IX. International Summer School of the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences: "Crossing National Borders: People, Goods, Capital, and Ideas". Leipzig: Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences at the Research Academy Leipzig (University of Leipzig), 19.09.2011-22.09.2011.
Reviewed by Martina Keilbach
Published on H-Soz-u-Kult (November, 2011)
IX. International Summer School of the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences: "Crossing National Borders: People, Goods, Capital, and Ideas"
Anna Gorski, Leipzig, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Henriette Neef, Leipzig, Email: email@example.com
Peter Lambertz, Leipzig, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Katarina Ristic, Leipzig, Email: email@example.com
Sangeetha Parthasarathi, Leipzig, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tamara Ganjalyan, Leipzig, Email: email@example.com
Martina Keilbach, Leipzig, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The ninth international Summer School of the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Leipzig took place from 19 to 22 September 2011. It offered a platform for research projects from PhD-students from various institutions and disciplinary backgrounds, who are predominately preoccupied with the cross-border circulation of people, things, ideas and capital. Insofar the Summer School went on with giving an opportunity for a debate on how transnationality affects current affairs in various world regions as well as it had affected historical developments. At the same the hosting Graduate Center invited well-known scholars dealing with issues of transnational and global connections and flows for keynote lectures. The Summer School began with an introduction to the overall topic of the summer school and developments in transnational history over the past decade by the director of the Graduate Center, MATTHIAS MIDDELL. The first lecture was given by DAVID A. SMITH, sociologist at UC Irvine dealing with the global city networks. He presented findings from a research project on global air travel links and positioned it within the wider framework of the global cities debate. The next day David A. Smith, who serves as editor of the International Journal of Comparative Sociology lead a workshop on publication strategies.
A second aspect of the summer school was its organization into thematic panels. There contributors had reacted to call for papers by the panel conveners and came from very different universities across Germany and beyond. For example Leipzig’s partner universities in East Central Europe provided interesting contributions, which transnationalized historical processes, as well as present situation of their respective countries.
The panel “East Central Europe (ECE) in Transnational Perspective” embraced six presentations covering various themes of the region and specific states belonging to it. The selected papers explored areas of social, military and migration histories and interrogated the role of particular countries within transnational formations, as well as strategies developed by the various actors involved. JANA MUSILOVA (Brno) presented on the topic of newly emerging research on Turkish migrants in the Czech Republic. Her presentation focussed on how founding Turkish diasporas differ in the countries of East Central Europe to those in the former West Germany for example. LAZLO RITTER (Budapest) analysed how Intelligence Agency acting in Hungary during WW II. The presentation portrayed how this country and its citizens though its reports influenced military in Hungary. VACLAV SMIDRKAL (Prague) on the other hand, focused on the cultural side of military history and analysed to what extent Soviet military culture was transferred to other socialist countries, namely Czechoslovakia and the former GDR. The second session was opened by IGOR HARUSTAK’s (Bratislava) research on how “America” as a place of destination for Slovak migrants and migrants themselves was portrayed in the conservative newspaper “Národnie noviny”. This followed by NATHANAEL KUCK’s (Leipzig) content analysis of the magazine “Inprekorr” and its role in shaping debates about anti-colonialism within the communist system. The last paper by CHRISTIAN FRÖHLICH (Leipzig) investigated Russian disability NGOs struggling between domestic and international politics in establishing and pursuing their own paths.
Discussion oscillated around the transnational character of ECE and the importance in recognizing that states are still valid actors. The investigation of linkages between single states of the region and then to place the region as a whole to the outside world gives it the picture of representation to the ‘outside’. In the same time rises the call for comparison of a phenomenon among states of ECE and between the whole region to other parts of the world to see whether researched subjects are specific and unique to the ECE region or on the contrary, are quite global in their historical and present contexts. The purpose was to highlight the ECE since it is still omitted in wider research.
