Concept for Qualification

The study program of the research training group (RTG) is interconnected with the research program’s fields of interest I-V. The RTG follows a coordinated study program with consecutive teaching and learning components. They encompass mandatory elements, additional workshops and discussion formats, as well as optional in-depth study units and further facultative additions to the program.

Mandatory Program


The Ruth-Klüger-Forum (90 minutes biweekly + 3 additional workshop and discussion formats) constitutes the center of the research training group’s academic collaboration. It provides the opportunity for continuous and productive exchange between the participants, the collaborative development of scientific ideas, as well as short term scheduling. The forum is the place for discussing current projects, methodological aspects, plans for workshops, conferences and conventions, and essential organizational questions. The dissertation projects are presented to and discussed with the entire forum, enabling the experience of cooperative development of research and refining projects through continuous dialogue.

Within the framework of the Ruth-Klüger-Forum, the RTG usually schedules two guest lectures every semester by experts in related academic fields and representatives from cultural institutions. Guest lectures are followed by workshops or discussion formats the next day.

The workshops serve as a means of exploring potential connections in subject matter and methodology between the guest lectures and the dissertation projects; the discussion formats, or “Werkstattgespräche,” serve to explore individual career paths beyond the academic realm. Each semester, PhD candidates will join at least one of the workshops and corresponding discussion that suits their projects.


Beyond the Ruth-Klüger-Forum, the RTG study program combines theoretical and practical study modules that alternate with the forum.

The Basic Module (1st semester, 90 minutes biweekly) provides a concise presentation of the ins and outs of academic work (time management, work schedules, academic writing, etc.)  and negotiates the RTG’s core categories such as public sphere(s), the present, cultural difference(s), the literary work, the author/agent, the book market, and the literary system. It fosters reflective work and establishes measures of best academic practice.

The Methods Module (2nd semester, 90 minutes biweekly) covers various analytical procedures from Literary and Cultural Studies, Cultural Sociology, Media Studies, Book Studies, as well as the Public and Digital Humanities, based on the participants’ intended studies. The specific procedures, methods, and theories are always linked to the RTG’s framework, and the module provides space to discuss methodological questions concerning the individual research projects.

The Subject Module (3rd semester, biweekly) focuses on the specific interconnections between the RTG’s five fields of interest. The collective development of these fields of interest is linked to the respective dissertation projects. The module has the goal to contextualize the projects within the RTG’s larger thematic framework and further advance the RTG’s framework accordingly.

Inspired by the discussions and the work proposals within this module, the RTG plans one larger, international academic conference per funding phase to further collaborative research. Additionally, a smaller conference towards the end of the last year of funding will serve as a preliminary conclusion. Each doctoral candidate will contribute to the preparation and execution of one of the conferences and will participate in the collective publication of a research volume pertaining to the subject of the conference.

Retreats outside of Erlangen take place at the end of the 2nd and 4th semester respectively. The doctoral candidates spend 3 days (6 hours each) with two Mercator-Fellows to thoroughly discuss their text drafts. The retreat serves to promote and support an early and continuous writing process.

The second half of the funding phase (4th-6th semester) designates time for an internship of variable length (6-12 weeks) with one of the external cooperation partners or relevant FAU departments (press department, supervision of the university’s collections, ZiWiS, etc.).

Facultative Program

From the 2nd semester on, candidates are offered a selection of elective study options they can choose from.

The elective program includes the following options and institutions:

  • Senior seminars, research seminars and colloquia, offered by the PIs, their institutes and departments
  • FAU Graduate Centre (FAU GZ)
  • FAU Language Centre (Sprachenzentrum)
  • Computing Centre (RRZE) and University Library (UB)
  • Training Centre for Higher Education (FBZHL)
  • Teaching a class related to dissertation topic
  • Classes from the degree program “Module Studies Digital Humanities”
  • Participation in the annual Erlangen Poets’ Festival (Poet*innenfest)
  • Collaboration in the task force Handbook concerned with the concept, development and editing of the central publication during the RTG’s first funding phase