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Tanja Nitzke © 
Tanja Nitzke

The Cultural Studies PhD

Transdisciplinarity in the study of culture

Concept-based research lies at the core of our centre and revolves around the key foci of the Research Areas. The conceptual work unites our senior researchers, professors, postdocs, doctoral researchers and their interdisciplinary projects on the content level. Close collaboration and coordination between the Working Groups and Sections of the GGK, as well as the Research Areas and Emerging Topics Research Groups of the GCSC, connect back to this conceptual work, which we regard as the basis for fruitful exchange beyond disciplinary and national boundaries.

Scholars at the Centre engage in research including (but not limited to) the following areas:

(RA 1) Cultural Memory Studies

RA 1 addresses approaches to memory, past and present, as well as implicit and explicit forms of cultural memory. Special focuses of research are practices of memory cultures as these vary throughout history. The work of the RA is characterised by attempts to theorise the intersections of the ndividual, cultural, social and political that occur in processes of memory.

(RA 2) Cultural Narratologies

The interplay between culture and narration is the primary subject of this research area. By drawing on key concepts of narrative theory, research in this area explores the role of narratives in cultural meaning-making, the forms and functions of storytelling and its evolutionary change.

(RA 3) Cultural Transformation and Performativity Studies

The members of RA 3 are especially engaged in research on the performative dimension of culture. Working with concepts such as "theatricality" and analyzing processes of cultural transformation, the research of RA3 is centered on examining interactions such as that between culture and media.

(RA 4) Visual and Material Culture Studies

The interests of Research Area 4 revolve around means of production, appropriation, and signification related to visual and material culture. The constantly changing positions of objects and images in cultural and social processes and discourses are investigated by taking into account multiple viewpoints and diverse medial contexts.

(RA 5) Media and Multiliteracy Studies

The members of RA5 come from a variety of disciplines, with backgrounds in linguistics, didactics, literature, sociology, and many others. Recently, the RA has been particularly concerned with the interplay between language, culture, and politics, analysing how language and the media are used to shape cultural identities, build communities, and facilitate intercultural communication.

(RA 6) Cultural Identities

The members of RA 6 look at the diverse ways in which "culture" and "identity" are mutually dependent. At the center of its work is the intensive consideration of disciplinary approaches in an interdisciplinary context. The RA is interested in writing the histories of the non-unifiable, liquid, and fragmented subject, in order to question the phantasm of owing stable anchors that would construct a consistent identity.

(RA 7) Global Studies and Politics of Space

The focus of this RA has been both on comparing national phenomena and their interlinks and on transfers between spaces located in various national cultures. The RA is dedicated to an exploration of how globality and spatiality impinge on each other, foregrounding the relevance of politics and transnational relations for the study of culture.

(RA 8) Cultures of Knowledge, Research and Education

The focus of this RA is on the production, transmission and utilisation of knowledge as a key dimension of cultural and social processes, closely tied up with phenomena such as subject formation, globalisation/transnationalisation and cultural transformations.
Further details on the various programmes of the individual Research Areas can be found on our website.