The panel on emerging infectious diseases focused on the increased attention and even alarm in scholarly and popular literature. The emergence of new diseases (as AIDS, SARS, BSE) and the resurgence of older and previously recognized ones (like tuberculosis, diphtheria or Dengue) poses challenges for understanding the uniquely dynamic qualities associated with unpredictable outbreaks under globalizing conditions. ANDREAS HÜBNER’s (Gießen) presentation raised the question of how mappings ordered and constructed the space and society of colonial Louisiana in 18th century. In analysing several maps drawn by French colonizers, he demonstrated the mechanism and logic of the production of maps. These maps as Hübner argued should not be understood as images of a ‘realty’ rather as from the perspective of their fictionality. Taken as notional realities, these maps demonstrated colonial power relations and hierarchies. The second presentation travelled from the 18th to the 22th century. DOMINIK FISCHER (Bayreuth) demonstrated how natural scientists compute the future spread of an infectious disease. With the example Leishmasiose, he explained how probability calculations are used to estimate the risks of a region being affected a disease. The last presentation by HENRIETTE NEEF (Leipzig) summarized that methods like maps, statistics or classifications can be understood as necessary mechanisms to translate ambiguity and uncertainty into certainty and clearness. On the one hand, they are necessary because they create the spaces which are important for political interventions in a transnational context; on the other hand, they are communicated as social facts and provide insights into intend and extend interests, and power relations.
The panel “Shifting boundaries and borders: Everyday responses” pursued an actor-centered perspective on the everyday level of social formation as influenced by travelling cultural materials.
FELIPE RUBIO (Leipzig) presented insight into his research on Peruvian migrants in Madrid. He showed how in new physical and social spaces, migrants continue cultivating former status relationships between communities that mutually perceive themselves as ethnically different (i.e. Andina and Mestiza communities). Once in Spain, where representatives of both groups migrated with different motives and employing different historical trajectories, they found themselves located in the same social strata within same physical spaces, deprived of any social upward mobility. Remarkable is that the boundaries between Mestiza and Andina continue being cultivated in peoples’ everyday routines as differentiating strategies between migrants that are locally perceived as homogenous.
BRITTA HECKING (Leipzig) focused on how the everyday lives of urban youth constitute political expressions. She thereby gave insight into how youth organize their social space both through linguistic strategies, as well as by spatializing their family background and social relations in general. The paper uncovered how the construction of moral geographies by different social groups link certain people to certain parts of the city. This bears political relevance in how youth’s self-understanding and agency is conditioned by these moral and mutual spatializations. The reception of the Arab Spring in Algiers illustrates how information crosses borders has local repercussions in the self-understanding of urban youth, as well as in the Algerian state’s strategies to respond to youth protests.
JOHN NJENGA KARUGIA (Leipzig) focused his paper on the interactions between Chinese migrants in Tanzania and the local social sphere by looking at linguistic practices. Central is the role of so-called ‘cultural brokers’: Tanzanian citizens who have acquired knowledge of Chinese languages and culture in their own life trajectories. The linguistic encounter between Kiswahili and Chinese (Mandarin) is, from a larger perspective, a social practice that shapes and generates patterns of interaction that may be qualified as “hybrid”.
PETER LAMBERTZ (Leipzig) presented results from his research on the Japanese Religious Movement at the Église Messianique Mondiale in Kinshasa. By focusing on flower arrangement (Ikebana) and different other social practices linked to flowers, the paper illustrated local processes of meaning-production with regards to ’imported’ cultural materials and how they are intertwined with the dynamics of the local social spaces. Departing from the conflicts and tensions that revolve around EMM’s flower practices, he tried to disentangle the flower’s archaeology of meaning, which the movement struggles due to rumors about them being carriers of evil.
The panel “Ritual and Exchange in the Context of the Transnational and Intercultural Contact” defined ritual as a kind of platform for control and intermediation, which stands between different collectives and therefore between their borders as an interface or a filter. The exchange between different worlds and their elements using specific means of change would be possible through this form of control and intermediation. All panelist’s presentations focused on this premise: HENNING SCHWANKE (Leipzig) examined rituals as places of cultural translation and a culture of escape; ALP YENEN (Freiburg/Basel) through the exile politics of the Young Turks; OLEG KAPPES (Mannheim) through the rituals in the culture of scientific communication using the example of historiographies in phases of social transition, lastly rituals were analyzed through transnational transfers of knowledge by MATTHIAS KRÄMER (Augsburg).
