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Guidelines for Networking

The Center for Interdisciplinary Polish Studies supports:
  • Poland and the World: Poland-related topics and issues that put Poland in larger (European, post-socialist, but also regional) contexts.
  • Interdisciplinarity: The interdisciplinary use of approaches, concepts, or methodologies. Here, interdisciplinarity is assumed if the research question makes approaches (basic research and/or application) and methods (quantitative and/or qualitative) from other disciplines necessary. Good examples of the balance between quantitative data (statistics, variables, etc.) and qualitative research (discourse analysis, qualitative interviews, etc.) are the transformation studies of the 1990s (see Claus Offe “Dilemma der Gleichzeitigkeit”). This example shows how the Viadrina has, for over twenty-years, supported the tradition of academic research requiring interdisciplinary, European-oriented Polish studies. In the first decade of the EUV, there was the Frankfurter Institut für Transformationsstudien (FIT). Founded by Hans-Jürgen Wagener, Polish studies from the Institute established Frankfurt as a powerful center in the dense field of international transformation studies. Studies from the Institute were based in linguistics, law, economics, sociology, political science, history, or anthropology; they were genuine area studies—interdisciplinary with a focus on East Central Europe. The ZIP aims to continue in this tradition.
  • Area Studies: In the context of the Cold War and decolonization, the role of area studies was originally to analyze and interpret other cultures, to make them more understandable and therefore accessible. Today the study of world regions (area studies) has gained worldwide importance. Due to major social and political developments in the wake of globalization and extensive migration, the knowledge of other cultures and societies has become more important than ever. “Polish Studies” as area studies is more than national or regional studies. Innovative area studies are increasingly taking globalization, culture, economics and politics into view. This trans-disciplinary approach develops and examines issues in many fields. Such an approach is ideal for the ZIP. Home of the ZIP, Frankfurt (Oder)/Slubice is also predestined to creatively develop modern concepts of area studies. Due to the close proximity of Poland and infinite (and daily) exchanges, static understandings of “culture”—still dominant in traditional, regional studies—is being redefined. The genius loci of the Viadrina is an example of how modern area studies is (or should be) understood.