Current Research Projects at the Department of Iberian and Latin American History

Project 1:
Research Network for Latin America: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging

Sub-project A: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging in Political Communication since 2010
Prof. Dr. Christian Büschges, Marc-André Grebe, AOR Dr. Sebastian Thies, JProf. Dr. Olaf Kaltmeier

The Research Network for Latin America is an association of historical, anthropological, cultural studies and sociological institutions of the Universities of Cologne, Bonn, Bielefeld, Münster and Hanover. In interdisciplinary project collaboration, humanists, regional and social scientists use the concepts of ethnicity, citizenship and belonging to describe the historically specific and context-dependent forms of symbolic boundaries, ideas of order and belonging in various regions of Latin America in a scholarly way. The network's research is implemented internationally through regular meetings and workshops.

The objective of the interdisciplinary network is the structural reinforcement and extension of the institutional framework of research on Latin America in the field of area studies and the joint development of innovative methodological and theoretical approaches.
The regional expert network is a professional contact institution for local and foreign scholars, development cooperation institutions, politicians and the general public, offering access to differentiated expertise in historical and currently, controversial conflicts in Latin American development cooperation, politics, economy and culture.

The work group in Bielefeld focuses mainly on analyzing ethnically-charged discourses and how these are turned into the subject of concepts about social order as well as how the conflicts in the political arena are contoured by the chosen symbolic representations in this context.
Based on a broad comprehension of policy ethnic semantics ? their political and cultural representation as well as their charging and instrumentalisation ? are examined by means of the three categories: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging in the context of their socio-political negotiation processes in colonial as well as in post-colonial times.
This project explores how ethnicity (and other categories) is used as a tool of demarcation and an instrument of political, social and cultural in- and exclusion of individual actors and groups as well as their positioning using various regional case studies.
In addition to the mediatisation and the reception of the respective discourses, the individual projects primarily pursue the symbols, semantic fields, cultural practices and argumentation schemes, each attempting to create (political) identity. Linked to the this, the implementation and translation of various social constructions of meaning and identity will be analyzed within institutions and structures which create social inclusion and exclusion, as well as the legal and institutional constitution of these.

Project 6:
Nation-building, Citizenship and Belonging between Colonial Rule and Nation-State. Municipal Administration, "Inter-ethnic" Relations and Forms of Indigenous Resistance in Ecuador (1765 - 1857)

Research Network for Latin America: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging
Sub-project A:Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging in Political Communication
Project manager: Christian Büschges
Project staff: Marc-André Grebe
The central focus of this research project is to work out the negotiation of political representation and participation between indigenous groups and actors from the Spanish colonial administration, or the nation-state in Ecuador respectively, from 1765 to 1857. A special focus shall lie on the municipal level, to take on the complex juridical, social, economic and cultural parameters of political participation. Based on chosen periods of growing conflicts, discursive conjunctures and moments of politicization, different regions of Ecuador ? i.a. Otavalo, Pichincha, Tungurahua, Chimburazo - will be analyzed in terms of the strategies different actors used to gain access to social participation -- after independence,citizenship -- and if or how this participation was denied. Another focus is on the question of the importance of ethnic identities as a resource for political inclusion and exclusion. This research project thus tries to work out the changes or the continuities of the nexus between ethnic belonging and the fight for political participation against the background of the ending Spanish colonial rule, the independence movement and the processes of nation-building in the Andean region.
Project 7:
Discourses, Practices and Instrumentalization of Ethnicity and Identity in Processes and Scenarios of Social-political Negotiations between 1980 and 1995: The Armed Movements and the National Constitutional Affairs Committee ("Asamblea Nacional Constituyente" - ANC) in Columbia 1991

Research Network for Latin America: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging
Sub-project A: Ethnicity, Citizenship and Belonging in Political Communication
Project manager: Christian Büschges
Project staff: Eric Bejarano
This research project analyses how and why multiple armed movements in Columbia were demobilized and integrated in the constituent (ANC) process in 1991. Considering in particular the constellations of the guerilla groups M-19, MAQL, PRT and EPL from 1980 until 1995, their political and cultural practices as well as their symbolic forms in connection to the ANC-process will be investigated. Furthermore their organizational forms, the resources they mobilized, their strategies and their relations to other groups will be explored in order to show how they managed to survive as a movement. In addition to this, the role and instrumentalization of new concepts like "collective identity", new (cultural or ideological) factors and new topics (like "ethnicity" or "citizenship") will be researched, to gain an understanding of how these concepts and factors allowed the aforementioned groups to maintain their political legitimacy and their collective actions and to be able to position themselves opposite to the traditional political parties and successfully represent popular demands ? and how, in doing so, they were able to reach their goals to a particular degree while simultaneously representing new cognitive models, values, ideologies and/or politics of identity.