The NASSR Graduate Student Caucus (NGSC) is pleased to announce the election of 3 new Co-Chairs:
Laura Kremmel (Lehigh U)
Jacob Leveton (Northwestern U)
Teresa Pershing (West Virginia U)
Laura, Jacob, and Teresa are excited to begin collaborating to support graduate students studying romanticism by developing our online community and resources as well as organizing events at the annual NASSR conference. Please join me in thanking them, in advance, for their work and time.
The NASSR Graduate Student Caucus (NGSC) invites nominations for 2 Co-Chairs to serve on its Board. Nominations should be emailed to the current Chair, Kirstyn Leuner, by Wednesday, October 23. Following nominations, a ballot will be available for electronic voting. Ballots will be collected and results tallied by the Chair and NGSC Faculty Mentor, Prof. Jill Heydt-Stevenson (CU-Boulder).
Self-nominations are welcome. NASSR membership is not a requirement to run as a Co-Chair, but it is a requirement to serve as a Co-Chair. All nominees must be graduate students studying Romanticism.
Nominees (if nominating yourself) should provide a brief bio and statement of interest and agree that, if elected, they will be willing to serve for one year. (CV is not required for nominations.)
Co-Chair responsibilities include:
Organizing and chairing the NGSC professional roundtable at the annual NASSR conference
Organizing a graduate student pub night at the annual NASSR conference
Serving as a liaison for graduate students in the field to the NASSR Board and for NASSR events
Working with NGSC Faculty Mentor (Currently, Prof. Jill Heydt-Stevenson)
Working with NGSC blog editors to maintain and grow web presence
Overseeing and revising by-laws, as needed, under supervision of the NGSC Faculty Mentor.
Furthermore, we encourage nominations of graduate students who are driven, creative, and who would contribute innovative ideas for how this organization can grow and evolve to meet the needs of our changing field.
Service is an opportunity to help the NGSC grow and serve graduate students studying Romanticism. If you have ideas about how to make the NGSC stronger or can help it do a better job, please nominate yourself! Or, if you know someone who you think could contribute to the NGSC, please nominate him or her. If you have questions about the position or the organization, please email us and we would be delighted to address them.
NGSC Mission Statement: The NASSR Graduate Student Caucus (NGSC) is intended as a venue, under the aegis of NASSR (North American Society for the Study of Romanticism), for graduate students interested in the study of Romanticism to make contact with one another and to share intellectual and professional resources. We are committed to working together to further the interests, not only of the graduate student community in Romantic studies, but also of the broader profession, by helping to train active and engaged scholars who will continue to strengthen and advance themselves and the discipline. All graduate student members of NASSR are invited to attend caucus meetings and to participate in elections and panels. This is an opportunity for you, the future professional scholars of Romanticism, to take part in an organization designed to address your concerns as student-scholars, to attend to your needs as pre-professionals, and to celebrate your and your peers’ triumphs.
NASSR Graduate Students and Advisors of Romantic Studies Graduate Students:
The NASSR Graduate Student Caucus (NGSC) invites applications for new bloggers for the 2013-2014 academic year. We ask that NGSC bloggers commit to contributing about 1 post per month (or approx. 8-10 total per year) and to serving through September 2014.
To apply, please submit a short statement of interest, along with a current academic CV to: JacobLeveton2017@u.northwestern.edu. Applications are due on 23 September 2013. Applicants will be notified by 1 October 2013.
As always, we welcome posts on a wide range of topics and issues of importance to our authors that represent their range of expertise, scholarly experiences, institutions, research interests, and issues relating to student life.
Importantly: Posts need not be works of honed researched scholarship and sustained argument (though, admittedly, this can be a tough habit to break!). Posts can be as brief as a paragraph or as long as a few pages. Posts can also be a collage of images as well as thought experiments, original poetry, or a recently read poem or literary excerpt, or artistic piece or performance that you would like to share. Collections of links, reports on travel, or summaries of scholarly talks attended related broadly to the field of Romanticism are likewise warmly invited.
