Scholars in Progress (or SiP for short) is an online seminar series that gives graduate students a chance to share and get feedback on their work related to the nineteenth century and that also provides training and guidance on professional development topics. As our acronym suggests, we invite participants to “sip” their favorite beverages as we engage in professional, collegial conversation.
So how does SiP work?
Once per month, participants gather in a zoom room for roughly 90 minutes for one of two different types of meetings:
(1) paper discussion/feedback sessions;
(2) conversations with established scholars on professional development topics.
For the paper discussions, a graduate student circulates a paper (30 double-spaced pages, max) ahead of time for everyone to read. Authors can choose a draft of an article, a dissertation chapter, a conference paper, or anything else they are working on. At the start of each meeting, the participant whose paper was discussed at the previous meeting starts the session by offering a 5-10 minute “Comment” on the current meeting’s paper, summarizing its contents, providing an overall assessment, and laying out some central themes or ideas for discussion. After this, we launch right into feedback and conversation.
In the sessions featuring conversations with established scholars, participants will be given the speaker’s bio ahead of time so that they can prepare questions. The scholar will offer advice, either general or pertaining to a theme (like article-publishing), and the graduate students will have time to ask questions and discuss their experiences.
Participating in SiP offers many benefits. The paper authors gain feedback from an incredibly diverse reading pool, including scholars of history, literature, art, and music. Other participants have the chance to learn more about different subjects and to practice offering professional feedback and building scholarly conversations. The sessions also provide a rich opportunity for networking and community, which we hope will even translate into some panel proposals for NCSA conferences. Most importantly, we hope that this group will help graduate students benefit from and contribute to the greatest strengths NCSA possesses: our collegiality, intellectual curiosity, and generosity with feedback. Graduate students of all stages in their programs are invited to participate and submit work.
It is our hope that participants join the zoom room regularly, but there are no attendance requirements. Membership in NCSA is highly recommended to participate in SiP and required to view all video recordings.