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Competence Area IV

Cultures and Societies in Transition | Kulturen und Gesellschaften im Wandel



The Competence Area IV supports and co-funds activities on a variety of topics relevant for current and future processes of cultural and societal transformations and transitions, especially regarding matters of sustainability, digitization, urbanization and cultural diversity. It thus complements and contextualises research in the Global South Studies Center  and provides support for innovative and interdisciplinary work on the full spectrum of the humanities and arts and beyond. These activities include conferences, workshops, panel discussions, public lectures, exhibitions, network meetings and seminars. The CAIV and the GSSC are part of the University of Cologne’s overall institutional strategy. The CA IV creates interdisciplinary links in close conversation with the “Global South Studies Center” (GSSC), founded in 2014, and within the wider research environment in Cologne.



The Competence Area IV supports research on a broad spectrum of topics and themes related to societal transformation, especially interdisciplinary approaches to current key challenges such as sustainability, digitization, urbanization and cultural diversity. Support is organised around two funding lines for workshops and cooperation and complemented by an annual academic event (CA IV Forum). Information on the funding lines can be found here. Information on the annual forum can be found here.


Themes of joint activities

  • key challenges of transformation and transition (sustainability, digitization, urbanization, cultural diversity)
  • methodological concerns of comparative interdisciplinary work
  • mobility and migration
  • adaptation, resilience and collapse
  • transformation of societies, cultures and livelihoods
  • identity, demographic change and citizenship
  • ecological and social dynamics, global environmental change
  • teacher education and citizen science

Information for researchers at the University of Cologne

If you are a researcher at the University of Cologne and work on issues relevant to questions of cultures and societies in transition, the CA IV provides a platform for generating cooperation within the university and beyond, especially with or in preparation for cooperative initiatives with the GSSC. It provides logistic and financial support for academic events such as conferences, workshops and lectures in order to link research topics of the GSSC with related activities elsewhere.