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Doctoral Program

There are six doctoral researchers at the Leibniz ScienceCampus who joined in March 2020. You can find their profiles by following this link. The upcoming and past events in the programme are outlined below.


In collaboration with the programme developed by Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies (GSOSES UR), the ScienceCampus doctoral scholars can acquire research skills training, academic writing advice, and career development advice. The doctoral researchers are also involved in the Graduate School Study Groups, including one on Transatlantic Entanglements and Comparisons. The doctoral students also have access to other graduate training opportunities offered by IOS and partners at UR.

The first year features tailored workshops on Getting Started with a PhD, addressing time and project management, developing a literature review and sharing experiences of being a doctoral researcher.

The ScienceCampus offers opportunities to develop knowledge of key theories, methods and debates in area studies, likewise in collaboration with other Leibniz Institutes. There are opportunities to exchange ideas with visiting fellows and guest speakers in keynote events including the Research Colloquium, Lecture Series and other talks, including those held at their departments at UR.


Every semester, the doctoral scholars will update their supervisors through self-reflexive Progress Reports, in addition to regular meetings with them.

Around 18 months into the programme, there will be a chapter workshop where the scholars will present at least one chapter of their theses where they will demonstrate that the methods, concepts and sources they intend to work with are feasible and will lead to a successful doctoral dissertation.

The researchers should attend the Research Colloquium regularly, participate actively in the Study Groups at the Graduate School, and collaborate with the ScienceCampus Research Modules to develop its activities in research, outreach and networking.

Once conditions allow, doctoral researchers will also be expected to participate in summer schools and research retreats.

What we offer

From the Leibniz ScienceCampus, the doctoral researchers can expect not only excellent supervision, but also support from mentors collaborating with the Research Modules or based in the partner institutions. They can also apply for financial support for research trips and active participation in conferences. The research modules have access to seed money for developing further collaborative projects, which can be led by doctoral researchers. The network of outstanding national and international partner institutions and scholars associated with the Regensburg ScienceCampus will ensure that they become embedded in the research community of their respective fields.

To facilitate communication among all those involved in the ScienceCampus - from professors and postdocs, through support staff to the doctoral researchers - the LSC Forum on the GRIPS e-learning platform at UR allows for open discussion, requests for advice and literature tips, and facilitates virtual mentoring, as well as sharing ideas for events and collaborations. The Forum is open to all members and associates of the ScienceCampus.

Upcoming Events in the Doctoral Programme

 Date & Time Event Status / Notes Venue / Zoom Link

October 28-29, 2021, 10:00 - 17:00

Doctoral Workshop with Anna Steigemann: Field Work Preparation and Empirical Research Methods for Interdisciplinary Area Studies

Registration by September 26 via email to graduiertenschule@ur.de


February 10-11, 2022, 10:00 - 18:00

Doctoral Workshop with Joanna Moszczyńska: Feminist and Gender Theoretical Approaches in Research

Registration by December 17 via graduiertenschule@ur.de

in person, room TBA

The details of the Research Colloquium can be found here.

The dates of the monthly Jour Fixe and of the Study Group meetings will be communicated by the Graduate School.

Doctoral Program - Past Events

The Graduate School and ScienceCampus doctoral programme includes the provision that all Doctoral Researchers must present at least one chapter of their dissertation within eighteen months of start of their funding. The texts that you present form the basis of an assessment that decides whether your funding and membership of the Graduate School (or ScienceCampus) will be continued. The date for the Chapter Workshop in this coming summer semester has been set for Friday, 16 July, provisionally as an all-day event to be held in person. Slots will be confirmed shortly. The first will begin at 09:15.

What is expected of you?

In the Chapter Workshop, doctoral researchers present a completed chapter of their doctoral thesis to an audience made up of selected members of the GS/ScienceCampus. The chapter, submitted ahead of the Workshop, will be assessed by suitable faculty members (not the supervisor) who are involved in the GS or ScienceCampus as Principal Investigators, Module Coordinators or postdocs. Fellow doctoral researchers are also encouraged to join the discussion. Thesis supervisors will also be invited to attend the Workshop.

The chapter submitted for assessment should be around twenty pages long. It should make clear the theoretical and empirical aspects of the doctoral project, while reflecting the disciplinary context of your thesis and its broader structure. An expanded project proposal (Exposé) or a lecture/conference paper, do not constitute a chapter. Because each doctoral researcher has an individual approach to writing, there are no specific guidelines regarding which chapter should be submitted for discussion.

