Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies
Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research
The Summer Institute on Conducting Archival Research (SICAR) is a four-day seminar in which Ph.D. students receive training in conducting archival research. Although archival research is an integral part of many academic disciplines, it is virtually never taught at the graduate level. In an effort to address this deficiency, the George Washington University began the Summer Institute in 2003. SICAR welcomes Ph.D. students from the US and abroad working on international relations and modern history. In 2014, the Summer Institute continued to welcome participants from various disciplines including history, government and politics, international relations, sociology, anthropology, and public policy, as well as area and regional studies. Preference will be given to students who have defended their dissertation proposal and who are about to embark on archival research.
The 2014 workshop will be held from May 19-22 (students will need to arrive by May 18). The deadline for applications is January 15, 2014. Applications should include the application form, as well as a two-page proposal indicating how the workshop is important for your dissertation research, one letter of recommendation (sent directly by the recommender), and a curriculum vitae. Please send applications via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line reading "SICAR application." GW will cover the cost of student accomodations in Washington and will generally help cover the cost of transportation. For further information, please contact email@example.com.
The Summer Institute is directed by the faculty of the GW Cold
War Group and researchers at both the National Security Archive
and the Cold War International History Project. It is part of the Program on Conducting Archival Research (POCAR). SICAR and POCAR are generously
funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
Testimonials from previous participants
"Aside from all of the incredible insight into conducting
fieldwork, whether it is archival or even interview based,
SICAR provides a truly one-of a kind opportunity to network
with leading scholars and experts in the broad and very interdisciplinary
field of archival research. The contacts and scholar exchange
alone made this seminar truly exceptional… In our training
as academics (particularly my field of political science, there
is a glaring omission — how does one actually go about the business
of doing dissertation research. SICAR contributes
greatly to the fulfillment of this gap."
– Michele Leiby, Ph.D. candidate in political science, University of New Mexico
"The program was outstanding. It increased my awareness
of the archival opportunities for students working in international
history, and gave me the chance to network with historians
and scholars working in related fields."
– Charles Sharpe, Ph.D. candidate in history, University of Pennsylvania
"At SICAR, we learned everything from how to prepare,
plan and strategize archival research to filing for the release
of classified documents under the Freedom of Information Act…
But most importantly, the director of the program, Dr. Hope
Harrison, served as a mentor to all of us, often asking speakers
questions that we needed to answer but didn't know how to ask.
She also spent time with each participant during breaks and
meal times, made personal introductions to speakers relevant
to our fields, and offered her own research experiences and
advice… In short, SICAR's lessons will enhance my anthropological
research on torture, memory and transitional justice in Argentina.
SICAR is extremely well organized and provided a rich learning
experience. Every participant I spoke with felt the same way
about the program — we all were surprised by how much it exceeded
our expectations. (Who knew that archival research could be
so exciting and stimulating?!)"
–Rebekah Park, Ph.D. candidate in anthropology, UCLA
Agendas from previous SICAR seminars
Assistant Director Robert Orttung comments about the crash of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 in GW Today.
Professor Marlene Laruelle authors article about Russian nationalists fighting in Ukraine.
Assistant Director Robert Orttung is quoted by Bloomberg regarding the situation in Ukraine.
Assistant Director Robert Orttung authors article on Russia's foreign energy policy.
Assistant Director Robert Orttung speaks about the Russian media landscape in the The Elliott School of International Affairs' Beyond the Headlines series.
Assistant Director Robert Orttung publishes the 2014 report on Russia for Freedom House's Nations in Transit (June 12, 2014).
Assistant Director Robert Orttung blogs about Russian media.
Associate Director Cory Welt authors book chapter on the historical origins of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian conflicts.
Ph.D. Student Alexander Reisenbichler awarded research grant and Robert K. Merton Award from the Horowitz Foundation for Social Policy for his dissertation research.
Director Peter Rollberg authors article on politics and Russian miniseries.
Director Peter Rollberg reviews Kazakh filmmaker Adelkhan Yerzhanov's The Constructors.
Professor Hope Harrison authors book chapter on German memory of the Berlin Wall.
Professor Marlene Laruelle authors article on national identity and Russian television.
Professor Marlene Laruelle writes article on Uzbekistan's and Tajikistan's policy toward Afghanistan.
Professor Henry Hale co-authors article on Putin and Russian elections.