Maria Sibylla Merian Centre Latin America
The Research College is located at the USP and is managed by an international consortium. It is coordinated by the Freie Universität Berlin. Other partners in the consortium are the University of Cologne, the Ibero-American Institute of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation, the University of São Paulo, the Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (Cebrap, Brazil), the Argentinean Instituto de Investigaciones en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales (Universidad de La Plata/Conicet), and the Mexican Colegio de México. The research focus of the college will be on the challenges of living together in societies characterized by strong inequality and cultural, religious and ethnic differences.
The spokesperson of the consortium, Professor Dr. Sérgio Costa (FU Berlin), explained during the opening ceremony that it is by no means trivial that atheists and believers, sexists, homosexuals and transgender people, xenophobes and migrants live together in the same city, sometimes even in the same residential building, and therefore share physical and social spaces. "In the new college we want to explore interpersonal interaction in contexts that are not only diverse but also extremely unequal. Since colonial times, diversity and inequality have been central components of Latin American societies," says Costa. Since aspects of coexistence are to be investigated at various levels, researchers from the fields of culture and literature as well as law and political science, sociology, philosophy, history, economics and gender studies are involved in the Research Training Group.
The BMBF's funding guidelines provide for an establishment phase of three years, during which the research programme is to be given concrete form. If this phase is completed successfully, the Research Training Group can be funded for a further six or nine years. During this period, in addition to permanent staff for coordination and research, approximately ten guest researchers from all regions of the world will be invited to work together on the project each year.
One of the objectives of the new Research Training Group is to reduce the asymmetry between the global North and the global South in the production and dissemination of knowledge. In addition, scientific cooperation between Germany and Latin America, but also between Brazil and the Spanish-speaking countries, is to be strengthened. "In view of the social and political significance of the topic we are dealing with, we can also contribute to public debates and to the shaping of relevant policies," explained Prof. Dr. Costa.