Joint Bavarian-Russian Conference on Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences

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Prof. Dr. Rudolf Schüßler, University of Bayreuth

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Nikolas Djukić, BAYHOST

 

 

On 7-8 June 2018 a Joint Bavarian-Russian Conference on Interdisciplinary Humanities and Social Sciences will take place in the northern Bavarian town of Bayreuth. The conference is organized by the University of Bayreuth and the Bavarian Academic Center for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (BAYHOST). It is one of the follow-up-events of the Bavarian-Russian conference on Economics and Business Administration held in November 2017.

Among other current approaches to integrating humanities and social sciences, the intersection of the disciplines—philosophy, economics, and political science—forms an area of steadily growing academic interest. It has become apparent that economic and political issues in international relations can hardly be separated in practice. The importance of discourses of justice for the both fields also brings philosophy into play. At the educational level, the seminal nexus of these three disciplines is documented by many Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) courses of study which have arisen in the Anglo-American world.

The Philosophy and Economics course at the University of Bayreuth is one of the frontrunners of this development in German academia (politics being informally, if not formally, present in its curriculum and research). The course was the first of its kind at a German university and is now proud to be offered by one of the largest philosophy departments in Bavaria. Its specialty is the close cooperation between the departments of philosophy and economics, with some courses each semester being jointly taught by philosophers and economists. Many of the students go on to study at prestigious international universities or enter a career in business or government. On the Russian side, the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) is one of its foremost Russian practitioners of the PPE approach. Moreover, further universities from Germany and Russia develop or have developed a similar interest in the intersection between humanities and social sciences and will participate in the conference.

The Philosophy and Economics course at the University of Bayreuth was the first of its kind at a German university, and is now offered by one of the largest philosophy departments in Bavaria. Its specialty is the close cooperation between the departments of philosophy and economics, with some courses each semester being jointly taught by philosophers and economists.

The University of Bayreuth and the Bavarian Academic Center for Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe (BAYHOST) want to stimulate discussion and cooperation on the PPE intersection and other interdisciplinary crossovers between humanities and social sciences with other Bavarian and Russian universities. A two-day conference in Bayreuth will be a prime occasion to present the state of the art in this respect. It will stimulate the further development of this internationally important interdisciplinary field in Bavaria and Russia. Last but not least, the conference will prepare the ground for joint projects and programs of Bavarian and Russian universities.

The main issues raised for discussion within the Joint Bavarian-Russian Conference on Interdisciplinary

Humanities and Social Sciences hosted by the University of Bayreuth in June 2018 will be:

  • presentations on Russia’s political relations to “the West” and above all Germany. A typical subject would be “Eurasian security;”
  • presentations on issues that are relevant for the economic cooperation between Russia and Germany;
  • presentations on the history of philosophy (e.g., concerning the Enlightenment) that are relevant for the both countries, not least for determining their present identity.

The University of Bayreuth is a relatively young German university with several departments specializing in interdisciplinary projects and courses of studies. Its size of roughly 10,000 students does still allow for small courses and intensive tutoring of students. Moreover, the University of Bayreuth offers easy access to diverse disciplines on a single campus. Internationalization is a key aim of the university, bringing together professors from many different countries and supporting curricula that are partly or fully taught in English. As a city, Bayreuth is mainly famous for the music of Richard Wagner, still celebrated with a top international music festival in summer. The beautiful surroundings of Bayreuth invite hiking, cycling, and rock climbing in one of the most lovely natural regions of Germany.

Meeting of BAYHOST scholarship holders in Regensburg Photo: BAYHOST

BAYHOST is a cooperative institution of all universities, universities of applied science and art academies in Bavaria and supports international academic cooperation and students’ exchange. It promotes academic exchange between Bavaria and countries in Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe. BAYHOST assists Bavarian universities and universities of applied science through its specific competencies; by supporting their collaboration with academic organizations in the partner countries and by establishing new partnerships.

In November 2017, Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) and BAYHOST organized a Bavarian-Russian conference on Economics and Business Administration. The conference attracted about 180 participants from Russia and Bavaria. Many new contacts were established. The program showed a broad range of topics in economics and business administration that are investigated in Russia and Bavaria. It was very open and did not put many restrictions to the topics to be presented. In order to prepare for substantial cooperation in teaching and research, the conference should be followed by smaller and more specific meetings such as a coming conference in Bayreuth.

The conference program and the online application form are available at the BAYHOST website www.bayhost.de.