We hope this space is one where we can enjoy writing fun, lighthearted reflections or humorous quips as well as serious contemplations about our field. Fostering a supportive and meaningful community of graduate students is at the heart of this successful enterprise; we hope you will choose to take part!
If you have any questions about blogging for the NGSC, please send us an email and we’ll get right back to you.
Kirstyn Leuner (Dept. of English, CU-Boulder), Chair, NASSR Graduate Student Caucus, and Co-Editor of NGSC blog
Jacob Leveton (Dept. of Art History, Northwestern U), Managing Editor, NASSR Graduate Student Caucus Blog
Want to go on a funded research trip to study a collection that is crucial for your project? Want to know how senior scholars find funding, manage their time, and use a new collection to fortify their work-in-progress? Attend this year’s NGSC professionalization roundtable and learn how.
Conducting research in an archive away from your home institution can lend truly original ideas and evidence to your writing projects. It can also add important lines to your CV and prove that you have research skills that are important for the job market.
When: Friday, August 9, 11:30am – 1pm (Note: this is a brown-bag lunch session. Bring your lunch with you!)
Where: Conference Auditorium
We invited five distinguished speakers to give us advice on how to select an archive to travel to, get paid to do research there, and make the most of what we discover. Following short presentations we will open the floor for a lengthy Q&A session and conversation. Bring your lunches and your questions — we hope to have a lively discussion.
Leading up to the NASSR supernumerary conference “Romantic Connections,” graduate students working in the field of Romanticism are invited to attend “Emerging Connections,” a skills and professionalization workshop to be held Thursday, June 12, 2014, at the University of Tokyo.
This one day event is intended to give graduate students a chance to network with other students from around the world, and hear from guest speakers about a range of topics concerning the current state of the field and how best to navigate it as an emerging scholar.
Topics covered will likely include publishing, conference-going, job applications, and interviewing; we welcome graduate students at any stage of their degrees. We also hope to arrange some cultural events and tours of Tokyo. We are committed to keeping this event affordable and accessible to graduate students; detailed cost information will be available in the fall.
A limited number of rooms will be available in university accommodation for students attending this event and the following “Romantic Connections” conference (which runs from 13-15 June). There is also reasonably-priced private accommodation in the area ($50-$100 per night). Registration for this event will open this autumn along with the main conference. For more information, see the “Travel” section of the Romantic Connections website (http://www.romanticconnections2014.org/travel.html). Early registration is advised.
More details, including a list of speakers, will be available in the coming months, but to give us a sense of what kind of numbers we might expect, we’d love to hear from anyone who is interested in this event. Please email email@example.com if you would be interested in attending, and feel welcome to also suggest any topics you would like to see addressed.
A reminder of the upcoming deadline for the NASSR 2013 Course Design Competition. The Committee welcomes entries of all sorts as well as an initial inquiries. Entries are due by July 5. See details below.
Course Design Contest at NASSR 2013
Sponsored by NASSR and Romantic Circles
We are excited to announce the first annual NASSR Course Design Contest, which will take place at NASSR 2013 in Boston, August 8th-11th. The contest was devised in the hopes of celebrating recent pedagogical innovation, inspiring creative new approaches, and creating an additional forum for conversations about Romantic pedagogy—both its boons and challenges. We hope it will likewise complement and extend the conference’s open session on pedagogy, Teaching Romanticism Now: What Matters Most?, sure to be a conference highlight.
Submissions might include a course that rethinks the period; a part of a course that addresses a specific author, theory, or literary problem; a special project, assignment, or a particular pedagogical technique. We encourage the use of multimedia resources and digital techniques and courses designed to use multi-modal digital platforms for learning and communication, but they are by no means required. Courses and projects should be recent—within the past two years—or projected to be taught in 2013-14.
