Dear Members of the International Research Training Group ‘Between Spaces’ and Friends of the IRTG,
We hope you enjoy this twenty-first issue of the IRTG ‘Between Spaces’ newsletter, which is designed to keep you informed about our news and current events.
International Conference and Opening Workshop of the IRTG at the Colegio de México
On April 11 and 12, 2016, the International Conference ‘Entre Espacios. Movimientos, actores y representaciones de la globalización’ will be held at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. The latest research on the IRTG’s theme will be discussed over the two days. Keynote lectures will be given by Francisco Navarrete (UNAM), Vittoria Borsò (Universität Düsseldorf), Gustavo Lins Ribeiro (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana) and Saskia Sassen (Columbia University). The event is open to the public.
The detailed program of the international conference may be found [here].
On April 13 and 14, 2016, the Opening Workshop will be held for the third group of scholars of the IRTG ‘Between Spaces’ at El Colegio de México in Mexico City. In a series of panels, the newly selected German and Mexican fellows will present their projects, with commentary from researchers of the IRTG and external experts. Anyone interested in participating in the workshop can register by writing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The detailed program of the workshop can be found [here].
New PhD Scholarship Holders
Last year, the International Research Training Group ‘Between Spaces. Movements, Actors and Representations of Globalisation’ at Berlin/Potsdam selected the scholarship holders of its third and most recent group. The majority arrived in Berlin in January. All scholars of the third group have since started work at the IRTG Berlin/Potsdam:
The IRTG Mexico recently selected new fellows to participate in the programme of ‘Between Spaces’. The following doctoral and master’s students of the Mexican section of the IRTG are expected to arrive in the coming months at the IRTG Berlin/Potsdam:
The coordinating office of the IRTG is pleased to have welcomed two new members in recent months. Andrea Garcés Farfán supports the IRTG as a student employee, Ana Yakimova as an administrative assistant.
We cordially welcome all the new members of the IRTG and look forward to working with them!
Visit of Federal Minister for Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, to the IRTG Mexico at the Colegio de México
The Federal Minister of Education and Research, Prof. Dr. Johanna Wanka, visited the International Research Training Group ‘Between Spaces’ at El Colegio de México on February 8, 2016. The joint German-Mexican year of 2016/17 is expected to deepen the cooperation between Mexico and Germany and signal its unified commitment. The focus of her stay in Mexico primarily concerned the scholarly relations between the two countries. The Minister was accompanied by a delegation of members of the German Bundestag and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.
The Mexican and German representatives of the IRTG, Prof. Dr. Carlos Alba and Prof. Dr. Stefan Rinke, welcomed the Minister. They were joined by the university president, Prof. Dr. Silvia Giorguli, and the German ambassador, Viktor Elbling. In their speeches, Silvia Giorguli and Johanna Wanka addressed the increasing importance of academic exchanges between the countries in the humanities. In this regard, university agreements between the universities, the funding opportunities of the DAAD and DFG-funded projects like the IRTG play a special role.
Carlos Alba and Stefan Rinke introduced the IRTG’s areas of emphasis and provided a brief overview of the recent research results and the success of the programme’s graduates. As distinctive characteristics of a joint research programme in the humanities and social sciences, they highlighted both the international mobility of researchers in Berlin/Potsdam and Mexico as well as the inter-institutional and interdisciplinary character of the IRTG. The Minister obtained further insights into the specific academic work of the IRTG from Prof. Dr. Ilán Bizberg, member of the IRTG Mexico. He spoke about his experience as a visiting scholar during his research stays at the Institute for Latin American Studies in Berlin. Dr. Alexander Au, the director of DAAD Mexico, and Prof. Dr. Ludger Pries (DAAD, El Colegio de México), who currently holds an Alexander von Humboldt professorship, discussed future opportunities for enhancing international mobility. The presentations led to a lively exchange with the Minister and her delegation regarding the IRTG ‘Between Spaces’ as an example of a successful cooperation agreement in the humanities and social sciences.
After lunch at the restaurant Club de Banqueros in the historic downtown, the itinerary included further discussions with representatives of the national research and innovation council of Mexico, Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACyT). The Minister and her delegation, the members of the IRTG and other guests ended the day with a festive reception at the German embassy.
