For many years, students and teachers at the Department for Northern European Studies at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin have been co-experimenting with entangled practices of research, teaching, and learning. Amongst these practices are the creative use of visual and bodily techniques in the classroom, a writing lab as well as meetings, workshops and conferences in open space formats developed by department members. The blog Experiment Geisteswissenschaft – Exploring Academic Practices itself is such an experimental technique, a forum to discuss, reflect, and share such practices and move them in ever new ways.
In this blog, undergraduate and graduate students, postdocs, professors, and persons beyond the academy are writing and experimenting for and with each other. Experiment Geisteswissenschaft positions itself in the gaps between practices of learning, teaching, research, and administration.
Experiment Geisteswissenschaft focusses on processes rather than results. The blog invites writers and readers to reflect on experiences and experiments with traditional and alternative academic practices – in personal or theoretical forms, alone, in pairs or groups, beyond the conventional status groups and hierarchies: How do our individual experiences at university affect us? What effects do the collages in our introductory literature class have? How did my first corpus analysis work out? Which facets of archival work fascinate me, which aspects frustrate me? How do we write at home, how in the writing lab? How do we deal with procrastination, what value does it hold for our work – and should it not be renamed, into “composting” maybe? Which emotions block or inspire us in our teaching and learning? Which extra-disciplinary impulses enrich our work? How can we question our habits and remain open to new approaches?
The blog wants to seduce writers and readers into reflecting collectively what the Humanities could or should be for each one of us. It wants to entice curiosity about how we ourselves truly want to work beyond the (alleged) practical constraints of finishing a module or acquiring a degree as fast as possible, or of complying with a set number of teaching hours. What happens if, every once in a while, we refuse to practice anticipatory obedience towards a logic that sets contra-productive incentives through numeric indicators such as the number of enrolled students, of graduations, of external funds, or classroom hours.
Experiment Geisteswissenschaft wants to become a space where joy which is indispensable for all academic work can unfold. And it can encourage participants to practice an experimental attitude in all activities.