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assemblages, articulations, alliance | Image: Moses März

... why collaborations?

Many of the most pressing challenges of our contemporary world call for social and political practices, but also acts of theorizing, that are planetary in their scope and collective in their orientation. Among these challenges are the global ecological destruction in the wake of the uninhibited economic pursuit of “growth“ worldwide; the rapid increase in social inequalities and financial disparities both within (even affluent) national economies/societies and, more pressingly, all across the globe; the unfinished project of decolonization and the concomitant extractivist subordination of most regions of the Global South; excessively violent military conflicts in the form of ‘new’ as well as ‘old’ wars; the massive infiltration of the public sphere with hate speech and fake news; and the waning of democracy in the wake of the forceful rise of right-wing populist movements all over the world. These challenges are of a global scale and require global solutions that include planetary practices, but also acts of theorizing that move beyond conceptions of the world as constructed in Western epistemologies, necessitating a pluralization and transformation of our own knowledge practices. Moreover, the urgent need of new modes of imagining the planet makes the aesthetic a central domain for the enabling or occluding of creative collaborations.

In seven distinct but closely entangled projects, the Research Unit Collaborations: Assemblages, Articulations, Alliances focuses on a wide range of cultural texts, artifacts, performances, social movements and practices that point to new ways of addressing the planet-wide multi-crises we inhabit. In this spirit we aim to systematically and exemplarily research emergent as well as persistent forms of social and political collaboration of human as well as other-than-human actors. Our Research Unit is itself a collaborative effort in which scholars with an expertise in Anglophone literary and cultural studies cooperate with colleagues from the areas of sociology, anthropology and political theory expecting mutual benefit from the reciprocal enlargement of discipline-specific perspectives. The projects assembled in this Research Unit will intensively collaborate with international academic partners who are located in the Global South or are working as Indigenous scholars in settler-colonial contexts.  Moreover, we are committed to close horizontal relations of collaboration with allies in non-academic fields like cultural or political activism. 

The Research Unit is funded by the German Research Association (DFG) for a period of four years. It will enter its active phase in January 2025.