IPU Berlin and KKC Bochum launch joint Doctoral Colloquium


A joint Doctoral Colloquium between a public and a private university is quite remarkable. The Köhler Foundation and the Foundation to Promote University Psychoanalysis are funding three doctoral projects each through scholarships. The projects are under the topic of Trauma and Collective Violence: Articulation, Negotiation and Recognition. The cooperation between the Hans Kilian and Lotte Köhler Center for Cultural Psychology and Historical Anthropology (KKC) of the Ruhr University Bochum and the IPU Berlin started in 2021.

In their doctoral projects, the six recipients of the scholarships explore various topics with a focus on cultural psychology and psychoanalysis. The scope of the Doctoral Colloquium further expands to perspectives from philosophy, sociology, ethnology, history, literature and media studies. It further includes perspectives from inter- and transdisciplinary fields such as cultural, gender, postcolonial, and religious studies, or critical research on migration and racism.

The concept of trauma and its connection with clinical psychology and psychotraumatology is the central point of reference but also trauma as a “traveling concept”, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Straub explained at the inauguration of the Research Training Group. Together with Prof. Dr. Andreas Hamburger from the IPU, he is the head of the Group. A “traveling concept” refers to the fact that a given term “wanders” through different sciences and discourses and thereby multiplies its meaning. Prof. Dr. Straub notes that in past trauma publications, the term trauma is still relatively concise. However, it can mean all sorts of things today and there are frequent accusations that the term “trauma” is becoming increasingly diluted in its meaning. That said, Prof. Dr. Straub further advises to not work towards some standardization of language by constantly rebuking the term. He asks that the workings of the Group also look very closely at the everyday and imprecise uses of the term trauma. These uses should be understood as indices or symptoms of phenomena that are certainly worth looking at. The use of the term trauma in these instances also indicates what cannot be said precisely but is still worth exploring.

At the opening ceremony of the Doctoral Colloquium on January 28, 2023, the migration researcher Prof. Dr. Aladin El-Mafaalani gave a lecture on the topic of “Between Discrimination and Recognition: Opportunities and Challenges in the Superdiverse (Class) Society”. Against this backdrop, he then entered into a panel discussion moderated by Prof. Dr. Andreas Hamburger with the six recipients of the doctoral scholarship. The lecture can be re-watched online or listened to audio only.

3 February 2023