The early 2020s: A Watershed in the Global Condition?

27. – 29. April 2022 | on-site in Leipzig & online

A pandemic lasting more than two years, the urgency of climate change, a brutal war in Eastern Europe - crises are condensing and raise the question of whether the framework for social transformations is fundamentally shifting. Has globalisation, as it has become the focus of attention since the late 1980s, come to its end? Is there a retreat from the ambitious goal of ever denser global interdependencies? Or are the global challenges becoming even more urgent and calling even more strongly than in the past for answers that must be found together internationally? But how does this reconcile with a neo-imperialism that shifts attention from biodiversity and emissions reduction to the expansion of military capacities?

These are the questions that the Leipzig Research Centre Global Dynamics is addressing and will be focusing on at its upcoming annual conference from 27 to 29 April 2022. In order to find answers, historical experience will be drawn upon along with a comparative view on different world regions in which the caesura of the global framework is taking effect in very different ways. However, these differences cannot hide the fact that war in Ukraine and hunger in parts of Africa are just as connected as the transformation of the Amazon is to the fate of island states in the Pacific.

In her opening lecture, Susanna Hecht (Los Angeles) will explore the consequences that can be expected from the transformation of the Brazilian rainforest as examples of forms of collapse in and underpinning global dynamics and thus inspire the debate in a total of 14 thematic panels looking for the new global dynamics of our decade.

Conference Programme

Conference Opening & Keynote Lecture


6:00 - 6:15 pm Words of Welcome by Prof. Dr. Eva Inés Obergfell, Rector of Leipzig University

6:15 - 6:30 pm Opening of the Annual Conference by Prof. Dr. Matthias Middell, Director of ReCentGlobe & Prorector of Leipzig University

What Amazon collapsology can teach us about history, globalization and tipping points (Susanna Hecht)

6:30 – 7:30 pm Keynote Lecture by Prof. Dr. Susanna Hecht (Los Angeles)



The questions of collapsology are enjoying a prominence given the increasing visibility of climate change, the volatilities of globalizations, and local precarity in environmental, social and economic terms. This talk explores these issues through a series of Amazonian "collapses" that had far reaching consequences whether from demographic collapse with European contact, through the collapse of the rubber economy, and into the current dynamics of land use change which may push Amazonian forests into a tipping point where it no longer functions as a tropical forest, and shifts into a Savanna. By looking at socioecologies and their implications, this talk explores some of the broader implications of systemic socio-environmental shocks, and how these pay out at regional, global and planetary scales.


Biographical Note

Dr Susanna Hecht is Professor in the Luskin School of Public Affairs at UCLA and International History at the Graduate Institute for Development Studies in Geneva. A scholar whose work embraces the natural, social sciences and environmental humanities, her work focuses on political ecology and land use change in the American tropics, using methods that range from indigenous knowledge systems to remote sensing, with a strong focus of the distributional and social justice outcomes of current land transformations. She has been the recipient of numerous prestigious fellowships and Grants (MacArthur Guggenheim, Heinz, Institute for Advanced Study, NASA among many others) ands is the author of many award winning books, including "Scramble for the Amazon" which won the best book in Environmental history from the American Historical Association in 2015. 


Intercity Hotel LeipzigTröndlinring 2, 04105 Leipzig
conference room Brühl 1 + 2 Ground floor


Wednesday, 27 April 22, 7:30 pm | Open Conference Reception

at Intercity Hotel Leipzig, Tröndlinring 2, 04105 Leipzig Conference room Brühl 1 + 2 (Ground floor) 

Thursday 28 April 2022, 9:00-11:00 am | Parallel Panel Slot I

Nature, Resources, and Development: Historical Perspectives on the Global Environment”


Corinna Unger (Florence)

Participants/ Contributions:

  • Tomás Bartoletti (Florence), “Pest Control and Commodity Frontiers: Global Dynamics of Economic Entomology“
  • Simone Müller (Munich), “‘A Symbiotic Relationship’: Industrial Waste Exports to the Global South and International Development Schemes“
  • Rohan D’Souza (Kyoto), “Limits to Boundaries: Environmental Histories of South Asia and Sustainability in the Anthropocene“

  • Corinna Unger (Florence), “Introduction: Histories of Environment and Development“


The fact that global dynamics are not exclusively shaped by human beings but by environmental conditions, too, is slowly but surely gaining in acceptance, as the effects of climate change are becoming better understood and more precisely identified. The discussion about the concept of the Anthropocene has triggered awareness that consumption patterns have a direct impact on the planetary condition. This insight is relevant not only with regard to concerns about the future but also with regard to our understanding of the past. Against this background, the panel aims to demonstrate how global history can engage fruitfully with environmental and material history. It does so by focusing on the interrelation between perceptions of nature, the uses of natural resources, and notions of development.

