About the KWI

The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) Essen, Germany, is an interdisciplinary research centre following the tradition of international Institutes for Advanced Study. In its role as an inter-university institution connecting the Ruhr-University Bochum, the Technological University Dortmund and the University of Duisburg-Essen, the institute works together with researchers and scientists from its neighbouring universities as well as other partners from the federal state NRW and places in- and outside of Germany. Within the Ruhr area, the KWI is a place to share and discuss the questions and results of ambitious research with interested parties from the city and the greater region.

The KWI has continuously re-adjusted its topics according to the agendas of its fellows and leaders. Literary scientist Julika Griem took her office as the new director in April 2018. By this change, the KWI’s research was re-organized into four new fields. The role of language, symbols, images and media for the self-definition and organization of science is to be examined under the heading Cultural Science Studies. In the field Cultural and Literary Sociology we are asking how methods and theories of the philologies and the social sciences can be realigned and freshly combined. The section Science Communication focuses on the analysis of recent problems regarding the challenge of populist attacks against science. The Teaching Lab is to be used to develop new  events and formats that can be exported as prototypes of research-oriented teaching.

The reflection of cultural studies has already made its way into the center of the institute’s work: What can it mean today to do cultural studies between disciplinarily and interdisciplinarily organized knowledge formations? What expectations and requirements regarding relevance and sensemaking are they confronted with? How are their forms of criticism and comment defined; their routines of reading and writing, showing, telling and arguing? Under which social and economic circumstances does our work proceed? How do we find and choose our topics? What systemic constraints, funding logics and unwanted effects influence our research? And can we, eventually, analyze them in a way that offers us the opportunity to possibly change and improve them? Through these questions on the practical and epistemic requirements, foundations and consequences of our work at the KWI, the team addresses an academic and university political field of attention that needs to be shaped in a research-oriented way. As a member of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) and its multi-faceted institutional constellation we see the opportunity to invite open discussions about our working conditions and their social dimension. The situation of young colleagues will play a dominant role in this context. The KWI is meant to serve as a meeting point and discourse arena addressing the needs and questions of early and mid-career scholars.

Beyond all that, a number of diverse research areas have been established at the KWI over the last years. They are being integrated into the new institute conception to continue their work under Julika Griem’s guidance. Part of these are, for instance, the projects found under the keywords Participation Culture and Communication Culture as well as other ones from the category “Individual Projects”.

Upcoming events, new formats, information on the researchers and much more is to be found on the KWI webpage.

We are looking forward to your visit and good cooperation in the Ruhr Area!