Summer School - Courses 2021

Please noteAll courses will be taught completely online!

Since some lecturers will teach their classes from their home countries, time schedules have been changed. Please feel free to contact the summer school team for further information:


Block I June 7 - June 18, 2021 (15 - 19 Uhr, 3 pm - 7 pm CET)New Global Social Movements - Prof. Dario Azzellini

The course reviews major issues concerning new global social movements and their core characteristics. At the center of the course are the movements that emerged with the crisis since 2008 (the “Arab Spring,” Greece, 15-M/Spain, Gezi/Turkey, Occupy…). The course will discuss different approaches in social movement theory. It will also analyze movements that can be considered precursors regarding content and practices of the new global social movements (e.g. the “anti-representational” movements in Latin America since the mid-1990s and the alter-globalization movement). 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 (crisis of representation, globalization, global governance…) and of new practices (non-representational democracy, direct action, self-management…) and perspectives of social movements.

Block I June 7 - June 18, 2021 (10 - 14 Uhr, 10 am - 2 pm CET)Translation in the Anthropocene: Global Politics, Development Policies and Amerindian Ontologies - Prof. Pedro Ribeiro

Debates on global warming and environmental destruction dominate the political agenda in global forums and national development policies. In this course, we will focus on the concepts of nation and nature that permeate these debates. Departing from the concept of Anthropocene, we will analyze specially the case of Amazon Rainforest and the conflicting positions concerning its preservation or use represented by global, national and Amerindian interests. In 2019, fires destroyed large sections of the forest in Brazil and Bolivia, which yielded an international outcry directed at the Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro. In defense of his anti-environmentalist policies, he opposes national development and preservation, seen as a disguise for neocolonialist land-grabbing plans. From this perspective, nation and nature are seen as mutually excluding options. On the other hand, Amerindians conceive nature as multiple, while human culture is seen as just one variation of nature, what Viveiros de Castro (1998) calls “multinaturalism”. From this perspective, non-human actors (animals, spirits, rivers, the forest itself, etc.) have their own interest (“cosmopolitics”) and may play a central role in the conception of the world, establishing multiple perspectives. During the course, we will discuss also the work of two Amerindian thinkers, Davi Kopenawa (2013) and Ailton Krenak (2015).

Block I June 7 - June 18, 2021 (15 - 19 Uhr, 3 pm - 7 pm CET)Contested Conjunctures of (Anti-) Racism - Prof. Stephan Scheel

Contested Conjunctures of (Anti-)Racism
(Anti-)Racism features prominently on the political agenda. Initially coined as a slogan to protest the impunity of police officers killing black Americans in the US, Black Lives Matters became a transnational movement in 2020. Meanwhile students in Oxford, Amsterdam and other campuses campaign for the decolonisation of the curriculum in Anthropology, Sociology, Political Theory and other disciplines. At the same time, Germany’s minister of interior prevented an independent inquiry on racism within the police with the argument that racism was illegal and that the police, as it is tasked with enforcing the law, can by definition not be racist. This argumentation confirms the critique of multi-culturalism as the ideology of post-racial societies that, while celebrating cultural diversity, brackets questions of socio-economic equality and persistent racist discrimination. This raises the question how one can assemble evidence on racism in societies that officially define themselves as anti-racist? How can one account for racism with scientific methods if racist discrimination is primarily based on subjective experience? And what kind of ideals and conceptions of conviviality can we think of to overcome the intrinsically reactionary nature of anti-racism? Since their inception in the 1960s, antiracist struggles have featured at times heated debates on how to define, know and combat racism. To engage with the epistemic, theoretical and political challenges raised by contemporary conjunctions of (anti-)racism, this course will revisit and discuss key contributions to these debates.

Block II June 21 - July 1, 2021 (10 - 14 Uhr, 10 am - 2 pm CET)Anthropology of Migration and Transnationality - Prof. Besim Can Zirh

Although they are not novel or unheard-of, border-crossing engagements and activities have become among the most critical issues of several disciplines in the age of globalization. For this reason, developing perspectives on migration is critical for anyone who would like to participate in scholarly debates in various fields of contemporary intellectual life.
This seminar is designed on this rationale and aims to assist its participants in developing an inter-disciplinary perspective of “transnationalism,” with which they can approach contemporary social and political phenomena without being trapped by national borders, namely “methodological nationalism.” By specifically focusing on the phenomenon of migration, this seminar attempts to discuss border-crossing engagements and activities from a historical, inter-disciplinary and case-comparative perspective. Equally important, the seminar also focuses on how scholars have attempted to understand these phenomena at different historical moments. It is expected that this perspective would be also helpful to understand the nature of paradigmatic shifts in the social sciences at large. 

Block II June 21 - July 1, 2021 (15 - 19 Uhr, 3 pm - 7 pm CET)Families in motion - Understanding migration and incorporation processes - Prof. Helen Baykara-Krumme

An international migration is often and in manifold ways a family affair. The family as a fundamental arena of decision making is involved in (re)migration decisions; family-related policies structure migration processes; family life and family biographies are heavily affected by international migration and the family itself influences processes of incorporation and settlement of its individual members. This course sheds light on some aspects of these multiple links between migration and the family. We will discuss how family networks and family-related migration policies affect and help understand migration patterns in various parts of the world. Another focus of the course will be transnational families and global householding that characterize migration and family life worldwide. The discussions will include the perspective of individual family-related life-course decisions in migration contexts, including, for instance, transnational partner choice. Finally, we will turn to the ultifaceted role of the family when it comes to acculturation and incorporation. Our discussions will be based on conceptual and rich empirical material and will help to promote our understanding of the complex mechanisms underlying current migration and incorporation processes.