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Alternative Culture Beyond Borders: Arts and Media in the Context of Globalization

The OSI-HESP Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching entitled Alternative Culture Beyond Borders: Past and Present of the Arts and Media in the Context of Globalization is part of a three-year (2007-2010) international research and teaching project which explores the continued relevance and significance of the concept of alternative culture in the era of globalization a moment in which many of the frameworks that have been used to study culture have been placed into question and new theories are being developed. This exploration of contemporary alternative culture begins from a comparative, cross-cultural analysis of the phenomenon and idea of 'alternativeness' from the nineteenth century to the present, with a special emphasis on the recent history of Central and Eastern European societies after World War II and their similarities and difference to Western 'Cold War' culture.

This project connects resources and faculty from around the world with participants from Central, Eastern and Southeast Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Mongolia. Participants consist of junior faculty with teaching positions who are dedicated to the advancement of undergraduate teaching in these regions. The project is open to young faculty members in institutions of higher education who intend to pursue comparative, interdisciplinary research on alternative culture(s), globalization, identities and the arts and media, with a geographical emphasis on post-communist transition countries.

Fellowships are available for participants from Central and South-Eastern Europe, the Baltic States, NIS, Mongolia, and Turkey. Participant fellowships cover transportation, accommodation and meal costs. Eligible disciplines include anthropology, archival and museum studies, comparative literature, cultural studies, gender studies, history, history of art, media studies, philosophy, political science, psychology, and sociology.

Participants should be ready to take part in the entire three-year program, be committed to the development of new teaching practices and research into new theoretical frameworks, and deliver or plan to deliver courses pertaining to the general themes of the program. They must be able to demonstrate the English language skills necessary to take part in the programme.

The project is organized around intensive 2 week summer sessions which will be held each August beginning in 2007 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The summer sessions provide faculty and participants with the opportunity to investigate the major concepts and theories involved in the analysis of alternative culture, with the aim of expanding and enhancing scholarly knowledge of this area of research.

In addition to the summer sessions, there ongoing winter sessions on pedagogy and research issues will be held. Throughout the year, participants will also engage in both individual and group research projects in cooperation with resource faculty, and they will have opportunity to participate in ongoing major research projects organized by resource faculty and in exchange visits, internships and publishing opportunities.

To apply for the Alternative Culture Seminar, applicants need to create an account at www.alternativeculture.org. Application deadline is 15 May 2007.

This project is organized through the Open Society Institute's Regional Seminar for Excellence in Teaching (ReSET) programme (www.soros.org/initiatives/hesp/news/reset_20060920).

Contact: coordinator@alternativeculture.org or Imre Szeman (szeman@mcmaster.ca) and Olga Zaslavskaya (zaslavsk@ceu.hu).