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Research at the ScienceCampus

The ScienceCampus is focused on making innovative empirical contributions to knowledge about connections and entanglements of various European regions and the Americas. It also seeks to develop new concepts and approaches for area studies, with a focus on multiscalar area studies. The thematic and theoretical focus of the ScienceCampus emerges from the interdisciplinary research modules and trajectories, outlined below. The aim is to develop academic publications and events, while also translating research into teaching and outreach, both for the public and decision makers in politics, NGOs, business and elsewhere.

Research-led Teaching

One outcome of the ScienceCampus' work since launching in 2019 is the online lecture series European-American Entanglements in the Modern World. This course with the Bavarian Virtual University (vhb) can be accessed from around the world. Each talk by either visiting researchers or colleagues in Regensburg is available in German or English, while the teaching materials, which can be incorporated into blended learning, are currently only available in German. More details about the course can be found on this page. The contributions stemmed from the lecture series (Ringvorlesungen) to which the LSC has contributed, from doctoral projects, and from exchanges with visiting researchers.

Natali Stegmann and her students have contributed to the research agenda on institutions, while also applying transregional and multiscalar approaches, in producing teaching materials on the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The Master's Prize in area studies, offered jointly with DIMAS, also demonstrates the commitment of the LSC to furthering excellent research at graduate level. Prize winners are given an opportunity to contribute to the Frictions blog-journal.

 

Supporting Early Career Researchers

Alongside funding for doctoral projects, the ScienceCampus has offered writing-up grants of up to three months. It also supports the internationalization and networking of early career researchers with targeted fundng for attending international conferences. The outgoing fellowship programme is also open to postdoctoral researchers, as well as professors. In the second funding phase, the ScienceCampus will fund two thematic international research networks to be led by postdoctoral researchers in Regensburg in collaboration with colleagues based in Regensburg, Germany and abroad. The call for the first network was launched in July 2024 and can be found here. The deadline for expressions of interest is 15 September and the final deadline 30 November 2024. 

Additionally, the LSC invites applications from the research community at UR (only) to apply for funding to attend international conferences. The next deadline for applications is 30 September 2024. This scheme is also open to doctoral researchers and their applications will receive priority.

 

Interdisciplinary Research Modules & Research Trajectories

The Modules, outlined below, form the core of the research programme at the Leibniz ScienceCampus. They are coordinated by scholars from across different disciplines who specialize in different regions in order to encourage fruitful dialogue and exchange, reflecting the centrality of area studies to "Europe and America in the Modern World". The Research Modules are encouraged to collaborate in organizing events, including workshops, conferences and public outreach projects.

The Modules offer a foundation for mentoring the ScienceCampus' doctoral students while developing the comparative and/or transregional aspects of their projects. Members are encouraged to use the Leibniz ScienceCampus Forum on UR GRIPS E-learning platform to exchange ideas, offer support and develop collaboration. They also provide a focal point for visiting researchers to orientate their contributions to the LSC.

In the second phase of the ScienceCampus, starting on 1 October 2024, the Interdisciplinary Research Modules will be complemented and supplemented by Research Trajectories. These expand upon the themes developed in the first phase Modules, while continuing to serve as the thematic focus for the project's activities and outputs.

This research module focuses on the political connections between Europe and America, the local, regional and global interactions of relevant actors as well as the transformations emanating from them. It is particularly interested in (competing) notions of globalism, both in the past and the present, in efforts to shape a globalized world as well as the responses to its opportunities, challenges and frictions. Geographically the module invites research on the wider trans-Atlantic space, ranging from the United States to Russia. Thematic focal points include questions of sovereignty, alliances, security as well as diplomatic and negotiation processes.

The module coordinators organized a series of events as part of a workshop on Sovereignty in Transformation. The three online discussions took place from 3–10 November. More details can be found here.

