Leuphana Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) in Culture and Society

The Leuphana Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) at Leuphana University of Lüneburg is a research institute that contributes to the development and internationalisation of the university's main research priorities. Driven by an international fellowship program, it meets the challenges of a globalised present in a research-based way. Located in the university's central building designed by Daniel Libeskind, LIAS’s approach is characterized by interdisciplinary collaboration, university engagement and co-creation.

Culture and Society

During the first five years, research will be devoted to promoting diagnostic and critical research in the humanities and social sciences. Based on the Lüneburg approach that brings together humanities and social science perspectives, research at LIAS in Culture and Society transcends academic disciplines. As a contribution to the potentialisation of society, the institute works to develop new possibilities for shaping the future and expanding our options for thought and action. It therefore also brings to fruition Leuphana University’s declared goal to actively engage with contemporary societal challenges. LIAS in Culture and Society is supported by funds provided by the Lower Saxony Ministry of Science and Culture and the Volkswagen Foundation through the SPRUNG initiative.

Thinking Across Hemispheres ©Collage: Niklar Keller; NASA (1972); Ebstorf World Map (um 1300), gemeinfrei via wikimedia; Daniel Sumesgutner
Thinking Across Hemispheres

Mission Statement


LIAS in Culture and Society is committed to countering a discourse of no alternatives. Over and above short-term solutions for overcoming crises, it strives to open new perspectives, spaces for thought and action. Accordingly, it promotes engaged scholarship to uncover, support and multiply modes of societal potentialization - a questioning of existing certainties that activates and engenders new possibilities.

Point of departure

LIAS in Culture and Society inquires into the need for new categories, ways of thinking and methodologies. Without the development of new modes of thought and approach, the future will increasingly be understood solely in terms of a scientific-technical challenge, in the sense of a programmed or a programmable future. In this context, the research program at LIAS in Culture and Society, as an interdisciplinary configuration of the humanities and the social sciences, strives to systematically uncover what is obscured by techno-scientific operationalities, by political-economic rationales, by socially dominant patterns of knowledge and by implicit as well as explicit relations of violence. In the context of increasingly disruptive social developments, the LIAS research program therefore aims to reformulate research practices in the humanities and social sciences as a pluralization of the possible that tackles social and cultural questions in nuanced and productive ways. The goal of this approach is always the restoration of society‘s capacity to respond, based on the excavation of what has remained unthought, unarticulated, unquestioned.


Research Approach

Projects at the intersection of social diagnosis, critical reflection and imagination as well as other innovative research are eligible for funding. The research program at LIAS is not defined by changing annual themes, but rather by the institute’s scholarly vision and mission. LIAS in Culture and Society thus supports projects that examine the historical, contemporary, socio-cultural, epistemological, political-economic, legal and technical-scientific conditions of co-existence in a globalized world. It supports research that makes visible multiple forms of articulation and points to contexts that stand for perspectives beyond and outside existing social or political fault lines. With its methodological emphasis on potentialization, LIAS in Culture and Society relies on an ethos of problematization, a critical diagnosis of the present, genealogies of contemporary lines of conflict, methodological openness, and cultural imaginativeness. Empirical methods may be coupled with conceptual and theoretical work, local knowledge with transnational imaginaries. In this regard, a dialogue with researchers from the so-called Global South that provincializes European perspectives contributes to developing research interventions that think across and beyond hemispheres.

The new institute actively welcomes non-academic actors in a co-creative approach of collaborative work on potentialization and the targeted expansion of discourse. The aim is to identify relevant voices in research, politics, culture and business. Public fellows invited by LIAS in Culture and Society provide additional stimuli for co-creative scholarly work and research communication.

This agenda, which also seeks to creatively question and broaden its own scientific approach, incorporates cultural and artistic practices that, with their sensorial-material and intellectual qualities, foster a multiplication of modes of thought, methodologies and perceptions.

VolkswagenStiftung ©VolkswagenStiftung
Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur ©Niedersächsisches Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur


Leuphana Institute for Advanced Studies (LIAS) in Culture and Society

Zentralgebäude / Audimax
Universitätsallee 1
21335 Lüneburg
Fon +49.4131.677-2332