The deadline for submitting the chapter manuscript together with an outline of the contents of the entire dissertation is Monday, 28 June 2021. Please send your documents to graduiertenschule@ur.de. We will then forward the documents to the discussants, while the rest of the participants of the workshop will be able to access the materials via intranet (https://www.gsoses-ur.de/intranet).

Structure of the Workshop

Each doctoral researcher will give a short talk of around 10 minutes, outlining the central arguments of their chapter. This will be followed by comments from the discussant, which should last no longer than 10 minutes. There will be further discussion, with the slot for each doctoral researcher being 45 minutes in total. The results of the "evaluation" will be proclaimed directly at the end of the workshop. We hope that it will be possible to meet after the workshop for drinks and food.

Participants have received the schedule and access details for Zoom. If you have any questions regarding the chapter workshop, please get in touch.

This workshop for PhD candidates will introduce the participants to concepts of space and knowledge in anti-, post- and decolonial thought.

Exploring spaces of knowledge, such as the Black Atlantic, and knowledge of spaces, e.g. of the Balkans, we will especially focus on the interrelation of both from a large postcolonial and intersectional perspective. Key questions are: How do knowledge and knowledge circulation contribute to shape material, social, and imaginative space(s) in colonial and postcolonial contexts? How does the spatial materiality of colonization condition knowledge production by hegemonic and subaltern subjects? What kind of strategies can contribute to decolonize space and knowledge production?

Going beyond theory, the workshop is also interested in how different strands of Cultural Studies approach the interrelation between space and knowledge. Moreover, it asks how we can translate theoretical considerations into concrete research designs without reproducing colonial and intersectional power relations and their blindfolds. Thusly, the workshop consists of two parts: the critical discussion of selected pieces of theory and the adaptation of theory to your own research context.

As a workshop on theories and approaches, the class is organized according to the following objectives:

  1. To give you an enhanced training in different strands of post- and decolonial theory, their concepts of space, and their blindfolds.
  2. To reflect upon case studies from the field of Cultural Studies and to reconsider the relation of space, knowledge, colonial and intersectional power relations in your own research.
  3. To develop adequate methodological approaches in accordance with your primary research material (fictional and non-fictional texts, media, interviews) and with the (trans)areal contexts you study.


  1. Brief outline of dissertation or publication project (1 page max.)
  2. Reflection on how colonialism, knowledge, and space play a role for your project (if applies, 1/2 page). Both texts are to be handed in before June 5.
  3. Thorough reading of the basic texts available on the GRIPS platform.

This hands-on seminar/workshop will introduce the participants to basic techniques for collecting, interpreting, and analyzing qualitative data, but also help the PhD candidates to reflect on their wider methodological approaches and data collection. In addition, and based on the PhD candidates’ individual projects, we will operate on two interrelated dimensions, one focused on the theoretical approaches to various types of qualitative research, the other focused on the practical techniques of data collection, such as: identifying key informants, selecting respondents, collecting field notes, conducting interviews, analyzing data, writing, reflecting on own positionalities, and presenting findings. We also will discuss the theories and methods of qualitative (spatial) practice through input lectures, project and methods presentation and discussion based on your projects, complemented by literature discussions as well as practicing qualitative research techniques on each other. We will also talk about the practical issues involved in the design and implementation of qualitative research methods.

As a qualitative research methods workshop, the class is organized with the following objectives in mind: (1) To give you basic training in qualitative social and spatial research in the field of area studies. This requires exposing you to issues of conceptualization, theory, research design, and strategies for framing questions. (2) To consider the various domains or topical areas in social sciences and area studies, where qualitative work has made major contributions. This includes reflecting on the usage of qualitative method in interpretive, descriptive, and explanatory research. (3) To continue the discussions on the ethical responsibilities of qualitative researchers, who have closer contact with “subjects” and “informants” as rather “field partners” than other researchers typically do. (4) To think collectively and critically about the forms of writing (articles, dissertations, books, etc.) and professional presentations that graduates of interdisciplinary area studies must master to present qualitative work to their peers and the public.

Theoretically, we will consider questions such as the following: What is qualitative research? What is it best suited for? What are the standards of scientific evidence? What are the roles of induction and deduction in qualitative research and what approach for what topic? How can we operationalize key terms and concepts for empirical research? Can qualitative research explain social phenomena, or
only interpret them?