The understanding that socioeconomic development depends and thrives on the availability of what are commonly regarded as natural resources has been a cornerstone of twentieth-century development thinking. While much has been written about development policies and practices in recent years, the effects of development projects on the natural environment and the underlying conceptions of nature have been neglected to a large degree. The panel aims to fill this gap by bringing together scholars who have studied different aspects of environmental and development histories in the long twentieth century. By focusing on the intersection between global, environmental, and material histories, the panel offers the basis for a conceptual discussion on how historical perspectives can inform contemporary discussions about new (or not so new) global dynamics. 

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Brühl 2” (28 April 9-11 am)

via Zoom

Rise of Chinese infrastructure investments in Europe and the New Cold War


  • Thilo Lang (Leipzig)
  • Lela Rekhviashvili (Leipzig)
  • Margot Schüller (Hamburg)


  • Lela Rekhviashvili (Leipzig), Thilo Lang (Leipzig), “Are Chinese infrastructure investments special? Competition and collaboration between rival hegemonic powers in financing and developing large-scale infrastructure projects in Georgia”

  • Margot Schüller (Hamburg), “Competing Connectivity Strategies: Challenges and Prospects for European Union–China Collaboration on Transport Infrastructure”

  • Kean Fan Lim (Newcastle), “From the city of steel to Germany’s ‘China City’: Economic restruc- turing, the EU-China transcontinental railway, and infrastructure-led development in Duisburg”

  • Andy Pike (Newcastle), “Beyond Belt and Road: new research directions in the geographical political economy of Chinese global infrastructural investments”


Already by the end of 2010s numerous scholarly interventions stressed how large-scale infrastructures emerged as a key response to economic crises, and a flagship developmental strategy across the globe, leading scholars to talk of ‘infrastructural turn’(Dodson, 2017) and a new regime of ‘infrastructure-led  development’(Schindler & Kanai, 2021).  China’s Belt and Road Initiative, kickstarted in 2013, served as a an example of  “the largest infrastructure project since the Marshall Plan”(Apostolopoulou, 2021, p. 831) and triggered concerns about a range of political and economic threats in the USA and European Union. Yet, it was in 2021 that the discourse of a ‘New Cold War’ entered policy debates as well as academic discussions (Schindler et al., 2021), indicating increasing competition between old and emerging hegemonic powers over who will shape large-scale infrastructural integration schemes and therefore take a lead in orchestrating the flows of goods, services and finance. With an openly declared goal of countering China’s mega infrastructural integration project, the USA and European Union have put forward own large-scale infrastructure projects, with President Biden presenting ‘Build Back Better World’ (b3w) partnership in Spring 2021, and European Union launching ‘Europe Gateway’ in Autumn 2021. This panel discussed responses of EU institutions, national and subnational authorities in Europe’s core, EU-member Eastern Europe and non-member Southern and Eastern neighborhood countries to the unfolding of the infrastructure-led development. It connects discussions on the transnational geopolitical and geoeconomic rivalry to the micro-level unfolding of large-scale infrastructures in real and lived spaces, primarily focusing on Chinese infrastructural investments and its contestations in Europe.  

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Neue Börse“ (28 April 9:00-11:00 am)

via Zoom

War against Ukraine: New Dynamics of Power Politics and its Gendered Effects


  • Maren Röger (Leipzig)
  • Frank Hadler (Leipzig)


  • Jan Zofka (Leipzig)
  • Olena Petrenko (Bochum)
  • Svitlana Teluha (Leipzig)


Over the last years, right behind the eastern border of the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, there has been an increase in Russian great power politics. The Belarusian pro-Russian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has been supported by Vladimir Putin despite massive political protests throughout the country since 2020. Following the illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, attempts to destabilize Ukraine have been made, together with the installation of the separatist “Peoples Republics” Luhansk and Donetsk. With the attack on the entire territory of Ukraine, carried out with unbelievable brutality since 24 February of this year, there is war in Europe again, which does not remain limited to a region, but has a global dimension.

In our panel, we discuss the trajectories of Russian power politics in the region since the dissolution of the Soviet Union and reconsider the relations of Moscow-based power structures with local actors. A specific focus of the panel is gendered aspects of the war on very different levels: from gender-specific concepts of fighting and sexualized violence to the role of diversity rights in Ukrainian and Russian self-understandings and state propaganda. 

