C&C announcement, education

Episode 14: Diversity in academia

‘Coffee & Cocktails’ has just released a new episode focusing on diversity (or the lack thereof) in academia. Our guest speakers include Dr Alia Amir of Uppsala University, Dr Manali Kumar of the National University of Singapore and Amir Massoumian of SOAS.

Please feel free to subscribe to our show, as well as follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook.

If you’d like to participate in future shows and/or have an idea you’d like to share, you can contact us via the host’s website at annwand.com

We look forward to hearing from you!

C&C announcement

Episode 13- How to Network

I’m not going to lie, this interview was so much fun to do. Thanks again to Dr John Paulas, PhD and Dr Anna Marie Trester for being in the show. Your tips and tactics on how to network are invaluable. 

C&C announcement

Our next episode is coming up on ‘How to network’- Stay tuned!

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John Paulas

‘Coffee & Cocktails’ is hosting a new episode in a few days’ time called ‘How to network’. Our guest-speakers include Dr John Paulas, PhD, President of PhD Matters Ltd and Dr Anna Marie Trester, Founder of Career Linguist. Stay tuned! #academicchatter #phdchat

C&C announcement, education, Environment, Teaching resources

Looking for guest-speakers for next month’s podcast: Women and people of color in academia

diversity

If you would like to participate in what will undoubtedly be a very insightful and fruitful discussion on the importance of diversity in academia (both in terms of the role of diversity in literature and in the academy), please feel free to contact our director, Dr Ann Wand.  

C&C announcement, Careers, education, history, Politics

Episode 12: How to have impact inside and outside of academia

C&C has just released its newest episode on ‘How to have impact inside and outside of academia’. Our guest-speakers were Dr Markus J. Prutsch of the European Parliament and Heidelberg University and Dr Alix Green of the University of Essex, both of whom provided an interesting account on the role that academics can play in traditionally non-academic settings.

C&C announcement, history, Politics

Upcoming Episode on Impact in/outside of academia

This week we are very excited to announce our upcoming episode on impact within and outside of academia. Our guest-speakers include Dr Markus J. Prutsch of the European Parliament and Dr Alix Green of the University of Essex. Episode 12 should make for an extremely interesting discussion. Details to follow!

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Alix Green

C&C announcement

Episode 11: Ethics in fieldwork

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Take a seat and come listen to our most recent episode on ethics in fieldwork with Dr Jamila Rodrigues of the University of Birmingham and Dr Luisa Schneider of the Max Planck Institute in Halle (Salle), Germany. This rather important discussion covers issues regarding informant anonymity, concerns surrounding sensitive research topics and the importance of public and private institutions in guaranteeing better safety of our students and staff.
If you’d like to find out more, you can follow our Facebook page.
C&C announcement

Luminary or Patreon? Where should we go next?

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Hello C&C listeners!

C&C is looking to increase its audience size and is debating moving from SoundCloud to Luminary or Patreon. Since all of our staff (and contributors) work on a voluntary basis, it would be nice to be able to give back to those individuals who have put aside extra working hours to make this podcast and blog possible. If you could share us your thoughts re: Luminary or Patreon (or any other contenders), we would greatly appreciate it.

Thank YOU from all of us at Coffee & Cocktails!

Uncategorized

The Importance of Sharing Anxieties About Fieldwork. Or, How to “Woman Up”

Giulio Regeni

Some years ago, I was gathering interviews for a project on Italian feminism. At one point I contacted a feminist association in Milan, which was running a crowd funding campaign for the launch of a women’s centre. I interviewed one of the project’s promoters, and at the end she gently suggested that I could perhaps use some of my funds to support their cause. I tried to explain, somewhat embarrassed, that grant money is meant to cover research costs and expenses only, and I half promised to apply for some other grant, knowing it would never come through.

In about the same period Giulio Regeni, a doctoral student from Cambridge University, went missing in Cairo. It was the fifth anniversary of the uprising against Hosni Mubarak. I instantly got a bad feeling. Students rarely go missing like this, don’t they? A few days later his corpse – showing signs of torture – was found on the outskirts of Egypt’s capital.

Twenty-eight-year-old Regeni was conducting research on Egyptian trade unions and labour rights when he was targeted by Egyptian intelligence services. The local head of the street vendors’ union, who acted as Regeni’s guide during his field research, alerted authorities to his research project. Clearly it covered a sensitive topic. When he vanished, Regeni was being monitored by Egypt’s National Security Agency, and it is likely they are behind his assassination.