Practically, we will consider questions such as the following: How do you go about starting a project? How do you connect theory, research design, and data collection and what are the challenges in this context? How should one structure an interview schedule or (participant) observation? How do I prepare archival or field work? How many interviews are enough? How does one ensure reliability? How does one write good fieldnotes? How does one determine the best sampling strategy? What is coding? How does one write an ethnographic paper?

Register by 22 March at graduiertenschule@ur.de

Preparation - the following documents must be submitted by 24 April 2021

  • 1 page expose (framework and research question(s))
  • 1 page methodological approach
  • 1 page current state & timeline

Join Anne Brüske, Acting Professor for Spatial Dimensions of Cultural Processes at UR, for a workshop (in German) that address spatial theory and new paradigms in area studies. The workshop is open to students and PhD students at UR, IOS and the ScienceCampus. Each Friday during Jan and Feb 2021 during the winter semester, 14:00-16:00.

Raumtheorie, Kulturwissenschaften und Area Studies stehen von jeher in einem spannungsvollen, aber produktiven Verhältnis zueinander. In der Veranstaltung, die die Vorlesung Raumtheorie und Kulturwissenschaft begleitet, werden wir ausgewählte Texte und Debatten an der Schnittstelle der drei Forschungsgebiete vertiefen, unseren raumwissenschaftlichen Blick anhand zusätzlicher Beispiele aus Europa und den Amerikas schärfen und konkrete Analysestrategien erproben. Dabei werden auch post- und dekoloniale Ansätze diskutiert. Das Workshop-Format der Veranstaltung bietet neben der textorientierten Arbeit die Möglichkeit, eigene Studien- und Forschungsprojekte (Master, Promotion) vorzustellen und hinsichtlich ihrer Raumkonzepte zu diskutieren.

Alle interessierten Promovierenden und Studierenden der Fakultät SLK und PKGG sind herzlich willkommen!

Bitte melden Sie sich bis zum 16.12.2020 unter anne.brueske@ur.de an. Der Workshop findet freitags von 14 bis 16 Uhr am 08.01.2020, 15.01.2020, 22.01.2020, 29.01.2020, 05.01.2020 statt.

Die begleitende Vorlesung "Raumtheorie und Kulturwissenschaften" dürfen Sie auch besuchen. Er findet donnerstags von 14-16 Uhr statt.

Anne Brüske ist Vertretungsprofessorin für Räumliche Dimensionen kultureller Prozesse an der UR.

28-29 January 2021. The ScienceCampus Research Module Practices of Belonging (Verheimatlichung) in co-operation with our partner institution, the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, organized a workshop discussing aspects the intersections of media and migration in the European-American context. There was a concluding keynote lecture on 29 January at 16:30 by Claudia Sadowski-Smith (Arizona State University, Tempe).

When? Thursday, 28 January - 14:00-18:15 and Friday, 29 January - 14:30-18:30

Programme download

The event featured a presentation by ScienceCampus Doctoral Researcher Vita Zelenska.

Full details of the event can be found here.

This was the third event in the Area Studies Under Discussion series. In these online events doctoral researchers, postdocs and faculty in Leipzig, Marburg and Regensburg discuss the range and limits of Area Studies today and present their latest research in the field. On 18 January 2021 we discussed the effects of digitization on area studies and what the field can contribute to the digital turn.

Prompted by the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting constraints on scholarship and teaching practices, the debate on the role and place of digitalization in the humanities and social sciences has gathered momentum in Germany and elsewhere[1].  Researchers, archivists, librarians and higher education teachers were already facing demands to adapt to digitization, and these have only intensified in the wake of Covid-19.

This discussion will examine what the advent of the digital era, with a growing role for digital technologies and methods, could mean for Area Studies. Some key questions include:

  • What opportunities and challenges does the field face, on the one hand, in producing thorough knowledge on world regions and, on the other, in making supra-regional, transnational comparisons?
  • Are digital methods auxiliary for the field, supplementing the themes explored and perspectives adopted?
  • Or could digitization result in a major paradigm shift and a radical reconfiguration of spatial relations?

Contributions from across the disciplinary spectrum – including history, ethnography, political science, media studies, and digital humanities – will provide a broad range of perspectives.

