Teachers College and Germany’s University of Kiel Sign Research Agreement: Immediate focus is on exploring “culture of anxiety”
Teachers College and the Faculty of Arts and Humanities at Germany’s Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel (CAU), together with the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education (IPN), have signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding as the basis for further intensive research and scholarly cooperation.
At the heart of the agreement is an existing collaboration to explore – from a social science and linguistic point of view – the growing “anxiety culture” in many countries stemming from issues such as immigration, climate change, terrorism and the impact of media in a digital world. The effort is being led by CAU Professor Ulrich Hoinkes, Speaker of the Center on Humanities in Education, and TC’s John Allegrante, Professor of Health Education and a member of the Faculty Steering Committee for the Columbia Global Centers | Paris.
“The ‘Anxiety Culture’ project focuses on the discursive and linguistic devices used to create threatening scenarios as well as the challenges this presents from an educational point of view.”
— Ulrich Hoinkes
“The ‘Anxiety Culture’ project focuses on the discursive and linguistic devices used to create threatening scenarios as well as the challenges this presents from an educational point of view,” Hoinkes said. The project’s work also embraces “other dimensions of world metamorphosis,” including “the use of relative truths and partial veracity as forms of communication, or egocentrism and exclusion, as elements of social order.”
Allegrante added that Europe, and Germany in particular, “is at the center of the Middle East diaspora” resulting from the war in Syria. “You’re seeing the threat of terrorism played out in xenophobic conversations and media portrayals. Our collaboration is about promoting understanding of diversity by exploring the way we talk about and address the perceptions of these issues. We’re particularly interested in the implications for the role of schools and the construction of new curriculum.”
IPN, the Leibniz Institute for Science and Mathematics Education, which is affiliated with CAU and where TC’s Ann Rivet, Associate Professor of Science Education, has been collaborating with colleagues, will play a role in this new partnership, as well as in broader exchanges between TC and CAU in the areas of health, teacher education, and mathematics education and science education.
The TC-Kiel collaboration grew out of an initial visit to TC by Hoinkes three years ago and has been gaining momentum ever since. A “Come Into Touch,” conference was organized in the summer of 2015 and was attended by a delegation of TC faculty that was led by Allegrante. The TC faculty who participated included Rivet, Patricia Martinez Alvarez, Sandra Okita, and Lalitha Vasudevan, and a doctoral student, Timothy Ignaffo. Ignaffo went on to work and teach in residence at CAU to advance the anxiety culture project during the 2015-16 academic year.
“You’re seeing the threat of terrorism played out in xenophobic conversations and media portrayals. Our collaboration is about promoting understanding of diversity by exploring the way we talk about and address the perceptions of these issues. We’re particularly interested in the implications for the role of schools and the construction of new curriculum.”
— John Allegrante
A second conference, titled “Educational Responsibility in Times of Social Crisis”, organized last summer in Kiel, brought TC’s Allegrante and Ignaffo back to CAU to speak and continue forging the connection. With the support of the Hamburg Foundation, the third and most recent meeting was convened at the Seminar Center at Gut Siggen, located in the Holstein region east of Kiel, earlier this month. CAU, TC and other American and German university faculty scholars discussed a range of interdisciplinary perspectives on anxiety culture.
Immediately following the meeting, the MOU signing ceremony, at which Allegrante represented TC’s Office of the Provost, was convened at CAU on July 19. The ceremony was attended by CAU President and Professor Lutz Kipp, Dean of the Faculty and Professor Michael Düring, and IPN Director and Professor Olaf Köller.
The “Anxiety Culture” project will continue to expand this fall at Teachers College through Hoinkes’ presence as a visiting scholar at the College. Meanwhile, Allegrante is working to develop a proposal for the Columbia Global Centers | Paris that would launch a series of symposia on anxiety culture that would be presented at Reid Hall in Paris.
The CAU press release and additional photos can be found here.
Published Wednesday, Jul 26, 2017