New Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and Society: A Milestone for Basic Research in Cultural Studies

2022-01-13 Lüneburg/Hanover. The Federal State of Lower Saxony and the Volkswagen Foundation have pledged almost five million Euros to Leuphana University Lüneburg to support excellent researchers at early career stages in the humanities and social sciences. The funding initiative of Volkswagen Foundation’s "Niedersächsisches Vorab" will help to establish an Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and Society at Leuphana, where young scholars will be able to devote themselves to their research on fundamental questions of social coexistence on a scholarship basis.

"The funding decision confirms Leuphana's profile as a theme-based university that develops answers to contemporary problems in research and teaching. At the same time, it enables us to take another important step towards expanding our research excellence in the humanities and social sciences, and makes Lüneburg an outstanding location for cultural studies research within the interweaving of the humanities and social sciences that we practice," says University President Sascha Spoun, commenting on the decision. The Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and Society (IAS-CAS) is intended to further establish basic research in cultural studies at Leuphana as an institution of international excellence.

At the centre of the newly funded project are eight scholarships per year with a duration of up to 12 months. They are intended to offer talented researchers from all over the world who are in the early stages of their academic careers the freedom to develop their own research programmes. The explicit aim is to focus cultural studies research on questions of current, historical and future conditions of social coexistence. This also necessitates an intensive North-South dialogue, which will be facilitated not least by additional so-called remote fellowships.

"The lines of conflict of the present do not adhere to regions or disciplines," according to art scholar Prof. Dr. Susanne Leeb and Professor of Media Culture Prof. Dr. Erich Hörl, who developed and will lead the project. "Our understanding of basic research in cultural studies, as it will be conducted in the IAS-CAS, will therefore be interdisciplinary, international and diagnostic at the same time, thus opening up the possibility of confronting social problem situations and going beyond merely reacting to crises."

Intensive exchange and cooperative research will characterise the institute's work. In addition to the eight fellows and the remote fellowships, two senior fellows, a scientist from Leuphana and a public figure from the arts will enrich its research. An international board of trustees supports the IAS. The first calls for proposals will be published in the second half of the year. The new institute is scheduled to begin its work in January 2023.



An Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) is an academic institution with the aim of promoting excellent scientists and research in general or in a specific field.

Through their funding formats, IAS open up opportunities for scholars to engage in personal encounters and intellectual discourse. They want to provide free and experimental spaces with the aim of triggering creative processes and setting a framework for unplanned and unplannable thought-provoking impulses.