After submitting a small packet of material, three finalists will be chosen to give a short presentation of their courses and pedagogies at a special panel during the conference. The winner will receive a $250 award, recognition at the NASSR banquet, and their materials will be published on the Romantic Circles Pedagogies website. The deciding board will be formed by members of NASSR in the US, UK and beyond, Romantic Circles, and the NASSR Graduate Caucus.
Please send a document of between 3-5 pages to Kate Singer, Assistant Professor of English, Mount Holyoke College and Romantic Circles Pedagogies Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org) by July 5, 2013.
Initial queries and questions are welcomed.
Potential materials might include but are not limited to:
– A cover letter and explanation of the submission, including an argument as to the course or project’s pedagogical innovations and benefits
— This post is dedicated to the very, very sweet student who I met on the escalator who helped me tremendously at the library. Without Ed’s very patient and good-humored help finding my desk and reserving materials I could not have had such a productive day at the BNF. Thank you, Ed! You’re the best! —
I am in Europe on a summer research trip for my dissertation and have primarily been working at the British Library. It now feels like a breeze to find via the tube, order materials to read, and take notes all day in one of the reading rooms. My comfort with the British Library emboldened me. I felt sure, as I strode toward the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF) from the metro, that I would be able to find the lockers, get my reader’s pass, order my list of materials, and read all day, sans aucune problème, from 930am to 8pm. After all, the instructions online for registering as a reader seemed very straightforward, even in French. Silly, silly me.
It turns out that getting settled to do archival research in the BNF (the François-Mitterrand building — the newer and main branch) is extremely difficult. Most of the process felt designed to swallow new BNF researchers, and their precious research time, whole. Donc, le voilà, a how-to post for archival research at the BNF. It is, after all, a magnificent collection of archival resources and provided me with valuable research material that I have been unable to find elsewhere.
[Note: In this post, I tried to cover the basics of how to start your research here. Please add to this post any other advice or helpful anecdotes you have about navigating or working in the BNF.]
Step 1: Prepare These Materials Ahead of Time and Print Them to Bring With You
A printed, signed, and dated letter, on letterhead, from a professor at your institution who is your superior. The letter must state that you are a doctoral-level researcher and that you kindly request access to read archival material at the BNF. Your adviser or chair will know what this letter needs to say. Provide the rough dates that you will be there. Also provide a sentence that describes the subject you’ll be researching in very broad terms. Don’t leave home without this. If you do, email professors you have worked with in your department who might have a digital signature and letterhead on file – perhaps they can help you while you’re already abroad.
A printed bibliography of the materials you wish to order and read in order of priority. Be sure that this list is downloaded from the BNF website catalog and contains the catalog numbers for each item. This does not have to be a complete list — of course you are going to find things while researching that you didn’t at first know you would find. However, you do need to present the list to show your interviewer that the materials you wish to read are (a) available at that library location (there are several others), and (b) only available in the downstairs library archive (“Rez-du-jardin”) and not, say, available in the upper parts of the library (“Haute-du-jardin”) that are accessible to the general public at all times. Having this organized bibliography printed with catalog numbers saved me a lot of time!
Note: for making this list, it may help to create your own account (“espace personel”) on the BNF website and save your bibliography there for easy retrieval. This is what I did.
Your passport for identification.
Money to pay for your reader’s fee. Unlike the British Library, the BNF is not free to use. You can either pay for a 3-day reader’s fee (around 8 euros) or an annual reader’s fee (around 40 euros).
Step 2: Pack for the Day and Head to the BNF
Getting to the BNF is not too difficult. You can find it via the metro by taking Lignes 6 (Quai de la gare), 14 et RER C (Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand). There’s a stop called “Bibliothèque François-Mitterrand,” so as long as you look for that, you’re all set. Once you arrive above ground and leave the metro, follow the signs to the library. When you get close, you will find yourself walking on a high wooden platform toward a very modern building. It looks as if it is next to a movie theater. For this summer, you will have to access the library through the West entrance (“le hall Ouest”) due to construction. If you get turned around — this is easy to do especially with all the construction — don’t be afraid to ask pedestrians with laptop bags marching toward the building in the distance.