With the availability of digital resources, local specificities have become more accessible, making museums, regional media and public archives more easily searchable and better represented online.  At the same time, while opportunities to bring peripheral or marginal experiences, stories, sources to light multiply, there is a risk that ease of access could result in superficial understanding, lack of in-depth analysis or uneven representation. Asymmetries in the availability of resources to pursue digitization might exacerbate inequalities in visibility.

Digitization has also facilitated cross-institutional, international collaboration and teamwork in the humanities. This is certainly an asset for Area Studies, where comparative and transregional perspectives are increasingly combining in-depth understanding of different regions, language proficiency, and broad methodological and theoretical frameworks. However, it is necessary to consider how such collaboration can function when academic institutions from around the world with different levels of digital literacy and technological equipment are involved.

These questions will serve as a point of departure to debate the digital turn in area studies in the third online meeting of the series “Area Studies under Discussion”.


Program of short presentations

Daria Gritsenko (Aleksanteri Institute, Helsinki Institute of Sustainability Science, University of Helsinki)
The Palgrave Handbook of Digital Russian Studies: How it was conceived and created
The book is available Open Access here.

Andreas Sudmann (Center for International and Transnational Area Studies – CITAS, University of Regensburg)
Artificial Intelligence and Area Studies

Martin Bauch (GWZO, Leipzig)
Digital Humanities and the Black Death

Stefan Trajković Filipović (International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Justus Liebig University Giessen / HIRA Herder Institute Research Academy)
Digital Heritage in ex-Yugoslav Space

Thalia Prokopiou & Vita Zelenska (Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America, Regensburg); Karen Silva Torres & Lara Saadi (Graduate School Global and Area Studies, University of Leipzig)
Digital Ethnography and Media Ethnography


  • Tatsiana Astrouskaya (Herder Institute, Marburg)
  • Corinne Geering (GWZO, Leipzig)
  • Paul Vickers (CITAS/ Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America, Regensburg)


[1] Among the most recent publications are Cord Arendes, Karoline Döring, Claudia Kemper et al. Geschichtswissenschaft im 21. Jahrhundert. Interventionen zu aktuellen Debatten (De Gruyter Oldenbourg, 2020); Silke Schwandt, ed. Digital Methods in the Humanities. Challenges, Ideas, Perspectives (Transcript, 2020). Skulmowski, Alexander; Rey, Günter Daniel (2020): COVID-19 as an accelerator for digitalization at a German university: Establishing hybrid campuses in times of crisis. In: Human behavior and emerging technologies. DOI: 10.1002/hbe2.20

Der Leibniz-WissenschaftsCampus "Europa und Amerika in der modernen Welt" lädt Sie herzlich zum Online-Vortrag von Leonid Klimov (Dekoder) am 12. Januar um 14:00 ein: "An der Schnittstelle zwischen Wissenschaft und Journalismus, oder Freude an der Komplexität." Im Vortrag wird Leonid Klimov das dekoder-lab Projekt vorstellen. Es wird eine anschließende Diskussion zur guten Praxis in der Wissenschaftskommunikation geben.


Die Corona-Pandemie hat noch einmal eindrücklich gezeigt, welch immense Bedeutung Wissenschaft für Gesellschaft und Politik hat. Während Medien und Politik derzeit besonders aufmerksam den Stimmen von WissenschaftlerInnen aus den Lebens- und Naturwissenschaften lauschen, scheinen die Sozial- und Geisteswissenschaften derzeit noch auf der Suche nach Formen und Formaten für die Wissenschaftskommunikation zu sein. Dabei wird gerade am Beispiel von Südost- und Osteuropa die Notwendigkeit einer Brücke zwischen regionalbezogener Forschung und Transfer in die Öffentlichkeit evident.

Vieles deutet darauf hin, dass die etablierten Mechanismen des interkulturellen Wissenstransfers – allen voran der Journalismus – für sich alleine nicht mehr in der Lage sind, ein belastbares und komplexes Bild von südosteuropäischen und osteuropäischen Ländern, wie Russland, zu vermitteln. Um viele Entwicklungslinien besser einordnen und verstehen zu können, braucht es neben kontinuierlicher Berichterstattung auch entsprechende fachliche Expertise.

