Springe direkt zu Inhalt


About the Joint Center for Advanced Studies "Worldmaking from a Global Perspective: A Dialogue with China"

Debates on a deep global crisis, even the decline of the current world order have become widespread in many societies. In the search for causes of the supposed erosion processes of the international system, global shifts in economic and political power relations play a central role, in particular China’s rapidly growing importance.

Other global changes going hand in hand with such power shifts encompass the rise of nationalist movements in many societies, as well as fractions in important international organizations. At the same time, challenges such as the environmental crisis, with global warming and the extinction of species threatening our concrete living environments, issues of social inequality and world health further contribute to this sense of crisis.

Against the backdrop of such transformation processes, the interdisciplinary network “Worldmaking from a Global Perspective: A Dialogue with China” questions existing concepts and terms of “world”. In close cooperation with German and Chinese researchers from various disciplines, scholars from Freie Universität Berlin, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Ludwigs-Maximilians-Universität München and Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg examine processes of worldmaking from deliberately transnational and transcultural perspectives.

We understand "worldmaking" as a process through which actors create a specific, comprehensible notion of totality, which may have socially soothing effects. This totality is both part of concrete, lived reality and a product of our imagination. It becomes tangible both physically and socially but also mentally and in a metaphorical sense. The creation of worlds can thus take different forms and be realized through various types of action and materials across time and space. Therefore, the study of worldmaking requires a multifocal and diachronically oriented approach .

Together with Chinese and German scholars of various disciplines, we address in particular the following questions:

  • How are worlds created and changed? Why do some worlds have a stronger impact locally, regionally and globally than others? How and why do they disappear?
  • How do different actors conceptualize and experience certain worlds? How do these worlds influence lived realities? And how do different worldmaking practices contribute to changing worlds?
  • What role do national/cultural and transnational/transcultural structures and interconnections play in creating and changing worlds?
  • How do concepts and practices of different worlds interrelate? How does the coexistence of different worlds affect lived realities and processes of worldmaking ?

We discuss these questions by examining processes and practices of world-making on four closely intertwined analytical levels: