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PhD Workshop in the Schneefernerhaus

From 30 to 31 Janu­ary, the PhD group of the Inter­na­tional Doc­torate Pro­gram "Re­think­ing Envi­ron­ment" visit­ed Ger­many’s high­est envi­ron­men­tal re­search sta­tion. At 2562 me­ters, the for­mer hotel is locat­ed just below the Zug­spit­ze. The young re­searchers also visit­ed what used to be a glaci­er before it lost that status last year: the thick layer of ice and snow has melt­ed dra­mati­cally due to cli­mate change, caus­ing the glaci­er to stop mov­ing.

Extended Schneeferner-Tour with Dr. Till Rehm

Dur­ing an ex­tend­ed tour of the re­search sta­tion, sci­ence coor­dina­tor Dr. Till Rehm ex­plained about the re­search con­duct­ed in and around the Schneefernerhaus. The par­tici­pants from the Inter­na­tional Doc­torate Pro­gram "Re­think­ing Envi­ron­ment" dis­cuss­ed about the inter­action be­tween geol­ogy, geog­raphy, and cli­mate on both a local and a global scale — the data re­trieved at the Schneefernerhaus are fed into the larger net­work of global cli­mate re­search, mak­ing it possi­ble to com­pare and assess the com­plex inter­ac­tions and trends that con­trib­ute to long-term changes of weather on a global scale.

Various Workshop Units and Room for Exchange

The Schneefernerhaus is a per­ma­nent re­search part­ner of both the Uni­versi­ty of Augs­burg and Lud­wig-Maximil­ians-Univer­sity in Mu­nich. The PhD work­shop took place in the beau­tiful “Gletscherstube”, a semi­nar room with win­dows facing the sur­rounding rocks and snow on three sides. Far re­moved from the usual hustle and bustle of uni­versi­ty life, they shared ide­as, meth­ods, and expe­rienc­es con­cern­ing inter­disci­pli­nary work in the Envi­ron­men­tal Hu­mani­ties. The work­shop was also a great op­por­tunity to dis­cuss prac­tical solu­tions to the prob­lems one may en­coun­ter dur­ing the chal­leng­ing pro­cess of writ­ing one’s dis­serta­tion.
The pro­gram speakers, Mat­thias Schmidt and Simone Mül­ler, and the coor­dina­tor, Kirsten Twelbeck, had scheduled three mini work­shops filled with brain­storming and poster ses­sions, fol­lowed by lively con­versa­tions. The first part fo­cused on “ex­pecta­tions and re­spon­sibili­ties” (What do I ex­pect from my PhD? What do I ex­pect from my­self? What do I ex­pect from my advi­sors?), fol­lowed by a ses­sion about “writ­ing and meth­ods”. Re­main­ing true to the inter­disci­pli­nary, mul­ti-meth­odo­logi­cal ap­proach of the pro­gram, Mat­thias Schmidt led a work­ing group on em­piri­cal meth­ods in the social sci­ences; the histo­rian Simone Mül­ler of­fered a ses­sion “From Driz­zle to Ar­gument: Mak­ing your Mate­rial Speak”, and the cul­tural and liter­ary stud­ies schol­ar Kirsten Twelbeck invit­ed PhD stu­dents to dis­cuss the mak­ing of an argu­ment and the role of struc­ture and ex­pecta­tion man­age­ment in liter­ary analy­sis.

Text: Kirs­ten Twelbeck, Felix Burzler, In­ter­nati­ona­l Docto­rate Program "Rethinking Environment“