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Cologne Summer School of Interdisciplinary Anthropology, 18-23 September 2017, University of Cologne, Germany

Publish Date: Apr 26, 2017

Deadline: May 21, 2017

Cologne Summer School of Interdisciplinary Anthropology III

“The Phenomenality of Material Things: Praxis – Genesis – Cognition”

The a.r.t.e.s. Graduate School for the Humanities Cologne, the Internationales Kolleg Morphomata and the Collaborative Research Centre 806 – Our Way to Europe cordially invite you to the Cologne Summer School of Interdisciplinary Anthropology (CSIA) for advanced M.A. students and doctoral students. The CSIA is a series of three summer schools which take place annually revolving around the topic The Phenomenality of Material Things: Praxis – Genesis – Cognition.

The third and final summer school of the series focuses on Cognition. The summer school addresses the cognitive and epistemological conditions of acting with material things from a philosophical, anthropological and archaeological perspective. On the one hand, material things can orientate the understanding of cognitive phenomena and are part of the cognitive process, on the other, material artefacts can be understood as results and crystallisations of complex cognitive processes. Furthermore, cognition is always extended, embedded and enactive. Material things can thus be considered as parts of the cognitive process. The summer school aims at an understanding of how material things are involved in bodily phenomena and how material things might alter the experience of one’s own body. This relation of mind, body and material things will be be examined in a diachronic perspective: Modern phenomena such as acting in and with digital networks will be be discussed as will the practices of production of ancient vases and Palaeolithic stone axes. We therefore explicitly invite applications from all disciplines of the humanities which discuss the interrelations of cognition and materiality.

The thematic orientation of the three institutions provides an innovative approach to both the material turn and the practice turn. These trends merge into a heuristic method, in accordance with the dictum “follow the actors” (Latour). The “symmetrisation” of human and non-human elements as sources of actions sharpens views on the socio-technical figuration of agency: this change of perspective provides important impulses for the revaluation of the relation between the sciences and the humanities. The reassessment of the relation of things, signs and humans has led to intense scientific controversies, which in turn raise epistemological and anthropological questions concerning the significance of things and materiality for the constitution of humans, human practices and the phenomenality of material things.

The aim of the Cologne Summer School of Interdisciplinary Anthropology is to allow students to acquire a comprehensive account of these scientific controversies. Taking archaeology, anthropology and philosophy as disciplinary starting points, the summer school aims at initiating a scientific debate beyond disciplinary boundaries. Disciplinary topics will thus be viewed in relation with methodological reflections: This approach enables the students of the respective disciplines to discuss their matters beyond disciplinary jargons while becoming acquainted with new research trends across thematically related disciplines. A panel for short presentations of individual research projects is scheduled.

The summer school will take place from September 18 to 23, 2017, in Cologne.

All application material should be sent in one (1) PDF file via e-mail to:

Deadline: May 21, 2017

The PDF application should include:

  • Letter of motivation indicating academic experience and interest in the summer school’s topic (max. 300 words)
  • Curriculum Vitae (max. 2 pages)
  • Abstract/outline of own research project / possible presentation at the Cologne Summer School of Interdisciplinary Anthropology (max. 2000 words, 1.5 spaced, with standard margins)
  • Language skills: The workshop will primarily be held in English. However, at times it might be necessary to read key papers in other European languages like French and German; thus, please indicate your language skills.

Please use the following naming convention for your application file: Lastname_Application_CSIA.pdf

This year we offer also 5–10 scholarships to “alumni” of the Summer School who participated in 2015 and/or 2016. The application of the “alumni” should include:

  • Letter of motivation
  • Detailed suggestion for a reading group concerning this year’s topic Cognition (including a suggestion for a text or a paper and an argument for why this paper is relevant not only in understanding the phenomenon but also to the interdisciplinary context of the summer school).

In total, 15–20 scholarships for travel- and accommodation expenses are available. 

Principal Investigators: Prof. Dr. Dietrich Boschung, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Thiemo Breyer, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Richter, Dr. Johannes Schick, Prof. Dr. Andreas Speer, Jun.-Prof. Dr. Martin Zillinger

Coordinator: Dr. Johannes Schick

For more information please click "Further Official Information" below.

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