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Official opening of the Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America

| Event

Date: 17 December 2019

Time: 17:00

Location: Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast EuropeanStudies, Landshuter Str. 4, Regensburg, Room 319

The official opening of the Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America will take place on 17 December from 17:00 at IOS. Please complete the registration form if you would like to attend.

Following the official opening speeches, there will be a panel discussion (in German) on the significance of area studies in a globalized world. The panel includes Udo Hebel, President of the University of Regensburg; Matthias Kleiner, President of the Leibniz Association; Heike Paul, Professor of American Studies at Erlangen-Nuremberg; and Gwendolyn Sasse, Director of the Centre for Eastern European and International Studies (ZOiS), Berlin. The panel discussion examines developments in area studies since the field’s apparent crisis in the 1990s. The participants will address highly topical and relevant questions ranging from the role of science and research policy through international cooperation to the perception of German research in the Americas. The debate is positioned within the context of emerging trends on both sides of the Atlantic. In light of the substantial shifts in European-American relations in recent years, the panel will also turn toward the challenges that area studies is likely to face in the future: Which developments and debates will shape the field in the next few years? How can German research remain innovative in an internationalized academic world?

This will be followed by a keynote lecture on "Nationalism, Religion and Secularism in Poland and Quebec" by Geneviève Zubrzycki, Professor of Sociology and Director of the Weiser Center for Europe and Eurasia at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (in English). In both Poland and Québec, Catholicism was historically central in defining ethnonational identities against their respective neighbors/colonial powers. In both cases the Catholic Church played a central role in civil society. Moreover, moments of political transition and episodes of state (re)formation – the Quiet Revolution in the 1960s in Québec and the Velvet Revolution in 1989 in Poland - inaugurated a redefinition of collective identity that countered ethno-religious principles with civic-secular ones. Prof. Zubrzycki will discuss the impact of those revolutions on the relationship between nationalism and religion, and on the articulation of secularism in these societies today, making a case for the importance of cross-regional comparisons within area studies.

Geneviève Zubrzycki is the editor of the Cambridge University Press journal Comparative Studies of Society and History. Her research focuses on national identity and religion, collective memory and national mythology, and the contested place of religious symbols in the public sphere. She is the author of the award-winning books The Crosses of Auschwitz: Nationalism and Religion in Post-Communist Poland (Chicago 2006, Polish trans. 2014) and Beheading the Saint: Nationalism, Religion and Secularism in Quebec (Chicago 2016, French and Polish trans. 2020), as well as the editor of the volume National Matters: Materiality, Culture, and Nationalism (Stanford 2017). Zubrzycki pursues her analysis of religion, memory and symbolic boundary-making in a new monograph on the on-going revival of Jewish communities in Poland and non-Jewish Poles’ interest in all things Jewish, tentatively entitled Resurrecting the Jew: Antisemitism, Philosemitism and National Identity in Contemporary Poland.