The main goal of the panel “War Crime Tribunals and Dealing with the Past” was to explore possibilities of transitional justice. Legal mechanisms in transitional justice, namely International Tribunals, Hybrid and Domestic Courts are seen as mechanisms that trigger processes of dealing with the past. Two questions related to the subject were raised: what is the role of international witnesses regarding transnational justice, and how are war crime trials (WCT) perceived by citizens of the state. The first presentation focused witnessing, or rather a particular type of witnessing where members of International Nongovernment Organizations (INGO) report from the conflict areas. MICHAELA ZOEHRER (Augsburg) argued that although not eye-witnesses these representative are believed to be ‘one of us’ when on site. The central goal of the organizations is to raise attention and provide ground for international intervention. In the discussion, the concept of witnessing was further explored through the distinguishing of different types of witnessing: legal witnessing, witnessing for NGO reports, and expert witnessing. The aim was to determine under which conditions is witnessing credible; for example in reference to unbelievable atrocities such as Auschwitz, or to international/domestic audiences.
In exploring war crime trials as a legal mechanism to bring the justice, the main focus was not on the legal, but rather on cultural aspects questioning representation and perception. Presenting the case of The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), VLADIMIR PETROVIC (Belgrade) stressed the success of the tribunal, which has prosecuted and punished more than 150 war criminals from all countries involved in the conflict. By challenging national concepts of justice and justifications of war, the ICTY offered a more complex, transnational approach to the justice in war.
Regarding the perception of WCT, presentations by VIVIEN SOMMER (Chemnitz) and KATARINA RISTIC (Leipzig) showed that the arguments against the trials for war crimes, whether in national or international arenas follow similar patterns: (1) they criticize selectivity war crime trials; (2) they all refer to some type of conspiracy; and (3) they relativize crimes by comparing them to other crimes. It could be concluded that the pattern of denial, or the rejection to deal with the past, rests on similar arguments, regardless of level (Nation state, global media like Internet), and of type of conflict (civil war, internatinal conflict, intervention). Finally, the difference between how justice is perceived at a transnational and national levels variety; generally it is positively accepted at the transnational level, or more precisely, when it does not affect ’us’. When ‘we’ bring justice to ‘them’ there is much boarder acceptance and recognition of justice as such.
The essence of the panel “Trans-National Corporations, Nation States and Effective Development Strategies” was to debate the degree of presence and influence of large TNC’s in the crucial developmental issue of food policy. The panel critically viewed the role of Trans-national Corporations in the arena of development vis-à-vis the nation-state. The (shifting) position of the nation-state from being a dominant actor in guiding national-international development processes to the one re-locating itself primarily formed the background of the panel.
SEBASTIAN BATTRAM (Leipzig) described the European Union’s Sugar reform policy of 2006. Sugar policy prior to reform was over forty years old. A reform of such an established, functioning, protectionist by nature policy was bound to spark large ripples of change. The degree, pattern and territories of its impact were the focus of the paper.
The paper by RENATA MOTTA (Berlin) discussed the participation of TNC’s in the debate around Genetically Modified Foods. Brazil, Argentina and Mexico- three major global producers/exporters of GM crops are chosen for this study. Identification and measurement of TNC’s participation around the mediated public debate of GM foods in these countries were researched via content analysis of media data. The results indicate that TNC’s showed higher participation in Brazil and Mexico with Monsanto present in all three countries. TNC’s avoid using the term ‘risk’ while replacing it with ‘bio-safety’ and ‘co-existence’.
SANGEETHA PARTHASARATHI (Leipzig) focused on Bio-technology & Intellectual Property Rights as key instruments used by TNC’s in production of food and the relating impact on food policies and food security. A detailed case study of genetic modified Cotton in India revealed a monopoly situation in the Indian seed sector. The impacts of this monopoly forced an unsustainable state intervention. Monsanto possessed the power of price setting, production and distribution of the modified seeds due to the possession of intellectual property rights.
The panel concluded by unanimously acknowledging the highly influential role of TNC’s. On ethical and moral grounds an important question was raised: What should be the role of the state? Pertaining to matters of food, medicine, water, the fate of countless people is at stake: To what extent can the general public involve itself in such issues, and who constructs the general debate around those issues? To what extent can TNC’s interfere in policy making? Can there be a balanced private-public partnership?
The central theme of the panel “Diasporas als Träger transnationaler Prozesse” was the transgression of borders and boundaries by ’diasporas’ its roles in the transfer of goods and ideas across geographical, national, cultural and religious boundaries and borders. Consequently, one of the main questions was on the role diasporas may play in processes of globalisation and transnationalisation. In his presentation ADAM JAROSZ (Toruń) examined transnational practices and relations in the German-Polish border region, which intensified during the last decades and especially since Poland’s accession to the EU in 2004. For this increasingly transnationally interconnected border region, Szczecin developed into its economic centre. Poles, working in Szczecin but living on the German side of the border due to lower rental prices there, began to participate in local politics within German communities of residence and a local German-Polish infrastructure developed.
