In Contact with Europe's Borders

The Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar enables pupils to conduct research with the University of Konstanz.

Europe's borders, or rather still, Europe's points of contact and cultural bridges, become a research topic for some 60 pupils from Baden-Württemberg: Beyond the syllabus, pupils will gather at the University of Konstanz on 25 May 2011 to discuss and exchange ideas and opinions in independent working forms regarding the cultural dimensions of European unification. The arts and humanities orientated University Day for school pupils was held as part of the Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar and is organised by the Faculty of Humanities and the Cluster of Excellence "Cultural Foundations of Integration" at the University Konstanz. With a highly diverse and varied programme of presentations, lectures and workshops, pupils are given the opportunity to research side-by-side with lecturers and so experience the latest university research at first hand.

At the centre of the University Day entitled "What Keeps Europe Together? The Cultural Dimension of European Unification" stands the students' independent preoccupation with questions relating to European cultural history. Three workshops enable them to consider the topic of Europe from various perspectives together with the lecturers from the University of Konstanz. Together with Dr. Sven Sappelt, Coordinator of the Master's degree programme "Cultural Foundations of Europe", the pupils work on drawing the borders of Europe: "Europe's borders are by no means crystal clear," explained Sappelt: "Depending on whether they are seen from geographical, historical, political, medial or cultural perspectives, they actually proceed quite differently." Sappelt's workshop on "Europe's borders" addresses the nature of Europe's borders and the associated identity constructs as well as Europe's involvements in non-European developments.

Dr. Özkan Ezli, coordinator of the research project "Narrative Diaspora in German-Turkish literature and German-Turkish film," works with the participants to study "Cultural negotiations in German-Turkish literature and film," The workshop will examine whether cultural entities, such as nation or religion, play such an important role in questions of integration in contrast to how intensively they are negotiated in public debates.

In a third workshop, literary studies scholars Prof. Dr. Silvia Mergenthal and Nicole Falkenhayner ask the title-conferring question: "Is England in Europe and what exactly are Great Britain and Europe?" The workshop aims to get to the roots of seemingly self-evident conceptions of belonging and reflect the discussions about European integration on the basis of the debate over "British" affiliation.

The University Day is introduced with a presentation on "European Memory: Bridges, Blockages, Opportunities" by Prof. Dr. Aleida Assmann, literary studies scholar from Konstanz.

The Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar sets itself the goal of creating educational offerings extending beyond the classroom material for interested grammar school pupils at middle or senior level. The seminar was initiated eleven years ago by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport in Baden-Württemberg as part as a programme to promote young talent and is conceptionally and organisationally supported by the Alexander-von-Humboldt-Gymnasium in Konstanz. In working groups extending across the various schools levels, participants from the Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar spend a year working on lectures, excursions and workshops with selected thematic fields. University Days are a firm part of the concept and create a contact area between actively committed pupils, students and universities. "The fact that the University Days are a successful model can also be inferred from how public the school pupil studies have meanwhile become at the University of Konstanz," is illustrated by Dr. Norina Procopan, Director of the Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar.

The arts and humanities orientated University Day in May follows onto a previous Natural Sciences orientated University Day, which will thematically discuss the human brain and its perceptive processing in February 2011.