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Accomplishing More Together – New DFG Research Group Investigates How People Unite to Face Global Challenges

Media information 08-04-2024 / No. 020

Aerial view of a lake in the forest.
Photo : AdobeStock/malp
How do people work together to tackle global problems such as climate change? This is what researchers from the new DFG research group want to find out.

Which cooperative practices and theories can we use to tackle the urgent global challenges of our time? What forms of cooperation and networking to solve acute global problems are on the horizon and what historical models do they draw on? The new research group “Collaborations: Assemblages, Articulations, Alliances” at the University of Potsdam, which will receive funding from the German Research Foundation (DFG) over the next four years, is investigating these and other questions. Through their work, the researchers intend to examine emerging forms of social, political, and artistic collaboration in a systematic and exemplary manner – with a strong emphasis on close cooperation on an equal footing with partners outside the Western academic sphere. In addition to researchers from the University of Potsdam, Freie Universität Berlin, and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, numerous Mercator professors from the Global South and/or indigenous contexts are involved. Dirk Wiemann, Professor of English Literature at the University of Potsdam, is the spokesperson for the research group.

In a total of seven sub-projects, closely linked research teams are investigating a variety of highly diverse collaborations: ranging from the 'Black Coalition for Rights', which formed in Brazil during Bolsonaro's presidency as a broad oppositional alliance outside traditional party structures, to collaborative publication formats in contemporary poetry in the South Pacific, or to post-colonial neighborhood structures in Berlin. The network aims to overcome the dominance of Eurocentric knowledge formation and its practices.  “The most urgent challenges and problems of our time have planetary dimension and therefore require global solutions,” Dirk Wiemann explains. “To find these solutions, we need new practices and theoretical approaches that transcend the worldviews constructed in Western epistemologies and enable a pluralization and transformation of our own forms of knowledge.”

Researchers from the fields of literature and cultural studies, social and cultural anthropology, and sociology work together in the research group. They are concerned with the epistemological challenges arising from social and political inequalities across the world and global problems such as the climate crisis. Their work is based on the assumption that new alternative social, political, and academic practices are needed to meet these complex challenges. The researchers seek to reinterpret historical alliances and temporary collective associations between various social and political players so as to better understand these new collaborations.  

Prof. Dr. Dirk Wiemann, spokesperson for the research group and Professor of English Literature at the University of Potsdam
Phone: +49 331 977-1492
E-Mail: dirk.wiemannuni-potsdamde

Media information 08-04-2024 / No. 020