MELANIE EULITZ (Leipzig) in her presentation examined the emergence of a ‘double diaspora’ in Germany: the Bukharian Jews from the former Soviet Union, who over the last decades emigrated from their Central Asian ’home country’ to several Western countries. In Germany they differentiated themselves from the broader Jewish community and in 2009 founded the first Bukharian religious community in Hannover. What was decisive for their formation as a distinct group in contrast to other Jewish emigrés from the Soviet Union were their differing cultural and religious characteristics.
In her paper “Die Grenzen der Diaspora. Zwischen Transnationalismus und Boundary Maintenance“ TAMARA GANJALYAN (Leipzig) pursued the question of the inherent tension between transgressing and erecting boundaries in diaspora. We should conceive of diasporas not as pre-given entities, based on a primordial understanding of ethnic belonging, but as a social construct. In mobilising a sense of community and in constructing a ‘collective identity’, ethnic entrepreneurs play a crucial role by dominating the discourse on diaspora identity.
In the concluding discussion several questions were raised and some aspects highlighted. For example what is the importance in understanding the multidimensional phenomenon of diaspora. Among these, the impact of the ‘receiving’ state and of the structural preconditions in the so called host society, as well as majority-minority relations; what may be decisive for both the organisation, comprehension, and definition of diaspora.
The summer school was concluded with two last panels where this time the panel conveners transformed into contributors. They now presented results of their panels and compared to the expectations they had when inviting people from other places for a common debate. All in all the summer school was evaluated a success by driving the theoretical debate on transnational flows further, by nourishing it from empirical findings and by allowing to network with people from other places and disciplines.
Short version of the program:
Matthias Middell (Leipzig): Transnational History – recent trends in an ongoing debate
David A. Smith (Irvine): The World Urban Hierarchy: Why Does it Matter? Global Cities in Networks
Panel 1: Self-Representations and External Portrayals-Imagining India through the National and the Transnational lens
Prem Poddar (Berlin): Ideational India: Zooming in from Zomistan, Southeast Asia and Other Distractions
Christoph Senft (Potsdam): Transmoderne literarische Historiographie: Lokale Vergangenheiten und globale Designs in indisch-englischsprachigen Romanen der Gegenwart
Anandita Bajpai (Leipzig): Imagining India: Political Speeches and the discursive constructions of a secular democratic emerging India
Panel 2: East-Central Europe in Transnational Perspective
Mate Deak (Pécs): The hidden and recorded (shown in the documents) legal developement of German civil aviation in European and transnational dimension between 1919-1933
Laszlo Ritter (Budapest): (Mis)perceiving Otherness: Images and Stereotypes of Hungary in British Intelligence Reports during World War II
Vaclav Smidrkal (Prague): The Cultural Policy of the Socialist Military: Shared Rudiments and National Conditionality
Igor Harustak (Bratislava): The Cultural Representation of the New World as a Dimension of Transnational History: The Representations of the New World, Slovaks Abroad and Slovak Emigration as a phenomemenon of modernity in Slovak press between 1880 – 1918/20
Jana Musilova (Brno): “Triangle top“ – Turks in Prague?: 2nd and 3rd generation of turkish migrants panetrating to the states of former Soviet Block Economic History of the 20th Century: Turkey and the EEC in the 60´s 20th Century
Nathanael Kuck (Leipzig): Klasse und Nation – Weltordnungsvorstellungen und Subjektivitäten im kommunistischen Antikolonialismus anhand der Inprekorr
Christian Fröhlich (Leipzig): Walking the Tightrope: Russian Disability NGOs between International donors and Domestic Politics
Panel 3: Re-emerging diseases und die Mechanismen ihrer Kontrolle
