Academic profile – University of Copenhagen

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Academic profile

The research projects at Centre for Comparative Cultural Studies each concentrate on a specific context somewhere in the world, but they all have as their analytical core the study of society and culture from a comparative and cross-cultural perspective. Within the broad empirical field covered by the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies in time and space, there are great variations but also similarities between the way people produce cultural meaning and organise themselves socially. The research conducted at the centre are inspired by studies of these differences and similarities which provide insight into how people in different parts of the world negotiate, experience, construct, and live cultural preferences; how culture creates and changes us; and how the way we study culture changes over time. The comparative approach to cultural studies involves discovering what different realities say – and can be made to say – to each other analytically, allowing us to rethink the world and discover new connections in the past and present.

In our teaching we aim for our students to learn about other ways of living and to become more aware of their own cultural background. We discuss how it is possible to obtain knowledge of cultural conditions that are different from our own. The courses put emphasis on the mutual relationship between the general and the specific, i.e., how general analytical concepts can be applied to the study of specific, empirical cases and how specific case studies can form the basis for general theories. The goal is not only to make theoretical considerations relevant and meaningful in specific contexts, but also to use empirical data to provide new perspectives on theoretical discussions. The students gain experience in conducting cultural and social analysis of an empirical field of their own choice studied in conjunction with other relevant disciplines at the Humanities, as well as learn how to seek theoretical inspiration from studies from other parts of the world. At the centre we have specialised in teaching elective-study students from many different disciplines at the same time, as also our own research is mainly based on ethnographic fieldwork in various parts of the world, where we also engage with stakeholders and issues outside the university context (such as e.g. architects, NGOs, the UN, the World Bank, government agencies, associations, media and museums).