KWI – Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (Kulturwissenschaftliches Intitut Essen, KWI)


Projects (completed)

Research_area Interculturality

Coordinators: Prof. Dr. Volker Heins, Prof. em. Dr. Hans-Georg Soeffner

Funded by German Research Foundation (DFG), VolkswagenStiftung

The fact that modern societies combine and fuse heterogeneous cultural elements and influences seems natural to us. Hardly anybody still believes in the feasibility, let alone the justice, of complete assimilation as a method whereby strangers would become citizens and outsiders would become insiders. We know that migrants who came yesterday will not only stay, but will also retain many of their manners and mores. In this respect they are not different from us. We also take it for granted to carry our beliefs and attitudes around with us wherever we go – be it as business travelers, scientists, international students, tourists or perhaps as soldiers or NGO volunteers. And finally, we know from our day-to-day lives as well as from the mass media about the potential for conflict that lies in intercultural contact.

But how can modern society and the members of society organize and manage the reality of interculturality? How will pluralistic societies develop under the conditions of cultural and religious globalization and worldwide migration flows? What are the effects of these processes on the politics, economy and society of different world regions? In light of these questions, the projects in the research area "Interculturality" ultimately focus on the conditions and opportunities for a planetary humanism, which accepts all people in their cultural diversity without relying on the old European notion of cultures as bounded, distinct and unified wholes that imprison and determine the behavior of its members.

"Interculturality" operates at a number of levels and in different organizational forms, including project groups, international research cooperation, research training groups, dialogue and fellowship programs, lectures, conferences and workshops as well as the provision of policy advice. The research is primarily based on the Ruhr area, while also including national and international comparison.