Mission Statement

Located in Munich and Regensburg, our Graduate School intends to create an internationally renowned centre of excellence for East and Southeast European Studies. Our research programme is based on the understanding that modern area studies play an important role in understanding the effects of historical and ongoing globalisation. We support the work of junior researchers in an international and multidisciplinary field of study. It is a research community linking experienced researchers, postdocs and doctoral students in a common vision. Our research and qualification programme has the following aims:

1. Providing the best foundations for doctoral research

Doctoral students form the core of our Graduate School. In order to enable students to develop their own independent research skills at an early stage, we have developed an individualised qualification programme. Alongside teaching in theoretical and methodological areas, our students have the chance to enhance their practical research skills and receive comprehensive support on their individual projects as well as further academic work. Our qualification concept seeks to provide a balance between structure and academic freedom. In this programme we do not concentrate on purely  academic career paths but also prepare our students for careers outside research and teaching.

2. Development in area studies research

Committed to inspiring and impactful research on East and South East Europe, our members seek to use methodologically innovative approaches and be theoretically explorative. Conducting research on this part of the world is not only crucial because of the rapid and wide-ranging transformations the region is undergoing, in an entangled world it would also contribute to key debates in various disciplines and inform other areas of research.

East and South East Europe as well as most modern social and cultural phenomena cannot be understood isolated, but only in the context of its links and (inter)relations with other world regions. As a consequence, the Graduate School pursues the concept of integrated Area Studies. Thus, we collaborate with representatives from related disciplines such as West European Studies, American Studies, Chinese and Japanese Studies, enabling a differentiated, decentralised understanding of the processes around globalisation.

3. Outreach: transfer of knowledge to the general public

Compared to the region’s importance in the European context, the general public’s knowledge of Eastern and Southeastern Europe is disproportionately low. More than two decades after the fall of the iron curtain, many preposterous stereotypes about the region and its individual countries are still firmly embedded in the ‘western’ imagination. Many of the central challenges facing the European Union are connected with Eastern and Southeastern Europe such as the EU Enlargement process or the EU's relations with the Russian Federation. Research on East and Southeast Europe must, therefore, seek opportunities to pass on knowledge to society. This is why we have created a public lecture series called “Forum” which provides events on a wide variety of topics and is open to interested members of the public.

4. National and international networks

The establishment of networks is not only an important area of research, but also one of our main goals. Aside from the two speaker universities, the LMU Munich and the Universität Regensburg, five further non-university research institutions and the Bavarian State Library with its Special Collection East Europe are integrated into the Graduate School. Electronic media has made new forms of academic cooperation possible and it provides new platforms for the publication of research. Our network includes many cooperation partners in Germany and abroad in addition to the presence of visiting international fellows. Since area studies are an interdisciplinary undertaking, we are also active in developing networks between research disciplines as well as making institutional connections.