Tag Archives: Epistemology

Between Disciplines and Areas – Monthly Research Seminar IMS FSV UK-CEFRES


Academic work has long been divided according to disciplines, which can be considered as the major reference frame of the university. Despite this long-lasting management of scientific activities, many researchers consider such a frame a contrived constraint, especially since scientific objects themselves proceed from the defining of a specific problematic, to which a proper methodology is to be applied to solve it. The uneasiness surrounding the debate on disciplines is increased by two factors: their growing fragmentation into subdisciplines and the rise of the new paradigms of trans- and interdisciplinarity within all research fields.

The research seminar Between Disciplines and Areas aims at discussing this development through the presentation of the research with which scholars of IMS and the French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences (CEFRES) are engaged. Indeed, they are used to working within two frames: the area (or “territory”), which places the research object in a specific context, and the discipline, which constitutes the theoretical backbone of the inquiry. Traditionally area and discipline are divided along the line drawn between empirical and theoretical approaches. This border prompts two main questions: To what extent does a theoretical frame fit to objects in context? And on the other hand, can empirical outcomes provide a more comprehensive understanding?

These are some of the questions that will be addressed at our seminar. By presenting their research in situ, scholars are invited to reflect upon the connection between their discipline(s), object and research field. They should therefore elaborate on the methodological inputs and theoretical framework of their researches.

See the Seminar programme on CEFRES agenda.

Exchange and Circulations: Cultural Contacts and Processes of Transfer

Conveners: Charlotte Krauss (IKG 56, Freiburg University) and Clara Royer (CEFRES).

Within the last 30 years, the research on cultural transfer – with its emphasis on processes of selection, distribution and reception – has proven itself as a productive research area. The questions concerning the responsibility of actors, paths of communication and rooms of encounters and transfers have taken on greater significance. The semantic reinterpretation of cultural objects, as a result of every transfer, has been proven to be an essential part of the analysis in reference to the aspects of time and space. Depending on the context, cultural goods take up different meanings, and thus the change of setting (dépaysement) can be used as a key term in the study of transfer.

Although Germany and France were first the focus of interest, the paradigm of cultural transfer nowadays has been expanded to other regions, which previously had been examined only peripherally (Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, Latin America, etc.). The research of cultural relationships is a core theme of CEFRES (French Research Center in Humanities and Social Sciences) in Prague and of the International Graduation School 1956 “Cultural Transfer and Cultural Identity” of the University Freiburg, which is primarily researching the relationships between Germany and Russia beginning from the late 17th century. The workshop “Exchange and Circulations,” which is organized with the cooperation of both institutions, focuses on the topic of cultural exchange and theoretical concepts, and is looking forward to receiving proposals that may relate to the following areas:

  • Circulation of cultural goods and artifacts
  • Actors and networks of cultural transfer
  • Spaces of exchange: Voyages, migration, professional networks, etc.
  • Theoretical concepts and methods of transfer

Length of papers: 20 minutes.

Language: English.