Coordinators:

Gerlinde Groitl (UR, International Politics and Transatlantic Relations)

Guido Hausmann (IOS, East- and Southeast European History)

Exchange involves translations, not only from one language into another but also transpositions of meanings across contexts. It involves intermediaries who create new interpretations in this process, making the act of translation both productive and unpredictable. This research module explores the potential to expand the notion of translation from culture to the fields of norms and institutions. It will highlight, for instance, vernacular responses to different forms of ‘Americanization’ and the localized responses to the global human rights regime.

Coordinators:

Jochen Mecke (UR, Romance Studies, Research Centre Spain)

Cindy Wittke (IOS, International Law and Politics)

Trade, of products, services and information/knowledge, has been one of the paramount forces making the world global. It is central to debates about the effects of globalization and individual responses to them. While economic research suggests that the intensity of external trade improves with the quality of institutions and the rule of law, we also explore the reverse relationship as frictions affect the established order.

Comparing Europe and America offers fertile ground: supply chains, for example, in both regions are distinctly continental, but increasingly reach out to the same third space, Asia (cf. Gereffi/Fernandez-Stark 2016). How do these shifting geographies of capital and production interact? How do states and multinational corporations as the main actors in the field shape and respond to transnational markets and production? How do those challenges affect global and regional economic development and inequalities?

Coordinators:

Olga Popova (IOS, Economics)

Thomas Steger (UR: Faculty of Business, Economics and Management Information Systems)

 

Former coordinators:

Richard Frensch (IOS and UR: Faculty of Business, Economics and Management Information Systems) - from September 2019 to December 2021

The concept of Heimat helped nation-building efforts put down roots in everyday practice, though not without contestation and frictions. Belonging and senses of home are being made and remade under conditions of globality. This module explores how practices of making homes, moving homes and "rooting" are experienced in different places, and how the dis/connections between places are transformed. This module will especially address social, cultural and literary practices of “rooting” in a mobile and interconnected world. We will relate bottom-up emotional and mnemonic investments in places to different scales of hegemonic politics of belonging that (re)produce domination and exclusion.

Coordinators:

Sabine Koller (UR, Slavic-Jewish Studies)

Volker Depkat (UR, American Studies)

Ulf Brunnbauer (IOS, Southeast and East European History)

Past activities:

International Workshop: Migration, Mediality, Liminality – 28/29 January 2021

This module engages methodological and epistemological questions. Drawing on recent theoretical debates and on our own research, it explores options for fruitful interdisciplinary interaction of transnational, transregional, and comparative approaches. It promotes a critical stance via a twofold act of reflexivity: it scrutinizes researchers’ positionality and the path dependency of particular research traditions; and it highlights the potential of collaborative Area Studies to reveal hegemonic patterns of knowledge production.

Coordinators:

Birgit Hebel-Bauridl (UR, American Studies, REAF)

Natali Stegmann (UR, East European Studies)

Past activities:

Workshop: Key Concepts in [?] Area Studies – 13/14 July 2020

Globalization's effects on sovereignty have long been viewed in a simplified, unidirectional manner: state sovereignty was to wither as global net-works, international institutions, transnational firms or NGOs gained relative power, with interdependence deemed a pacifying force. Not least Russia's invasion of Ukraine has ex-posed such narratives’ flaws. We explore both the long-term historical and current trajecto-ries of the mutually constitutive nature of security and sovereignty in the multiple Europes and Americas. We trace the erosion and empowerment of sovereignty as entangled on the scales of individuals, societies, state authorities, nations, and empires. The provision of security, we argue, becomes more, not less, demanding under the conditions of networked systemic and great power rivalries. While traditional security concerns, like territorial de-fense, conventional war and nuclear deterrence, are back on the agenda, hybrid wars and the inexorable securitization of the economy, technology and digitalization demand new answers.

