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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 develop 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 & TimeEventStatus / NotesVenue / Zoom Link

10 December 2020

11 December 2020

     Spatial Studies and Sociology – Concepts, Methods and Approaches
     Workshop with Anna Steigemann
     (Acting Professor for Sociological Dimensions of Space, UR)


     Sign up by 16 Nov 2020 here

  Zoom - TBA
Fridays, 14:00-16:00
8 Jan 2021 to 5 Feb 2021

     Raumtheorie und neue Paradigmen der Area Studies: Texte und
     ausgewählte Debatten

     Workshop with Anne Brüske
     (Acting Professor for Spatial Dimensions of Cultural Processes, UR)


     Sign up by 16 Dec 2020 here

  Zoom - TBA
18 January 2021
     Area Studies under Discussion III - with Herder Institute, Marburg and GWZO Leipzig
     Area Studies and Digitization - Archives, Media and Ethnography
28-29 January 2021     Workshop by Module 4: Verheimatlichung, Practices of Belonging     Optional  TBA

The details of the Research Colloquium can be found here. The remaining dates for Winter Semester 2020/21 are 3 December 2020, 14 January 2021 and 4 February 2021.

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 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.  

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.  

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

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.