Your laptop charger cord and a French plug adapter
A snack and maybe a small water bottle (more on this below – I know it sounds wrong to bring this to an archive)
Any reference books you will need, such as an English-French dictionary, to help your research. There is NO wifi access in the research rooms to obtain these reference materials online. There are some tables that have ethernet cables that you can plug directly into your laptop, but these tables fill up quickly.
Some warm clothes in case the temperatures in the Rez-du-jardin are cold. (It was pleasant while I was there and felt warmer than the British Library.)
Step 3: Obtain an Interview for Access to Research Rez-du-jardin.
If you enter by the “hall Ouest” there is a welcome (“acceuil”) desk just across from the metal detector you must walk through and across from the small gift shop. Go there and tell the gentleman that you would like to interview for a reader’s pass for Rez-du-jardin research. He may ask you a question or two – explain that you are a graduate or doctoral student and that you are doing research for your dissertation or degree. The person I talked to was extremely friendly. He walked me behind his desk to a small office with two library employees. Here, an employee will conduct your interview.
My interviewer was lovely. I told her immediately that I spoke some French and could understand French well and she told me that she spoke a little English if I needed her to clarify something in English. She was clear and patient and I completed my interview almost entirely in French. I gave her my letter and my bibliography and explained briefly what I was researching and that I am a doctoral student writing my dissertation on romantic literature. She asked for a few pieces of information: my mailing address, my passport, and my phone number and email address. She then took my photo and made me a BNF reader’s card. *Do not lose your BNF reader card — it provides your way in AND your way out of the library and you cannot reserve or read materials at the library without it.*
That concludes the easy part – from here on, things were more difficult. She then gave me a set of maps and an oral list of instructions that were very confusing. I followed her as best I could. It will help if you take notes when your interviewer gives you your set of instructions for how to proceed. The instructions you’ll receive will be something like the procedures I’m telling you in this blog post. (Note: Please double check and don’t follow these instructions blindly — this library loves procedures and they may change rules between my visit and yours.)
Step 4: Pay Your Reader’s Fee.
To do this, walk back out of the interview office area and head to one of the tellers (à “la caisse”) to your left. Pay your fee and they will print you an entrance ticket – save this ticket in a safe spot.
Step 5: Head to the “Vestiaire” to Check Your Coat and Bags.
This step is mandatory. There is no locker option (as there is at the British Library), to the best of my knowledge.
Here, you will give them your coat and bag to keep for the day. Take out everything you will want with you for the day, including laptop and charger, wallet, snacks(!) and a small water bottle, pencil and paper, and clothing. These items must ALL fit in the clear case they give you that looks like a transparent plastic laptop case. Hold on to your vestiaire ticket as you will need it to retrieve your belongings at the end of the day. There is no additional fee for this service.
Vestiaire location: It is on the same floor on which you entered, interviewed, and paid, at the other end of the hall on your right if you’re walking away from the tellers.
Note on food and drink: Though you cannot eat or drink in the archives while working, you will notice that many researchers bring snacks and drinks with them and keep them in their cases. I was shocked (SHOCKED!!) that this was allowed but everyone seemed to do it. Just be sure to take food/drink out of the clear box ONLY when you are in one of the designated eating/drinking areas. Otherwise, food and drink must remain in the box. (I am terribly afraid of getting in trouble with the BNF librarians.)
Step 6: Descend into the Reading Rooms Rez-du-jardin
This is more complicated than it sounds, as the turnstiles you must pass through require your reader’s card as well as completing your seat selection online as well as your book reservations online before they admit you. Here is what I learned on my journey into the depths — and this is where Ed, the student to whom this post is dedicated, came to my rescue!
