Call for Participation for a 4-day interdisciplinary workshop
Turkish|German Zukunftswerkstatt 2011
IN|OUTSIDE THE DEBATE: VOICES FROM ACADEMIA IN THE TURKISH|GERMAN NEXUS
Cohesion, Integration, Diversity - beneath all of these political buzzwords lie classical struggles: who belongs and who does not, which boundaries (social, legal, discursive, economic) are drawn, how are definitional powers translated into various structures in a given society?
In Turkey and Germany, as well as in the transnational sphere between the two societies, those crucial questions have been negotiated in controversial public debates in recent years. What is the role of academics in such debates, how can and do they engage? This will be examined and discussed in this workshop using two prominent examples as point of departure:
In Germany, the ongoing „integration debate“ reached a sudden, dramatic peak in 2010 with the publication of the book “Deutschland schafft sich ab” – Germany does away with itself” by Thilo Sarrazin, a former politician and board member of the German National Bank.
More so than his initial propositions about cultural difference, lacking economic productivity, and genetic disposition of Muslim populations in Germany (which instantly gained momentum by the wide attention they entailed), it is the aftermath of his intervention that changed public discourse dramatically. As a result, a discursive space was opened up for fierce public debate on what it means to be(come) a member of German society today.
Meanwhile in Turkey, a process coined Açılım (Opening), initiated since the mid-2000’s by the governing party AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) is being discussed controversially. Açılım includes changes of rigid state policies towards various minority groups in Turkey, including Kurds and Alevis (e.g. minority rights regarding language and religion). This process has had an impact on discourse about minority rights and „democratization“, and there are conflicting views on the development. For some, the introduction of Açılımlar has marked a fundamental change towards a more inclusive society, others point to ambivalences and contradictions in the process, such as the definition of conditions and the measure of control exerted by the AKP vis-à-vis the limited role of minority representatives.
Both the post-Sarrazin and the Açılım debate exemplify important broader discourses in each country, relating to fundamental questions of belonging and in/exclusion and reaching into what can be called a Turkish|German nexus. Engaging in those debates seems crucial for academics working in the field, and thus making a contribution to ongoing negotiations about how both societies (and their relations) are being shaped.
But which form of critique and intervention in broader debates is constructive and will have an impact- given the fissured, multi-voiced battleground of public debate? How to walk the line between offering differentiations and making powerful incisive claims, between responsibility and usurpation? It is the complicated relationship of academia, broader discourse, and social change in the Turkish|German nexus which will be the focus of this meeting.
The format of the Turkish|German Zukunftswerkstatt:
The workshop offers a four-day interdisciplinary forum for young scholars from Germany and Turkey who work on issues relating to the Turkish|German Nexus and/or are interested in engaging in the ongoing debates in Turkey and Germany. Invited speakers will offer various perspectives on the topic and engage in discussion with the participants.
The workshop offers an open, critical, and communicative setting for exchange. There are three objectives to the project: 1) Analysis and Exchange: To discuss and confront different aspects of and views on the debates, including their historic situatedness as well as future impacts. 2) Getting involved: To reflect one’s own role and develop positions that can be fed back into the public debates. 3) Getting together: To support networking and exchange beyond the November event among participants and alumni of the program.
The following subthemes will be addressed in small working groups:
1) Examining German “integration debates” in depth What are the historic contingencies, social processes, political, legal, and discursive frameworks etc. that made possible the current debate? How is this debate an extension of previous ones? What is new?
2) Discussing the concept of Açılım Which actors are involved, which changes have been seen? How have those dynamics been evaluated by different parties involved and other commentators? Which forms of critique are possible in this recent process?
3) Academia and Media in public discourses What are opportunity structures, resources, and limitations of academic work in both countries? How do production of knowledge in academia and the media intersect? Which role did different media types play in supporting or excluding positions in the debates?
4) Forms and perequisites of interventions today Which forms of intervention are possible? Which forms of knowledge production and possibly “translation” are necessary to reach beyond the academic discourse? What might be suitable actions or attractive inquiries for academics engaged in the Turkish|German nexus?
Applicants should indicate in their application which working group they would like to join (or suggest new working group with short description). There will be discussion in the small groups, among all participants of the workshop and with the invited speakers.
Together, we will discuss how experiences from both countries can help framing interventions from academia in relevant debates. Political concepts of inclusion in both contexts and reactions to them by various social actors could be a valid point of departure.
On each workshop day, there will be time to address the sub-themes in the small groups which will present the state of their discussions on the last day to the larger group.
The Turkish|German Zukunftswerkstatt is not a conference format, accordingly there will not be individual presentations of the participants’ Phd /research projects. Participants of a working group can but do not have to be specialized on this sub-theme.
Dates and places:
The workshop will take place between November 3rd and 6th 2011 at a Brandenburg workshop venue near Berlin.
The following costs will be covered: travel to and from Berlin (from within Germany, Turkey or nearby location) and to the workshop venue, plus accommodation and board.
Applications can be submitted before Oct 15th 2011 to: email@example.com
+ one-page statement of interest regarding the general theme of the workshop and one of the sub-themes. Indicate why you are interested in engaging in the debate and to which aspects you would like to contribute.
+ short CV including your language skills (please note: workshop language will be English)
The German-Turkish Zukunftswerkstatt is a project made possible by Goethe Institute and supported by funds from the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Ernst-Reuter-Inititative).
More information is available at:
Center for Metropolitan Studies Berlin
Send comments and questions to H-Net
Webstaff. H-Net reproduces announcements that have been submitted to us as a
free service to the academic community. If you are interested in an announcement
listed here, please contact the organizers or patrons directly. Though we strive
to provide accurate information, H-Net cannot accept responsibility for the text of
announcements appearing in this service. (Administration)