Bringing Collaborative Research into Doctoral Training: Field Dispatches from the NEH Next Generation Program and the AHA Mellon Grant

AHA Session 2
Thursday, January 4, 2018: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Marriott Ballroom, Salon 2 (Marriott Wardman Park, Lobby Level)
Edward Balleisen, Duke University
Stephen Aron, University of California, Los Angeles; Peter Chesney, University of California, Los Angeles
Duke University
Edward Balleisen, Duke University; Ashton Merck, Duke University
University of Delaware
P. Gabrielle Foreman, University of Delaware; Anna Lacy, University of Delaware

Session Abstract

This roundtable draws on the experience of two recipients of Next Generation Implementation Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (the University of Delaware and Duke University) and one recipient of an AHA Mellon Grant (UCLA). Three faculty leads on the respective grants (Delaware’s Gabrielle Foreman (, Duke’s Edward Balleisen, and UCLA’s Stephen Aron ( will report on efforts to expose history doctoral students to collaborative research, sometimes disciplinary and sometimes interdisciplinary, often in partnership with organizations beyond the historical profession. The Roundtable will also provide a platform for one history doctoral student from each department to discuss her/his experience with such collaborative inquiry. Key themes in this consideration of experimentation in doctoral training will include:

• the challenges, satisfactions, and frustrations of translational/applied historical research in a public history setting;

• the challenges, satisfactions, and frustrations of bringing historical expertise to bear on interdisciplinary projects that engage the social sciences and/or sciences;

• the requirements of outward-facing, collaborative work (space, other infrastructure, and logistics; the establishment of a common language and communal bonds; the formulation of clear responsibilities/expectations for team members; clarity about mechanisms of decision-making);

• the dilemmas of how to open up such opportunities without treating them as simple add-ons that extend time to degree;

• the relevance of this type of training for approaches to dissertation work and career trajectories.

We envisage short (5-7 minute) presentations from participants (with attention to problems and failures as well as successes), before opening the floor for comments, questions, and observations.

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