=> dieser Beitrag ist noch relativ nahe an meiner Dissertation dran; ich habe mir mal einige Gedanken darüber gemacht, wie Historiker, die den linguistic turn ernst nehmen wollen, narratologische Methoden in der Quellenkritik nutzen können. Das konkrete Beispiel ist dann die englische Bill of Rights von 1689, die ganz korrekt gesehen eigentlich illegal ist (andererseits hat rechtliche Durchsetzungskraft ja auch immer viel mit der allgemeinen Anerkennung zu tun), und das vermutlich die Autoren auch wußten (zumindest nutzten sie auffallend viele narrative Strukturen um über kritische Punkte hinweg gehen zu können)

Und zu einem ganz anderem Thema, eher einem Steckenpferd von mir:
Bloggen als akademische Praxis. In: Frietsch, Ute; Rogge, Jörg (Hg.): Über die Praxis des kulturwissenschaftlichen Arbeitens. Ein Handwörterbuch, transcript: Bielefeld 2013, S. 74-78.

=> Kurz und knapp über Sinn und (manchmal auch) Unsinn von Bloggen in der Wissenschaft. Offensichtlich bin ich eher ein Verfechter des Bloggens in der Wissenschaft, auch wenn das Zeitproblem sich bei mir deutlich bemerkbar macht (kurze Statistik: in inzwischen fast 6 Jahren habe ich nur 120 Beiträge geschrieben, das ist etwas mehr als 1 Beitrag pro Monat)

James II in meiner Dissertation

Nachdem ich all die Konferenzen nun gut überstanden habe, zahlreiche neue Eindrücke und Ideen mitgenommen habe und die Chance hatte, meine Arbeit zu diskutieren, sitze ich seit ein paar Wochen wieder regelmäßig in der Bibliothek und beiße mich durch mein erstes Kapitel der Dissertation.

Dazu muss man wissen, dass ich von allen Kapiteln bereits eine grobe Struktur geschrieben habe und also weiß wie die Dissertation am Ende aussehen wird, welche Argumente ich an welcher Stelle bringen werde und wie alles ineinandergreift. Und jetzt geht es eben an das tatsächliche Schreiben. Wer mir auf Twitter folgt, hat vielleicht meinen freudigen Tweet vor kurzem gesehen, dass das allererste Unterkapitel meines ersten Kapitels nun fertig sei – komplett mit allen Fußnoten, Inhalten und ausformulierten Sätzen. Da gehe ich vor der Überarbeitung nicht mehr dran! Das zweite Unterkapitel habe ich inzwischen auch fertiggestellt. Und ich hoffe, das gesamte erste Kapitel dann diese Woche zu beenden.

Was ist nun dieses erste Kapitel? Nicht die Einleitung, die schreibt man ja meistens zum Schluss, sondern in meinem Fall das Fallbeispiel, in dem ich mich am besten auskenne: die Absetzung von James II. in der Glorious Revolution.

Mit diesem Thema beschäftige ich mich seit mindestens drei Jahren immer wieder recht intensiv und auch auf den drei Konferenzen diesen Juli haben sich zwei meiner Vorträge mit Aspekten davon beschäftigt.

In den nächsten drei Artikeln, werde ich hier kurz vorstellen, 1. was die Glorious Revolution eigentlich war, 2. warum aktuell soviel über verschiedene Aspekte diskutiert wird und 3. was meine Einschätzung zu den Vorgängen ist.

Vorbereitungen für den Sommer

English version below

Ah, der oftmals herbeigesehnte akademische Sommer, der nie zu Ende geht und in dem man alle anstehenden Schreibprojekte endlich verwirklichen kann! Dazu habe ich heute keine Tipps, kann aber auf diese Artikel zum lesen, schreiben und generell „dissertieren“ verweisen.

Meine Sommeraktivität steht hingegen schon fest: konferieren! (Manchmal sind die Möglichkeiten der deutschen Wortbildung einfach schön.) Im Juli werde ich direkt auf drei Konferenzen unterschiedliche Aspekte aus der Dissertation vorstellen und im September auf einer vierten Konferenz Teil eines Round Tables zu einem Projekt sein, an dem ich beteiligt bin.  Weiterlesen

Wald, Bäume und so

Ich sehe den Wald vor lauter Bäumen nicht!
Da bin ich nun soweit, mit dem Outline für meine Diss zu beginnen – und da wird eingestellt (ist zwar noch online, bin mir aber nicht sicher, wie sich das noch entwickelt). Dahin also meine übersichtliche Notizen-Herumschieben-Software!
Was nun?
Mein ITler-Ehemann brachte mich auf die Kategorie „Outliner“ – Und meine Güte, gibt es davon viele (selbst für Windows, will gar nicht wissen, wie es für den Mac aussieht).
Hat da jemand Erfahrung? Besonders auch, was die Kompatibilität mit Citavi angeht?

Jahr der vermissten Schädel

Dieses Jahr tauchen allerorts vermisste Schädel von Königen auf: erst Richard III von England unter einem Parkplatz in Leicester, und jetzt Henri IV von Frankreich auf einem Dachboden. Nicht zu vergessen, ist natürlich die spannende Geschichte um Oliver Cromwell’s Schädel, wenn auch schon etwas älter und inzwischen hat auch dieser Kopf seine (vermutlich) letzte Ruhe gefunden.

Mal schauen, wer sonst noch so auftaucht!

Wissenschaftliche Sprache

english version below

Manchmal bin ich mir nicht sicher, ob ich eigenen Illusionen aufsitze und als Don Quijote gegen Windmühlen kämpfe, oder ob es sich lohnt, die eigene Meinung auch weiterhin zu vertreten: Worum geht’s?

Konventionen, was wissenschaftliche Sprache sei, und wie der angehende (und auch der ausgewachsene)Wissenschaftler zu schreiben habe, gibt es viele. Wie sinnvoll diese Konventionen sind, wird meist nicht hinterfragt, auf ihre Einhaltung wird aber rigoros bestanden. Weiterlesen

Wegen Überfüllung geschlossen?

Achtung, es folgt ein mehr oder weniger überflüssiger Bericht zur aktuellen Befindlichkeit – nicht seriös!
Zugegeben, die Überschrift trügt: der Lesesaal meiner Lieblingsbibliothek (HLB in Wiesbaden) ist noch nicht wegen Überfüllung geschlossen, aber gut Platz findet man inzwischen kaum noch. Woher kommen eigentlich diese ganzen Leute? Und was arbeiten die alle hier? Ich dachte, als hipper Student geht man dafür ins Starbucks (oder bin ich da falsch informiert?). Da trauere ich doch schon manchmal den Zeiten der wenigen Besucher hinterher, Altersdurchschnitt 70 (aber erst, wenn drei Mittzwanziger da waren) und regelmäßige Hustenanfälle. Gut, recht überlegt, ist es mir vielleicht doch so, mit all den Studenten und ohne die Viren, etwas lieber – wenn nur mehr Platz wäre.