The visit of the Federal Minister for Education and Research and her delegation offered the IRTG an outstanding opportunity to present its research results and the valuable academic experiences of its members. At the same time, it could also elucidate ideas and initial proposals for future research agreements between Mexico and Germany in the humanities and social sciences.
(Foto: Stephanie Brewster)
August 13, 2015, Interinstitutional Colloquium: Lecture by Stephanie Schütze, UNAM
On August 13, the first Interinstitutional Colloquium of the new semester took place at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, UNAM. For this session, we invited Stephanie Schütze, social and cultural anthropology professor at the Freie Universität Berlin and affiliated professor with the International Research Training Group, to give a lecture on one of her completed research projects.
Stephanie Schütze spoke about ‘Transnacionalismo político entre México y Estados Unidos: trayectorias de líderes migrantes,’ with commentary from Silvia Giorguli, president of El Colegio de México.
Stephanie Schütze’s presentation focused on the construction of transnational political spaces and portrayed migrants from the Mexican state of Michoacán, who live in Chicago. Professor Schütze spoke on the symbolic significance of the struggle for political rights, the feeling of belonging between Mexico and the USA, the public recognition and the empowerment of the migrants as expressed by their transnational actions. Schütze linked her empirical data to gender theories, which discuss female careers in transnational political spaces. In particular, she interviewed Mexican women who are engaged as female leaders in Mexican federations in Chicago like the Confederación de Federaciones Mexicanas. Furthermore, Schütze observed women’s participation in programmes for migrants.
The participants in this session included the professors Carlos Alba, Marisa Belausteguigoitia, Ilán Bizberg, Bernd Hausberger, Lorenza Villa Lever, Liliana Weinberg, Silvia Giorguli, Stephanie Schütze, Teresa Carbó, Guillermo Zermeño, Jean Rivelois, as well as the students Olinca Valeria Avilés Hernández, Cindy McCulligh, María Jimena Sasso Rojas, Nidia Olvera, Celia Arteaga, Alejandro Fielbaum, Damián Gilvet, Georgino Toussaint, María José Grisel Enríquez Cabral, Carlos Mora Duro and Saranda Frommold.
Stephanie Schütze’s presentation stimulated a lively discussion between all participants about the construction of transnational political spaces.
(Robert Lüdtke, IRTG Mexico)
September 3, 2015, Interinstitutional Colloquium, UNAM
On September 3, 2015, the Interinstitutional Colloquium took place at the Instituto de Investigaciones Sociales, UNAM. After a short introduction and presentation of the new fellows and the other participants as well, the doctoral students María Laura Serrano Santos from CIESAS and Saranda Frommold from the Freie Universität Berlin each introduced their current research projects.
Saranda Frommold spoke on ‘Las relaciones políticas entre España y México en torno al exilio vasco en México (1977-2000)’, with commentary from Dr. Ilán Bizberg (El Colegio de México). María Laura Serrano Santos presented her project ‘Implicaciones de las relaciones entre jóvenes y policías en la experiencia de la juventud en enclaves de pobreza’, with commentary from Marcela Meneses (UNAM).
Both research projects inspired a lively discussion among all participants regarding the ‘Between Spaces’ concept. The first presentation discussed migrant networks that are related with the Basque exile in Mexico and its political impact on the international relations between Mexico and Spain (1977-2000). The final presentation focused on the social experiences and relations between the Mexican police and young people in a marginalized quarter of Tuxtla Gutiérrez in Chiapas.
The participants included the professors Carlos Alba, Alberto Aziz, Ilán Bizberg, Luz Elena Gutiérrez de Velasco Romo, Bernd Hausberger, Lorenza Villa Lever, Marcela Meneses and Liliana Weinberg, as well as the students Saranda Frommold, María Laura Serrano Santos and Jaqueline Garza Placencia.
(Robert Lüdtke, IRTG Mexico)
October 22, 2015, Meeting of IRTG Alumni in Mexico
On October 22, 2015, the IRTG in Mexico invited its alumni for a third meeting at the French restaurant Bistro Mosaico in San Ángel, Mexico City. Among the guests were professors and former scholarship holders. They exchanged experiences and memories of their research stays in Berlin. Furthermore, the members of the IRTG briefly presented their current academic research.