Use your reader’s card (“la carte”) to go through the turnstiles next to the vestiaire. You must hold the card on the sensor, like you would do with an Oyster card at the tube, and it will read your card and tell you when you gain access. When you do, the turnstile will enable you to walk through it and then through a gigantic set of double metallic doors.
You’ll proceed down an escalator in a metallic hallway with a red carpet. You will feel as though you are in a bank vault, casino vault, or a spacecraft.
When you get to the bottom of the escalator, you will find another set of turnstiles to walk through by swiping your card. There’s a catch: if you have not registered yet, declared your seat online, and reserved your materials on a library computer, this turnstile will not admit you. Don’t panic! So then . . .
Find the computer to the right of the turnstile and pull out your bibliography with the BNF catalog numbers. (Here’s another link to the BNF catalogs.) Put your card into the indented reader’s slot at the computer — the machine will read your card and pull up your account. You will need to select a reading table seat, or “votre place.” Pick a table letter where you will be working for the day — my interviewer at the BNF recommended section “L” because there is lots of space there and it is comfortable. Once you select your table letter, the machine will assign you a desk number (you can change this later if you like). Then, enter the catalog number for each item on your bibliography list, one at a time, and reserve them. Be sure to hit “confirmez” after each reservation or it will not be complete. Your maximum is 10 items. When complete, log out at that computer station.
Wait a full minute after you log out before trying to turnstile again. After a minute, your card will be updated and you will be able to swipe it on the turnstile, pass through the turnstile, and proceed through this set of giant metallic doors into the Rez-du-jardin.
High-five yourself. You’re almost done.
Step 7: Find Your “Place” (your desk).
This is the desk you chose and section that you selected on the computer. It will be a letter with a seat number. Your interviewer should have given you a map of the archives Rez-du-jardin to help you locate your section letter.
Here is a link to this map online – it might be a good idea to print and bring with you, in addition to your bibliography and other printed materials for your interview.
Drop your plastic case there at your desk and then proceed *with your reader’s card* to the nearest information counter. Check in, give the librarian your card, and make sure that your online requests are being processed. You will need to wait a little bit – it won’t take long. When your items are ready to pick up, the light at your desk will turn from red to green.
I was advised that I had time to grab a cup of coffee while waiting for my request to be filled. And this is where things temporarily went awry because I did not know this very, very important piece of information:
If you leave the Rez-du-jardin the way that you came in, and go back through the turnstile with your card, you are telling the computer that you are leaving forever (whether or not you actually are) and it CANCELS all of your reservations for the day. Any books that were waiting for you at the desk by your seat Rez-du-jardin go back to their shelves immediately. Doh! Gah! Quelle dommage!
There are two pieces of information that would have prevented this frustrating error that I made.
Yes, there is a way to leave the Rez-du-jardin temporarily without canceling your reservations. (See the next step, below)
I didn’t actually have to leave the Rez-du-jardin to find coffee. There are cafes located on this level of the library.
Thus, Step 8: How to Temporarily Leave the Rez-du-jardin (and return later the same day) and How to Permanently Leave the Archives Rez-du-jardin for the Day
Leaving temporarily: If you want to leave the Rez-du-jardin archives temporarily just to run upstairs and grab something out of your bag or to take a lunch break outside the library, you must check out at one of the computers by the turnstile and indicated with your digital account that you are leaving temporarily. Note again that if you fail to do this and you swipe your card at the turnstile and walk through it will CANCEL all of your material reservations for the day and think that you are leaving permanently for the day.
Leaving for the day: If you want to leave the Rez-du-jardins for the rest of the day, go ahead and walk out the way you walked in by swiping your card on the turnstile and heading back up the escalator in the metallic hallway. You will need to find your vestiaire ticket to reclaim your coat and bags upstairs (you cannot leave them overnight).
