About the Centre for Cultural Inquiry (ZKF)

The Centre for Cultural Inquiry (Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaftliche Forschung, ZKF) with currently 98 members is one of the University of Konstanz’s central research institutions. It was founded by the University Council in 2019 as an interdisciplinary research priority and successor of the Cluster of Excellence "Cultural Foundations of Social Integration" (2006-2019), in order to bundle the university’s research activities in cultural studies. The Konstanz University Press publishing house (KUP) is also part of the ZKF. The five former Cluster professors are the Centre's founding members, and Christina Wald is the Centre's founding director. Researchers at the University of Konstanz who have a doctorate and are working in the field of cultural studies may become members of the Centre upon request.

Application for Membership

You can become a member of the Centre for Cultural Inquiry (ZKF) if you fulfil the following conditions:

  1. Member of the University of Konstanz
  2. A completed doctoral degree
  3. A research interest in the field of cultural studies

Interested parties are requested to send an application for membership as a PDF file with the following content to zkf@uni-konstanz.de:

  •     a short cover letter
  •     a description of your previous and planned research with regard to the ZKF of up to two pages in length
  •     a current CV

The way we view ourselves

The way we view ourselves is expressed in our logo. It takes up aesthetic impulses from the Ulm School around Otl Aicher, who created the logo of the University of Konstanz. We would like to provide all our members a space for opportunity to develop their research in cultural studies and see ourselves - the lines indicate it - as a network that can create intensive interconnections between the diverse subjects, methods and objects of cultural inquiry. Weekly working meetings, invitations to guests and, overall, an open-minded, supportive atmosphere that is conducive to the development of smaller and larger collaborative projects all contribute to achieving this goal.

Specifically, we support ongoing research projects in which our members are engaged and promote ideas for new research initiatives, for example by providing them with start-up funding. Of particular importance to us are the activities and plans of post-doctoral members, who can apply for funds from us to support their ongoing projects as well as for stays abroad.

Our joint activities are based on a broad definition of culture, but we are particularly concerned with self-descriptions and self-perceptions of agents, groups and other social formations. Our focus is especially on the permanent interpretation of processes by their participants, and not just the processes themselves. Accordingly, our logo also suggests mirroring relationships and double structures, but these are deliberately broken. The pictorial language of the logo oscillates programmatically between the semantics of the sequence of letters "ZKF" and a structural formation of lines that is open to interpretation.  

Our Committees

Please find here our committees and the list of their members.

Our research initiatives

Researchers of the Centre are engaged in the following research initiatives:

Completed research initiatives:

  • Balzan Prize Research Group "Reconstructing Memory in the City – Transnational and Local (European) Sites of Memory"
  • BMBF-Research Project "Emergence and social effects of hybrid organizations in local crisis management" (HybOrg)