The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies ‘Metamorphoses of the Political’ (ICAS:MP)
The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies ‘Metamorphoses of the Political’ (ICAS:MP) was set up in July 2015. After concluding its three-year preliminary phase, ICAS:MP has meanwhile entered its six-year main phase. ICAS:MP is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF). The institute pursues a comparative agenda, which tries to examine the socio-political dynamics in India / South Asia and Germany / Europe in particular, but in many instances also relates to other parts of the world. Being a collaborative project of six academic institutions – one of them being the Max-Weber-Kolleg – ICAS:MP has its home in New Delhi, India. The Delhi office also acts as the base for Senior and Junior Fellows. Fellowships are advertised once a year and are open for scholars from any part of the world.
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ICAS:MP combines the benefits of an open, interdisciplinary forum for intellectual exchange with the advantages of a cutting-edge research centre. The centre focuses on key political processes that have concurrently emerged in many parts of the world during the twentieth century and continue to unfold to the present day. While entangled, these processes are still heterogeneous.
Today, ‘the political’ changes its ‘aggregate state’ continually. Located in the global South where ‘most of the world’ resides, ICAS:MP critically intervenes in debates within the social sciences which, despite relying almost entirely on evidence from North-Atlantic rim societies, claim universal applicability. Hence, ICAS:MP is neither simply another initiative to strengthen ‘Area Studies,’ nor a base for narrowly bilateral Indo- German comparison. Rather, it serves as a centre of advanced international research in order to consciously unsettle the methodological nationalism and Eurocentrism that continue to frame research in the humanities and social sciences.
Through its innovative modular and network structure, ICAS:MP will generate sustainable research cooperation among leading humanities and social science scholars from Germany, India and other countries who investigate similar research problems across different regions.
ICAS:MP pursues its substantive work through six thematic modules, as well as through intellectual exchange and activities between these modules. Modules comprise scholars from the Indian and German partner institutes, as well as from other universities and academic institutions in India, Germany and even third-party countries. Senior and junior Fellows are selected annually and work at the Centre’s home base in New Delhi, where they contribute to the modules. The modules have the following topics:
- Parent Module: Poverty and Education
- TM1 - History as a political category
- TM2 - Labour as a political category
- TM3 - Critiques and renewals of democracy
- TM4 - Normative conflicts and transformations
- TM5 - The challenge of gender
- TM6 - Political economy of growth and distribution
- TM7 - Media and the Constitution of the Political
Prof. Dr. Martin Fuchs represents the Max-Weber-Kolleg and the University of Erfurt in ICAS:MP and periodically acts as the German co-director in New Delhi. Prof. Dr. Martin Fuchs is also the co-convenor of Thematic Module 4 (the other co-convenor is Prof. Dr. Rajeev Bhargava, CSDS, Delhi).
Prof. Dr. Oliver Kessler (Chair of International Relations, Faculty of Law, Social Sciences and Economics, University of Erfurt), is the co-convenor of Thematic Module 6 (the other co-convenors are Prof. Malavika Subramanyam, Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar, and Prof. Dr. Sebastian Vollmer, CeMIS, University of Göttingen).
The six partner institutes are:
Centre for Modern India (WCMI), University of Würzburg
Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS), University of Göttingen
Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi
Institute of Economic Growth (IEG), Delhi
Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies (Max-Weber-Kolleg), University of Erfurt
Max Weber Foundation, Bonn, with the German Historical Institute London (GHIL)