This research trajectory builds on the translational turn to explore processes of knowledge translation, with emphasis on the transfer of norms, institutions, discourses, genres, aesthetic forms, and political configurations. We trace the dynamics of relations between Europe and the Americas in the modern world, their ground-ing in the colonial period generating complex, multidirectional interconnections still today. Going beyond translations positioned as epistemological and cultural one-way streets, we focus instead on complex forms, contents, interactions, and contestations of cultural trans-fer. Epistemological emphasis is on the (productive) re-transfer or re-translation of cultural translations into the original (regional) contexts and on post-colonial and post-socialist en-tanglements. Our approach builds on new perspectives in cultural studies that combine area studies and translation studies, bringing them into multidisciplinary dialogue with area stud-ies focused social science and law research.

The spatial dimensions of economic organization are eminent in international economics and economic geography as sources of comparative advantages and uneven economic development. The international economy’s spatiality and issues of interrupted supply chains, fair income distribution, multinational corporations’ responsibili-ties, and strategic national perspectives in production have gained prominence in public and policy debates owing to the COVID-19 pandemic and Russia’s war against Ukraine. Equally, policy responses to the climate crisis create new entanglements, as evident in the mutual enforcement of industrial policy in the EU and the US triggered by concerns about unfair subsidies on the ‘other’ side of the Atlantic. There is clear need for knowledge on economic and business development, and the economic geography of flows of goods, cap-ital, and services between Europe and the Americas from multiple perspectives: economic, environmental, political, and social.

Russia’s war against Ukraine has produced the largest number of refugees in Europe since World War Two while political repression and economic despair lead to growing numbers of inter-American migration movements. We focus on refugees’ agency in realizing their mobility projects and trying to make new homes in often transitory socio-spatial conditions. Our approach combines explorations on the micro-level of refu-gees and their communities with broader, macro-explorations of respective past and pre-sent structural conditions, including legal and state contexts or institutional interventions. Viewing the multiple Europes and Americas as a triangular space opens perspectives for tracing multi-directional and highly mobile networks and flows (of people, policies, artefacts, semantics etc.). It generates comparative contexts on how racial hierarchies affect the fram-ing of migration, encouraging critical engagement with the concept of migrants’ (non)white-ness, and on the cultural repertoires and knowledge refugees mobilize to make sense of their migration experience and the multiple spaces they inhabit and transform.

The synergetic AreasLab offers two interlinked reflection spaces for thinking through and working towards Augmented Area Studies.

Reflection Space 1: Augmented Virtual Communication aims to comprehensively integrate digital methods and virtual spaces in multi-audience publications, in teaching, and in participatory, people-centered outreach and research. It will collaborate with the new UR Digital Humanities program, A. Ensslin’s Digital Area Studies Lab at DIMAS, and the IOS electronic research infrastructure led by T. Tegeler. The AreasLab will facilitate alter-native forms of knowledge communication, promote academic and non-academic democratic co-creation of knowledge, and stimulate effective communication with users of traditional me-dia, including policymakers and the public.

Reflection Space 2: Augmented Multi-Perspectivity and Self-Reflexivity emphasizes critical self-reflection on limitations of existing knowledge, critically prob-ing our research positions, practices, implied audiences and modes of evaluation (thus seeking “beneficial epistemic friction,” Medina 2013), while addressing practically and critically re-search ethics, data management and algorithmic bias, epistemic privilege and epistemic asym-metries. It opens area studies to ‘alternative,’ indigenous, peripheral knowledge forms, meth-ods, and materials, giving prominence to neglected epistemologies and emerging empirical realities. This reflection space contributes to the provincialization of (white) Western knowledge (de Sousa Santos 2018; Chakrabarty 2007; Kresse/Sounaye 2022; Ferguson 2019), promot-ing methodological non-nationalism (Amelina/Faist/Glick Schiller/Nergiz 2012), epistemic di-versity, and intersectional approaches. It gives a platform to “knowledge at risk” (Shami 2022) due to war, oppression, exploitation, imprisonment, dictatorship, dislocation, and censorship, thus countering “detrimental epistemic friction” (Medina 2013). Overall, the AreasLab is envis-aged as a hub for translating self-reflexive multi-perspectivity and transdisciplinarity into in-person and digital teaching, outreach and transfer work, and multimedia research outputs.