"Reimagining the Humanities PhD": NeMLA Toronto, Ontario, April 30-May 3, 2015

full name / name of organization: 
Dan Bang/Fordham University
contact email: 

How can we prepare PhDs for uncharted career trajectories? What challenges await those with doctorates who work both within and without academe?

The Atlantic’s Elizabeth Segran asks “What Can You Do With a Humanities PhD, Anyway?” Her article’s title reflects growing doubts about the value of a doctoral degree in the humanities. This roundtable aims to imagine how the PhD can be reconceived. How can we open up new possibilities for PhDs that respond to the ways the academy and job market have changed?

How can the doctorate more adequately reflect the pragmatic and realistic vocational challenges and opportunities that degree holders will face? What kinds of job markets will confront a doctoral degree holder in the future? How can we prepare PhDs for uncharted career trajectories? What challenges await those with doctorates who work both within and without academe? This roundtable will engage with these and other questions with the aim of shifting the discourse by imagining new trajectories and paths both to and after the PhD, a professionalization more broadly conceived.

We welcome proposals that consider topics such as but not limited to:

Responses to the recent MLA report on the status of graduate training in the humanities
Role of Digital Humanities in reshaping graduate training and job outcomes
Defining and promoting the value of alt-ac job paths: how to validate the varied paths open to holders of PhDs
Apocalyptic and Utopian visions of the future of the PhD
The experiences of those who are on the search for jobs or have worked outside of the traditional tenure track route
Lessons from the career search: effective ways of getting interviews and landing jobs in alt-ac/post-ac. Translating skills from the PhD to the job world
Resources for those who have left/are thinking of leaving academia
Reconsideration of the role of the dissertation in preparation for life and work after the PhD
The responsibilities of institutions of higher education in the training and support of PhDs, both before and after granting degrees
Concrete ways to better professionalize PhD candidates; new ways to conceive of the process of professionalization within the PhD program

Submissions are due: September 30, 2014.

This year, NeMLA is switching to a user-based system to process abstract submissions. Interested scholars should submit 250 word abstracts to Dan Olson-Bang or James Van Wyck through the NeMLA website using the link below:


For questions about the new submission system, you can contact NeMLA web support here: websupport@nemla.org.
Questions specific to the roundtable can be sent to dbang@fordham.edu

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