Collaboration between the participating universities/institutions has evolved over more than a decade, resulting in a diverse array of overlapping networks and joint projects.
The study of New Global Dynamics is particularly challenging because, on the one hand, it requires various empirical investigations in fields that have been treated separately in traditional (Western) knowledge systems (such as natural and social sciences) and, on the other hand, it must observe, record, and integrate newly developing theory and methods in these different fields. No single research centre, no matter how large, can study the entirety of New Global Dynamics on its own. For this reason, it is necessary to reach a critical mass comprising the relevant studies to be able to play an authoritative role in a global network that provides the necessary integration for research. The research initiative is striving for precisely this position by building on a wide range of preliminary work carried out at the applicant universities/institutions.
Profiting greatly from this preliminary work, the research initiative adopts an approach in which four interdisciplinary university centres – the Centre for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies and the Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies in Halle and the Research Centre Global Dynamics and the Centre for the Study of France and the Francophone World in Leipzig – have joined forces with seven non-university institutions. With geography, anthropology, global studies, law, history, literature, cultural studies, and area studies acting as the interdisciplinary hinges of this cooperation, this collective approach brings together the diversity of approaches at the applicant universities/institutions. Each of the four university centres organizes its research around specific scopes, which act as the foundations for the cluster’s four research areas. The research undertaken within the cluster is thus based on a long-standing institutionalization of interdisciplinary work. It is only through this shared and nourished institutional setting that the enormous potential of a collaborative research environment be realized, as well as the risks be faced.
To this end, the research initiative will bring under one roof, for the first time, social, environmental, historical, and spatial sciences, facilitating the systematic coordination and dialogue of their approaches to New Global Dynamics. Accordingly, the cluster’s institutional setting and research environment are intimately linked, providing the fundament for and commitment to intellectual innovation.
Analysing the transforming and ordering effects of New Global Dynamics holds great potential to go beyond the current state of research and to develop tools that take the dynamics underlying the more recent crises of the 2010s/2020s as empirical starting points while placing these dynamics in a long historical-comparative perspective. The intrinsic complex nature of New Global Dynamics and the related experiences with crisis implies versatile and open-ended solutions. In order to thoroughly examine worlds in crisis, the cluster aims to establish a School for New Global Dynamics that:
forms an interface between the social sciences and humanities, on the one hand, and spatial and environmental sciences, on the other;
pursues empirical research on all regions of the world, conceived and carried out with partners in these regions, in order to counter conceptual centrism (known primarily as historically grown Eurocentrism, but by no means limited to Europe), which treats the experience of a single world region as a yardstick for developing and measuring strategies that claim universal application without reflecting on unique circumstances;
overcomes the classical globalization paradigm, which has generally addressed global dynamics only separately, by establishing a truly transdisciplinary approach that goes beyond the traditional anthropocentrism found in many social theories;
develops a new historiography that takes the currently observed global dynamics as a conceptual point of departure for a critical reinvestigation of the past; and
places the connection between global dynamics and regional transformations in Central Germany at the centre of integrated research and public outreach, helping to situate regional structural changes, for example towards decarbonization, into the necessary global context by comparing similar as well as diverse regional developments worldwide.
Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies, Halle
The programme of the Interdisciplinary Centre for European Enlightenment Studies (IZEA) at MLU Halle comprises research and edition projects covering the history of science, society and communication in the eighteenth century. This includes the fields of anthropology, aesthetics, culture, the culture of learned men, forms of literary representation, the development of cultural patterns, enlightenment in its global network, and the “Garden Kingdom” of Dessau-Wörlitz.
Leipzig Research Centre
Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe)
As a central institution of Leipzig University, the Research Centre Global Dynamics (ReCentGlobe) brings together the work of researchers from eight faculties into several third-party-funded networks as well as an international, highly attractive interdisciplinary doctoral training programme. ReCentGlobe is organized into four Research Areas (RAs), together with three research-supporting Labs, a Theory Forum, and a Graduate School. With a wide range of events and publications, the Centre addresses both specialists and the general public in the city and far beyond.
Centre for Interdisciplinary
Regional Studies, Halle
The Centre for Interdisciplinary Regional Studies (ZIRS) is a research institution at MLU Halle for the promotion and networking of regional scientific competences and for the management of interdisciplinary research projects connecting regional and global transformation.
Leipzig Centre for the Study of
France and the Francophone World
The Leipzig Centre for the Study of France and the Francophone World (FZL) serves the interdisciplinary and cross-faculty cooperation of the institutions and faculties of Leipzig University that are dedicated to the study of France and Francophone cultures. It cooperates in the areas of research, teaching, and further higher education and research institutions in Germany, France, and in the field of Francophonie as a whole.
Towards the School for New Global Dynamics
This collaboration of institutions, networks, and projects is a prominent example of the cooperation fostered within the Central German University Alliance, founded in 1995. The alliance aims to develop new joint projects for teaching and research across the three participating universities: Halle, Jena, and Leipzig. As a platform for activities in the social sciences and humanities, the alliance established in 2016 the Forum for the Study of the Global Condition, which has brought together the institutions and individual scholars for the Research Initiative NGD. The successful application for the Global Hub research building, awarded in 2021, was a milestone in the further development of this structure through the establishment of research areas and supporting laboratories while at the same time creating new initiatives to integrate the Central German research space.
With the School for New Global Dynamics, the applicant universities/institutions are joining forces to successfully address their profile topics through networking in the region. In this way, they are counteracting restrictive disciplinary specialization while taking up the challenge of a growing diversity of tasks that society and politics are placing on universities. For the participating non-university research institutions, engagement in such a School opens up completely new opportunities for longer-term research profiling by collaborating on the training tasks in research-oriented MA and, above all, PhD programmes. For societal actors, such as communes, regional authorities, companies, and civil society organizations, such a School is a strong partner that is exceptionally engaged in knowledge transfer and science communication. By jointly achieving a critical mass of excellent research under the umbrella of a well-coordinated and agile institution, international visibility can be increased beyond the level already achieved by individual researchers and institutes.
The School for NGD will bring the many social theories and historical explanations of the currently diagnosed multi-crisis into a stimulating dialogue in order to establish a new transdisciplinary field of knowledge. The School is the heart of academic collaboration between two universities and seven non-university research institutions involving more than 300 scholars working together in Central Germany. Furthermore, the Global Hub in Leipzig and the Future Centre for German Unity and European Transformation in Halle will contribute to an exceptional academic infrastructure for the cluster and firmly anchor the School for NGD within the broader urban landscape of both Leipzig and Halle.