Diese Ost- und Südosteuropa-Expertise ist vorhanden und greifbar: Wissenschaftliche Forschungsinstitute generieren sie kontinuierlich. Das Problem besteht jedoch darin, dass der enorme Schatz an Kompetenz aus Forschungsinstituten breiteren Kreisen nicht ohne weiteres zugänglich ist und im öffentlichen Diskurs oft nur eine Nebenrolle spielt. Wie kann wissenschaftsbasierter Content zukünftig im Internet so kommuniziert werden, dass er rezipiert und ernst genommen wird? Welche Formate sind dafür geeignet, und wie lassen sich Wissenschaft mit Journalismus miteinander verflechten?

Gemeinsam mit Forschungsinstituten sucht dekoder.org nach den Antworten auf diese Fragen, getrieben von der Leitidee: Freude stiften. Freude an der Komplexität. Im Vortrag wird der dekoder-Ansatz in der Wissenschaftskommunikation vorgestellt und im Anschluss über die Fragen diskutiert, wie eine Schnittstelle zwischen Wissenschaft und Journalismus möglich ist und warum man diese braucht?

The seminar focused on contemporary local and global processes that have implications for urban and area-based and spatial research from an interdisciplinary perspective, yet with a focus on sociological theory and social science methods training. It focused on doctoral students' projects, discussing how to incorporate global and multiregional into their work, the research methods and data analysis models they are using, and how to incorporate spatial studies more broadly into their projects.

The Workshop was given by Anna Steigemann, Acting Professor for Sociological Dimensions of Space at UR.

The Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies at the University of Regensburg held its first Graduate Workshop, titled "Unbuilding Binaries: Exploring Affective and Analytical Responses to Binary Divisions as Encountered in the Field," on 26 - 27 November 2020. The event was organized in cooperation with the ScienceCampus.

Find out more about the event here.

Workshop: Writing Articles for International Publication in Peer-reviewed Journals in the Humanities and Social Sciences

Josie Dixon is a vastly experienced trainer and coach in academic writing who has worked with leading publishers including Cambridge University Press and Palgrave. 

In this online workshop, she offered insight to fifteen doctoral researchers, including six from the ScienceCampus, on how to publish their research in English-language journals for an international readership. This included discussion of the motivations for writing as well as offering tips on how to find a suitable journal.

The workshop drew on examples from the participants’ draft articles, and covered aspects of using English for scholarly purposes. She offered tips on presenting arguments and addressing international audiences, as well as practical issues on what editors look for, the peer review process, and the afterlife of a journal article.

The interactive workshop involved multiple formats, including offline individual and group work, as well as engaging with online materials and videos. 

In this online meeting, doctoral researchers, postdocs and faculty in Leipzig, Marburg and Regensburg will discuss the significance and applicability of travelling concepts for area studies. As Mieke Bal suggests, concepts do offer a foundation for scholarly discussion across the humanities and social sciences, but they are not epistemically neutral analytical tools. They are shaped both by their origins in certain disciplines, periods and geographical or institutions spaces and by their encounters with other disciplines, discourses and spaces as they travel. The discussion seeks to address this intersection of ‘roots’ and ‘routes’, to use James Clifford’s distinction (Clifford 1997), in the emergence of increasingly salient travelling concepts following area studies’ recent ‘rebirth’ (Multinovic, ed. 2019). How do concepts travel across disciplinary and regional boundaries? Do they move smoothly or face restrictions? Does area studies facilitate a productive translation of concepts or does it still perhaps reproduce epistemic asymmetries that have traditionally shaped the field as the sites of production of analytical theories and empirical data have often differed?

We propose to open the session with a discussion of two key texts addressing the place of travelling concepts in the humanities and social sciences. In the second part, colleagues will give short talks on particular travelling concepts drawng from their ongoing research that explores the potential for crossing regional and disciplinary boundaries.
The discussion of the two texts will be led by Dr. Anna-Veronika Wendland (Herder-Institut, Marburg).
The following themes and travelling concepts will be discussed by colleagues currently based in Marburg, Leipzig and Regensburg:

  • Hana Rydza (GWZO, Leipzig) - Populism
  • Agustín Cosovschi (visiting fellow at IOS Regensburg) - Self-management as a travelling concept between Latin America and Yugoslavia
  • Carmen Dexl (Universität Regensburg) - Infrastructures and Performance
  • Tatsiana Astrouskaya (Herder Institute Research Academy, Marburg) - The Travels of the Concepts of Samizdat  and Dissent

Frank Bösch and Hubertus Büschel, 'Transnational and Global Perspectives as Travelling Concepts in the Study of Culture' in Travelling Concepts for the Study of Culture, Neumann and Nünning, eds. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2012, pp. 371-388. www.degruyter.com/view/title/36914  