Our speakers are Dr. Jan Zofka (GWZO), who has researched post-Soviet territorial conflicts,  Dr. Olena Petrenko (RUB Bochum), a specialist on female armed resistance in Ukraine, and Prof. Svitlana Teluha (National Technical U Kharkiv, now Moldova Institute Leipzig). Prof. Frank Hadler and Prof. Dr. Maren Röger (both GWZO/Leipzig U), in their introduction and comments, will discuss the dialectics of new global dynamics and gendered aspects of the new war in Eastern Europe in a historical dimension. 

Location: Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa, Leipzig (GWZO); Specks Hof (Entrance A), 4th Floor, Reichsstraße 4–6, 04109 Leipzig, Conference-Room

via Zoom

Forschungskompetenz, Innovationsfähigkeit, Tenure-Track-Programm, #IchbinHanna - was bedeutet Exzellenz in der wissenschaftlichen Qualifikationsphase?


Martina Keilbach (Leipzig)



  • Antje Dietze (Leipzig)
  • Katja Castryck-Naumann (Leipzig)
  • Thorben Pelzer (Leipzig)
  • Matthias Middell (Leipzig)


Postdocs stellen wohl die heterogenste Statusgruppe innerhalb Hochschulen und Forschungseinrichtungen dar und es ist nicht verwunderlich, dass nur wenig Daten über Rolle, Aufgaben und Anforderungen vorliegen und diese nicht klar definiert sind. Damit einher geht auch der Befund, dass die Bedarfe an Unterstützungsformen für Postdocs schwer generalisierbar und in einem Curriculum abbildbar sind.

Da die Postdoc-Laufbahn (wir verstehen unter Postdocs wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiter:innen, die sich nach der Promotion an der Uni oder den außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen weiterqualifizieren, z. B. im Rahmen einer Habilitation und den vielen anderen Formaten) nicht zwangsläufig in einer dauerhaften Stelle im akademischen Bereich endet, ist es Teil der institutionellen Verantwortung von Hochschulen und Forschungseinrichtungen, dies zu berücksichtigen und ihre berufliche Entwicklung zu unterstützen, nicht zuletzt auch aus innerinstitutionellem Interessen mit Hinblick auf eine universitätseigene Exzellenzstrategie.

Ergebnisse einer Umfrage der European University Association aus 2021 zeigen, dass sich Programme für die Postdoc-Phase auf die Schulung von Forschungskompetenzen (akademisches Schreiben, Projektmanagement) und die Beantragung von Forschungsmitteln konzentriert. Doch wie unterstützend sind solche Programme für Postdocs auf dem Weg zur Exzellenz? Und welchen Einfluss haben Postdoc-Programme auf die Exzellenzstrategien von Universitäten und wie profitieren Wissenschaftler:innen von diesen Maßnahmen auf dem Weg zur Exzellenz?


Location:  Intercity Hotel “Brühl 1” (28 April 9:00 - 11:00 am)

via Zoom

(panel in German) 

Thursday 28 April, 11:15 am - 12:45 pm | Conference Lunch

at Intercity Hotel Leipzig Restaurant (Tröndlinring 2, 04105 Leipzig)

Thursday 28 April 2022, 1:00-3:00 pm | Parallel Panel Slot II

Which Global History for the 2020s?


Matthias Middell (Leipzig)


  • Matthias Middell (Leipzig), “The World after the Cambridge World History”

  • Catherine Jami (Paris), “The Visit of the Emperor of China to the Astronomical Observatory of Nanjing in March 1689”

  • Chair and Discussant: Katja Castryck-Naumann (Leipzig)


Global History has developed into a very if not the most popular sub-discipline or approach in historiography since the 1990s and this was related to the prominence of the globalization paradigm which came more and more under attack over the past decade. Global history, however, remains for various reasons resilient to some of these criticisms (as for ex. an exaggerated presentism, the Western or Eurocentric bias as well as the neglect of postcolonialism). Other weaknesses have been identified already such as the anthropocentric nature of many global histories or a certain tendency to emphasize connections over power relations and geopolitics. In order to answer the general question of the conference, the panel will ask which sort of global history seems appropriate when departing from the new constellations of the early 2020s.

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Brühl 2“ (28 April 2022, 1:00 - 3:00 pm)

via Zoom

Rassismus als globales oder nationales Problem?


