Special Topics of the Year

In the past, the Zukunftskolleg decided on overarching topics that were of great interest for researchers from all disciplines. These "Topics of the Year" (ToY) were discussed in a Special Series within the weekly Jour Fixe.

The Zukunftskolleg chose its ToY according to both the bottom-up and the top-down principle. E.g. in summer term 2018 the fellows decided to organize three events on the topic "Size". In winter term 2018/19, we picked up "Ageing" - the UBIAS' ToY.

The Zukunftskolleg has been a member of UBIAS (University-Based Institutes for Advances Study) since 2018. UBIAS is a network of about 40 university-based Institutes for Advanced Study worldwide, initiated in 2010. Each year UBIAS member institutes agree on a topic of global importance that is explored through different activities and formats. The 2019 Topic of the Year was "Migration".

Topics of the Year hitherto

Winter Semester 2019/20 - Change, Progress and Complexity

Special Jour fixe Series on topic of the term "Change, Progress and Complexity"

  • 14.01.2020
    "Change, Progress and Complexity" at the Zukunftskolleg
    Open Discussion
    15:15-16:45, Y 326
  •  21.01.2020

    "Change, Progress and Complexity" at the university

    The Future of Work and Labor Market Institutions
    Sebastian Findeisen (Dept. of Economics)

    In today’s conversation, there are many reports and news articles predicting dramatic impacts on the number of jobs which will disappear because of novel technologies and advances in AI and robotics. I first discuss what lies behind these numbers and how we should interpret them. Then I discuss how industrial robots have affected employment and wages in Germany and the US. Esp. given the German experience, I will argue how labor market institutions like strong unions and employment protections laws, which were once considered out of fashion because they decrease dynamism on the labor market, might be among the best and most effective ways to guarantee that the gains from automation and AI are distributed widely in the population.

    Complexity in economic practice: A case for ethnography
    Stefan Leins (Dept. of History and Sociology / Anthropology, focusing on cultures of economy)

    Modern economic market structures and practices are usually said to be complex and thus hard to understand. Indeed, they are many times transnational, multi-layered, and often based on highly specialized expertise. In my talk, I will argue that ethnography – anthropology's method of studying and describing cultural settings – is destined to deconstruct such complex fields and reveal the cultural rationales behind modern economic structures and practices. I will do so by referring to the expert practice of stock market forecasting, which heavily builds upon cultural and social techniques and cannot to be understood without consideration of the "human" that always stands at the center of economic action.

    15:15-16:46, Y 326
  •  28 January 2020
    "Change, Progress and Complexity" regarding Digitalization
    Open Discussion
    15:15-16:46, Y 326

Summer Semester 2019 - Migration

Migration -
Special Jour Fixe Series within the UBIAS’ Topic of the Year 2019

/mʌɪˈɡreɪʃ(ə)n/ is at once a historical constant, a social predicament, a political gambit, a human rights emergency, a geo-political trend, an economic calculus, a literary trope, a highly mediatized phenomenon, and more. It is not limited to human migration but encompasses movement of animals from one region to another as well as the migration of cells within a plant or data migration issues. In this term’s Jour Fixe we want to examine the interdisciplinary scope of migration and disentangle intersections and discrepancies in the different academic disciplines

  • 11 June  2019
    "Animal migration - a quick introduction to the terminology".
    Gisela Kopp ( Biology / Research Fellow)
    "Migration of the white stork"
     Andrea Flack (Biology / Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour)
    15:15-16:46, Y 326
  • 11 June until 12 July 2019 Exhibition "Anima Mundi" by Illustrator George Butler (London)
    Foyer of the Library, University of Konstanz
  • 18 June 2019
    "Human mobility and Internet usage: Evidence from Nigerian micro-level data"
    Maurizio Strazzeri (Economics; Graduate School “Decision Sciences” / Associated Fellow per Doctoral Fellowship)
    Beyond the Border: Transnational Film Culture between Germany and Great Britain”
    John Hoffmann (Literature / Research Visit Fellow)
    15:15-16:46, Y 326
  • 25 June 2019
    Lightning Talks & Discussion on “Migration”
    Midissage of the Exhibition „Anima Mundi“ with George Butler
    BibCafé of the Library, University of Konstanz
  • 6 November 2019
    Migration meets Music
    Lightning Talks on "Migration" and Vernissage of the Exhibition „Anima Mundi“ by George Butler
    Music by the Blue Stockings
    17:00-19:00, Café Mondial, Konstanz

Winter Semester 2018/19 - Ageing

Ageing – Life, Cultures, Civilization -
Special Jour Fixe Series within the UBIAS’ Topic of the Year 2018

“New lines on my face, More white on my head...With Wisdom comes new freedom!”
Haiku by Amira

As we grow older, our organism changes in ways that will reduce our ability to respond to stress, and hereby increasing the homeostatic imbalance and the risk of many medical diseases. These biological changes are accompanied by a range of psychological and social changes such as cognitive and physical decline, dependency on social care and medical treatment.
“Age”, can be addressed and analysed in a broad context and from many disciplinary perspectives. The ways in which we view and interpret signs of aging as well as the age segmentation of the human life span (e.g. when are we considered old?) have changed through history and are subject to major cultural differences.
These and many aspects of “Ageing” were discussed in a Special Jour Fixe Series in December and January. Within this framework we hosted three events and a travelling exhibition:

Summer Semester 2018 - Size

Size -
Special Jour Fixe Series Summer Semester 2018

Winter Semester 2017/18 - How international is academia?

How international is academia? -
Special Jour Fixe Series Winter Semester 2017/18

  • 17 and 24 January 2018
    "How international is academia?"
    At this first part of the special Jour Fixe on 17 January 17 , this issue was dicussed with a broader audience. The open discussion was facilitated by moderator Harald Kühl (die regionauten).
    In the second part, on 24 January 2018, the Fellows were invited to draw implications for our work at the Zukunftskolleg based on the results of the first meeting.