Research Area Cultural Encounters - Cultural Conflicts


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Silke Meyer (Department of History and Ethnology)

Deputy Head

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Roman Siebenrock (Speaker of the Research Area advisory board, Department of Systematic Theology)

Research Goals

The Research Area “Cultural Encounters – Cultural Conflicts” is an association of disciplines from the humanities and the social sciences that investigates diverse forms of cultural contact. We understand ‘culture’ as a dynamic system concerned with the creation of meaning. These dynamics are analyzed as places of both creativity and the continuous emergence of new formations, but also of conflict-laden relations that may culminate in violence and warfare.

Mobility, migration, and transfer – thus our working hypothesis – not only constitute the crucial challenges of our times, but are experiences fundamental to all epochs. These processes affect the evolution of groups, societies, religions, and behavior patterns, the creation of art and literary works, as well as practices of everyday life. As cultural phenomena, they are historically contingent and thus complex and potentially modifiable. They reflect current power structures and social inequalities; at the same time, they are intrinsically tied to the search for orientation and order.

We understand our research as

  • a reflexive process that is not only interested in topics and contents, but also contemplates the role of knowledge and the sciences within these
  • a cooperation of different disciplines that each contribute their own competences, yet learn from and depend on each other
  • a contribution to relevant social problems that searches a critical dialogue with the public.

The city of Innsbruck is a particularly suited site for this discussion, as questions of cultural dynamics and transformation forcefully arise in this border region located at an intersection of languages and cultures between South and North, East and West.

 Interview with Timo Heimerdinger (Video)

Affiliated Organisational Units

Faculty of Economics and Statistics

Faculty of Teacher Education

Faculty of Educational Sciences

Faculty of Philosophy and History

Faculty of Language, Literature and Culture

School of Catholic Theology

School of Social and Political Sciences

Affiliated Research Centres/Doctoral Programmes


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