News from the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research (KHK/GCR21)

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The KHK/GCR21 provides information on upcoming and recent events. In October, discussions took place on Western involvement in Afghanistan and the work of the scholar and explorer Heinrich Barth.

Recent Events

22nd Käte Hamburger Dialogue: Peace- and Statebuilding in Afghanistan: Partial Success or Predictable Failure?

19 October, 2021

Hosted by Tobias Debiel (KHK/INEF) and moderated by Andreas Zumach (journalist and author on international relations and conflicts), the 22nd Käte Hamburger Dialogue featured an in-depth analysis of Western involvement in Afghanistan. Panelists Conrad Schetter (director of the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies), Nargis Nehan (former member of the government of Afghanistan), Thomas Ruttig (co-founder and co-director of the Afghanistan Analysts Network), and Patricia Gossman (associate director for the Asia division, Human Rights Watch) offered nuanced critiques centred on questions of statebuilding, human rights, western assessments of the Taliban, and the mistakes that were made from the outset of the conflict until the inglorious withdrawal of Western states in the summer of 2021.

Heinrich Barth and Respectful Encounters with the Other: Workshop and Public Lectures

30 September – 1 October

Interdisciplinary scholar and explorer of Africa Heinrich Barth (1821-1865), met with some indifference during his own lifetime and long disregarded by scholars and public memory, took centre-stage at an international workshop supported by the GCR21 last week. Known for his pioneering travels through Africa, especially those documented in his five-volume ‘Travels and Discoveries in North and Central Africa’ (1857-1858), Barth distinguished himself as a respectful observer of life and culture in the areas he visited. Sometimes noted, disparagingly, as simply an ‘explorer’ of Africa, he was also an early ‘proto-anthropologist’, linguist, and universal scholar who authored volumes of letters and journals of his time and left us precious knowledge about 19th century African culture which would have been otherwise undocumented.

Inspired by this early and thoughtful engagement with the Other, the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research held a workshop which addressed themes from Barth’s practice and writings and linked them to modern research on race, religion, and the historical Western engagement in Africa. It was accompanied by two special lectures and a KHK Dialogue inspired by Heinrich Barth: ‘Black Memory and White Memory’ (Public Keynote Lecture with Prof. em. Dr. Wolfgang Reinhard’, ‘Racism-free encounters with the Other? Reflections from the Past and Present’ (21st Käte Hamburger Dialogue), and ‘Heinrich Barth and African Book Cultures’ (Public Keynote Lecture with Prof. Dr. Shamil Jeppie). The Centre’s own Nina Schneider, together with Christoph Marx (University Duisburg-Essen), and Stephanie Zehnle (Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel) served as organisers of the lectures, in cooperation with the Heinrich Barth Institute (University of Cologne).

The workshop problematised the constellation of Barth’s multi-disciplinary inquiry and extended the discourse to include the dynamics of observer–observed, and of self–other. Conclusions from the various discussions stressed that cultural understanding must be guided by compassion and respect for regional practices. This lesson should inform not only future research, but also global cooperation at large.

Learn More about Heinrich Barth

Upcoming Events

Workshop: Governing Transit and Irregular Migration: Formal Policies and Informal Practices

9 November, 2021 (non-public)

This workshop is convened by Prof. Maria Koinova, University of Warwick and Prof. Volker Heins, University of Duisburg-Essen. Participants seek to delve deeper into the governance of transit and irregular migration that occurs in both formal and informal ways. With growing migration movements across the globe, and states and supranational organisations developing new digital measures to control such migration during and after the Covid-19 pandemic, revisiting concepts and modes of governance becomes an imperative. This workshop wants to move debates on transit and irregular migration beyond mobility, securitisation and criticism to Euro-centric perspectives.

KHK/GCR21 Midterm Conference: New Avenues of Global Cooperation Research

From 15 – 16 November, 2021, the Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research at the University of Duisburg-Essen will host the hybrid conference on ‚New Avenues of Global Cooperation Research‚.

At the mid-point of the second funding phase of the KHK’s programme, funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research, the conference has three main goals: To recapitulate findings from the past three years, to reflect on modes of collaborating, and to identify new avenues for interdisciplinary research on global cooperation. It takes place at a moment of great challenges for global cooperation, and as the KHK adapts their modes of collaboration to the shifting developments of a global pandemic. The Center would also like to take this conference as an opportunity to meet, both in person and virtually, with their fellows, alumni, and (future) cooperation partners.

The conference will take the form of roundtables and panel discussions. Some panels will be dedicated to our thematic research foci, including polycentrism, (anti-)globalism, as well as the role of imagination, reflexivity and interdisciplinarity in global cooperation (research). Four panels reflect the Center’s empirical foci on the policy fields of migration, climate, peace building and internet governance.

Registration for the Conference is open since 25 October.

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