Historians’ Workshop: A Flexible Model for Practical Early-Career Academic Development

Conference: AAS-in-Asia2020 (AAS-in-Asia2020)
Title: Historians’ Workshop: A Flexible Model for Practical Early-Career Academic Development
Stream: History
Presentation Type: Roundtable
Authors:
Nathan Hopson, Nagoya University, Japan (organizer, roundtable-chair)
Koji Yamamoto, University of Tokyo, Japan (discussant)
Steven Ivings, Kyoto University, Japan (discussant)
Xiaolong Huang, University of Tokyo, Japan (discussant)

Abstract:

This roundtable will introduce the activities of the Historians’ Workshop and consider how our experience guiding young academics could provide a model of career development for graduate students in Asian Studies. Historians’ Workshop is a voluntary body founded in July 2016 to train young historians in Japan for careers on the world stage. Through events including the flagship Research Showcase, Skills Workshop, regular writing groups, and more, Historians’ Workshop prepares graduate students of history in Japan to present their work at international conferences and in English-language publications and also how to provide feedback and otherwise participate in the international academic communities of History and its subfields.

The Showcase provides a platform for graduate students to present their research in English in 8 minutes, followed by a 7-minute Q&A. After their “debuts,” speakers become part of the “Reviewers’ College,” in which they are paired with more experienced researchers and given opportunities to give feedback to speakers in subsequent Showcases.

Historians’ Workshop is a unique effort that offers Japan-based graduate students of History competitive and systematic support for international career development, but our experience organizing and running Historians’ Workshop and the Research Showcase series especially has applications beyond History. Beginning with project initiator Koji Yamamoto, roundtable participants will discuss their own experiences―including planning, logistics, and providing feedback―and how Historians’ Workshop was conceived and how it has evolved in four years, and how the Research Showcase model specifically could be adapted for other fields to train young Asian Studies scholars, providing invaluable practical experience and creating early-career interpersonal networks of mutual support and cooperation.

This roundtable should be of special interest to academics training graduate students in Asia, particularly those working in systems where English is not the sole or primary medium of education. Additionally, we welcome input from colleagues involved in similar initiatives, and are keen to meet others interested in taking part in such projects across Asia.