Gert Pickel (Leipzig)


  • Gert Pickel (Leipzig)

  • Maria Alexopolou (Berlin)

  • Yasemin Shooman (Berlin)

  • Moderation: Susanne Kailitz (Dresden)


Selbst wenn das Thema schon lange auf der Tagesordnung demokratischer Gesellschaften steht, kann 2021 als ein Durchbruch verstanden werden. Nicht nur in Deutschland, mit einem 94-Punkte-Plan zur Bekämpfung von Rassismus und Rechtsextremismus, etablierte sich die Diskussion um eine erfolgreiche Bekämpfung von Rassismus in der öffentlichen Auseinandersetzung. Gerade Erfahrungen und Ereignisse in den USA, wie auch eine dortige Mobilisierung im Rahmen der Black Lives Matter Bewegung wirkten dabei als Katalysator. Doch nicht überall traf die international verflochtenen antirassistische Bewegung auf Offenheit und Zustimmung. So wie auch Demokratien sich schwer tun strukturellen und institutionellen Rassismus anzuerkennen, wird in anderen Ländern gar ein weitreichender Rassismus ausgeübt. Die Frage, die sich stellt, ist, wie stark ist Rassismus oder sind Rassismen noch verbreitet, wie kann Ihnen entgegengearbeitet werden und welche internationalen Verflechtungen liegen vor?

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Neue Börse“(28 April 2022, 1:00 - 3:00 pm)

via Zoom

(panel in German) 

28 April 2022, 3:30 - 6:00 pm | Parallel Panel Slot III

Health in the Global Condition – Arenas of the Planetary


Caroline Meier zu Biesen (Leipzig), Nina Mackert (Leipzig)


Laura-Elena Keck (Leipzig)


  • Silke Guelker / Nina Mackert (Leipzig), Introduction: “Covid-19 as a Planetary Health Problem”

  • Nina Mackert (Leipzig), “Interrogating the Planetary Health Diet”

  • Claudia Lang / Caroline Meier zu Biesen (Leipzig), “Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and the Planetary”

  • Michelle Mart (Pennsilvania, Berks), “Re-Thinking How the Global Food System Impacts Health: Failures from Recent American History”

  • Lucilla Barchetta (Venice), “HealthXCross. Reconfigurations of Health in the Age of Big and Open Data”


The global Covid-19 pandemic has been momentous not merely in terms of transforming global health, but in conjoining a range of issues concerning human-environment relations, sustainable consumption, and global inequality. In the frame of planetary thinking, a global pandemic of this magnitude had long been predicted as a consequence of natural evolution, climate changes, or human encroachment in previously undisturbed ecosystems.

In this panel, we will, firstly, trace how narratives of “planetary health,” oftentimes being represented as a novel conceptual framework to address the wellbeing and future of humans and ecosystems alike, surface in and shape contemporary proclamations of global crises. We do so by addressing three conspicuous crises of our time which have global significance, and accentuate interlinked human and more-than-human wellbeing on a planetary scale in different ways: Increasing non-communicable diseases, concerns about mal/undernutrition and 'obesity', and poorer mental health and wellbeing.

Secondly, we will discuss to what extent the notion of “the planetary” constitutes a novel paradigm of thinking about health in the global condition and what different kinds of globalization projects it engenders. Thereby, the panel not only seeks to emphasize the significance of health as an indispensable field of analyzing the global condition, but also to push the boundaries of researching global dynamics towards the planetary.

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Brühl 1“ (28 April 2022, 3:30 - 6:00 pm)

via Zoom

Roundtable: Reconsidering AU/ECOWAS responses to UCGs: The recent wave of coups d’état in Africa

Round Table organized by the BMBF research network “African non-military conflict intervention practices (ANCIP)”


Ulf Engel (Leipzig)


  • Ambassador Said Djinnit (Brussels)

  • Ulf Engel (Leipzig)

  • Christof Hartmann (Duisburg-Essen)

  • Antonia Witt (Frankfurt)


Since August 2020 the African continent has witnessed serious setbacks in its collective efforts to strengthen principles of democratic rule, good governance, and human rights, especially in the West African region. Successful coups d’état were staged in Burkina Faso, Chad, Guinea, and twice in Mali. Military efforts to seize power failed in Benin, the Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, and Niger, while Sudan saw both a failed and successful coup. The African Union and the relevant Regional Economic Communities (RECs) invoked their respective policy scripts on so-called unconstitutional changes of government (UCGs) and suspended these countries from their organisations. However, in none of these cases did a return to constitutional order occur. Some observers have therefore called to carefully rethink and revise the policies on UCGs guiding both the African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). The Round Table will review these developments and discuss the policy options at hand.