Boris Buden, ‘Translation and the East There is No Such Thing as an “Eastern European Study of Culture”’, in The Trans/National Study of Culture: A Translational Perspective, Bachmann-Medick, Doris, ed., Berlin: De Gruyter, 2014, pp. 171-180. www.degruyter.com/view/title/304513  

Tatsiana Astrouskaya (Herder Institute, Marburg) - tatsiana.astrouskaya@herder-institut.de  
Corinne Geering (GWZO, Leipzig) - corinne.geering@leibniz-gwzo.de  
Paul Vickers (Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America, Regensburg) – paul.vickers@ur.de  

References in Abstract
James Clifford, Routes: Travel and Translation in the Late Twentieth Century (Cambridge, MA: Harvard UP, 1997).
Zoran Milutinovic, ed., The Rebirth of Area Studies: Challenges for History, Politics and International Relations in the 21st Century (London: Bloomsbury, 2019).

The Leibniz ScienceCampus was delighted to have Kerstin Schmidt, Chair of American Studies at the Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, and Katja Naumann, researcher at the Leibniz Institute for the History and Culture of Eastern Europe (GWZO) in Leipzig, join us for this workshop. The event was organized by the coordinators of the ScienceCampus Research Module Towards Multi-Polar and Multi-Scalar Area Studies, Birgit Bauridl (American Studies, UR) and Natali Stegmann (Southeast and East European History, UR), who led the introductory first session on 13 July.

The participants, who included doctoral researchers, postdocs and senior faculty, discussed two key texts, Charles S. Maier’s ‘Transformations of Territoriality 1600-2000’ (2006) and Heike Paul’s ‘Critical Regionalism and Post-Exceptionalist Area Studies’ (2014). The discussion focused on central concepts and ideas that ran throughout both days, namely: how has spatialization and territorialization shifted in particular in relation to globality; how can area studies address multiple scales of interaction between regions and actors within them; how can methodological nationalism be overcome, i.e. how can analysis shift away from making nation-states the central actors. The discussion also took in differences in disciplinary traditions and research scope, as evident in the lenses adopted in both texts. The ‘critical regionalism’ approach outlined by Paul showed that an attachment to particular place (or Heimat) does not necessarily entail a conservative, exclusionist attitude, nor does it preclude mobility.  There was instead a sense that a notion of ‘translocality’ could help understand the ways in which experiences of globality be accounted for in light of the unbounded spatializations outlined by Maier, whereby the significance of the state and its boundaries no longer had primacy.

The first session of the second day was led by Kerstin Schmidt as she explored experiences and visualizations in art, popular culture and the environment of being “up against the wall” at the US-Mexican border. She outlined how spaces at the edge and at borders can come to reflect central and interconnected processes of globalization. From a symbolic perspective, the “theatre” of building walls reflects the weakness of the state as in light of the respatializations emerging from technological and economic shifts, as well as the practices of mobile migrants, walls can be circumvented. Attempts to control flows and counter globalization often exacerbate the inequalities that encourage migration – such as NAFTA weakening the competitiveness of Mexican producers as the US employed dumping practices to restrict competition. The multidisciplinary skills required to explore these edge spaces and borders that are central sites of globalization become clear, as the economic and geopolitical contexts of the border and walls were discussed in the context of television shows and artworks. This highlighted the intersections with gender, class and race that shape the nature of these spaces that might appear peripheral but show how critical regionalism as an approach elucidates the transformations of territoriality.

In the final session of the workshop, led by Katja Naumann, the constructed nature of regions was taken up as a central challenge for area studies. The discussion focused on developments in area studies methodology, with the developments in comparative area studies and transregional studies traced. The discussion considered how the approaches challenge the ways that area studies have in the past applied approaches from particular disciplines to different regions. Transregional studies focuses more closely on individual border-crossing actors and networks as examples of connections across regions in the context of globalization, while trying to avoid a “mobility bias”, i.e. by considering how respatializations can also affect or be affected by local spaces. Comparative area studies looks at ways of countering asymmetries in sources and data available on particular regions, whether by working towards greater collaboration with scholars from regions or by developing a framework for interregional or cross-regional approaches. This draws on the expertise of traditional single area focus in research while expanding collaborative approaches in the case of large-scale interregional comparison, while cross-regional approaches are more thematic and focus on a limited number of cases relating to particular phenomena. Whether comparative area studies, with its origins in comparative politics and social science, is suited to some of the fuzzier, culturally-focused questions remained up for debate.

