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Social Sciences Going Public - Research and Practice with, in and for the Society

Study local urban culture and museums in multi-ethnic and multicultural settings

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Bachelor's
  • Master's
  • PhD
Field of studies
  • Social Science and humanities
  • Blended Intensive Programmes (BIP)
Course dates
5 April - 31 May 2024

This blended mobility CIVIS course will introduce participating students to the field of Public Social Sciences and Humanities, with an emphasis on Anthropology, Ethnography, Literary and Folklore Studies (AELF).

The ‘Public’ here means a shift in the dissemination of the knowledge that these disciplines produce, especially concerning issues of wider public interest, such as: Inequalities and inequities regarding access to resources, participation and recognition, belonging and homemaking or discrimination and racism. How do people and communities respond to these issues? How do they create belonging and acceptance or build communities around these issues? How do public state and non state institutions and organisations support community building? What can critical Human/Social sciences contribute to enable processes of community-building? These are some of the questions we will address in this program.

The ‘Public’ also means to not just work with and speak about communities, but to actively engage with stakeholders and members of the civil society and work jointly on solutions. These are e.g. museums, NGOs, local communities or neighbourhood associations.

AELF, with their theoretical foundations and methodological apparatuses, are ideally placed to explore these social and communal issues as mentioned above. Yet, the challenge that these disciplines face today is to turn this potential into reality, return their knowledge to people and communities and engage with them once more, as scholars and partners.

Throughout this course, we will discuss how the concepts and methods of these different disciplines can contribute to this endeavour. Students will work in small groups on projects with an applied character. They will gain hands-on experience and learn how to work in an inter- and transdisciplinary fashion in order to achieve a better understanding of the contemporary societies we live in and the changes they undergo.

Main topics addressed

  • Museums and archives (this includes institutional collections and heritage sites as well as – institutions such as state organized culture knowledge banks, non-professional heritage institutions such as the internet, embodied archives). Students e.g. engage with the material collections and work together with the communities who relate to these objects to understand the importance objects play for communities
  • Folklore/local culture: (comparative folklore, local/public folklore, urban folklore/urban culture, folklore and/in education). Students collect e.g. narratives and/or folkloristic expressions and research the meaning and practice of them for collective memories as well as for meaning and/or identity production
  • Migration, diversity, (e.g. diaspora, transnationalism, conflict). Students engage e.g. with migrant communities and research what migration means on the everyday level and how migration/movement impacts on groups or individuals belonging or non-belonging

Learning outcomes

  • Gain an understanding of what publically oriented social sciences and humanities may mean
  • Learn about the prominent research and dissemination methods employed in the orientation of these disciplines towards a wider audience and develop a critical and constructive perspective on their uses
  • Explore and understand the ways and strategies through which local, regional, national and transnational identities are forged in the public sphere by means of joint academic and grassroots, i.e. community- and stakeholder-derived, exchanges in contemporary Europe
  • Expand and deepen the students’ knowledge regarding issues and challenges in the fields of material culture, local culture, narratives/oral tradition, folklore and migration, as they have developed in the social sciences and the humanities with an emphasis on contemporary Europe
  • Appreciate the value of the comparative perspective when applied to the study of material culture, local culture, narratives/oral tradition, folklore and migration in contemporary Europe
  • Receive training in these methods
  • Acquire an understanding of the interdisciplinary theoretical background of the methodologies used when addressing issues associated with the ‘Public’
  • Be able to use this knowledge to complete the tasks assigned to the students and solve problems that require critical thinking
  • Exchange knowledge across disciplines and universities
Dates: 5 April - 31 May 2024 Total workload: 107 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 3*
Location: Tübingen, Germany Language: English (B2) 

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility

13 to 17 May 2024

The physical mobility part will be running in Tübingen.