The meeting was at the same time the official welcome of the new Mexican scholarship holders and the new assistant at the IRTG in Mexico, Robert Lüdtke, who began his work in Mexico at the beginning of May. In the name of the entire IRTG the Mexican, spokesperson Carlos Alba welcomed the new assistant and introduced him to the members of the IRTG in Mexico.
(Robert Lüdtke, IRTG Mexico)
November 17, 2015, Interinstitutional Colloquium: Lecture by Vittoria Borsò
On November 17, the second last Interinstitutional Colloquium of the semester 2015 took place at El Colegio de México. For this session, we invited Prof. Dr. Vittoria Borsò, professor of literature and culture studies at Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, to give a lecture on one of her current research projects. She spoke on ‘Los conceptos de entre lugar: entre geopolítica y estética’, with commentary from Prof. Dr. Ludger Pries from El Colegio de México, Alexander von Humboldt Chair (DAAD).
Borsò’s presentation focused on the theoretical and aesthetic concept of ‘between spaces’ and its impact on globalization from a multidisciplinary perspective. In her lecture, she analysed the core question of how the notion of ‘in-between space’ has been established in postcolonial studies, and how its epistemological status makes it a direct challenge to the logic of identity and difference that sustains Western metaphysics. Borsò argues that since the idea of ‘in-between space’ emerged, it has evolved into a form of cultural politics and is, furthermore, employed as a tool for displacing, dislocating and decentring knowledge in a globalized world. She referred to different ideas of ‘between spaces’ like the concept of a third space (Homi Bhabha), a space of negotiation (Stuart Hall), a space of différance (Derrida), a space of the “different” (Lyotard), and a space that Michel Foucault called “heterotopy” after Bataille's heterological method.
The participants in this session included professors Lorenza Villa Lever, Luz Elena Gutiérrez de Velasco Romo, Liliana Weinberg, Teresa Carbò, Ludger Pries, Vittoria Borsò, Bernd Hausberger, Carlos Alba, as well as the students Marlene Gómez Becerra, Sebastián Pineda Buitrago, Diana Hernández Suárez, Martha Celis, Edith Negrín and Saranda Frommold.
Vittoria Borsò’s presentation stimulated a lively discussion between all the participants about the geopolitical and aesthetic construction of the ‘between spaces’ concept.
(Robert Lüdtke, IRTG Mexico)
January 18 and 19, 2016, International Colloquium ‘Interacciones, disputas y conflictos entre el Estado y la sociedad en América Latina’, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
The International Colloquium on January 18th and 19th, organized by Marco Estrada Saavedra, a sociology professor at the Colegio de Mexico and visiting professor at the Latin American Institute of the Freie Universität Berlin, and the IRTG, was an excellent start to 2016. With the further increase of globalization and its related processes, this colloquium was a reminder that the nation-state remains the most influential socio-territorial actor. At the same time, the colloquium also emphasized that the nation-state and its formations are under constant challenge from both within and without. The presentations of the individual panels offered plenty of material for spirited discussions.
The panel titled ‘Espacios imaginados en disputa: comunidades inventadas y recreación de identidades’ (Controversial spaces of perception: imagined communities and the formation of new identities), with presentations on subjects ranging from anthropology and literature to studies on young people in Oaxaca, stressed how formations of nationality can be negotiated beyond the scope of the state. For example, the presentation by José Luis Escalona Victoria convincingly showed how the nation of the Maya was created in large part by academics from Harvard University and other philanthropists, who exhibited a strong interest in contemporary southern Mexico and Guatemala. In fact, they externally influenced the formation and reconstruction of forms of nationality.
This panel pointed the way ahead for the rest of the conference, for the state in Latin America is located in a particular area of tension. Markus Rauchecker thus explained how agriculture is now controlled primarily by non-state actors. Markus Hochmüller and Carlos Pérez Ricart, further, reminded us of the United States and its permanent presence on the continent in the case of the ‘War on Drugs’ or the mobilization of whole countries, as in the case of Guatemala, to improve police work in test operations. On the other hand, by drawing on Weber and Benjamin, the colloquium also illuminated theoretical discussions on various aspects of nation-building and called for a rejection of the concept of the ‘failed state’.
