CENTRE FOR ADVANCED STUDY SOFIA

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SCOPES

SCOPES: Institutionalization of Scientific Networks and Scholarly Activities for the Promotion of Cross-Cultural and Inter-Disciplinary Approaches on Nationalism in the Europe of Small Nations With the support of the Scientific Co-operation Between Eastern Europe and Switzerland SCOPES 2005-2008

Our aim is to further research networks and curriculum development (Post-Doc, Ph.D.) in an innovative way, via activities such as the organization of international workshops, the exchange of scholars and faculty, the preparation of a new cross-cultural curriculum and the production of auxiliary materials and methodological back-up for studying and teaching national movements and ideologies. Eventually, this will lead to a new research infrastructure for carrying out cross-cultural projects, to innovative research, but also to educational reform with regard to the fields of nationalism and construction of national identity incorporating non-mainstream European cultural experiences in pluri-cultural contexts. This experiment also anticipates the direction of inter-cultural course-building inherent in the logic of the Bologna process, aiming at creating transferable knowledge and inter-cultural course-materials corresponding to the needs of the trans-European mobility of students

The co-operation is planned for 36 months during which one international workshop will be organized in Switzerland and one in Sofia. Furthermore, regular exchange and training sessions will be held for faculty, Post-Doc researchers and Ph.D. students in Sofia, Fribourg and Budapest. The intended starting date is October 2005.

The key elements of the co-operation are the following:

  • Workshops of international researchers linked to the Centre for Advanced Study and/or the Seminar für Zeitgeschichte of the University of Fribourg.
  • Exchange of scholars and faculty: Visits of scholars representing the two institutions to Fribourg and to Sofia – seminars, discussions, exchange of expertise, institutional networking. 
  • Preparation of a new cross-cultural curriculum in studying nationalism in Europe; compilation of up-to-date bibliographies on relevant methodological and case studies.
  • Training sessions will be organized for junior scholars in view of preparing them to study and teach along cross-cultural curricula. 
  • Equipment: purchasing auxiliary technical equipment and research materials such as a limited number of basic books not available in libraries in Southeast Europe, producing thematic and methodological “Readers” for the participants, photocopies. 
  • Auxiliary material production: web site development as medium for the representation of the network, as platform for interaction and medium making educational materials and bibliographies available for the broader public. 
  • Dissemination of the results and the acquired expertise is crucial for the success of the cooperation. Therefore, we intend to publish an annual series, a collection of working papers stemming from the cooperation on the topic, a new cross-cultural curriculum on nationalism in Europe, together with annotated bibliographies on methodological and thematic issues in studying and teaching nationalism in East-Central and Southeast Europe.
Objectives

We intend to create an experimental framework of cooperation, offering various opportunities for the participants to engage in an exchange of ideas. This framework of cooperation and establishing of networks shall be on two levels: First, the organization of international workshops in the two institutions’ common fields of research, especially the fields of the construction of national and other – for example religious, linguistic, etc. – collective identities, which shall be promoted by the IP. During the 36-month co-operation, two major workshops will be organized – one in Fribourg and one in Sofia. Second, the institutionalization of a periodical exchange and interaction of faculty – Professors and junior faculty – and scholars (Post-Doc, Ph.D.) between Sofia and Fribourg as well as the organization of training sessions in conjunction with this intensive exchange. The training sessions shall be held in Sofia (CAS), Fribourg University and Budapest (Central European University, CEU). The History Department of the CEU in Budapest generously offered the hosting of some of the training sessions.

The envisioned model of intensive interaction pursues improvement of research and research infrastructure in a methodological and institutional sense. In terms of methodology, it aims at creating a more coherent framework for dealing with questions of collective identity and the institutionalization of national discourse, especially in the context of the ‘late-coming’ Southeast-European nation-state projects. This means, on the one hand, probing the applicability of classic ‘Western’ methodological paradigms used for studying political ideas and discourse and, on the other, measuring the relevance of new historiographical trends stemming from Central and Southeast-Europe, in response to the demands of a complex pluri-cultural research environment. The envisaged comparative setting is expected to yield important new results in establishing the cross-cultural mechanisms of reception of certain scholarly paradigms coming from Western Europe and also identifying some of the almost completely neglected intra-regional cross-fertilizations. In the long run, this will contribute to the emergence of a new interpretative framework locating the major European ideological traditions – e.g., what were the ideological options for constructing their national ‘ideologems’; whether the labels commonly used in the scholarly literature for certain configurations (such as populism, liberal nationalism, racism, etc.) could be used in these contexts or one has to develop an alternative conceptual framework for dealing with these phenomena; etc.

In an institutional sense, the envisaged collaboration is intended to strengthen the capacities of the Centre for Advanced Study Sofia to act as a vehicle of scholarly excellence, innovation and educational reform in Bulgaria and to promote East-West exchange of knowledge and perspectives especially in areas of great public interest. The IP objectives, notably in terms of disseminating new approaches and addressing promising young scholars, will serve to reinforce the infrastructural potential of the Centre to exert positive impact on the quality of doctoral and post-doctoral education. They will also help to increase the public visibility of CAS and its activities at home and abroad and set new venues for collaboration on topics and problems of increasingly international concern.

