Cultural Studies in Literary Interzones
Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Programme
Interzones is a programme selected and funded by the EU for its innovative and challenging approach to the Humanities: it is designed to nurture and promote PhD/doctoral dissertations in a dynamic, multi-centre and cosmopolitan academic environment. We seek to prepare gifted doctoral students to become the "global academics" which top universities seek out in the fields of European comparative literatures and cultural studies, or highly-valued consultants in private business sectors interested in global cultural phenomena. For this reason, our PhD/doctoral candidates will be required to pursue their studies in several research/graduate centres or doctoral schools situated in four different countries.
The Doctorate's scientific agenda focuses on thinking in a non-identitarian way about the complexities, overlaps, divisions but also similarities which structure cultural, literary and artistic environments across nations, social classes, genders, ideological commitments, or historical periods. Social and cultural entities such as "Europe," for example, currently tend to be conceptualized only in terms of their limits and contours. As a consequence, the tools (such as identity, otherness, difference, colonization, entropy, etc.) with which artistic and literary productions are analyzed have tended to reproduce, or even to produce, a pre-existing idea of what it might mean to have (or not have) a nation, an ethnicity, a personality, a culture. We want to move beyond such often automatized identifications. Therefore we think of these entities -modes of being as areas of interaction- as zones: mental conditions, spaces, polysystemic meeting-places (and sometimes battlegrounds), sites not only of contestation or compliance but of invention and creativity. We take our inspiration from places like Kalin's, a tavern where a yellow line is painted on the floor to delineate the frontier between Slovenia and Croatia, itself part of a bigger venue, full of life, both a cultural space and an interzone. We understand cultural studies as a vital and elegant means not only of thinking of communication beyond the automatisms of common conceptualizations, but also as a means to ask how communication within and beyond various entities such as personality, ethnicity, and nation can be renewed and reinvented. It is under these premises that we want to ask: how do the inhabitants of interzonal spaces and conditions exist?
We explicitly invite innovative, project proposals which are prepared to strike out into new territories. Within the programme, we can provide expert supervision and academic accompaniment in a wide variety of fields and their interconnections: European literatures in most modern languages, and, also in their postcolonial extensions, empirical cultural studies, media studies, philosophy and art history.
The languages of tuition are French and English. Besides these two, a good knowledge of a third modern European language (among the following: Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, Russian, Polish, or Catalan) is required from the candidates in order to make them truly competitive in the field of comparative literature and visual culture.
A wide variety of facilities (such as language centres to learn or improve a fourth or fifth foreign language, sports and cultural activities, pastoral care to facilitate accommodation and visa procedures...) are offered everywhere in the consortium at no extra cost.
Candidates are also invited to join the worldwide competition starting in October 2010 for an Erasmus Mundus Fellowship which amounts to a maximum annual salary of 24000 Euros (net before tax) as all fellowships holders benefit from an employment contract with the Interzones consortium.