Methodology Lab: “Spatialising Culture: Methods and Approaches to Studying Space”

International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen
Nikola Baković and Alina Jašina (International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Justus Liebig University, Giessen)
16.05.2018 - 17.05.2018
Alina Jašina

In the last several decades, there has hardly been a concept that has penetrated social science and humanities in a more profound fashion that that of space. From a supposedly sidelined conceptual tool (Foucault, 1986), it came to be regarded as one of the most crucial features of human existence, prompting many scholars to subscribe to and to contest the advent of “spatial turn” (Döring and Thielmann, 2008), arguably one of the most popular “turns” in postmodern academic world (Bachmann-Medick, 2016). At the most general level, space affects the ways we experience, navigate through, understand and also recreate the world around us (Low, 2017). In more particular terms, it is implicated in plethora of social issues, from conflicts over real and imagined spaces, erecting physical and symbolical boundaries to separate and keep together individuals and groups, to multifaceted interaction of humans with their natural and man-made environments. Social production of space (Lefebvre, 1991) and construction of individual sense of place (Cresswell, 2014) is intertwined with and affected by politics, economics, power-relations, knowledge, culture, as well as by globalisation of commerce, the technologies of communication and transportation. Overall, space and related concepts (i.e. place, territory, landscape) trail long histories and multiplicity of meanings and connotations which reflect different aspects of life (Massey, 2001).

While investigating production, negotiation and acquisition of tenuous and fungible spaces is an overarching goal of the numerous researchers, the application of the ever-growing theoretical scholarship on the peculiarities of selected case-studies remains rather a problem. Moreover, the disciplinary differences and plurality of methods often pose additional obstacles in approaching the notion of space. This workshop, therefore, picks up precisely on these demands and intends to enable doctoral and post-doctoral students to reflect on their own projects as well as on the steps they take to explore how meaningful spaces are both created by people and embedded in wider socio-political and economic structures.

Spatialising Culture: Methods and Approaches to Studying Space offers interdisciplinary thematic workshops in which the participants will present their own dissertation material and share their findings. We invite doctoral and post-doctoral students dealing with space and related concepts (place, landscape, territory, glocality) from the disciplinary perspective of anthropology, history, geography and sociology, as well as those applying interdisciplinary approaches to submit their abstracts. Four thematically conceived panels will be chaired by expert discussants, who will comment on previously circulated methodology-oriented papers, and offer hands-on advice on applying specific theoretical models and methodological tools on particular type of empirical material. The workshops will be followed by a joint roundtable discussion, in which invited experts and participants, on account of analysed topics and problems, would conceive concrete ways in which space can be studied and approached from different disciplinary perspectives.


Wednesday, 16th May:

9:30 – 10:00 – Registration

10:00 – 10:15 – Welcome and opening words

10:15 – 12:30 – Panel I: Migrations, borders and minority issues
Introduction and comments: Prof. Dr. Andreas Langenohl (Professor in Sociology, Justus Liebig University, Giessen)
Karl-Heinz Gmehling (Jan Evangelista Purkyně University, ÚstÍ nad Labem): Spatial Constructions in the Literature of German-Speaking Authors of Czechoslovak Origin
Kim Kannler (University of Duisburg-Essen): Visibility of ‘Work’ and ‘the Worker’ in Mediated Urban Space
Mikhail Garder (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow): Spatialising the Homeless in Moscow: Who are the Spatialised Actors?
Mina Ibrahim (Justus Liebig University, Giessen): “For Where Two or Three Gather” Contesting the Victimisation of Coptic Christian Spaces in Egypt

12:30 – 13:45 – Lunch break

13:45 – 16:15 – Panel II: Urban spaces in global context
Introduction and comments: Dr. Mateusz Laszczkowski (Assistant Professor in Political and Economic Anthropology, University of Warsaw)
Adam Gorka (Pavel Jozef Šafárik University, Košice): One Picture Equals A Thousand Words. Understanding the Morphological Changes in a Post-Socialist City Using Geographic Information System and Virtual 3D City Model
Agnes Dudych (Pavel Jozef Šafarik University, Košice / Bauhaus-Universität, Weimar): Urban Development in Czechoslovakia in the 1960s
Laura Meneghello (University of Siegen): Communication Technology and Imagined Urban Spaces
Elvira Khairullina (University of Valladolid): Planning Urban and Transport Models in the Eastern Europe and the USSR: Tramways in Socialist Urban Planning in the 1960-70s
Ksenia Eltsova (Russian State University for the Humanities, Moscow): Digital Spaces of Elitism: Discursive Construction of Social Distinction through lenses of urban space (Case Study of Moscow’s Representations in Russian New Media, 2010s)

16:15 – 16:30 – Coffee break

16:30 – 18:30 – Panel III: Environment, landscape and conflict
Introduction and comments: Prof. Dr. Andreas Dittmann (Executive Director of the Geographical Institute, Justus Liebig University, Giessen)
Alexandra Engelsdorfer (University of Marburg): Studying In-Between Spaces? How to Conduct Research on Fugitive Spaces
Gerrit Lange (University of Marburg): Central Himalayan Nāgs as Guardians of Water Resources
Jenny Garcia Ruales (University of Marburg): Subaltern Urbanism in the Slum of Dharavi in Mumbai, India
Omer Sharir (University of Michigan): Formation of Settler-Colonial Racial Order on the Frontiers of Zionist Settlement in Palestine 1905-1939

Thursday, 17th May:

09:00 – 11:30 – Panel IV: National spaces and territoriality
Introduction and comments: Dr. Steffi Marung (Senior Researcher at the Global and European Studies Institute, University of Leipzig)
Arnab Dutta (University of Groningen): Culture, Civilisation, and the Borderscapes: The Cultural Geography of Continental Europe in the Bengali Imagination, 1919-45
Szabolcs Laszlo (Indiana University, Bloomington): The World is Open for Play: Critical Assessment of Regions as Units of Historical Analysis
Martin Berthold (University of Potsdam): Perception of Space and Borders in the Diaries of Christian II of Anhalt-Bernburg
Tom Schwarzenberg (University of Leipzig): Approaching Contested Spaces of Healthcare: Cross-Border Medical Practices in the European Union
Zhana Mylogorodska (University of Leipzig): Discourses on Regional Divisions of Ukraine

11:30 – 11:45 – Coffee break

11:45 – 13:30 – Roundtable discussion (Prof. Dr. Andreas Dittmann, Dr. Mateusz Laszczkowski and Dr. Steffi Marung)

13:30 – Closing words


Nikola Baković (

Alina Jašina (

Methodology Lab: “Spatialising Culture: Methods and Approaches to Studying Space”, 16.05.2018 – 17.05.2018 Giessen, in: Connections. A Journal for Historians and Area Specialists, 05.05.2018, <>.
Editors Information
Published on
Temporal Classification
Regional Classification
Additional Informations
Language Contribution
Country Event