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Brühl 2“ (28 April 2022, 3:30 - 6:00 pm)

via Zoom

Rechtspopulismus, Rechtsextremismus, Ende der Demokratie?


Gert Pickel (Leipzig)


  • Michael Minkenberg (Frankfurt / Oder)

  • Ursula Birsl (Marburg)

  • Steffen Kailitz (Dresden)

  • Johannes Kiess (Leipzig)

  • Moderation: Alexander Yendell (Leipzig)


Mehr und mehr zeichnet sich ab, dass der Siegeszug der extremen Rechten zu einer Gefahr der Demokratie wird. Gerade der Schulterschluss der Rechtspopulist:innen und Rechtsextremen mit Impfgegnern und Pandemie-Leugnern zeigt einerseits die Erweiterung der Mobilisierbarkeit für rechte Themen und andererseits ihre klare Ablehnung der liberalen Demokratie. Die Vernetzungen der extremen Rechten in Europa und auch weltweit, werden dabei an verschiedenen stellen sichtbar. Wenn der slowenische Premierminister Janes Jansa Victor Orban als sein Vorbild nennt und Donald Trump in den USA seine Unterstützer:innen für die nächste Wahl sammelt, wirft dies für die Zukunft der weltweiten Demokratie Fragen auf. Wie erfolgreich wird die extreme Rechte in der Mobilisierung von Wähler:innen sein, wo wird Sie an die Macht kommen und was ist dann zu erwarten? Das Panel nimmt sich vor diese Fragen mit vier ausgewählten Expert:innen zum Thema zu diskutieren.

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Neue Börse“ (28 April 2022, 3:30 - 6:00 pm)

via Zoom

(panel in German)

Globality and German Memory Culture


Julius Wilm (Leipzig) 


  • Amir Theilhaber (Bielefeld), “Hitler and Palestine at Documenta 2022. Problems of Trans- lations between Memory Spaces”

  • Eva Bischoff (Trier) and Anja Schwarz (Potsdam), “German-Australian Naturalists and the Multiple Trajectories of Colonial Memories”

  • Julius Wilm (Leipzig), “Global Impulses, National Historiographies: Carl Schurz and the Recent Historical Reckoning in the United States and Germany”


The global consternation over the May 2020 police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis strengthened an already existing worldwide impetus to address and work against existing racist structures. As part of this “reckoning,” national memory cultures have been reevaluated and screened for problematic content in recent years. Some street names are changed, and statues are removed from public spaces. There are calls for the return of looted exhibits in museums and compensation to groups that have suffered particular historical injustices. Modern cultures of memory strive to be anti-racist and informed by global history.

This panel explores questions that arise as cultures of memory are critically redefined. Although there has been a worldwide turn toward critical reflection on histories of colonialism, racial oppression, antisemitism, and violence, perspectives continue to diverge—sometimes along national lines, which continue to structure many historiographies. Addressing different aspects of German memory, the panel explores to what extent the global impulse to address past and present injustices is itself at times constrained by predominantly national lenses and subject matters.

Location: Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa, Leipzig (GWZO); Specks Hof (Entrance A), 4th Floor, Reichsstraße 4–6, 04109 Leipzig, Conference-Room (28 April 2022, 3:30 - 6:00 pm)

via Zoom

Thursday 22 April 22, 6:30 pm​ | Keynote Lecture

Three authoritarianisms: Globalization resets

6:30 – 7:30 pm Keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Jan Nederveen Pieterse (Santa Barbara)

Covid, inflation and war come with reshuffling in multiple directions. The rule of power looms larger and speaks louder than the rule of international law. Key variables in dealing with Covid (knowledge, state capability, social cooperation) are keynotes also in war. Propaganda, polarization and escalation cloud knowledge, hamper state capability and widen gaps between narrative and delivery. Concentration of power yields concentration of failure. Failing states provide lessons of failure. Obstacle lessons include relapse in binary thinking and aggregate categories.

Biographical note

Jan Nederveen Pieterse is Mellichamp Distinguished Professor of Global Studies and Sociology at University of California Santa Barbara. He specializes in globalization, development studies and global political economy. Recent books are Multipolar globalization (2018), Globalization and culture (2019, fourth edition), Connectivity and global studies (2020), Covid-19 and Governance (2021). 

