Peer Mentoring Group "Genius for Hire"


Florian Bissig, lic. phil. (group leader)
Sara D. Nyffenegger, M.A. (group leader)
Martin Mühlheim, lic. phil.
Diane Piccitto, PhD
Christa Schönfelder, lic. phil.
Enit Steiner, Dr. des.

Project Description

Our Peer Mentoring Group “Genius for Hire” is concerned both with discipline-specific ambitions and questions of academic progress and professional development. It was our aim to create a programme which allows us not only to improve and challenge our professional skills but also to use and expand our academic networks. Networks are of the highest importance for young academics on various levels. With our project we want to promote and encourage networking among (post-)doctoral students, between young academics and their advisors, and between international experts within their respective field of study and emerging scholars. Such connections yield benefit to academic progress as well as to career development.

The lecture cycle we have developed consists of six individual guest lectures distributed evenly over the duration of the Peer Mentoring Project. As the guest lectures are open to scholars and students of the entire English Seminar of Zurich as well as English departments at other Swiss universities, they not only benefit the members of the Peer Mentoring Group but also a larger audience of academics. Each guest lecture is followed by an informal colloquium formed of the group members as well as interested scholars researching in the same field. The colloquium should enable the participants to use the presence of eminent international scholars for in-depth discussions of ideas and concepts presented as well as for receiving feedback on their own current projects.

As to the general topic of our project, all members of the Peer Mentoring Group share a common focus on Romantic and Victorian studies. We therefore decided to set the time frame of 1780 to 1880. With our title “Genius for Hire” we address the challenges to the concept of the literary genius triggered by the emergence of academic professionalism and the developments in British print culture. Our theme not only applies to our topic, but also to our Peer Mentoring Programme and to our situation as young academics. Our endeavour is to engage some of the leading academics of the pertaining field of study – to hire the “genii” as it were. In addition, our own “genius” will have to prove its value in the academic market. Therefore, since the scholarly topos of “Genius for Hire” points to a historical issue which has shaped the academic environment we find ourselves in, our project obtains a self-reflective quality.

Lecture Cycle "Genius for Hire"

Prof. Dr. Jon Klancher
(Carnegie Mellon University)
"The Media Turn 1800/2000: Romanticism, Mediations, Institutions"
Friday, November 12, 2010, at 14.15, room KOL-E-18

Prof. Dr. Terry Eagleton
(University of Lancaster / National University of Ireland, Galway)
"On Tragedy"
Thursday, November 25, 2010, at 13.00, room KOL-F-118

Prof. Dr. Nicholas A. Mason
(Brigham Young University)
"Literary Marketing and the Shaping of British Romanticism"
Thursday, May 19, 2011, at 16.15, room PLH 5

Prof. Dr. Jeffrey N. Cox
(University of Colorado, Boulder)
Monday, September 5, 2011, at 13.30 room PET 4
Professionalization workshop
Monday, September 5, 2011, at 15.30 room PET 4

Dame Gillian Beer
(primarily funded by the new PhD Program in English and American Literary Studies
and Prof. Dr. A. Esterhammer and Prof. Dr. Allen Reddick)
"Alice in Time"
Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 16.15 PLH 105
"'The Backbone Shiver' : Darwin and the Arts"
Tuesday, September 27, 2011, 18.30 PLH 102

Prof. Dr. Felicity Nussbaum
Friday, October 28, 2011, 13.30 PLH 105
"Oriental Drama and Tragic Muse Mary Anne Yates"

Prof. Dr. Alan Richardson
(Boston College)
Monday, December 12, 2011, 16.00