Summerschool 2023

Sociology of Religion: International Comparative Perspective

Dr. Brian Conway, Maynooth University

Course Description

This module is an introduction to theoretical debates, empirical work, and methodological approaches in the sociology of religion. In the first week, we consider the distinguishing features of the sociological approach to religion and the major debates within the literature about the impact of modernity on religion, focusing on secularisation theories. Framed by this, the second week focuses on topics such as atheist identities and secularity, religiosity in Germany, and the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on religion. Throughout, the emphasis will be on developing an international comparative approach to understanding religion and society. This will be achieved through mini-lectures, brief reflection papers on readings, and in-class discussions.

Global inequalities and climate change

Prof. Dr. Anja Weiß, University of Duisburg-Essen

Course Description

Global inequalities far exceed inequalities within countries. Wealth in the Global North is based on expropriation to a significant extent. The political sphere is segmented into states and it is doubtful whether states are able to solve transnational problems. These problems have existed for a long time, but they are exacerbated by climate change, or even causing it. Still, climate change also is a “new” problem. Sociologists are, for example, challenged to reconsider divisions between materiality and the social.

The seminar will employ a global and transnational perspective on these problems. We will discuss Wallerstein’s world systems approach, postcolonial studies, and recent integrated proposals for the critique of capitalism (Fraser) or global systems (Walby). We will use these theoretical perspectives to discuss scenarios for potential futures. You will get to know (quantitative) data banks provided by international NGOs and activists. Based on an excursion to the Duisburg harbor, we will study global supply chains and extractivism as well as transnational labor markets.

Anthropology of Migration and Transnationality: An Ethnographic Walk through Marxloh

Dr. Besim Can Zirh, Middle Eastern Technical University

Course Description

The seminar aims to assist its participants in developing an inter-disciplinary perspective on the transnationalism approach by which they can develop an insight into contemporary social and political phenomena without being trapped by national borders, namely “methodological nationalism”. The seminar will also discuss how scholars from different generations attempted to understand border-crossing phenomena at different historical moments. In doing so, participants could develop a perspective on the nature of paradigmatic shifts in the social sciences at large. By specifically focussing on migration the the case of Marxloh, this seminar attempts to discuss border-crossing engagements and activities from a historical, inter-disciplinary, and case-specific perspective.

Super-Diversity and Institutional Whiteness in (Post-)Migration Society

Prof. Kyoko Shinozaki, Ph.D., Salzburg University

Course Description

Beginning in the summer 2020, people in many parts of the world have begun to be actively engaged in the Black Lives Matter movement (BLM) – more than ever in our recent history. BLM has long repercussions to date. For example, in this summer, Austria has witnessed citizens’ referendum “Black Voices”. In many Western European societies where a quarter of the population has a so-called migration background, mobility related diversity is just a banal everyday reality. In urban spaces some authors have argued that metropolitan cities have become even “super-diverse” (Vertovec 2007: 1024), rendering conventional normative notions, such as “integration” obsolete on the one hand.


But, on other hand: Why is it that migrant and racialized ‘Others’ are the ones to be named and talked about? While it continues to be important to scrutinize structural inequalities based on racialization along with gender, class and religion, scholarship just like political and social discourses often fail to problematize the dominant gaze through which racialized inequalities are looked into.

This seminar invites you to reflexively engage with issues related not only to racism but also to “institutional whiteness” in employment and higher education institutions, discussing both empirical and theoretical works in the European and Asian context. As a learning/teaching method, we will use a slightly adopted version of “Problem-Based Learning” to ensure lively discussions. We will also have an opportunity to listen to a guest lecture and watch a movie, in order to broaden and deepen our understanding of the seminar topic.



Summer School 2022

Social Medias and Global Societies

Prof. James Joseph Dean (Sonoma University)

Course Description

This course examines the relationship between society and the communication technologies referred to as “social media,” such as Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, and more. In this class we will develop conceptual tools, methods of analysis, and a global understanding of social media apps and websites.  In order to do this, we will read social theory from sociology and science and technology studies as well as examine the empirical research in the fields of communication studies, cultural studies, and media studies to understand social media today.  We will think about social media in terms of being part of the creation of a techno- social life.  That is, in general the course develops a perspective that views technology and social life as integrated and overlapping in our everyday lives and our global social institutions and structures.  Specifically, the course advances the perspective that technology as seen through apps and websites creates new sets of social norms for the community of users of that app and/or website.  Students will be introduced to key theories and research in the field of digital phenomena with the aim to have them develop their own critical responses, active engagement in class discussions of readings, and in their writing and presenting of an original research paper on the topics of social media in particular and techno-social existence in global societies in general.

Social inequality from national, transnational and global perspectives

Dr. Jenny Preunkert (University of Duisburg-Essen) and Dr. Brian Conway (Maynooth University)

Course Description

For a long time, social inequality was discussed primarily in a national context. However, even when nobody will deny that these national analyses are important, in recent years transnational or global analyses have gained importance in the academic field of social inequality. For instance, the prosperity of European societies can only be explained in the context of the global division of labour and the global economy. Furthermore, through transnational mobility opportunities, new transnational elites have developed that can no longer be classified in national “containers”. The seminar will pick up three selected areas of social inequality - economic, political and spatial inequality -, and will analyze them from a comparative, transnational and global perspectives. The seminar combines in-person teaching with topic related fieldtrips in the area of Duisburg and social events. The aim of the seminar is to enable students to develop their understanding of social inequality in a more and more globalized and transnationalized world.

Borders, Borderlands, Limits, Frontiers: Native Knowledge in Brazil and Latin America

Prof. Pedro Mandagará Ribeiro (Universidade de Brasília)

Course Description

Native people in Brazil and Latin America have a difficult relation to the national states of the region. They are both part and not a part of each nation; they live in a borderland between citizenship and destitution. National limits sometimes separate native communities from their relatives across the border. Several native peoples (like the Mapuche in Chile and Argentina or the Yanomami in Brazil and Venezuela) live in a borderland beyond national limits. Inside nation states, the demarcation of exclusive areas for indigenous peoples to live in is a major political conflict, as has been happening in Brazil, especially under the explicitly anti-indigenous policies of the Bolsonaro government.

In the first week of this course, we will review some theories about nationality and the formation of borders, as well as studying how the Constitutions of some Latin American countries deal with indigenous peoples. Authors read will include Friedrich Engels, Pierre Clastres, Jacques Derrida and Ailton Krenak. In the second week, we will discuss art works and films produced by indigenous peoples in Brazil and Latin America that touch on the questions of nationality and borders, including works by contemporary Brazilian artists Jaider Esbell, Denilson Baniwa and Célia Tupinambá.

Contemporary Global Social Movements

Dario Azzellini, Ph.D.

Course Description

The course rewiews major issues concerning new and contemporary global social movements and their core charasteristics. At the center of course are the movements that emerged with the crisis 2008 and after (square movements/Occupy, women´s and feminist movements, BLM, climate justice, workers´movements during the Covid-19 pandemic and movements in the global South). The course will discuss different approaches in social movement theory. It will analyze movements that can be considered precursors regarding content and practices of the social movements (for example the "anti-representational" movements in Latin America since the mid-1990s). The course will discuss shared characteristics and differences among the new global movements and compared to earlier social movements. These changes will be contextualized in an analysis of changing political and cultural circumstances (e. g, crisis of representation) and of new practices (non-representationaldemocracy, direct action...) and perspectives of social movements.