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Forum Transregional Studies

Nov 04, 2013

Internationalization initiatives and the relation between Area Studies and the Disciplines, were the topic of a conference organized by the "Forum Transregional Studies". Prof. Monica Juneja and Prof. Dhruv Raina represented the Cluster "Asia and Europe" at the event.

On October 18 and 19, 2013, scholars from various disciplines met for the conference "Areas and Disciplines: Lessons from Internationalization Initiatives in the Humanities and Social Sciences in Germany" in Berlin. Among other issues, they discussed how transregional research can be enabled through specific institutional structures and financial resources.

The conference was organized by the "Forum Transregionale Studien" in cooperation with the Max Weber Foundation. The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien is a research organization that promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences. It provides scope for collaboration among researchers with different regional and disciplinary perspectives and has a fellowship program, appointing researchers from all over the world. At the conference, the focus was on some of the areas studied by some of the current fellows at the Forum, i.e. internationalization initiatives in the areas of law, art and philology as well as the conception and institutional anchoring of transregional approaches with respect to teaching and research.
 
Several Cluster members participated in the conference, including Acting Director Prof. Barbara Mittler and Dr. Michael Falser, who currently is an Affiliated Art Histories Shortterm Fellow at the Forum Transregionale Studien. Prof. Dhruv Raina, former holder of the Heinrich Zimmer Chair at Heidelberg University and now back at Jawaharlal Nehru University, was a speaker in the opening panel session "Thinking Transregional Studies". Raina questioned the possibility of thinking a value free theory of sciences. Prof. Monica Juneja, Chair of Global Art History, was a speaker in the panel session "Art between History and Practice". The panel discussed how art practices and concepts of the aesthetic from different areas of the world are interrelated, and how pluralized visions of art history can be fruitfully used to re-connect university and museum practices.

Area specialists have contested the universalist assumptions prevalent in the social sciences; at the same time, globalization has challenged scholarly approaches practiced in area studies.The question of how to relate disciplinary and area-based knowledge in mutually beneficial ways has preoccupied scholars as well as academic administrators in many countries. Sheldon Pollock, in his keynote address argued for a "disciplinization of the areas and an arealization of the disciplines," an idea which has been the core argument in one of the Cluster’s most recent initiatives, the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS).

In 2009, the Forum Transregionale Studien had been founded as a platform to accompany the process of disciplinary globalization and to mediate progress in the debate. With this year’s conference the conveners hoped to revitalize the debate.

Further information:
Conference Website
Conference Programme (PDF)
Forum Transregionale Studien
Announcement by the Max Weber Stiftung
Weblog with statements to the conference


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  • Mona Hatoum, Hot Spot III, 2009 © Mona Hatoum / White Cube, Photo: Agostino Osio (via Forum Transkulturelle Studien)

  • Prof. Dhruv Raina speaking at the conference

  • A panel at the conference