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PhD course with Sanford Schram: How to make knowledge matter?

The idea behind this PhD course is to address the issue of how research based knowledge can be made relevant to the world around us, thus linking to the overall strategy of Aalborg University to create ‘Knowledge for the World’. The key speaker at the PhD course will be Sanford Schram, (http://www.hunter.cuny.edu/polsci/faculty/schram/sanford-schram)  who is currently a professor at Hunter College in New York. He has previously taught at the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford_Schram and has been awarded by the American Political Science Association as “a progressive political scientist who has had a long successful career as a writer, teacher, and activist”. Schram is currently engaged with research around neoliberalism, social policy and social work. The other researchers (Søren Peter Olesen, Flemming Larsen and Dorte Caswell) giving lectures at the course have similar research interests (social work, social and employment policy etc.), but at the core of the PhD seminar are the questions of how to make academic work relevant for the surrounding word? How to ask relevant research questions? And how to find a voice to speak about the knowledge gained through research?

The PhD students are asked to write a brief paper (max. 5 pages). In this paper they should firstly make a brief outline their doctoral research. Secondly they should address the following questions in relation to their own current research:  

  • How can your doctoral work be made relevant for the surrounding word and what part of the surrounding world would be relevant to address?
  • How do you attempt to ask research questions that are relevant for the world beyond academia?
  • What considerations have you made regarding the possibility to find a voice to speak about the knowledge you have gained/will gain through your research?

This paper should be submitted to the arrangers the 10th of June at the latest to Merete Monrad monrad@socsci.aau.dk. These papers will be addressed and reviewed in group discussions at the PhD course involving the students as well as the researchers involved in the course.

On the second day of the course there will be an open afternoon lecture by Schram taking point of departure in his highly recognised research on welfare reform in the US.


The course takes place 22.-23. june 2016, A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 København SV. Lok. 1.001 (guest canteen)                


2 points when submitting a paper – 1 point if participating without paper.

send paper to Merete Monrad monrad@socsci.aau.dk


External participants 2.400 kr. + 300 kr. for dinner 22. june 2016
Internal AAU Ph.d. 1.000 kr. incl. dinner 22. june 2016


Please register before 10 June here


Date - 22th of June 2016 from 10am to 5pm

A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 København SV. Lok. 1.001 (guest canteen)  

10.00 -10.30 Introduction to the course, Merete Monrad

10.30 -12.30 Schram: Being an activist scholar

12.30 -13.30 Lunch

13.30 -14.30 Søren Peter Olesen: Knowledge as situational and contextual

14.30 -14.35 Short break

14.35 -15.00 Dorte Caswell: Developing research that makes a difference – LISES

15.00 -15.15 Coffee break

15.15 -16.45 Group discussions on individual PhD projects – how to make knowledge matter? 4 papers


Date 23th of June  from 9AM – 4PM

A.C. Meyers Vænge 15, 2450 København SV. Lok. 1.001 (guest canteen)  

9.00 - 9.30 Introduction

09.30 -10.30 Merete Monrad: Reparative critique and issues of power

10.30 -10.45 Coffee break

10.45 -12.00 Group discussions on individual PhD projects – how to make knowledge matter? 5-10 papers in groups

12.00 -13.00 Lunch

13.00 -15.00 Schram: The Knight's Move: Social Change in an Age of Consolidated Power (open lecture) LINK

15.00 -15.30 Coffee break

15.30 -16.00 Closing session and feedback

Literature for the course

Schram, Sanford (2013) Becoming a Footnote: An Activist-Scholar Finds His Voice, Learns to Write, and Survives Academia (Albany: SUNY Press, 2013), about which it is written:

“For those who know of the author’s work, this book provides a revealing glimpse into the man behind the reputation. But, even for those unfamiliar with it, Becoming a Footnote is a highly readable and engaging account of a life’s work that would be of interest to anyone pursuing an academic position, including those who wonder how to remain real and relevant from inside academia.” — Vicki Lens, Columbia University

Gredig, Daniel & Peter Sommerfeld (2008): New proposals for generating and exploiting solution-oriented knowledge. Research on Social Work Practice, 18(4): 292-300.

Schram, S. F., Flyvbjerg, B. & Landman, T. (2013): Political  Political Science: A
Phronetic Approach. New Political Science, 35(3): 359-372.

Additional literature 

Schram, S. F. & Caterino, B. (Eds.) (2006). Making political science matter. Debating knowledge, research, and method. New York: New York University Press

Sedgwick, E. K. (1997): Paranoid reading and reparative reading; or, You’re so paranoid, you probably think this introduction is about you. In Novel gazing: Queer readings in fiction., ed. Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, 1-40. Durham: Duke UP.

Flyvbjerg, B. (2009). Samfundsvidenskab som virker: Hvorfor samfundsforskningen fejler, og hvordan man får den til at lykkes igen. København: Akademisk Forlag.

“This book drew me in and works as a narrative on two levels. First, it is disarmingly and convincingly self-deprecating about the struggle to become a critical thinker, to write well, and to devise research programs that would shed light on major questions. Second, it is a valuable history of the central debates around social welfare policy, neoliberalism, and racial stigma.” — James Scott, author of The Art of Not Being Governed: An Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia

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