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Research Grants and Awards

Volkswagen Foundation: Culture-Swapping in North America (from the 16th to the 19th Century)

During the discovery and conquest of North America by the Europeans, many individuals became so fascinated by the alien culture they found there that they turned their backs on their own societies. Many of their contemporaries regarded them as renegades and traitors. In terms of a different intellectual discourse going on in Europe, however, they seemed to offer proof of the superiority of what was claimed to be the natural, unfettered lifestyle of `the savage'. In all this, there was--and often still is--a tendency to overlook the fact that besides the white people who `fled civilization', there were indigenous Americans who stepped over the cultural divide and embraced the European lifestyle. A research project being conducted at the Department of Comparative Cultural and Social Anthropology at the Europa University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder, under the direction of Professor Werner Schiffauer, is examining the role of `White Indians' and `Red Europeans' as cultural defectors in North America from the sixteenth to the nineteenth century. The Volkswagen Foundation in Hanover is supporting the project with a grant of DM263,300, as part of its programme area `Das Fremde und das Eigene: Problems and Possibilities of Intercultural Understanding'.

Dr Marin Trenk plans to investigate not just the life experiences of those concerned, but also the functions and historical roles which the cultural defectors on both sides--in other words, the `Indianized' white people and the `Europeanized' Indians--played in the encounter between two worlds. The project will begin by concentrating on those factors in the European and Indian cultures which determined whether outsiders were assimilated or excluded. The tension between understanding of self and perception of others to which cultural defectors were subject will also be investigated. An attempt will also be made to identify the possibilities and limits of intercultural learning-processes using a number of topics that are particularly susceptible to intercultural stereotyping. The project will also examine the many important and varied roles which `culture-swappers' were able to play as mediators and `intercultural brokers'--either as agents of change or as opponents of any kind of rapprochement between the cultures.

The project findings will then be compared with the results of investigations into the southern Pacific, where the trend to culture-swapping in the early nineteenth century was very much more pronounced--and has so far been much more efficiently and thoroughly investigated.

Contact: Prof. Werner Schiffauer, Lehrstuhl für vergleichende Kultur-Sozialanthropologie, Europa-Universität Viadrina, Postfach 1786, D-15207 Frankfurt/Oder, Tel.: +49-335-5534-644.

Volkswagen Foundation: East-West Postdoctoral Research Programme

The Volkswagen Foundation's postdoctoral research programme aims to bring about structural improvements in the humanities and social sciences in central and eastern Europe and also to strengthen east-west co-operation in this area. The Foundation has made DM652,200 available for a new international programme of study at the University of Tübingen, the aim of which is to bring together postdoctoral research students from central and eastern Europe with counterparts from Germany and other western European countries to work on shared projects.

The programme is being run by the Internationales Zentrum (IZ) in Tübingen (under the direction of Dr H. Gerstein), in collaboration with Professor G. Figal (of the philosophy faculty at Tübingen) and Professor G. Meyer (of the Institute of Political Sciences at Tübingen). It is scheduled to run for three years and will cover, amongst other things, `Political Culture and Democratization in Post-communist Societies'. The programme is being overseen by a number of international boards of directors comprising academics from east and west.

A combination of summer schools for the postgraduate students, organizational workshops for the participating teaching staff, and research trips to the east for the best Western students and vice versa will build on each other and form a continuous period of collaboration by the up-and-coming academics both with one another and with the teaching staff.

Contact: Dr Hannelore Gerstein, Geschäftsführerin, Internationales Zentrum, Universität Tübingen, Wilhlemstr. 20B, D-72074 Tübingen, Tel.: +49-7071-297-4156, Fax: +49-7071-297-7352, e-mail: iz@uni-tuebingen.de, http://volkswagen-stiftung-de/presse99/pm06htm

Fifth European Framework Programme for Research

Although the Fifth Framework Programme for Research does not explicitly mention the theme of peace and conflict research, there are a number of topics in this field that can be linked in with the activities of the various programmes included in the scheme. Three specific programmes are: Energy, Environment, and Sustainable Development (Draft Work Programme); Improving the Human Research Potential and the Socio-economic Knowledge Base (Draft Work Programme); Confirming the International Role of Community Research (Work Programme). Project outlines may be sent to the contact address below.

Contact: Dr. Renate Loskill, Referat 423, Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, D-53170 Bonn, Tel.: +49-228-573207, Fax: +49-228-573601, e-mail: Renate.Loskill@MBMF.BUND400.DE

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