Research Center for the Americas
Bringing together researchers from the American Studies Department and the Centers for Mexican and Canadian Studies, the Research Center for the Americas is devoted to promoting, coordinating and facilitating international research and PhD training on the United States and the wider American hemisphere. Combining methodological pluralism with theory-driven, problem-focused research, the Center aims to foster the integration and synthesis of knowledge and understanding of the Americas within an intensely interdisciplinary, as well as inter- and intranational setting.
The collective research agenda of the faculty involved in the Center for the Americas is both comprehensive and innovative. This is reflected in a number of key distinguishing features:
- Our research is grounded on the premise that the discovery and settlement of the wider American hemisphere has been a major shaping force in the evolving history of the western world. In studying the birth and rise of society in the Americas, we study the emergence of modernity in the entire western hemisphere. Analyzing not merely the specific societal conditions and development in hemispheric America, but its constitutive “cultural genes,” the Center for the Americas is essentially engaged in cultural anthropology.
- At the heart of the Center’s methodology is a rigorously interdisciplinary approach to the domain of American Studies. Interdisciplinarity for us involves the simultaneous employment of multiple disciplinary approaches, aimed at integrating, rather than merely juxtaposing, the methods and insights of several established disciplines or traditional fields of study . Crucially, this challenges participating researchers to be able to pose multiple sets of questions, handle diverse methodologies and discourses, and analyze and process different categories of data.
A signature component of the research carried out in the Center is the prominence of cultural theory. Rather than gathering factual or domain-specific and procedural knowledge, the Center for the Americas puts key emphasis on the acquisition of conceptual and metacognitive knowledge. This allows us to raise ethical, political and theoretical questions in relation to culture, gender and sexuality, social class, race, history, subjectivity, nationality, popular culture, media, and everyday life across national boundaries, both within hemispheric Americas and beyond.
Bracketed under the general rubric of “Culture, Politics, Ethics,” individual research clusters are currently engaged with a range of research themes:
- Grassroots Politics
- Sustainable Citizenship
- Migration, Borders, Justice, Human Rights
- Media Aesthetics, Audiences, and Structures of Feeling
- Nation Formation and Cultural Identity
The Politics of Race and Religion
Most clusters work on contemporary issues and cases, but there is also a strong historical focus in some clusters, particularly related to early American and Transatlantic history and culture. However, all clusters operate across conventional disciplinary boundaries and all share a sustained concern with conceptual, theoretical, empirical and methodological dimensions of the research they conduct.
|Last modified:||25 March 2015 12.29 p.m.|