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Research Areas

The Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies approaches asymmetrical dependencies in different societies in five different research areas. These form five different thematic and methodological angles. In each of these Research Areas specific conceptual debates and approaches of the humanities are drawn upon and put to the test for arriving at a new social history of asymmetrical dependencies:

Research Area A (Grammars of Dependency) focuses on the textual articulation of dependencies and the production and use of a "grammar of dependency" by making use of the new interest in historical semantics. Research Area B (Embodied Dependencies) examines dependencies that have been "inscribed" in bodies and artefacts. It builds on the "material turn" and body history. Research Area C (Institutions, Norms and Practices) draws on the non-institutional approach when studying dependency as produced at the crossroads of conflicting institutions, norms and practices. Research Area D (Labor and Spatiality) is concerned with labor-related dependencies and spatial mobility, engaging in current debates in global labor history. Finally, Research Area E [Gender (and Intersectionality)] focuses on the asymmetrical dependency that emerges at the intersections of gender, status, class, ethnicity, religion, and age. The use of the intersectional approach is especially useful for new debates within gender studies.

Individual research projects within the cluster will touch upon several research areas, and the cluster’s researchers will be involved in the activities of a number of subfields. However, the five research areas are also meant as forums for bringing together methodological expertise and for producing a noticeable surplus value beyond the results achieved by the individual projects, which will manifest itself in collaborative research activities, joint publications, and a general outreach of the cluster into society.

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