The three-day workshop departs from the insight that the much lamented ‘crisis’ of area studies has to be understood and coupled with as a larger ‘crisis’ of the social sciences. Important area studies initiatives have embarked on formulating transregional perspectives in response to internationalization efforts and postcolonial critique, yet many social science faculties have remained remarkably untouched by these developments. In addition, funding for area expertise in social science faculties has been drastically reduced, further widening both the institutional and epistemological gap between the often evoked disciplinary binary of ‘major’ social sciences and ‘minor’ area studies. We want to use this moment of ‘crisis’ as a productive opening to foster a critical conversation on the interface of area studies and social sciences. Following
Chakrabarty’s call to ‘provincialize Europe’, we deploy the notion of ‘provincializing the social sciences’ as a point of departure for such an exchange. The workshop thereby aims not only to foster reflection about false claims to universality and tendencies to marginalize ‘other’ knowledges in the social sciences, but also to work towards a more political and theoretically reflective formulation of area studies. The workshop is designed as the inauguration of a longer conversation leading to a broader research project located at Freie Universität Berlin.
4.-6. Juni 2015
Freie Universität Berlin
Henry Ford Building
Senate Assembly Hall