On 28 and 29 June, 2018, the Centre for Criminology hosted a Global Criminal Justice Early Careers Conference (Global CJECC) for early career scholars as part of the Centre’s Global Criminal Justice Hub, which seeks to facilitate international intellectual exchange.

The first day of the conference was oriented toward career progression and development, with speakers from Routledge and Oxford University Press discussing the in’s and out’s of turning a thesis into a monograph and securing a book contract. Professors Mary Bosworth, Ian Loader and Lucia Zedner then discussed the process of academic publishing, applying for post-doctorate positions, and professional prospects in academia. Professor Rachel Condry closed the day with an early career guide to research impact.

The second day of the conference was dedicated to the presentation of MPhil, DPhil, and post-doctoral research led by students from the University of Oxford and the University of Monash, a Global Criminal Justice Hub partner institution. Themes included Criminology at the Margins, the Academy in the Wider World, Law in Action, and Researching Gender. Though organised by the Centre for Criminology, the conference attracted participants from a range of different academic fields and backgrounds, from philosophy, history, and international relations, to law and literature. Students from both Oxford and Monash presented on topics ranging from the power dynamics within immigration detention centres, rape cases in Indian courts and oral history on domestic violence to the ways in which economic imperatives and university rankings can shape the quality of research. It was this interdisciplinary and varied nature of the conference which made it so enriching.

Not only were early career scholars exposed to the types of research and methodologies prioritised by different fields and universities, but also the commonalities and shared experiences: the same pressures and stumbling blocks experienced at every level, in any field. Senior academics, students and publishers themselves discussed professional rejection, writer’s block, and balancing teaching, research and administrative commitments. Common themes related to research ethics and impostor syndrome emerged, as well as the corresponding need for reflexivity in research, to be mindful of the power dynamics between researcher and researched, and the importance of peer support and mentorship. Many of these discussions not only occurred in the panel sessions, but in the coffee, tea, and interstitial breaks between panels, which allowed us to speak candidly about difficulties we face as researchers. In addition to allowing us the opportunity to present our work – and provide and receive feedback – to those outside our field and university, the conference helped to build a valuable peer and international exchange network.

Listing image taken by Laura Fritsch