GASCA Conference: Call for Workshops now open

The Call for Workshops for the upcoming GASCA conference entitled “Un/Commoning Anthropology”, which will take place from 29 September – 2 October 2025 in Cologne, starts now. GASCA members can submit proposals for workshops, roundtables and labs until 15 September.

Please note!!!
When planning the conference, we as the board have decided to work together with the British service provider NomadIT, which many of you will already know from other European conferences or the GASCA conference in Bremen. The CfW will already run via the NomadIT software, i.e. all proposals will not be sent to the GASCA office as a Word document as usual, but will be entered directly into the NomadIT online form.

At the beginning it is necessary that you register as a user.  Unless you already have a NomadIT account from other conferences (EASA, VAD, ECAS…).

There will be a separate “Call for Exhibition and Audiovisual Interventions” at a later date.

We look forward to your suggestions.

All best

Your GASCA board in Cologne

Workshop on secondary publications

GASCA members are invited to the following workshop:

May I upload this? Publications in Social Anthropology between paywall and free access

24 June 2024, 15-16:30, online

Many scholarly publications that have been published in books or journals in the traditional way can be subsequently published in open access and sustainably archived, to be findable and reusable online.

The online workshop focuses on secondary publications, also known as Green Open Access or self-archiving. Why is it worthwhile for researchers to release their publications for open re-use? Under what legal and contractual conditions may their own texts be made available online? Where can secondary publications be deposited and what support do libraries, repositories and open access organisations offer?

The online workshop is organised by the specialist societies DGEKW and GASCA for their members and is organised by the DFG-funded project EthnOA – Open Access (sub-project of the FID SKA) and the BMBF-funded project open-access.network. In addition to an introduction participants will have the opportunity to ask open questions in a Q&A session.

The workshop will take place on 24. June 2024 from 15-16:30 in Webex.

If you are interested, please register for the event event by 20 June 2024 via the DFN booking tool (https://t1p.de/2ctq9). The event is free of charge, the number of participants is limited.

If you have any questions about the event, please send an email to Dr Kathleen Heft (EthnOA project, kathleen.heft@ub.hu-berlin.de) or to Linda Martin (open-access.network project, linda.martin@open-access-berlin.de).

 

Statement of the Board on Academic Freedom in Germany

12.2.24

As the Executive Board of the German Society of Social and Cultural Anthropology (GASCA), we would like to voice our grave concern over the fact that researchers working in Germany are finding their fundamental rights to academic freedom and freedom of expression increasingly restricted. Both, research and international academic exchange are at risk of being impaired if renowned researchers who work internationally and who come to Germany with different political commitments and persuasions are told that they cannot freely pursue their work or make public statements in Germany.

We emphasize the absolute necessity of combating antisemitism, racism and islamophobia in Germany and worldwide. However, this cannot be achieved through the surveillance of academics, their academic work or statements they make as private persons, as has now been brought to our attention in several cases from Germany, Austria and Switzerland. We are concerned to see how academics, in particular those who come to Germany from contexts where political discussions are held differently, and/or those who are precariously employed, have to fear for their reputation or feel restricted in their freedom of expression when they comment on the Israel/Palestine conflict. Disputes over the Israel/Palestine conflict cannot be understood exclusively by means of theories of critiques of antisemitism. It is necessary and legitimate to take into account the historical, political, religious, cultural, economic, ethnic and nationalist dimensions of the conflict. The marginalization of academics who exercise their academic freedom and freedom of opinion as enshrined in German Basic Law must not become the vehicle through which debates are shaped in this country; on the contrary, these acts of marginalization prevent necessary debates.

The terror, war and destruction in Israel/Palestine and the immeasurable suffering on all sides has provoked an intensification of political positioning and polarized public debate. This is particularly true of debates on social media platforms such as Facebook and X (formerly known as Twitter). These intensifications can become problematic if they reduce complex discussions to a few characters and are instrumentalized for simplistic, often tendentious attacks. We are seeing our public sphere shaped by reductionist judgements of socially complex conflict dynamics and indiscriminate accusations of antisemitism that lead increasingly to the breakdown of conversations. This is why we insist that one of the core tasks of universities, research institutes and cultural institutions must be to maintain spaces for difficult discussions in highly polarized social moments. Linked to these tasks is the responsibility to take a stand against all forms of antisemitism, racism and islamophobia, all of which destroy the foundations of democratic coexistence and cooperation. If universities and research institutions do not succeed in cultivating spaces for discussion, including also discussions where we might disagree with each other, and if they cannot counter hasty condemnations with open debates, they contribute to destroying trust in democratic publics and play right into the hands of extremist populism.

We are deeply concerned over the attacks that renowned and internationally respected intellectuals such as Masha Gessen and Ghassan Hage are facing in Germany. As social and cultural anthropologists in Germany, we are convinced that debates in academic and civil society circles need to renew their commitment to discussion, dissent, and cooperation across difference in order to enable constant shifts in perspective and to challenge epistemic and political certainties. We urge universities and research institutions to commit themselves to building and maintaining spaces for discussion and encounter, which welcome plurality and contradiction. Only in such spaces can variously positioned, carefully reasoned and empirically founded perspectives be developed and mutually criticised, in order for us to learn from each other.

pdf version

Info meeting about NFDI on 25.4. 10a.m.

Dear all,

GASCA and DGEKW invite everyone interested to a digital talk with consortia of the National Research Data Infrastructure Germany (NFDI), Thursday, 25 April from 10 to 12a.m.

This is the second meeting of its kind. The first one took place in June last year. A lot has happened in the meantime and new consortia have been added. Hence, the following questions become relevant:

  • What is the actual state of the consortia Text+, KonsortSWD und NFDI4Culture?
  • What experiences have been made and what kind of services have been developed for Social and Cultural Anthropology?
  • What are the new consortia NFDI4Memory und NFDI4Objects?
  • And what potentials do they have for our disciplines?

The NFDI aims to network existing digital infrastructures and data collections, establish sustainable research data management and further develop services for handling research data and research data archiving. To this end, so-called consortia are promoted in the competition procedure, which are organised primarily along the lines of subjects or subject groups. In this sense, the work of NFDI consortia with close professional ties – some of which were already supported by the DGEKW and GASCA in the application phase with letters of support – and the processes and standards negotiated there are relevant for our disciplines:

NFDI4Memory History
NFDI4Objects for material remains of humankind
KonsortSWD Data for social, educational and behavioural sciences
Economic sciences like Qualidata Network
NFDI4Culture Data of material and immaterial cultural goods
Text+ text and language based research data
Evaluation of the data collection of an underdescribed African language

With ethnographic and qualitative, but also historical materials, our disciplines can contribute special features and a diverse spectrum of data to the work of the consortia. At the same time, we have specific needs that we should articulate in the process so that they are taken into account.

With this event, we would like to promote further exchange with the consortia and the mutual level of knowledge as well as improve networking. We asked the consortia to provide insights into their focus, objectives and concrete work and to report on their experiences. The focus is then on questions and a joint discussion on how and in what forms and formats exchange and cooperation can be organised in the future.

Position paper on academic mid- level faculty and WissZeitVG

The board supports the position paper of academic mid- level faculty, which was drafted by the working group “Public Anthropology” and the status group “non-professoral research and teaching” of the DGEKW. The background to this is the planned reform of the German Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act (WissZeitVG), which regulates the time limit practice for doctorates and the post-doc phase. The fact that there are hardly any job profiles outside of professorships that promise predictability and security remains a problem.

The topic has been on the Executive Board’s agenda since 2021. Several letters of protest were written and signed to the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger. See here our notification from June 2022.