Location: Intercity Hotel, Tröndlinring 2, 04105 Leipzig, Conference room, „Brühl 1+2“

via Zoom

Thursday 28 April 2022, 7:30 pm | Conference Dinner

at Intercity Hotel Leipzig (Tröndlinring 2, 04105 Leipzig) Restaurant 

29 April 2022, 9:00 - 11:30 am | Parallel Panel Slot IV

Roundtable Discussion: Die globale Diffusion und lokale Diversifikation konkurrierender Episteme vor dem Hintergrund der Covid-19-Pandemie


Christoph Kleine (Leipzig)


  • Christoph Bochinger (Bayreuth)
  • Andreas Grünschloss (Göttingen)
  • Silke Gülker (Leipzig)
  • Christoph Kleine (Leipzig; Einführung und Moderation)
  • Alexander Leistner (Leipzig)
  • Gert Pickel (Leipzig)


Seit Beginn der Covid-19-Krise wird in Politik, Medien und Öffentlichkeit immer wieder über mögliche langfristige soziale, wirtschaftliche und politische Folgen der Pandemie spekuliert. Die Frage, ob die Pandemie eine historische Zäsur markiert, als Katalysator für globale Transformationen wirkt oder lediglich bestehende Probleme und Konfliktzonen offenlegt, kann erst in einigen Jahren rückblickend beurteilt werden. Weitgehend unstrittig ist, dass die Pandemie wie ein Brennglas neue globale Dynamiken zumindest deutlicher sichtbar gemacht hat. Der Streit um die Angemessenheit der Maßnahmen zur Pandemiebekämpfung und seit 2021 vor allem die Debatte um eine einrichtungsbezogene oder allgemeine Impfpflicht, haben gezeigt, dass in den Gesellschaften dieser Welt unterschiedliche Positionen nicht nur von staatlichen und zivilgesellschaftlichen Akteuren und Lobbygruppen formuliert werden – das wäre normal und keineswegs neu. Neu scheint jedoch – zumindest in Bezug auf Sichtbarkeit und Reichweite – zu sein, dass diese Positionen oft auf der Basis von miteinander unvereinbaren Wissens- und Wertesystemen begründet werden. Was die einen als gesichertes Wissen ansehen, betrachten andere als „Fake News“, denen „alternative Fakten“ entgegengesetzt werden. Dies gilt sowohl für Annahmen über die Ursachen der Pandemie als auch für die Bewertung der Maßnahmen zu ihrer Bekämpfung.

Bemerkenswert sind u.a. der Grad der Vernetzung und die globale Reichweite alternativer Episteme durch die Nutzung digitaler Medien. Damit einher geht ein deutlicher Zugewinn an subjektiver („wir sind viele“) und objektiver (Medienpräsenz; politische Reaktion) Bedeutung und Legitimität alternativer Erkenntnis- und Orientierungsweisen. Die neuen Kommunikationsmedien eröffnen auch für lokal eher marginalisierte und isolierte Individuen ungeahnte Möglichkeiten, „Resonanz“ zu erzeugen und damit Handlungsfähigkeit zu gewinnen. Akteure, die in ihrem unmittelbaren sozialen Umfeld über wenig soziales und kulturelles Kapital verfügen, sehen sich nun als aktiver und wirksamer Teil einer großen oder gar globalen Diskursgemeinschaft. Auf der anderen Seite besetzen Menschen, die bereits in den sozialen Medien aktiv und meinungsbildend waren, neue Themenfelder und erreichen damit ein anderes Publikum als ihr bisheriges „Stammpublikum“. 

Aus religionswissenschaftlicher und wissenssoziologischer Perspektive ist die Rolle religiös geprägter epistemischer Milieus oder Gemeinschaften von besonderem Interesse im Hinblick auf alternative kognitive und normative Orientierungsmodi bezüglich der Pandemie und die Maßnahmen zu ihrer Eindämmung. Die Diskussion soll unter anderem folgende Fragen adressieren:

  • Wie lässt sich die offensichtliche Affinität zwischen radikalen Formen des Evangelikalismus und Verschwörungsideologien (z.B. QAnon) erklären, die dunkle Mächte hinter der Pandemie und/oder der Bekämpfung der Pandemie am Werk sehen?
  • Wie lassen sich die oft sehr unterschiedlichen Reaktionen etablierter Religionen mit historisch engen Beziehungen zum Staat (z. B. osteuropäische Orthodoxie vs. EKD) auf die Pandemie erklären?
  • Was macht bestimmte religiöse Episteme anfällig für Verschwörungsglauben, Skepsis gegenüber etablierten Institutionen und Misstrauen gegenüber der Wissenschaft? 
  • Wie lässt sich die Tatsache erklären, dass epistemische Milieus – seien sie nun religiös, säkular oder unbestimmt (Rechtsextremisten, Esoteriker, Evangelikale, Anthroposophen, Homöopathen etc.) – mit jeweils völlig unterschiedlichen, teilweise inkompatiblen kognitiven und normativen Hintergründen zunehmend strategische Allianzen bilden, um ein gemeinsames Ziel zu erreichen? 
  • Gibt es im globalen Vergleich Regionen mit einer besonderen Anfälligkeit für Wissenschaftsskepsis und Misstrauen gegenüber dem Staat, und lässt sich dies historisch plausibel erklären, z.B. durch religiöse Einflüsse?