Students will visit public institutions, organisations and NGOs as well as local urban communities. They will work in smaller groups (around 10-15 students) on designated projects, which involve training fieldwork exercises, e.g. in the form of interviews and participant observation. The information gathered will be critically reflected, assessed and analysed and developed into group project presentations, taking place at the end of the week.

Virtual part

5 April to 31 May 2024

Meetings take place on Fridays 15:00 - 17:00 CET/ 16:00 - 18:00 EET

  • 5 April 2024 – Introduction and Welcome
  • 12 April 2024 – Lecture: Public Anthropology
  • 19 April 2024 – Working Group Meeting I
  • 26 April 2024 – Working Group Meeting II
  • 3 May 2024 – Working Group Meeting III
  • 31 May 2024 – Consultation Meeting for Essay Writing


This course is open to Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD students at CIVIS member universities enrolled in Anthropology, Sociology, Folklore Studies, Literature Studies, Ethnology, Gender Studies, Human Geography, Development Studies, or Cultural Studies

Participants should have a good level of written and spoken English (B2).

NB: Visiting Students - Erasmus Funding Eligibility

To be eligible for your selected CIVIS programme, you must be a fully enrolled student at your CIVIS home university at the time you will be undertaking the programme. Click here to learn more about the eligibility criteria.


Students from CIVIS’ strategic partner universities in Africa cannot apply for participation in this course.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 7 November 2023 with the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Level of English (according to the CEFR)

The organisers have already arranged affordable accommodation for the visiting students.



Participating students will engage in collaborative research training, discuss and critically analyse the findings in class and contribute to the joint final presentation of the groups.

The evaluation criteria will be the following: 

  • Content
  • Methodological approach
  • Engagement in and quality of presentation

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

University of Tübingen

Gabriele Alex is Professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology in Tübingen. She gained her PhD from Brunel University and joined Tübingen University in 2010. Her thematical interests include medical anthropology and anthropology of childhood. She is editor of the Zeitschrift für Ethnologie/Journal of Social and Cultural Anthropology. She is currently working on an edited volume on COVID-19 experiences in India and Germany, her most recent publication is Alex, Gabriele (2022) “Working Lithographs, from devotion to antiquity’ in ‘Practices of Transformation – Transformation of Practices: Essays in Honour of Helene Basu, edited by Julia Koch, Universität Münster, pp.233-251.

Heidrun Eichner is Professor of Islamic studies and has joined the University of Tuebingen in 2010. She gained her PhD in Bochum and her habilitation in Halle an der Saale. She has been a senior fellow at the Maimonides Center of Advanced Studies at the University Hamburg (in 2021 and in 2018), a visiting professor at FU Berlin in the ERC-project Theological Rationalism in the World of Medieval Islam (2009-2010), a Wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin at MLU Halle (2006-2009), and a visiting research associate at the Institute of Islamic Studies, McGill University, Montreal (2004-2006). Heidrun Eichner is currently working on divine attributes and conceptions of the soul in early Islamic theology. Publications include: Co-edited volume with Matthias Perkams and Christian Schäfer: Islamische Philosophie im Mittelalter. Ein Handbuch. Darmstadt (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft) (400 p.) 2013.

Dorothee Kimmich is since 2002 Professor for Literary and Cultural Studies at the Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen. She is head of the Tübinger Poetik-Dozentur, a jury member of the Würth-Literaturpreis and one of the co-ordinators of the binational M.A. study programme „Etudes franco-allemandes“ that is established between the Université de Provence in Aix-en-Provence and Tübingen University. Since 2020 Dorothee Kimmich has been co-coordinator of the CIVIS Hub 'Society, Culture, Heritage'. Publications include: Kimmich, Dorothee (2018) ‘Ins Ungefähre: Ähnlichkeit und Moderne’. Konstanz University Press.

