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Critical Diversity Studies in Globalized Contexts

The DIVERSITAS Summer School will take place at Carl von Ossietzky University, Oldenburg, Germany, July 5-13, 2013. It aims at bringing together about 25 international PhD-students and PostDocs from a variety of disciplinary and regional backgrounds, who will work on themes and topics in the field of Critical Diversity Studies. Prior to the Summer School, participants will be asked to prepare relevant reading materials provided by the organizers and meet online in order to get acquainted with the group. During the Summer School, participants will take part in joint seminars and keynote lectures in the mornings, and will work in small groups in the afternoons. Moreover, a number of excursions will invite an examination of ways in which diversity is deployed and experienced in the local and regional context.

The afternoon groups will be organized around the following thematic clusters, with each cluster being facilitated by an interdisciplinary team of academics from the three participating institutions:

1. Diversity and the Dynamics of Cultural Memory

This cluster critically explores the dynamic interplay between the processes involved in cultural memory formation and the construction of notions of differ-ence and diversity, particularly in postcolonial societies.


2. Diversity and/in the Arts/Media: Staging Sameness and Difference in Literature, Performance, and Visual Culture

In this cluster, participants identify and analyze the specific strategies employed by various media and forms of artistic expression to perpetuate and/or undermine hegemonic discourses of oppression and discrimination. 


3. Multilingualism and Linguistic Diversity

Starting from a linguistic investigation of bi- and multilingualism, this cluster will focus on identifying and analyzing the linguistic, educational, and social issues involved. It will also explore the role of language and multilingualism in the making of collective identities and the possibilities for linguistic pluralism as an articulation of social equality.


4. Hybrid Identities: Diversity, Subjectivities, and the Social

This cluster takes a closer look at politics and practices of individual and collective identity formation in a globalized world. It looks at what has become known as ‘identity politics’ particularly in societies where traumatic pasts may inform the ‘narrative unconscious’ (Freeman 2010) of younger generations.


5. Migration and Mobility

This cluster focuses on the forms and effects of global migration flows. It starts from the observation that the movement of people – along with a set of practices, ideas, and beliefs – has given rise to highly diverse communities and cultural forms of expression, while simultaneously creating new borders and demarcation lines.


The groups can select from a range of methodologies and resources and will present their results during the concluding symposium. The summer school aims at a critical examination of diversity in and beyond academic discussions. Participants are encouraged to critically reflect on their own research as well as practices in the context of “critical diversity literacy” (Melissa Steyn) – a capacity to “read” the prevailing power relations that establish, transform, challenge, and resist structures of privilege and oppression. Particular attention will be paid to cultural and historical specificities as well as transnational interconnections and cross-cultural parallels with respect to different phenomena, forms, modes, and representations of diversity. This will enable participants to relate diversity to questions of social justice and equity and to conceive of it as a point of reference for their own theorizing and practice.

The Summer School is funded by