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a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab

The a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab promotes the direct transition from doctorate to subsequent academic career. In line with the basic objective of the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School, the Research Lab promotes an integrative and interdisciplinary approach in the humanities, thus extending the academic dialogue beyond the borders of the specific subject. Here junior scientists conduct research into academic history and theory as well as aspects of anthropology and the life sciences. With its new disciplinary foci, the Research Lab not only enriches the research landscape and courses at the a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School, but also helps extend the range of interdisciplinary investigations being undertaken within the Faculty of Arts and Humanities and offers an attractive opportunities for international researchers.

The work at the a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab is concentrated in two main research areas, namely “Transformations of Knowledge” and “Transformations of Life”. Researchers at the Research Lab pursue their own, individual research projects as well as diverse collaborative projects. Using a joint event approach, a lively exchange is maintained with international academic networks and contacts are continually extended.

Main research areas

The research area “Transformations of Knowledge” concentrates on obtaining insight into the historic and media-associated dynamics of knowledge-related processes with a specific reference to their genesis and relevance. The focus is on the processes of the transformation of knowledge resources and formats. Explored are various literary genres and academic disciplines, media and tradition carriers, as well as languages, discourses and practices; these can often be defined in terms of the perception and thematisation of uncertainty and ignorance, as it is these aspects in particular that can promote a creative tension. Thus, the discussion of the transformations of knowledge necessarily focuses on the classification and representation of knowledge in various media, disciplines, contexts of reception and epistemic practices. Of central relevance here are models such as those employed in phenomenology, philosophical anthropology, hermeneutics and the theory of history.

The research area “Transformations of Life” is interested not only in the phenomenon and the perception of life itself but also in ideologies and socio-cultural practices in which different concepts of life are developed and debated. Among other things, studies analyse how individuals and groups deal with changes in life situations and their resultant decision-making processes while also looking at the fundamental ontological-ontogenetic conditions of life processes. For this purpose, it is necessary to adopt an interdisciplinary perspective, taking into account elements of literary and cultural studies, philosophy, anthropology, social sciences and history.

The a.r.t.e.s. Research Lab is working on an understanding of the concept of ‘transformation’ itself that is free from the constraints of preconceived ideas. Both older and newer theoretical approaches to the topic have proved to be fruitful, particularly concepts from the field of anthropology (‘liminality’), philosophy (‘pragmatism’) and practice-related theory definition (‘ethnomethodology’, ‘actor-network theory’); these are evaluated and further developed in interdisciplinary discussion. The challenge here is to classify all related elements and categories in terms of the actual situation - social constructs and conceptual schemes, activities and actors with their motives and identities can be explored from all sides from this perspective. It is thus clear that ‘transformation’ is the source of perceptions and systems of ‘life’ and ‘knowledge’ that require analysis.