The Americas as Space of Entanglements
The Americas as Space of Entanglements is a research project sponsored by the German Ministry for Education (BMBF) planned to run over six years and based at the Center for InterAmerican Studies (CIAS), founded in 2011 at Bielefeld University. After the first funding period (2013-2017) was successfully evaluated, the second funding phase began in February 2017 and will end in 2019 under the direction of Prof. Dr. Wilfried Raussert and Prof. Dr. Olaf Kaltmeier. This research venture is an inter- and trans-disciplinary project in which ten professorial fields from six faculties of Bielefeld University and the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld, together with two post-doctoral students, collaborate on the processes and dynamics of the InterAmerican Space of Entanglements. The project seeks to strengthen the close ties and cooperation between the departments of Cultural Studies and History, Political Science, Sociology and Social Anthropology, Theology, and System Ecology at Bielefeld University, with a regional focus on the Americas.
For the second funding phase (2017-2019), the core investigation of the temporal dimension of the space of entanglements has been solidified. During the next two years, the main focus of the composition of the InterAmerican entanglements will be an even more explicit study of the interferences and interrelations of the analysis categories: "Transnational Flows", "Geopolitical Imaginaries" and "Social Productions of the Environment". Correspondingly, the participating researchers focus their attention on the historical dynamics and cycles of the Americas as a space of entanglements and examine the variability of interconnected processes through a diachronic perspective. The central focus of the second funding phase is on a series of long essays, which uses thirteen individual studies to further develop the findings from the first funding phase and organize them specifically into the specialized disciplines.
The project is closely linked to the different course offerings at Bielefeld University. Consequently, research questions and results flow directly into the curriculum of the interdisciplinary Master's program in InterAmerican Studies, the Romance cultures minor, the minor in the History and Culture of Latin America, as well as various other master subjects. Beyond strengthening the aforementioned fields, the research project aims to project the research questions along with their related theories and methodologies into the various disciplines involved.
The InterAmerican space of entanglements within the project, “The Americas as Space of Entanglements”, is seen as spatially transversal, relational, and progressive. The project assumes that the various dynamics of interdependence come with overlapping, conflictual, and divergent consequences for society, culture, politics, and the environment that strongly shape the Americas within transnationalization processes. Out of this fundamental concept of the areas of the Americas, three main lines of research with different priorities have emerged that will analyze the complexity and diversity of the entangled Americas and the impact this has on the mobility of people, goods and ideas, on the conceptualization of space, and the production of environment and nature. In specific terms, these three sub-projects are ‘Transnational Flows’, ‘Geopolitical Imaginaries’ and ‘Social Production of the Environment’. During the first funding phase, scholars worked under the direction of postdoctoral students on individual projects within these thematically focused workgroups, which are now either completed or in their final phases. The tight integration of the individual projects for the synthesis of the overall project took place in a transdisciplinary dialogue by means of regular post-doctoral workshops about the development and communication of terminologies, methodologies, and theories relevant to the concept of the entangled Americas.
Within the scope of the synthesis of the overall project, The Americas as Space of Entanglement(s) aims to create a multi-volume Key Topics Series "Rethinking the Americas" in which, in addition to the project coordinators of The Americas as Space of Entanglement(s), nationally and internationally renowned scholars are involved as co-editors and authors.
Dr. Mirko Petersen
Management of the BMBF-Project „The Americas as a Space of Entanglements“
Center for InterAmerican Studies