Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

Breadcrumb Navigation


Change in an interdisciplinary Perspective

19.09.2017 – 26.09.2017

"Change in an interdisciplinary Perspective" was title and topic of the Summer School 2017, which the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies and the Honours Masters’ Programme "East European Studies" again jointly organized. It took place 19 to 26 September, 2017 in the Russian metropolis St. Petersburg. Local cooperation partner was the Higher School of Ecomomics (HSE) represented by Prof. Alexander M. Semyonov, Ph.D.

Change happens all the time, but there is no general theory how Change is driven. Our knowledge of Change is fragmented and there are no comprehensive answers of how to achieve or how to manage Change. The summer school does not assert to provide handy theories to answer these questions, but will deal with the complexity of Change. The approach of the summer school will be multidisciplinary: history, literature, and social sciences will come together to discuss semantics, logics, and functions of Change.

For Historians and Scholars of Literature and also for Social Scientists it is fundamental, that the analysis of Change cannot be separated from the interpretation and narration of it. Theories of Change like the Theory of Modernization have been highly influential on the subject itself.

Basic elements of the epistemology of Change are narratives of the main direction of it:

Teleological narratives, which see change as progressive and undirectional,
Cyclical narratives, which argue that periods of peace and prosperity must come to an end in catastrophes, which resets the order of the world,
Episodic narratives, which view Change as unpredictable in timing and direction.

The summer school had four study groups, which focused on different dimensions of change:

Historical Change in Empires
History of Environmental Change
Change in Literature Studies
Change in Sociological Theories and Studies