As part of the institutionalization of networks, the training sessions are giving an additional aspect to the exchange of faculty and scholars. Apart from elaborating on new approaches to our topic, these sessions will aim at training the junior scholars and faculty in the 1) production of innovative curriculum and auxiliary materials and, 2) studying and teaching along this curriculum. Visiting faculty and scholars will be thus engaged in steering and supervising the collection and systematization of research materials, on the one hand, and in educating the junior academics in comparative cross-cultural research and teaching, on the other.

Activities

1. International workshops: The two workshops will focus on socio-cultural approaches to the construction of national identities in the “Europe of small nations”. In addition to the two partner institutions, they will involve experts from different other institutions with which CAS and the Seminar für Zeitgeschichte as well as other members of its department at the University of Fribourg, especially Social Anthropology, have working contacts, especially in Rumania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and Switzerland (see application form, points 18 and 21). The workshop in Sofia will take place in the first, the one in Fribourg in the second year of the IP. They will be organized by the respective institutions and their staff. (See activities a and b)

2. Periodical exchange and interaction: Within the exchange scheme of faculty, Post-Doc researchers and Ph.D. students, the participants will be professors as well as young faculty and scholars teaching on nationalism, national identities and discourses, intellectual history and related topics. This exchange will draw on the already existing co-operation around the “We, the People” research project (see Annex 5), but will also involve other participants from Eastern and Southeast Europe. One mayor purpose of this exchange scheme is educational, i.e. the training of scholars, i.e. both teaching and supervision. An important point is that the exchange will take place regularly during the whole period of the IP in order to become institutionalized and to optimize output for both sides. (see activities c and d)

  • With regard to this mobility scheme (2), the following criteria shall be applied for the selection of the persons eligible:

- Senior scholars: excellence in their field of research and areas such as nation and nationalism, construction of identities in pluri-cultural societies, civil society, European Integration
- Junior scholars: post-Doc, PhD: excellent PhD and publications or master thesis respectively in research areas such as nation and nationalism, construction of identities in pluri-cultural societies, civil society, European Integration
- Faculty: teaching experience in the social and cultural sciences in one or more fields such as nation and nationalism, construction of identities in pluri-cultural societies, civil society, European Integration.

  • Output of training sessions and ways of transmission

- Training future junior faculty in cross-cultural teaching on nationalism
- Working papers, bibliographies and other basic material which shall be made available via the project’s web-site for everybody involved
- Possibly individual publications of the researchers involved

  • Impact of exchange of faculty:
- Transmission of know-how to the respective parent or partner institutions (universities and research institutes)
- For the persons involved in the exchange teaching experiences in a new environment
  • Impact of exchange of researchers:
- Creation of lasting networks
- Interaction and discussion of methodological and theoretical questions from different perspectives as a central step for future research projects

Short term visits shall enhance contacts and networking, help the collection and systematization of new material, and aim at the transmission of knowledge in University courses or in small research groups.

3. Training sessions. Regular training sessions in Sofia (CAS), Fribourg and Budapest (CEU) are meant to create and tune the methodological framework, provide space for discussions and facilitate the production of the auxiliary materials intended to enhance a comparative approach. With regard to the exchange of scholars and faculty, more scholars from Fribourg will stay in Sofia than vice-versa, whereas the organization of training sessions, in Sofia and Budapest, will entail bigger responsibilities for CAS. As with regard to the exchange of scholars and faculty, also with regard to training sessions the regularity of the meetings is constitutive to the development and fostering of the networks, the collection and systematization of basic research material, the production of curricula, personal and group “training” into studying and teaching in view of the new curricula and materials. (see activity e)

4. Publications: A Fribourg-CAS-Series shall be developed appearing annually with reports on the workshops and different activities of exchange and articles in the field of the topic of a new cross-cultural curriculum in studying nationalism in Europe going back to the workshops, thus starting an annual publication network for future activities. The aim of the creation of such a series is in its core an “institutional” one, as it shall continue to exist after the two years of the IP and, as a cross-cultural series, become a relevant instrument for our common fields of research. (see activity f)
In addition, the publication of a collection of working papers stemming from the cooperation through the exchange of scholars together with annotated bibliographies on methodological and thematic issues in studying and teaching nationalism is envisioned. (see activity g)

5. Web site development as medium for the representation of the network, platform for interaction and medium making educational materials and bibliographies available for the broader public. This activity will be especially related to the very start of the program. (see activity h)

6. Equipment. The purchasing of research materials such as a limited number of basic books not available in libraries in the Balkans, producing thematic and methodological “Readers” for the participants, photocopies. The equipment part of the IP will be an activity related especially to the first months of the IP. (see activity i)

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