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Volkswagen Foundation Interdisciplinary Project on Global Structures and Governance

The Volkswagen Foundation is currently running a project, entitled 'Global Structures and Governance', through which it hopes to stimulate reflection on the principles that ought to underlie any attempt to shape transnational relations, and the forms such a shaping might take. In specific terms, the project addresses the transformation and emergence of global structures and patterns of order following the end of the East-West conflict. Academic investigation of the ways in which these structures and patterns may be influenced and directed, and of the problems associated with this, will be the prime focus.

Since the upheavals of 1989-91, there has been a radical change in international relations and a multi-faceted and as yet unfinished reconfiguration of the international system. It is a process from which the concepts, methods, and theories of the relevant branches of scientific enquiry have not remained immune. New directions and disciplines have begun to have a bearing on analysis; and cross-speciality co-operation is becoming more important. The uncertain situation requires that the sciences take stock and give some account of the changing world that will generate reliable analyses and guide-lines for practical action. The Volkswagen project will therefore concentrate on: (1) the linking of empirical research to the further development of concepts, methods, and theories; (2) collaboration by different trends and specialities in contexts that span more than one domain--this includes collaboration in the training and further training of up-and-coming researchers; (3) exchange between university and non-university research, training, and practical activity; and (4) international co-operation between scholars.

Contributions relevant to the subject are solicited not only from the political, legal, and economic sciences, but also from other social sciences and from the humanities. On certain issues, interdisciplinary collaboration by specialists from the natural and technical sciences may be required.

Nowadays, the Asia-Pacific area is acquiring an importance equivalent to that of the previously dominant Atlantic-cum-European theatre. World-wide economic enmeshment, the spread of new values and technologies, and the risks associated with these developments are accompanied by a growing awareness of cultural differences and by the emergence of regional identities, communities of interest, and new power-constellations. New, transnational actors are calling into question the rights of states, and of the organizations formed by them, to control and regulate international relations.

Against this background, what the Volkswagen project will seek, above all, to establish, is how these processes of change can be managed on a global basis. The question of their manageability, and the form such management takes, will be addressed from a different angle by each of the different disciplines. Thus, the enquiry into the 'governance' of global structures will entail an analysis of recent organized law-enforcement (e.g. agreements on the co-operative implementation of economic legislation) and dispute-settlement (e.g. UN co-ordination of independent legal subjects, i.e. sovereign states, or the development of regulatory norms that operate for the general good--norms designed, for example, to safeguard human rights or the environment, or to ensure the fair distribution of vital resources).

Further information about the project, and details of sponsorship and applications, may be requested from the Volkswagen Foundation office at the contact address below.

Contact: Dr Alfred Schmidt, Volkswagen-Stiftung, Kastanienallee 35, D-30519 Hannover, Tel.: +49 (511) 8381-237, Fax: +49 (511) 8381-344, e-mail:,

Volkswagen Foundation Sponsorship for Research on Mexico

A project entitled 'The Chiapas Effect: On the Discursive Violence of the Zapatistas', sponsored by the Volkswagen Foundation as part of its Program Area 'Das Fremde und das Eigene: Probleme und Möglichkeiten interkulturellen Verstehens' ('Other' and 'Own': Problems and Possibilities of Intercultural Understanding), will examine the Mexican Zapatista movement in its capacity as a new species of discursive actor. The project will be conducted in close co-operation with the Latin-America Institute at the Free University of Berlin, under the direction of Professor Renate Rott.

What the project will address, in various guises, is the coming-together and co-existence--or clash--of people with differing cultural backgrounds. The distinctive feature of the Mexican variant is that the mestizo majority regard the Indian minority as the 'aliens'. The latter, meanwhile, are making ever stronger demands for 'differentiation' and 'participation'--particularly since the astonishing uprising of the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) in spring 1994. The project will be concerned mainly with the Zapatistas' 'discursive violence' and the response it is evoking in Mexico and other parts of the world. Why does the Zapatistan discourse work? Why is it that EZLN language and events appear so attractive to broad sections of the population? The Zapatistas use elements from the repertoire of Mexican myths and symbols, but they also make links to modern, or postmodern, 'universal' debates about multiculturalism, to differentiation, and to democracy.

Any study of the intercultural discourse must include an interpretation of Zapatistan texts and events and the conduct of interviews with intellectuals, social actors, and politicians in Mexico and other countries. At the same time, one has constantly to look beyond Mexico and pose the question of the relationship between language, media communication, and politics in pre-twenty-first-century world society.

Contact: Dr Werner Boder, Volkswagen-Stiftung, Kastanienallee 35, D-30519 Hannover, Tel.: +49 (511) 8381-0, Fax: +49 (511) 8381-344, e-mail:, Internet:

Prof. Renate Rott, Lateinamerika-Institut, Freie Universität Berlin, Rüdesheimer Str. 52-54, D-14197 Berlin, Tel.: +49 (30) 838-3072, Fax: +49 (30) 838-5464.

Canadian Centre for German and European Studies

The Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD: German Academic Exchange Service), the Universit de Montral, and York University have together set up a Canadian Centre for German and European Studies (Kanadisches Zentrum für Deutschland- und Europastudien), which will be opened this autumn. The centre will be housed in both universities and will receive funding of ten million Canadian dollars for a period of ten years, to be provided jointly by the two universities and the DAAD (using German foreign ministry funds).

Given its interdisciplinary approach to teaching and research, one of the main tasks of the centre will be to train up a new generation of Canadian experts on Germany who can go on to work in higher education, politics, economics, or non-governmental professions. The centre also aims to provide assistance to, or itself conduct, research projects on German and European themes, as well as generally extending knowledge of German and European issues. These aims will be realized through the appointment of appropriate university teaching staff, through student exchanges, through grants, summer courses, conferences, and the maintenance of documentation and research centres at both Montreal and York.

The DAAD envisages that, whilst working closely with other centres and with the seventeen DAAD-sponsored professorial departments of German studies in Canada and the USA, the Canadian Centre will make its own specific contribution to the scholarly debate about the place of modern Germany in a changing Europe, under the influence of the increasing globalization of culture and the economy.

Contact: Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst, Pressestelle, Kennedyallee 50, D-53175 Bonn, Tel.: +49 (228) 882-401/454/455, Fax: +49 (228) 882-444, e-mail: or or

Dorothy Marchus Senesh Fellowship

The International Peace Research Association Foundation will be making its fifth award of a two-year study-grant for women researchers from the 'Third World', for the period 1998-9. The award is made for investigation into some aspect of peace and conflict research, and a subject in this field should already have been studied at university level. The award is not dependent on geographical location.

The award is worth 5,000 US dollars per year. Applications must reach the contact address by 15 January 1998. The final decision will be taken on 15 February 1998.

Contact: Prof. Kevin Clements, Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA 22030-4444, USA, Tel.: +1 (703) 993-1305, Fax: +1 (703) 993-1302.

New Round of Funding

The Projektverbund Friedens- und Konfliktforschung in Niedersachsen (Association for the Support of Projects on Peace and Conflict Research in Lower Saxony) will be making its fourth award of funds for investigation into peace research. Applications for funding for relevant projects at higher education establishments in Lower Saxony must be submitted by 5 February 1998. Further details may be obtained from the address below.

Contact: Prof. Günter Bierbrauer, Projektverbund Friedens- und Konfliktforschung in Niedersachsen, Universität Osnabrück, D-49069 Osnabrück, Tel.: +49 (541) 969-4803, Fax: +49 (541) 969-4763, e-mail:

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