LIAS: Leuphana Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture and Society

The Leuphana Institute of Advanced Studies (LIAS) is a research institution currently being built at Leuphana University of Lüneburg. It contributes to the institutionalization of the university’s primary research areas and to the development of this profile. The core of LIAS is its international fellowship program. As a site for independent research, LIAS seeks to provide a scholarly response to the urgent challenges of our globalized present. It is located in the university’s central building, designed by Daniel Libeskind, and will be characterized by interdisciplinary collaboration, participation in university life, and co-creation.

For the first five years, research at LIAS will focus on the fields of Culture and Society. LIAS in Culture and Society promotes diagnostic and critical research in Cultural Studies, at the intersection of the humanities and social sciences. LIAS in Culture and Society is funded by the Niedersächsisches Vorab initiative of the Volkswagen Foundation and will begin its work in July 2022.

lines of the central building, home of the LIAS ©Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
lines of the central building, home of the LIAS

Mission Statement

Aim

LIAS in Culture and Society aims at countering a discourse of no alternatives. It wants to open up new perspectives, spaces for thought and agency beyond short-term crisis management. It promotes engaged scholarship to uncover, support, multiply modes of social potentialization – a questioning of existing certainties that activates new possibilities.
The future is increasingly understood as a scientific-technical challenge, in the sense of a programmed or programmable future. LIAS in Culture and Society seeks to open new ways of thinking and approaching the future. It understands Cultural Studies as interdisciplinary, interweaving the humanities and social sciences. Its goal is to uncover what is obscured by techno-scientific operationalities, political-economic calculation, socially dominant patterns of knowledge, and hidden as well as open relations of violence, what is unthought, unarticulated.

Method

LIAS supports research that pursues this approach, that makes multiple forms of articulation visible and points to contexts that stand for a perspective beyond social or political disruptions – based on an analysis of those historical conditions that have led to the constitution of today's world in the first place. In its quest for potentialization, LIAS in Culture and Society relies on an ethos of problematization, critical diagnosis of the present, genealogies of contemporary lines of conflict, methodological openness, and cultural inventiveness.

The Program

LIAS in Culture and Society does not have an explicit thematic frame. Rather, the institute promotes research projects that investigate the historical, contemporary, socio-cultural, epistemological, political-economic, legal, and technical-scientific conditions of living together in a globalized, entangled world. Thus, it contributes to thinking across hemispheres and makes plural societies both thinkable and realizable.

This program equally includes an examination of the globalized present as well as of the conditions and limits of one's own scientific practice. Cultural and artistic practices also come into play, contributing with their sensual-material and intellectual qualities to a multiplication of ways of thinking, acting and perceiving.