Diese und verwandte Fragen werden in diesem Panel in Form einer Roundtable Diskussion behandelt. Im Mittelpunkt steht die übergeordnete Frage, ob die im Kontext der COVID-19-Pandemie zu beobachtende lokale Diversifikation von Epistemen bei gleichzeitiger globaler Verbreitung und Vernetzung konkurrierender Wissens- und Werteordnungen eine neue globale Dynamik anzeigt.

Location: Intercity Hotel, „Brühl 1“, (29 April 2022, 9:00 - 11:30 am)

via Zoom

(panel in German) 

Epistemic Hierarchies and Knowledge Production in the Global South: Effects of the Covid-19 Pandemic


Solveig Richter (Leipzig)


  • Stefan Peters (tbc) (Bogotá/Giessen)

  • Michelle Small (online) (Johannesburg)

  • Siddharth Tripathi (Duisburg-Essen)

  • Berit Bliesemann de Guevara (tbc) (Aberystwyth)

  • Maria Ketzmerick (Bayreuth)

  • Jalale Getachew Birru (Erfurt)


Peace and Conflict Studies was broadly founded in the Northern Hemisphere, leading to prescriptive and descriptive epistemologies of how scholars understand patterns of peace or violence in Europe and the Global North via a core-periphery relationship with the Global South. The rejection of ideas like Third Worldism on the international stage, after decolonisation by the Global North, has led to the implicit strengthening of asymmetric colonial power structures in the way knowledge about peace, security, development and order has been produced. Thus, there is a need to set a different agenda in PACS that takes cognisance of the grounded and global scale realities and asymmetries – political, economic, and social – of the Global South. This panel intends to, firstly, address these gaps and contribute to an emerging research agenda outlining the different trajectories of conflict and violence, justice and peace both in the Global South and North. Specifically, the panel wants to also, secondly, discuss the specific impact which the Covid-19 pandemic had on epistemic hierarchies and knowledge production in the Global South. Thus, the panel aims to establish the comparative parameters of debates about peace and war in a thorough academic discussion not only ABOUT but WITH the Global South.

Location: ReCentGlobe, 5th floor, seminar room 5.55 (29 April 2022, 9:00 - 11:30 am) 

via Zoom

The Attempts to Shape a New World Order: Military Interventions from 1991 till today


Katarina Ristić (Leipzig)


  • Introduction: Katarina Ristic (Leipzig), “Military Interventionism and Globalization Projects”

  • Christian A. Nielsen (Aarhus), “The Use and Abuse of Balkan Analogies and Precedents in Russia’s Wars with Georgia and Ukraine”

  • Ugur Ümit Üngor (Amsterdam), “The Specter of Intervention(ism) in Syria and Iraq”

  • Erna Burai (Geneva), “Justificatory Discourses on „Responsible Sovereignty“ and Imaginations of World Order”

  • Vladimir Petrovic (Boston), “A Long March: Modalities of American involvement in the Yugoslav Crisis”


The dominance of military interventions as a prevailing type of warfare after the Cold War resulted in various attempts to explain interventionism as a part of the emerging world order. The first interventions in Iraq in 1991 for example, stood for the unified decision of the UN SC to punish the invasion of Kuwait, while NATO interventions during Yugoslav wars (both in Bosnia and FR Yugoslavia/Kosovo) were often seen as a triumph of a global human rights discourse, establishing the new liberal international order.

Departing from the NATO intervention in Kosovo as a heyday of liberal internationalism, the panel discusses three different paths in which interventionism, its conceptual and normative framework as well as political justifications, developed during the last thirty years. One line follows the path of humanitarian interventions, including the development of Right to protect (R2P) in international law, as well as interventions with the mandate of UN SC, like the one in Libya. Another path, with different justifications, surrounds intervention in Chechnya in 1999 which was hardly addressed as a violation of humanitarian law, let alone confronted with any military response to stop the violence. Nevertheless, one can ask to what extent Russian interventions in Georgia and Ukraine follow the same logic, in how they were dealing with so-called "Russian Kosovo". And finally, interventions that started as part of the American "war on terror", where, especially in Afghanistan but also in Iraq the use of force and self-defense served not only to justify intervention but also to gain wide support for the interventions among NATO countries. The tragic meeting of different intervention logics in Syria perhaps announced that the time of alternative globalization projects was behind.

