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PK: Methods for Close Reading of Literary Texts and how to integrate them in your Dissertation

When Jun 20, 2016
from 09:30 to 05:00
Where Phil I, GCSC, R. 001
Contact Name
Contact Phone (+49) 0641 99 30055
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One-Day Workshop with two blocks of three hours each, e.g. 9:30-12:30; 14:00-17:00

In a PhD focusing on literary texts, close readings are an integral part of academic practice because they serve to substantiate the interpretive claims one is making. Given the variety of methods for close reading, the choice of method that best fits your research interest is not always easy. This workshop provides you with the opportunity to hone your close reading skills by practicing different strategies for close reading. Moreover, the workshop offers guidance regarding both the choice of close reading methods and how you can effectively integrate the results of your close reading in your line of argument.

In the workshop, we will

  • analyse the levels of a literary text on which you can do a close reading and discuss their relevance for different types of research questions.
  • discuss and assess the methods you have used so far in your writing projects and exchange experiences from different types of projects in the field of literary studies.
  • try out different methods and strategies for close reading in practical exercises and evaluate their effectiveness for your own PhD projects.
  • practice how to integrate and present results of your close readings in the text of your thesis.

The main focus of the workshop is on practical exercises, your individual PhD project, and its research interest. I would therefore kindly ask you to bring material that you would like to use for our close reading exercises (e.g. a passage or chapter from a literary text you are currently working with, or a paragraph or chapter from your PhD in which you have used results from a close reading and that you would like to analyse or revise). We will also use peer-to-peer feedback to open up an exchange within the group. 

Goals of the Workshop:

The participants have a toolbox of a variety of methods for close reading that they can apply to different types of texts, depending on their research interests. They can assess which of these methods for close reading fit their project, their research questions, and their literary texts. They can write up their results in a text of their own and integrate these results meaningfully in their own argument.

Methods used in the Workshop:

Input, discussion and case studies, practical exercises (also using participants’ material), evaluation of methods and exercises, feedback


Sarah Heinz completed her PhD and her postdoctoral degree (habilitation) in the area of English and Anglophone literature, culture, and media. She has published internationally and has extensive experience in teaching and supervising thesis projects (on BA, MA, and PhD level). As part of her postdoctoral qualification, she absolved training in didactic methods and completed the Baden-Württemberg certificate for higher education pedagogy. She was the principal investigator in a project on how to facilitate writing processes funded by the Federal Ministry for Science, Research, and the Arts Baden-Württemberg, which included a bi-weekly writing café, workshops and seminars, as well as individual coaching and feedback on writing samples and outlines for students in a weekly office hours. She also loves chocolate, which helps her writing.

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