ESSE Doctoral Symposium

The doctoral symposium is designed to provide a platform for young scholars wishing to present and receive feedback on their work. It is open to PhD students who are writing their theses in English Studies and at the time of submitting their application are at least in the second year of work. To be eligible, either their supervisor or they themselves must be known to the Treasurer of ESSE as a member of an ESSE-affiliated national association (or, in relevant countries, of a department that belongs to an ESSE-affiliated association) at the moment of application. In 2021, as in 2020, the Doctoral Symposium will take place online, using the Zoom platform. It will be fully integrated into the (online) ESSE Conference and will take place, according to provisional programming, on 31 August and 1 September 2021. See for details.

In the Doctoral Symposium, participants will have an opportunity to make a brief online presentation of their work in progress in one of three strands: English Language & Linguistics, Literatures in English, and Cultural & Area studies. Their presentation should deal with the issues addressed or hypotheses tested in their doctoral research, the results so far obtained, and above all the methodology applied. Each presentation will last no longer than 10 minutes, followed by 10 minutes’ discussion. Participants are expected to be available throughout the two days of the Symposium, to attend all the presentations in their own strand and to take an active part in the discussions.

Students who are already scheduled to give a paper in one of the ESSE Conference’s regular seminars can still apply for participation in the Doctoral Symposium (provided they fulfil the conditions in the first paragraph), but it may not in all cases be possible to avoid timetable clashes.

Each PhD student can submit an application to only one strand of the Doctoral Symposium and should specify in the application which strand they wish to be placed in. Applications must include a letter from the student’s PhD supervisor giving the (provisional) title of the dissertation and confirming that the student is working under his/her supervision and has completed at least his/her first year of PhD studies. The Treasurer of ESSE will check the eligibility of all applicants and their supervisors.

The application should take the form of a summary of the project of no more than 300 words, indicating:

  • The main topic and issues, including the thesis proposed/hypothesis defended;
  • The methodology (theoretical tools and standpoints);
  • Where relevant, the corpus or primary literature under consideration;
  • The results obtained so far.

Each strand of the Symposium will be coordinated by two experts (to be known as convenors). They will make a selection from the applications received, chair the discussions and respond to the presentations.

Applications (including the letter from the applicant’s supervisor) should be sent by 30 April 2021 to the Coordinator of the ESSE Doctoral Symposium, Professor J. Lachlan Mackenzie (Emeritus, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands) at, to whom general enquiries can also be addressed. The eligibility check and the selection of submissions by the convenors will be completed and announced by 21 May 2021.