2022-01-07Zeitschriftenartikel DOI: 10.18452/27102
Biographical representation, from narrative to list: The evolution of curricula vitae in the humanities, 1950 to 2010
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Curricula vitae (CVs) are a crucial device for the evaluation of academic personae and biographies. They play a key role in the competitive assessments that underpin the reproduction of the academic workforce. Drawing on 80 CVs which have been part of candidates’ applications for vacant professorships, our article provides a longitudinal study of the development of CVs used by German scholars in professorial appointment procedures in the disciplines of German studies and history between 1950 and the late 2010s. The analysis reveals the evolution of CVs by tracing their various morphological shifts. We distinguish four formats throughout the period of study: CVs initially had a (1) narrative format that develops into an (2) intermediary segmented form before CVs take on a (3) list form in which biographical information congeals into distinct categories. In the 2010s, the list form develops into a (4) hyper-differentiated list form in which coherent biographical representations are finally dissolved into almost eclectic accumulations of finely grained performance categories. Against the backdrop of this finding, the contribution concludes with three general observations: First, the evolution of CVs reflects changes in the institutional environment, not least the increased competitive pressures in academic careers. Second, the evolution of biographical representations also conveys a transformation of the academic persona throughout which boundaries between personal and professional biographies are established. Third, we propose a reactivity of current list form CVs through which academics are disciplined to live up to the categories that wait to be realized in their CVs.
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