We’re nearing the end of Spring Semester 2013, which means NASSR 2013 is also near, in August, and NASSR 2014 organizers are already planning away.
The co-organizers of NASSR 2014, Professors Richard C. Sha and Patrick O’Malley, would like our input as to what topics graduate students would like to learn about at this wonderful annual conference for Romanticists. The NASSR 2014 theme is “Romantic Organizations” and it will be held 10-13 July 2014 in Washington, D.C.
Professor Sha tells us “Already, 25 special sessions have been planned with such speakers as Tim Morton, Marjorie Levinson, Tilottama Rajan, Robert Mitchell, Rei Terada, Nora Crook, Julie Carlson, Mark Lussier, Michael Macovski, Orrin Wang, Joel Faflak, Adrianna Craciun, Nick Halmi, Peter Otto, and others. Co-organizers have invited the NEH to come speak about funding. In addition, The Library of Congress is opening its doors, and will prepare a special exhibit of Romantic items in its collections, including manuscripts of Beethoven, Blake, and from Napoleon’s Egyptian Campaign.”
Professor Sha’s generous email inquiry asks us to respond with a few ideas for the following questions. This is a wonderful opportunity to suggest our research questions and professionalization interests to conference planners.
What topics, related to the conference theme of “Romantic Organizations,” would graduate students most like to see presentations on? In other words: what are we working on that might fit this theme?
If we were to have a special session, what topic might it focus on?
Do you have requests for our annual Caucus-sponsored roundtable event that focuses on professionalization?
Let’s get this conversation started so that we can give co-organizers our responses promptly. Thanks for your input!
This post announces a new Collection of posts that we are building on the NGSC Blog on working in archives and libraries. The Collection strives to create a place where we continue to share our experiences and questions about applying for fellowships and conducting research in libraries or archives that have holdings of interest to Romanticists.
We are working on a way to redesign our front page to feature a few Collections of posts, but for now it’s best to use the Categories drop-down on the right side menu. Look for Libraries & Archives.
Here is what is in our blog’s Libraries and Archives Collection so far:
Michele Speitz wrote a post about her adviser’s recommendations and her time researching at The Huntington Library. The part about this post that sticks with me the most is how to get your writing done while on fellowship reading in an archive. What a great reminder that time does not stop while we’re basking in the aura of primary source material.
Forthcoming for this Collection: I am drafting one post on working in the Musées d’Art et D’Histoire and another one on the BGE (Bibliothèque de Génève) in Geneva, Switzerland. Each of those institutions/libraries had their own conveniences and challenges related to research.
Do you have plans to work in a library or archive soon? Maybe a summer research fellowship or a research trip abroad scheduled? Or have you worked in a library or archive that has particularly wonderful materials for Romanticism research that you would like to report on? I’m thinking that perhaps we should write about home institutions as well — they all have a lot to offer that tends to be less visible because right under our noses.
I am extremely happy to introduce the NASSR Graduate Caucus Blog’s new co-editor, Jacob Leveton.
Jacob (B.A., English Literature, Arizona State University: 2010; M.A., Art History, University of Oregon: 2012) is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Art History at Northwestern University. He has served as a writer for the NASSR Graduate Student Caucus blog since 2011. His historical interests center upon eighteenth- and nineteenth-century British visual culture, generally, and the visual artist and poet William Blake, specifically—with wider conceptual interests in critical theory, animal studies, and ecocriticism. His current major project orbits around a social-critical engagement with British equestrian portraiture at the beginning of the Romantic period in England, and is concerned with the class struggle and domination of horses as nonhuman animals.
On a more personal note, I think Jacob has been perhaps the most enthusiastic member of and contributor to our blogging group besides myself. I remember when I first met him at the Park City NASSR in 2011 at the NGSC sponsored event on the job market: his excitement and friendliness made a lasting impression. He has already started to apply his positive energy to improvements for our blog and I’m convinced that we will be a great team of co-editors.