The Center

The Center for Intercultural Studies (ZIS) concentrates and initiates research projects, lecture series and symposia which function as mediators between academic departments and disciplines. The Center promotes the study of global cultural phenomena, such as

  • migration and mobility

  • cultural labeling and self-definition

  • cultural contacts and conflicts

  • problems of globalization

  • all forms of difference, esp. gender.

Close to 100 social scientists and other academics at Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz are carrying out interdisciplinary research under the auspices of the Center for Intercultural Studies in about 50 projects. The researchers are analyzing the changes in living conditions that result from emigration/immigration and are investigating the connections between science, politics, and ethnic minorities.

Founded in 1997, the Center aims at generating synergy between the many humanities and cultural studies disciplines at Mainz University. To date, a great number of intercultural and interdisciplinary research projects have been given support. The projects promoted at present range from investigations into historical contacts between cultures through studies of cultural models conveyed by films to current European issues such as the social and cultural development of the younger generations of immigrant workers or the re-shaping of identities in the post-colonial age.

In addition to this research, the Center for Intercultural Studies is active in making the various specializations of these focal research units public – in particular in the form of interdisciplinary events, continuous teacher training, guest lectureships, visiting professorships, and project presentations. One of the Center's main concerns is to find access to the public arena. It collaborates widely with partners in politics and the economy, culture, and society. In previous years, the Center has promoted more than fifty conferences, financed a dozen guest professorships and put on numerous public events with literary figures, artists and musicians in collaboration with cultural organizations, particularly here in Mainz. The Center endeavors to promote intercultural skills across cultures and to create suitable tools to make intercultural expertise available to its relevant practitioners.

ZIS is especially committed to the advancement of junior faculty members and independent scholars. It cooperates with institutions of similar orientation (such as the worldwide Consortium for the Humanities in Milwaukee, Wisconsin), encourages fund-raising efforts, and seeks to collaborate with all organizations which share its goals.