The idea that a Cambridge doctoral student found his death in such a horrible way profoundly distressed me. All the more so because he was reported to the authorities for economic reasons; Regeni’s guide, in exchange for advice and assistance in contacting people to interview, had demanded money. More precisely, he had asked Regeni to give him grant money in order to pay for medical treatments. The Italian researcher replied that he couldn’t use his grant money in this way. He offered, instead, to apply for an activist grant from a non-profit organization – apparently enough to be branded as a spy.

The incident reminded me of the fact that, as scholars, we run risks when doing fieldwork research, often without realizing it. I had found myself in a similar, albeit much safer, situation, when I was asked to devolve part of my grant money to the feminist crowd funding campaign. Of course that invitation was miles away from the greedy claims on Regeni’s grant money, and I doubt I may have run the risk of torture by a feminist criminal gang. Still, I realized that interviewees may have very different expectations than we would like to believe.

More importantly, we need to be aware of the risks behind fieldwork, and universities should adopt appropriate and effective measures to ensure security and safety for their researchers. I went out collecting interviews for my PhD thesis without having the slightest idea of what measures I should take; I had never heard of ethics committees, and it wasn’t until I transformed my doctoral thesis into a book that I learnt about consent forms. Other early career researchers I talked to mentioned feeling unsafe. But these stories seem to remain unheard, perhaps because we take it for granted, or for fear of being criticized: I recently came across a Twitter thread that recounted the most obnoxious incident, in which a female academic told a group that she was anxious about fieldwork and entering people’s homes. A male academic interrupted her and told her to “man up”.

Apart from the lack of empathy and professional etiquette that clearly pervades the academic environment, I wonder if ethics committees are doing enough to limit risks and inform researchers of the rules to follow. Assessing potentially dangerous situations prior to the field research period often implies no more than boxes being ticked on a checklist.

Other than developing – or reconsidering – their guidelines, and making sure researchers are fully aware of these, perhaps ethical committees should be encouraged to get involved more actively in field research after approval. For one thing, they could develop more practical and personalized policies and training sessions, aimed less at covering universities’ backs and more at having researchers’ backs.

And we, as scholars, should probably “woman up” and share our doubts and anxieties any time we feel the need to.

About the author:

Andrea Hajek is an independent researcher and an academic proofreader at Your Editing Alternative. She obtained her doctoral degree at the University of Warwick, and has held a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Glasgow. She is the Managing Editor of the journal Memory Studies and an Associate Editor for Modern Italy. She is also a founding member of the Warwick Oral History Network and an affiliate member of the Centre for Gender History (University of Glasgow).

Book annoucement, education, Uncategorized

Facebook and Conversation Analysis: The Structure and Organization of Comment Threads (Book abstract)

Facebook book

This book, written by Dr Matteo Farina, explores how people communicate on Facebook. It addresses questions like: is there a clear organisation that characterises conversations that take place on Facebook or do Facebook conversations consist of messages that randomly follow one after the other? If so, what is this organisation? Facebook and Conversation Analysis: The Structure and Organization of Comment Threads (2018) applies concepts and ideas of Conversation Analysis (CA) to describe the structure of comment threads, the “conversations” that take place on Facebook. CA is a methodological approach which is normally used to explore the structure of spoken conversations, however, Farina has turned it towards Facebook comment threads. He uses CA to provide clear and important insights into the organisation of Facebook interactions. He shows that comment threads are not made of random messages, but they have a clear structure. This structure is based on the actions performed by Facebook users in comments published within comment threads. In other words, Farina claims that people perform actions when they post messages on Facebook such as questions, responses, apologies, tellings and so on.

Facebook and Conversation Analysis: The Structure and Organization of Comment Threads, has received highly favourable reviews from Linguist List and CALICO, and was the 2018 bestselling monograph across Bloomsbury’s Linguistics List. In his book, Farina explains that it is possible to understand the structure of Facebook interactions by examining the actions performed in messages posted in comment threads. This book is recommended to anyone interested in applied linguistics, conversation analysis, sociolinguistics, and especially readers interested in understanding how people communicate in social media.

About the author:

Dr Matteo Farina is a Casual Course Coordinator at The University of Adelaide and Flinders University. His research is in the fields of Applied Linguistics and Computer-Mediated Communication (CMC). Matteo applies concepts and ideas of Conversation Analysis (CA) to investigate how people communicate in everyday social interactions. He is especially interested in studying online interactions, like Facebook comment threads.