Mission Statement

The Research Area “Cultural Encounters – Cultural Conflicts” is an association of various disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences at the University of Innsbruck. It is divided into nine Research Centers (RC) and three Doctoral Programs (DP), in which some 250 individuals from over 35 departments collaborate. The Research Area offers its members an interdisciplinary hub for initiatives and ideas on issues relating to cultural encounters.

We understand and analyze culture as a dynamic source of creativity and a space that can give rise to something new, but also as a source of conflict, including violence and war. We proceed from the hypothesis that mobility, migration, and transfer do not just constitute crucial challenges in the present, but were in fact fundamental experiences in all eras. These processes affect the development of groups, societies, religions, and behavioral patterns, including the creation of art and literary works as well as everyday social practices. Like all cultural phenomena, these are historically contingent and thus multifaceted and subject to change. They reflect power structures and social inequalities, and are simultaneously bound up in the search for orientation and order.

Our research on various historical eras and geographical regions is concerned with the production of different forms of belonging and differentiation, the demarcation of the self and the other, and the production or obliteration of boundaries both in the social and the abstract sense. The primary aim of our association is to offer a network for inter- and transdisciplinary research that will in turn be recognized and appreciated within the respective disciplines.

We view our research as

  • a reflective process that is not restricted to specific topics but also focuses on the role of knowledge and scholarship therein;
  • a collaboration of various disciplines that each contribute their own skills while learning and drawing from each other;
  • and a contribution to a critical public dialogue on topical social and political questions.
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