Dresden, Germany

Identity in a Globalised World

when 24 September 2018 - 2 October 2018
language German
duration 2 weeks
fee EUR 200

The concept of identity plays a central role in current social debates and political polarisation. While some describe identity as an open construct that reflects global contexts and cosmopolitan attitudes, others associate the term more closely with the local, the original, the own, in short, with concepts that belong to a sense of ‘home’, whatever form that may take. How can identity in a globally interconnected world be understood in a way that takes the tensions that accompany this interconnection into account? How can institutions of art and culture, in their role as guardians of material culture, react to the current challenges? What understanding of identity shapes these institutions, and what offerings related to identity can they provide?

Museums, archives and libraries often have at their disposal collections with rich traditions containing objects from around the world, as well as access to international networks that confront them with highly diverse points of view regarding their holdings. At the same time, as preservers of cultural heritage, they contribute to a sense of identity in a regional context, and often represent the culmination of processes of self-affirmation and the quest for a sense of belonging. They thus inherently reflect the tension between the local and the global, and the social conflict line connecting these two poles touches them directly.

In its ten-day programme the Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2018 seeks to explore the question of the possible positions that collecting institutions and institutions of cultural memory can adopt in the discourse surrounding identity in today’s globalised world. How do they confront the challenges they face in this context? To what extent do they actively see themselves as shapers of identity, and if so, how is that identity forged? What new concepts exist between a globalised world, on the one hand, and a world of cultures from around the globe on the other? What significance does the question of the institutions’ own identity take on in addressing the provenance of their own collections?

To seek possible answers to these questions, the Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2018 will examine exemplary themes developed to coincide with the current core topics pursued by the participating institutions in their work. For example, we will discuss questions of identity and exclusion in the context of the exhibition ‘Racism: The Invention of Human Races’ at the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum. The ethnological museums, as part of the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, provide the opportunity to critically question a globally oriented view of identity. The relationship between identity and memory will be discussed from the point of view of the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB). Finally, the exhibition ‘Gewalt und Geschlecht. Männlicher Krieg – weiblicher Frieden?’ (Violence and Gender: Male War – Female Peace?) at the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr forms the background for questions regarding the individual development of identity.

As a collaborative project of the Technische Universität Dresden, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum Dresden, the Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr, the Saxon State and University Library Dresden (SLUB), and the Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden, the Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2018 offers a unique opportunity to address theoretical and practical concepts simultaneously. Concrete issues and proposed solutions are discussed during visits to exhibitions and in interdisciplinary workshops. In addition, the programme offers the opportunity for in-depth examination of the participating institutions and discussion with their representatives, as well as vigorous debate with renowned experts and scholars.

The working language of the Summer School is German, although some segments of the programme and individual discussions may be held in English.
We expressly welcome applications from abroad, though advise that candidates should be able to follow lectures in German.

Events at the Summer School are followed in a blog written by participants (http://dss.hypotheses.org/). Applicants to this year’s Summer School are required to compose a few short blog posts during their attendance.

Please send your application per email to: felicitas.von_mallinckrodt@tu-dresden.de. The application should consist of a personal statement and a current CV. The personal statement should be no longer than a page and relate directly to the topic of this year’s Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2018. We expect to have processed all applications by late June.

Course leader


Prof. Dr. Hans Vorländer
Institute for Political Science
Chair for Political Theory and History of Ideas
Dresden University of Technology (TU Dresden)

Target group

Archival and documentation studies, library and information science, ethnology, German studies, history, art history, cultural studies, media studies, museology, philosophy, political science, psychology, sociology, and related subjects.

Participation in the Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School is open to young postgraduates (esp. PhD students, post-docs) from the relevant disciplines, as well as young museum, archive or library professionals.

Fee info

EUR 200: The fee for taking part in the Henry Arnhold Dresden Summer School 2018 is €200 per person. Travel expenses will be covered and accommodation and catering provided.