As might be expected in a colloquium on contemporary issues, there were more questions at the end than answers. At the same time, the colloquium stood out because of its highly productive dialogue between experienced researchers and young students just beginning their research.
At the end of the two-day colloquium, the new PhD students of the International Research Training Group ‘Between Spaces’ were welcomed and introduced by their advisors.
(Felipe Rubio, IRTG Berlin/Potsdam)
February, 25, 2016, Symposium in honor of Hans-Joachim König ‘Globalgeschichte, Regionalstudien und Lokalgeschichte in Lateinamerika: Chance oder Bedrohung?’ (Global History, Regional Studies and Local History in Latin America: Opportunity or Threat?’), Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
On February 25, 2016, the symposium organized by the Department of History of the Institute for Latin American Studies and the IRTG in honor of the birthday of Hans-Joachim König was held. Hans-Joachim König was a professor for many years in the Department of Latin American History at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt. The international panel of experts primarily consisted of König’s former doctoral and postdoctoral students.
Stefan Rinke kicked off the symposium with a presentation on the ‘Geschichte Lateinamerikas zwischen Globalgeschichte und Regionalstudien’ (Latin American history between global history and regional studies). He pointed out Hans-Joachim König’s groundbreaking impact and, in an historical sketch, illuminated the methodological, theoretical and institutional aspects of research fields such as global history, area studies and Latin American history as a whole. The role of Latin America was also stressed in the development of individual hypotheses and approaches to historical scholarship.
Patricio Bernedo (Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile) illustrated these issues on the example of Chile with his lecture ‘El problema de la dimensión o la dimensión del problema. Reflexiones desde un Chile global, regional y local’. Michael Riekenberg (Universität Leipzig) explained in his lecture ‘Violence as Microhistory’ the tension between locality and globality in relation to different forms of violence. He outlined several approaches to explaining and structuring these relationships. Also, he stressed the reciprocal influence between Latin America and Europe in the exercise and evaluation of violence.
Sven Schuster (Universidad del Rosario, Bogotá) highlighted the role of Latin America in the world exhibitions of the 19th century. Using this specific example, he pointed out the opportunities and challenges of global history. Thomas Fischer, who teaches at the Katholische Universität Eichstätt as successor to Hans-Joachim König, analyzed in his contribution on Maradona the spatial levels and narratives that constitute the Maradona myth, linking this to questions of globality and collective memory. The symposium was marked by lively and stimulating discussion.
(Kevin Niebauer, IRTG Berlin/Potsdam)
March 8, 2016, Workshop of Nancy Calomarde (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina) ‘Pensar territorialidades. Un recorrido por sus derivas críticas y ficcionales en el presente’, Institute for Latin American Studies, Freie Universität Berlin
In the first part of the workshop, Nancy Calomarde presented her reflections on the concept ‘territorialidades’ and outlined current theoretical approaches, especially those of Ticio Escobar and Josefine Ludmer.
Key questions included: What changes has the triad ‘territorialidad’, ‘identidad’ and ‘temporalidad’ undergone due to various developments in recent decades (transnational cultural transfers, mass migration and digitization) and how can it be productively used in the analysis of Latin American literature today? Obviously, generalizing concepts can no longer be applied today due to the diversity of the Latin American spatial experiences and the complexity of their literary representation. It would be more helpful to understand representations of space as metaphors that can be used to relate texts, such as representations of non-locations or ambivalent, violating and violated locations and boundaries.
Josefine Ludmer defines space as a porous category that simultaneously involves highly diverse aspects, including those of an economic, cultural or gender-specific nature. Furthermore, different types of language, like literary language, contain other languages. Thus, the results from the analysis of literary language can yield information that extends well beyond its own immediate purview. Ticio Escobar developed his theoretical approach from the language Guaraní, in which, on the one hand, there is a term for purely topographical space and, on the other, for culturally designed space. These approaches therefore could contribute to a better understanding of the complex spatial metaphors in contemporary literature.
In the second part of the workshop, Professor Calomarde commented on dissertation projects from Diana Hernández, Joanna Moszczynska and Pablo Larreátegui in dialogue with the other participants.