Cultural Encounters: Global Perspectives and Local Exchanges, 1750-1940

Convened by Harry LIEBERSOHN, Professor of History, University of Illinois and Jürgen OSTERHAMMEL, Professor of History, University of Konstanz.

August 2017, University of Michigan, USA

July 29 to August 9, 2013, Berlin, Germany, organized by the Wissenschaftskolleg

August 3 to 16, 2014, National Humanities Center, Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, USA

This Summer Institute proposes to examine first encounters between Westerners (including overseas settlers) and non-Westerners from 1750 to 1940 and the questions they raise about the possibilities of understanding between European and non-European cultures. Within the five centuries of European expansion, imperialism, and decolonization, the phrase “cultural encounters” refers to the understandings and misunderstandings that took place as people from different parts of the world met face to face, often with little or no previous knowledge of one another. How at the local level did cultural encounters reshape the arts around the world? How were encounters not merely local, but conditioned by regional, national, and global structures? How has their history continued to pattern global relations between representatives of different cultures down to the present day?

The goal of the SIAS Summer Institutes is to sponsor joint interdisciplinary work by young European and American researchers, thus fostering research networks and common activities. The idea is that cohort formation will, in the long run, contribute to close ties between research activities in Europe and the USA while simultaneously supporting the further development of new fields of research.

Every Summer Institute consists of two 10- to 14-day workshops held in consecutive years, alternating between Europe and the United States. A team of one European and one American researcher heads the Summer Institute, in which these two Convenors and 20 Fellows - generally 10 Europeans and 10 Americans - as well as two to four specialists take part. Doctoral candidates and post-docs can apply for the publicly offered stipends. Post-docs' doctorates should have been completed no longer than five years earlier and their research work should have addressed the topic in question. Accepting the stipend obligates the researcher to take part in both workshops.