Across the sessions of the workshop, it became clear that a self-reflexive approach in area studies research is crucial as it is clear that regions and their significance is formed through both social and scholarly practice. “Europe” and “America” can be seen as components of “the West”. But reflecting on critical regionalism, comparative approaches and transregional connections, the discussion made clear that these areas are formed and transformed on multiple scales and in muti-polar relations to other parts of the globalized world. The challenge facing area studies is clear: to understand the interlocking and overlapping, rather than hierarchical, relations between individual actors, localities, states, supranational alliances and deterritorialized spaces of business and communication.


"Area Studies Beyond Regions? New Comparative Approaches in the Field": a joint discussion of CITAS (Regensburg), the Leibniz ScienceCampus Europe and America, GWZO (Leipzig) and the LOEWE-Schwerpunkt „Konfliktregionen im östlichen Europa“ as part of the Colloquium of the Herder Institute Research Academy (Marburg).

Area studies are undergoing a rebirth at the moment. This is evident not only in renewed investment in research infrastructure (in Germany at least) but also in the emergence of a wealth of conceptual and methodological propositions for the field. Recent handbooks and articles have outlined visions of critical, transregional and comparative area studies, to name just a few. Inspired by the transnational and spatial turns, these approaches maintain area studies inherent multi-disciplinarity while increasingly moving away from the focus on single regions and towards the interconnections between and comparisons of areas of the world. This discussion brings together researchers associated with three Leibniz Institutes whose focus lies on Eastern, Central and Southeastern Europe to discuss how comparative approaches, in particular, might be made fruitful in area studies scholarship.

Chair: Peter Haslinger
Comments: Ulf Brunnbauer (IOS, Regensburg), Jonas Hock, Laura Linzmeier (Universität Regensburg, CITAS Network); Katja Naumann, Corinne Geering (GWZO, Leipzig); Anna Veronika Wendland, Christian Lotz (Herder-Institut für historische Ostmitteleuropaforschung, Marburg)

As part of the structured doctoral programme offered to the six doctoral researchers of the ScienceCampus, they participated in a  series of workshops co-organized by the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies offering insights into time and projects management, working on literature reviews and positioning doctoral theses, and on experiences beyond the thesis when doing a PhD.

27 April 2020 - Part I - Getting Started with your PhD, with Matthias Kating

This session offered tips and information on time and project management. Matthias Kating, an experienced coach from the company Falkenberg Seminare, offered insight into techniques of managing large-scale projects, also offering tips on how to cope with the particular conditions resulting from the coronavirus restrictions.

The doctoral researchers first received access to an in-depth interactive e-learning module which presented some project management techniques while also requiring self-reflection on how each of them approaches their work. During the online "in-person" sessions on 27 April there were discussions on how to set realistic goals and realise them, how to plan work in differing timeframes and how to solve problems with workflow, concentration and motivation.

15 May 2020 - Part II - Getting Started with your PhD, with Paul Vickers

In this session, ScienceCampus manager Paul Vickers offered an introduction to writing a doctoral thesis. The session looked at some of the basics of structuring and planning a dissertation, with a particular focus on the role of the literature review. While this is not necessarily always the first thing to be written, under COVID-19 conditions it has become more prominent in the early part of writing a doctorate because of the inaccessibilty of archives or difficulties in conducting field research.

6 July 2020 - Part III - Getting Started with your PhD, with Jacqueline Nießer

In this part of the programme. Graduate School postdoctoral researcher Jacqueline Nießer collaborated with the doctoral researchers to discuss how to balance writing a thesis with other aspects of doing a doctorate. She also discussed aspects of work-life balance, drawing on her recent experiences of a structured PhD programme.

 On 24 April, the six doctoral researchers of the ScienceCampus along with colleagues from the Junior Research Group “Frozen and Unfrozen Conflicts” at IOS and the DFG-supported project at UR on corruption and informality, were formally welcomed and presented their projects to their peers and the broader research community.