The panel opens the question about the imaginations of the world order these interventions, their supporters and critics were proposing at the same time checking on their political legacy and humanitarian losses they inflicted. 

Location: Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa, Leipzig (GWZO); Specks Hof (Entrance A), 4th Floor, Reichsstraße 4–6, 04109 Leipzig, Conference-Room

via Zoom

Revival of Geopolitics - Spatial imaginations and strategic narratives


Oliver Krause (Leipzig)


  • Claudia Eggart (Postgraduate University of Manchester (Berlin)
  • Stefan Rohdewald (Leipzig)
  • Oliver Krause (Leipzig)


The since February 2014 ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia is a battleground of Russian interests in Europe, but also a quest for power on a global scale, which has turned to an open and brutal war. The Russian ambitions regularly triggers memories of Putin's statements on the vanished Soviet great power position, which Putin would like to win back for Russia, seemingly resorting to the ultima ratio of war against the West and NATO. The complexity of the socio-economic, political, and military entanglements favours reducing this debate on Russian ambitions to woodcut explanations to enable the public to understand the situation. To find a foothold in the situation, the debate is oriented towards popular geopolitical constellations of the Cold War, in which the communist Soviet Union and the democratic US stood opposite each other as world powers, thus now replacing the ideological opposition of the Cold War with the struggle of democracy against authoritarianism. 

The thesis is that in phases of global de- and reterritorialization, simple, geopolitical concepts are used to react to the over-complexity of global interdependence processes. H. J. Mackinder's Heartland concept (1904, 1991, 1943), which identifies geographical, climatic, topographical factors, as well as the stage of industrialisation as potentials of possible global hegemony – from which measures of containment are necessarily derived, since the future hegemon is certainly aware of these potentials and will inevitably play them out – is one of the most significant concepts in interpreting international relations in crises of the process of globalization in the 20th century. During the three major caesuras of the 20th century (1914-1918, 1939-1945, 1989/90) and their aftermath, it became apparent to what extent simplistic geopolitical concepts were resorted to in phases of reordering, especially from a European and US perspective, which either assumed the danger that a large continental area could become the origin of a reordering of the world – think of the US involvement in the Second World War and the containment policy after the Second World War – or saw precisely in this the basis for the emergence of a new world order - German geopolitics, e. g. German foreign policy in Eastern Europe 1939-45. In Russia, Alexander Dugin made Geopolitics popular once again in the 1990s, which shows the flexibility and adaptability, but also of the (dis)continuity of recourse to certain geopolitical concepts and spatial imaginations associated with them. It would be worth asking which geopolitical concepts are instrumentalised in phases of the reorganisation of spaces. Are these always the same concepts? Which spatial imaginaries (e.g. “Großraum” Central Europe, Heartland) are associated with the concept? Can patterns be identified as to what qualities these spaces possess? Is this recurse on geopolitical concepts only a debate going on in western Europe and the US? With the answers to these questions, points of reference can be given for the intellectual preliminary work of imagining spaces, which possibly merges into already known spatial-political forms of organisation (national state, Empire). 

The panel aims to do two things. First, we will analyse the establishment of spatial imaginaries at the regional level in practice. Second, we scrutinize the strategic narratives (e.g., Ruskij Mir) that function as the intellectual basis of geopolitical spatial imaginaries since the end of the World War II.

Location: ReCentGlobe, 3th floor, seminar room (29 April 2022, 9:00 - 11:30 am) 

via Zoom

Friday 29 April 2022, 11:30 am - 12:00 pm | Digital Conference Closing


  • Steffi Marung (Leipzig),
  • Katja Castryck-Naumann (Leipzig),
  • Nina Mackert (Leipzig),
  • Moderation: Matthias Middell (Leipzig)

Location: Intercity Hotel, “Brühl 1”

via Zoom

Friday 29 April 22, 12 am - 2 pm | Conference Lunch

at Intercity Hotel Leipzig (Tröndlinring 2, 04105 Leipzig) Restaurant


enlarge the image: Locations
1. Intercity Hotel, „Brühl 1, 2 & Neue Börse”2. Leibniz-Institut für Geschichte und Kultur des östlichen Europa, Leipzig (GWZO) – Specks Hof (Entrance A), 4th Floor, Reichsstr. 4–6, 04109 Leipzig, Conference-Room3.…