Sebastian Thies holds the chair for Ibero-American Literary and Cultural Studies at the University of Tübingen. After a PhD at the University of Osnabrück, he was Junior Professor for Hispanic Literary and Media Studies and then Associate Professor for Inter-American Studies at the University of Bielefeld. He has directed the doctoral studies programme ‘Entangled Temporalities in the Global South’ and was one of the coordinators of the BMBF/DAAD thematic network ‘Futures under construction in the Global South’. Currently, he is vice-director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global South Studies. His research interests include Global South Studies and Latin American literature, film and media studies. He recently co-edited The Routledge Handbook to the Culture and Media of the Americas.

National and Kapodistrian University of Athens 

Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou is Associate Professor of Folklore Studies, at the Faculty of Philology, School of Philosophy, National & Kapodistrian University of Athens. She obtained her M.Phil. and D.Phil. in Social Anthropology at Oxford University, U.K. She is a member of the CIVIS Hub 2 Council since 2021 and co-chair for Hub 2: Society, Culture and Heritage since January 2023. Her thematical foci include: Migrants and refugees; Memory and trauma; Ethnicity, diaspora, regionalism and transnationalism; Digital ethnography; Religion, ritual and cosmologies, Public folklore and heritage; Museums and archives; Theory and history of Folklore in Greece; Folklore, anthropology and education. Her most recent publication is:

Vassiliki Chryssanthopoulou, (2022) ‘Migration, diasporic lives and identity formation: An ethnographic case study of the Castellorizian Greek diaspora in Australia over the past 130 years’, in O. Anastasakis, M. Pratsinakis, F. Kalantzi, A. Kamaras (eds.), Diaspora Engagement in Times of Severe Economic Crisis. Greece and Beyond, Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 315-345.

Georgios Kouzas is Assistant Professor of Urban Folklore at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and also adjunct lecturer at the Hellenic Open University. In his thesis he analysed the sectors of Urban Folklore and Urban Ethnography, and in particular beggary in Athens today. His thematical foci include: Modern forms of orality, Urban ethnography and urban cultures. His most recent publication is: G. Kouzas(2023) ‘Work and commercial networks of Bulgarian and Albanian rag and bone traders in the open-air rag and bone market in Athens Today’,published in the  Journal of Urban Anthropology 20 (2023), 44-54.

University of Bucharest

Ioana-Ruxandra Fruntelată is  Associate Professor with the Department of Cultural Studies – Division of Ethnology and Folklore, Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest and also Senior researcher, Institute of Ethnography and Folklore „Constantin Brăiloiu”, Romanian Academy. She gained her Ph.D. degree with a thesis on Personal Narratives – from Experience to Narrative at the University of Bucharest.

She is also a member of the National Comission for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Heritage, Ministry of Culture, Romania and has contributed to submittting to UNESCO the multinational files: Men's group colindat – Christmas time ritual in Romania and the Republic of Moldova and Cultural practices associated to the first of March in Bulgaria, the Republic of Macedonia, the Republic of Moldova and Romania, inscribed on the Representative List of Intangible Heritage of UNESCO in 2013 and 2017.

Adrian Stoicescu is an Associate Professor of Ethnology at the Department of Cultural Studies, Faculty of Letters, University of Bucharest. He got his PhD with a thesis on gender studies in oral epics from the University of Bucharest in 2011 and was a fellow of the Romanian Academy in the field of digital ethnography. His research interests are digital anthropology / ethnography, vernacular cultures and the study of everydayness. One of his latests publications is Stoicescu, Adrian (2022), ‚Pandemic Memes as Collective Coping and Retreat‘, in Philologica Jassyensia, XVIII, no. 2 (36), pp. 293-304 (indexed WoS).

Gabriel Tamaș is an assistant professor at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Letters, Department of Cultural Studies - Ethnology. He got his PhD with a thesis exploring the reinterpretation of myths and the process of heroification in contemporary comics, from the University of Bucharest in 2023. His main research interests are the study of contemporary narratives, digital and urban culture and visual arts. He is currently working towards publishing his PhD thesis.