We could not hold the event as planned in person, so around forty people attended the event on Zoom. Alongside introductions by the respective project leaders, Ulf Brunnbauer, Cindy Wittke and Klaus Buchenau, each doctoral researcher presented their project in around five minutes followed by brief follow up questions. The broad cross-section of area studies research in Regensburg was clear, with projects ranging from history and cultural studies through economics to political science and international law. As Ulf Brunnbauer pointed out, the relevance of area studies has been made very clear as a result of the coronavirus crisis with different regions and countries sometimes dealing differently to a problem resulting in part from the interconnectedness of the global world. At the same time, sharing expertise reveals the globalization offers a chance not just for frictions but also transnational cooperation and solidarity.

The six doctoral students of the ScienceCampus come from various disciplines and cover both North and South America, as well as several European regions, in their research. Igor Stipić is conducting an ethnographically-inspired comparative study of social movements and protests in schools in Bosnia and Chile. Vita Zelenska also draws on ethnographic fieldwork to explore how the status of refugees is produced, embodied and experienced with a focus on Greece and the USA. Jon-Wyatt Matlack will also draw on fieldwork and performance studies in order to explore the history of Cold War military exercises in Bavaria through a performative lens. Thalia Prokopiou will look at discourses of right-wing extremism as a transnational phenomenon focused on concepts of homeland and Heimat that seeks to exacerbate frictions in a globalized world while being enabled by it. Daniela Weinbach examines how cultural specificity and difference, particularly in relation to gender, sexuality and humour is communicated through film remakes, while also commenting on the role of the globalized film industry. Cornelius Merz examines the urbanization of Leipzig and Cleveland comparatively as products of the infrastructures of modernity and industrialization that take differing routes according to local conditions.

ScienceCampus board member Cindy Wittke introduced the two doctoral students from the project Between Conflict and Cooperation: International Law in the Post-Soviet Space, which is based at the Junior Research Group that she leads at IOS. It examines the intersections of international law and international relations with a focus on the South Caucasus and Central, as well as Ukraine and Russia, in comparative perspective. Elia Bescotti examines differences in how international law affects identity making in states that are recognized and spaces that are contested. Nargiza Kilichova looks at the rule of law how discourses on it are shaped by Western donors, as well as Russia and China, in Central Asia.

Klaus Buchenau outlined the KorrInform DFG-funded project on corruption and informality, which works on a multi-disciplinary basis with projects drawing on the toolboxes offered by economics, history and linguistics, while encouraging dialogues between the findings. The focus is on comparing Croatia and Serbia, pointing to the long-term differences engendered by imperial rule in the past and current divergent positions in relation to the EU. Barbara Frey surveys the business landscape of the 1990s/2000s and how perceptions of corruption shaped business decisions during periods of turbulence, economnic transition and post-conflict realities. Jovana Jovic draws on linguistic approaches to framings of corruption and informality framed from the 1990s to the present present, with a focus on scandals that generated significant public resonance. Milos Lecic stresses the significance of scandals as a subject of historical research, since these are more visible in the record, as corruption and informality are usually hidden, thus he will seek to trace the grades informality and corruption across the twentieth-century in the region.

Heidrun Hamersky manager of the Graduate School concluded with an outline of the upcoming doctoral programme which researchers will be offered during their time in Regensburg as part of their research training and career development.

One of the first events organized by the Regensburg ScienceCampus was the workshop "Designing a Doctoral Project". Sixteen prospective doctoral students who have completed or are close to completing a Master's degree came to Regensburg to learn more about what a PhD looks like in Germany and Regensburg; what challenges and pleasures are involved in doctoral studies; and how to write competitive research proposals.

In exchanges with existing doctoral researchers, postdocs and senior researchers, the participants received general information on securing funding and writing proposals. In smaller groups, they received subject-specific feedback on project proposals from senior scholars working in the fields of migration studies, social anthropology, cultural studies, economics and business, history and politics, across all the regions represented at the ScienceCampus.

The workshop was led by Paul Vickers (CITAS/ Leibniz ScienceCampus) and Adrian Grama (Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies), with colleagues from across IOS and the University contributing with presentations or as mentors of subject-specific groups. Heidrun Hamersky (Graduate School) offered insight into the forms that a doctoral degree can take in Germany, including structured programmes and researching individually in university departments. Ulf Brunnbauer offered regular contributions to the discussions on what makes a successful research proposal and the qualities required to succeed as a doctoral researchers.

Colleagues from the UR International Office, the Centre for Languages and Communication (ZSK), Bayhost, REAF, Research Centre Spain, and libraries at IOS and UR all shared their expertise.