Crossing Borders – Border Crossings

Aktuelle und vergangene Projekte und Kooperationen

Orta Kol


Via Militaris, Orta Kol, Orient Express, Autoput: Transformations of a Route


Via Militaris, Orta Kol, Orient Express, Istanbul Express and Autoput: these are different names for the famous route of traffic and communication connecting the Near East with Central Europe that, through the ages, was followed by soldiers, merchants, diplomats, migrant workers and refugees. By looking at this route from various perspectives and in the longue duree the project  aims at bringing into dialogue researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds who will address historical and social dimensions of governance, everyday experience and mobility.


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Critical Theory Goes Global


Universidade de São Paulo – HU Berlin. Joint research project:

Critical Theory Goes Global: Transfers, (Mis-)Understandings and Perceptions since 1960


Praxis 1968In light of the critique of universalist approaches in the last two decades by cultural and post-colonial studies, on the one hand, and the growth of anti-democratic ethnonational particularist movements, on the other, a reexamination of universalist, cosmopolitan philosophical concepts and methodologies has acquired renewed relevance.

At first glance, especially concerning the critique of Eurocentrism, classical universalism might be seen as – paraphrasing Dipesh Chakrabarty from a different but familiar context – “inadequate but indispensable”.  Chakrabarty’s critique of Eurocentrism makes sense insofar as it exposes the particularism concealed behind such forms of false universalism. The question arises, though, whether or not his Heideggerian inspired abandonment of universalism as such is justified? We think that the concept of a non-Eurocentric universalism is still worth exploring as an alternative to post-modern and post-colonial cultural relativism.  

In order to elaborate the possibilities of a reformulated universalist critical theory of society, and to reflect on both its inadequacies and indispensability, is seems promising to focus on the transfer, adaptation and modification of ideas in different social and historical contexts.


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Yugoslavia: Imaginations and practices of b/ordering from the 19th century to the present. B/ordering societal space in a historical perspective.

Working group


The disintegration of Yugoslavia, accompanied by the emergence of new borders, is paradigmatically highlighting the relevance of borders in processes of societal change, crisis and conflict. This is even more the case, if we consider the violent practices that evolved out of populist discourse of ethnically homogenous bounded space in this process that happened at the beginning of the 1990ies.

In the present, the societal and geographical space of former Yugoslavia is characterized by a multitude of different delineations, which manifest in a concentrated way all crucial issues which are relevant today throughout Europe and beyond. The former joint political and societal space is now cut by borders between EU members (Slovenia and Croatia), by EU external borders with a particular border regime (as for example between Croatia on the one, and Bosnia and Serbia on the other hand), borders which were the effect of wars for ethnically homogenous territories (the so called Inter-Entity Boundary Lines in Bosnia and Hercegovina), or contested boundary lines concerning Kosovo.

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Raum als Forschungsperspektive zu Jugoslawien


Space as a perspective for research of Yugoslavia – Prostor kao perspektiva za istraživanje Jugoslavije

Workshop in Kooperation mit Cejus-Centar za jugoslovenske studije (Zentrum für jugoslawische Studien)

7./8.10. 2017, Fakultät für Medien und Kommunikation, Belgrad


Transfers und Verflechtungen zwischen den einzelnen Regionen Europas in historischer Perspektive haben sich in den letzten zwei Jahrzehnten zu einem etablierten Forschungsfeld entwickelt. In Bezug auf Austausch, Aneignung und Abgrenzung innerhalb der einzelnen Regionen, wie etwa Südosteuropa, stecken die Untersuchungen jedoch noch in den Anfängen.

Dies gilt in besonderer Form für die Gesellschaften und Staaten, die aus dem ehemaligen Jugoslawien hervorgegangen sind. In den letzten beiden Jahrzehnten standen dort die nationalstaatliche Sinnstiftung und damit die Abgrenzung gegeneinander stark im Vordergrund, im Gegensatz zur „Vorgeschichte“ im gemeinsamen Staat. Überregionale Kohäsionen, Kooperationen und Konvergenzen – auch und vor allem jenseits ihrer seinerzeitigen legitimatorischen Funktion für das sozialistische Jugoslawien – wurden nur ungenügend thematisiert.

Doch der Blick auf Konvergenzen in den beiden multinationalen und multikonfessionellen jugoslawischen Staaten ist nicht nur aus einer Forschungsperspektive geboten, sondern auch im Hinblick auf den gegenwärtigen gesellschaftlichen und politischen Kontext in Südosteuropa. Möglichkeiten zur Selbstvergewisserung über Traditionen von Kooperation in der Region sind gerade jetzt von großer Relevanz.