Graduate Program Workshops

History Workshops 2015

Medieval History Workshop

Dan Smail and Michael McCormick

Medieval History Workshop. Running since 2007 or 2008.   Bi-weekly.  Graduate students give presentations or share pre-circulated work of various kinds, ranging from prospectuses to dissertation chapters and job talks. In addition, we typically bring in 3-5 outside speakers per year; these are usually chosen by the graduate students.

In Januarys, we sponsor a Medieval History Graduate Student Conference jointly with the medieval historians at Yale, alternating campuses. We also have meetings dedicated to paleography or other matters related to methodology and training. Audiences can range from 8 to 30 or more. 1-2 additional faculty in History often come, in addition to post-docs or visiting scholars.

The Medieval History Workshop has become one of the key components in the formation and professionalization of graduate students in medieval history and related disciplines. The Workshop provides all students with a supportive environment in which to present and share seminar papers, dissertation chapters, conference papers, and job talks. We bring in prominent senior colleagues several times each year to engage with students in seminar and over dinner. In the current year, we have been especially focused on developing skills not consistently taught in the classroom (e.g. paleography; historical GIS; databases) and encouraging graduate students to reflect on significant methodological and disciplinary issues (notably our fall Conversation about Premodernity). We also inaugurated this January a graduate student conference in medieval history in conjunction with Yale University, which proved to be a remarkable success. The Medieval History Workshop provides visiting scholars from Europe and elsewhere a space in which to engage with faculty and graduate students and vice versa. All of these initiatives have been vital for the development of our students, and help us transcend the limitations inherent to formal classroom instruction.

20th C. US Dissertation Group

Lizabeth Cohen and Lisa McGirr

20th c. US dissertation group without GSAS support.  A grad student volunteers to do the emailing every year.  The dissertation workshop has been going for almost 18 years.  Attendance fluctuates from 5 to 15 or more, depending on the number of active dissertation writers.  Students are invited to join after they have passed their exams.  We have a few former students with Ph.D.s who have remained in the area and continue to attend.  Occasionally, we have grad students join us from neighboring schools or who are at Harvard doing research or writing.

Workshop for New Directions in History of Central & Inner Asia

Mark Elliott and David Roxburgh, HAA

Workshop for New Directions in the History of Central and Inner Asia.  This has been going since 2013-14.  It is jointly sponsored by the Mahindra Humanities Center and GSAS and brings together young scholars working at both the geographical and theoretical edges of their diverse fields to critique and learn from each others’ ongoing research.  The purpose of the workshop is not to constitute Central or Inner Asia as a coherent “area,” but rather to challenge and expose the differing genealogies of knowledge that play out in scholarship on regions from Central Asia’s own “periphery.” 

This workshop is organized by graduate students for graduate students.  The diverse group includes PhD students from Anthropology, East Asian Languages and Civilizations, the Center for Middle Eastern Studies, History, History of Art and Architecture, History of Science, and Inner Asian and Altaic Studies, as well as visiting scholars in residence.  It is a place to learn more about the research of our colleagues as well as meeting graduate students with shared interests outside one's own department.  Pre-circulated papers are discussed in a collegial and constructive way. The workshop has served as a testing ground for ideas prior to publication and presentation and a friendly space to discuss dissertations in progress, leading to interdisciplinary and inter-area projects in comparative and transnational history.

Besides holding discussions on graduate student papers, meetings are occasionally devoted to reading and interpreting a set of primary texts together along with a visiting professor.

Russian & East European History (REEH) Workshop

Terry Martin, Serhii Plokhii, Kelly O'Neill, and Alison Frank Johnson

Russian and East European History (REEH) Workshop.  Began in 1998 and has been continuous every year since then.  Meets five to six times a year.  The bulk of the presentations (80-90%) are Harvard graduate students, most off these are dissertation chapters and prospectuses.  Once or twice a year we'll have a G1 or 2 present a seminar paper.  Other presentations are typically visiting postdoctoral scholars who participate in the workshop.  Graduate students are those working on the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe (east of Germany).  Some students working on Germany and Chinese Central Asia have participated.  We also draw occasionally from history of science and Jewish studies. We meet 6-8 on Thursdays in Davis Center seminar room.  Papers are pre-circulated (expected to be read ahead of time).  We have food and drink.  Average attendance is probably about 10-12.

Workshop in Early Modern European History

Ann Blair & Tamar Herzog (co-leaders), James Hankins, and David Armitage

Workshop in Early Modern European History.  The Harvard Department of History’s Early Modern Workshop plays a vital role in the professional development of graduate students in this field.  The Workshop brings in faculty speakers from other institutions and hosts talks by graduate students from within the department.  Through its mailing list, the workshop draws an audience not only from Harvard, but from the greater Boston area.  The mailing list also promotes other local events pertinent to Early Modern European History, both in various departments and schools at Harvard and at other institutions, fostering more frequent contact and exchange of ideas among graduate students and faculty.

All graduate students in our program in G-3 and above speak at the annual graduate student conference in early modern European history which our workshop has held jointly with Princeton since 2008. The workshop also features talks by recent PhDs from our program and current graduate students to practice talks for on-campus interviews and conference presentations.  With the guidance of five professors, the workshop is organized by two or three history graduate student volunteers, who publicize the talks and maintain the website) and mailing list.  


Interdisciplinary Gender & Sexuality Studies Workshop

Gender & Sexuality Workshop

Faculty Coordinators: Robin Bernstein (AAS & WGS) and Sophia Roosth (History of Science)

The Graduate School of Arts and Science Gender & Sexuality Workshop is open to grad students in any discipline working on questions of gender and sexuality.  The workshop is an opportunity for students to pre-circulate or present work and receive detailed feedback.

We strongly encourage graduate students, particularly those who have completed coursework in WGS, to submit work in progress that they are looking to develop further, and welcome chapter and journal article drafts as well as draft prospectuses and practice talks for conferences.

For more information, and to sign up for the mailing, follow this link:

Center for European Studies Dissertation Workshop

Mary Lewis

Center for European Studies Dissertation Workshop.  The CES Dissertation workshop has been running for over a decade and is a central forum for bringing together an interdisciplinary range of advanced graduate student presenters together with faculty and fellow student commentators, developing research on topics relating to aspects of European history.  It is hosted and funded by the Center for European Studies.  The workshop meets monthly, and usually features chapters from dissertations developed by students in their G5 years and above, but also provides a forum for students with article manuscripts to workshop these papers. We take the workshopping aspect of these meetings seriously, providing a chance for students to have a detailed conversation about research and writing.

The workshop is managed by two graduate student coordinators, usually Europeanist students in their G3 years, who administer the individual sessions and determine the workshop schedule for each semester, following a broad consultation process with a faculty advisor.  The rotating graduate chairs allow new infusions in each year’s calendar of events, with this year a focus on collaboration across the Europeanist community, including this year the Departments of Government and the History of Science.  The workshop has an annually rotating faculty sponsor always a member of the Center for European Studies community, who attends each event.  For  2013-14 and 2014-5, the sponsor has been Professor Mary Lewis.