Dominik Fischer (Bayreuth): Ausbreitungsmodellierung von Sandmücken (Überträger der Leishmaniose) - eine klimatisch abgeleitete Risikoabschätzung für Mitteleuropa
Andreas Hübner (Gießen): Vermessen, Ordnen, Kartographieren – Raumkonstruktionen und Möglichkeitsräume im kolonialen Louisiana
Henriette Neef (Leipzig): ‘Der Tiger ist los’? - Zum Be-grenzen und Ordnen von Dengue
David A. Smith (Irvine): Publications of research results in the social sciences – workshop with David A. Smith (editor of INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE SOCIOLOGY)
Panel 4: Shifting boundaries and borders: Everyday responses
Britta Hecking (Leipzig): The Battle(s) of Youth? Everyday Life and Politics in Algiers
Felipe Rubio (Leipzig): Translocal Migrant Networks: Peruvian Pioneer Women in San Blas, Madrid
Peter Lambertz (Leipzig): Beautiful boundaries. Contested flower practices in a Japanese religious movement in Kinshasa
John Njenga Karugia (Leipzig): Language in Interaction: Chinese Migrants and Tanzanian Counterparts in Dar es Salaam
Panel 5: Kreative Berufe in der Film- und Fernsehindustrie. Mediale Akteure und ihre Berufs- und Arbeitswelten zwischen Kommerzialisierung und Kultur
Claus Tieber (Salzburg) A Story isn’t a story but a conference: Anmerkungen zu Organisation und Kontrolle von Kreativität am Beispiel Hollywoods
Sebastian Stoppe (Leipzig): Filmkomposition im Spannungsfeld zwischen Kunst und Kommerzialisierung
Meisterson, Heli (Leipzig): Von kulturellen Entwicklungshelfern zu Partnern auf gleicher Augenhöhe – die Rolle ausländischer Kulturinstitute in Estlands kulturpolitischem Transformationsprozess
Annegret Richter (Leipzig): Lets work for the Festivals – oder was macht ihr eigentlich das ganze Jahr über?
Panel 6: Austausch und Ritual im Kontext des transnationalen und interkulturellen Kontakts
Henning Schwanke (Leipzig): Zwischen Staat und Bund. Rituale als Orte kulturelle Translation einer Fluchtkultur
Alp Yenen (Freiburg/Basel): Ein transnationales Netzwerk von Berufsrevolutionären: Die jungtürkische Exilpolitik (1918-1922)
Oleg Kappes (Mannheim): Rituale in der wissenschaftlichen Kommunikationskultur am Beispiel von Historiographien in gesellschaftlichen Umbruchphasen
Matthias Krämer (Augsburg): Transatlantischer Wissenstransfer. Nationale und internationale Orientierung in der deutschsprachigen Geschichtswissenschaft nach 1945
Panel 7: War Crime Tribunals and Dealing with the Past – Justice crossing the Border?
Michaela Zöhrer (Jena): „Zeugenschaft“ als transnationale Wissens-Praxis
Vladimir Petrovic (Belgrad): Memory at the Trial: Witnessing in ICTY
Vivien Sommer (Chemnitz): Transnationales Web-Gedächtnis? Der erinnerungskulturelle Online-Diskurs um den Demjanjuk-Prozess
Katarina Ristic (Leipzig): Memory of the Trial: Media discourses on war crime trials in former Yugoslavia
Panel 8: Transnational Corporations, Nation-states and Effective Development Strategies
Renata Campos Motta (Berlin): The conflict over the genetically modified food policy: who can contest the risks?
Sebastian Battram (Leipzig): The Impact Of The EU Sugar Reform Policy On The ACP Countries
Sangeetha Parthasarathi (Leipzig): Role of Trans-national corporations in Food Security
Panel 9: Diasporas als Träger transnationaler Prozesse
Melanie Eulitz (Leipzig): Die jüdisch-bucharische Diaspora
Adam Jarosz (Torun): Alltag Leben im Grenzraum. Polen im Landkreis Uecker-Randow
Tamara Ganjalyan (Leipzig): Grenzen der Diaspora
Panel 10: In Market We Trust. International interactions between market, States and civil society reshaping the capitalist market system
Valerio Verrea (Leipzig): The governance systems of Fair Trade
Johann Fortwengel (Berlin): Global Value Chains and Development Strategies: Institutionalizing Broad Upgrading
Alina Strugut (Leipzig) Sustainable Development: A Don Quijotean Pathway?
If there is additional discussion of this review, you may access it through the network, at: http://hsozkult.geschichte.hu-berlin.de/.
Martina Keilbach. Review of , IX. International Summer School of the Graduate Centre Humanities and Social Sciences: "Crossing National Borders: People, Goods, Capital, and Ideas".
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