M1: Theoretical Foundations of Transculturality
M2: Postcolonial Theories of Transculturality
M3: Transcultural Competencies
M4: Independent Studies
M5: Textual Hermeneutics from a Postcolonial Perspective
M6: Ethnography and Qualitative Methods of Cultural Analysis
M7: Religious Studies of Transculturality
M8/9/10: Electives: Research Fields of Transculturality
M11: Master Thesis with Colloquium
Module 1: Theoretical Foundations of Transculturality
This module aims to introduce students to the main key concepts in Social and Cultural Anthropology as well as interdisciplinary Cultural Research relevant to the study of transculturality. One of the seminars deals with the most important theoretical developments relating to the concept of culture in the 19th and 20st century,while bringing to light references to transculturality in contemporary debates. The second seminar tackles the anthropological world-view and examples of research on culture/s using mainly ethnographic methods of enquiry. The module is based on regular reading and oral presentations, shorter written assignments and a graded end-of-term essay.
Module 2: Postcolonial Theories of Transculturality
This module deals with current discussions and developments in transculturality. You explore the emergence of key concepts such as cultural contact, exchange, mixing (hybridity, syncretism, creolité´), difference, alterity and the subaltern, providing an understanding of how the treatment of these concepts has evolved right down to the present as a result of post-colonial theoretical developments. As such contemporary postcolonial tropes and images in literature, film, TV and video art are further areas of focus. By tackling current transcultural phenomena you are able to place their historical emergence and continued development in a context of theories of modernity and globalization. The key subject areas are presented through a lecture or seminar and more advanced treatment is provided in another seminar which includes guided reading work. Selected textual and visual representations of transculturality are the object of class discussion and exemplary analysis.
Module 3: Transcultural Competencies
This module provides basic knowledge about inter- and transcultural communication, managing diversity and social justice in practice. The goal is combining theoretical knowledge and practical field experience. Popular approaches used in inter-/transcultural trainings, critical diversity and anti-discrimination programmes are subject to critical practice and analysis. This builds the base to develop innovative forms of implementing transcultural concepts, for example in workshops or trainings.
The module is made up of a combination of seminar and practical exercises. In any case, a written reflection evaluating either practical training or the transfer of theory to practice is mandatory. The module is essential for the studies accompanying Certificate “Transcultural Communication and Diversity Competence”.
The complementary Certificate “Transcultural Communication and Diversity Competence” is offered as an independent qualification in tandem with MATS courses. It clarifies corresponding course content and advanced areas within the Obligatory Elective Modules (M8,9,10). The workload amounts to 24 CP. Documents relating to the Certificate need to be submitted to Supervisors. Further information is available here.
Module 4: Independent Studies
Students determine the bulk of this module’s content themselves, for example in the form of internship-related stays abroad, personally selected reading studies or by building on linguistic skills or clearly defined creative projects. Through an accompanying seminar workshops and exercises are conducted geared to discovering your personal potentials and focus of interest. Participants learn to develop a realistic work schedule with the backing of teaching staff, including time management and fundraising for the planned project, if necessary. For example you can tackle a given author’s work in a reading group and document learning processes in a journal. Or you can report on a personally designed research or vocational project abroad. Documented achievements and certificates relating to additional language courses are also acknowledged. The precise format of the ungraded examination is agreed upon in consultation with teaching staff depending on your individual focus you have developed during the course.
Module 5: Textual Hermeneutics from a Postcolonial Perspective
Hermeneutic text analysis provides the basis for dealing with how the world is socially and culturally constructed and for tackling the representationsof these constructionsacross media. The theoretical part covers key postcolonial standpoints and critiques and the consequences of these for textual productions. The analytical part is based primarily on sources deriving from religious history in order to demonstrate how these representations can be interpreted in novel or alternative ways. Established religious histories are critically reinterpreted in the light of historiographical methods of enquiry.Such an approach demonstrates that processes of cultural contact and their collective memorialization are always subject to historically embedded narratives and inherent power struggles. As such the module comprises two seminars with reading work and examples oftext analysis using specific methods deriving from postcolonial theory. The final examination takes the form of a written assignment covering exemplary sources from religious histories, and their interpretation.
Module 6: Ethnography and Qualitative Methods of Cultural Analysis
In this module basic techniques of qualitative methods in social and cultural studies are explained and practiced in an individual research project which will be conducted in the region of Bremen and Bremerhaven. Following the principle of research-oriented learning, the individual research question is developed according to overarching topics; and different techniques of participant observation, interviewing and visual documentation are practiced and combined in order to get a taste of the holistic approach of ethnography. A further focus is the analysis of the acquired data. The data itself is used to test the different procedures discussed in class. Participants will learn qualitative methods for cultural analysis flexibly and in specific contexts and will reflect ethically and epistemologically on their different roles during the research process.
This module is made up of four-hour sessions each week that are also used for practicing methods in chosen settings at university or in the city space of Bremen. The final goal is an individually written research report or reflective portfolio on the chosen methodological and analytical design applied during the semester; this should entail a visual component.
Module 7: Religious Studies of Transculturality
This module introduces a religious studies perspective on transcultural dynamics. The central focus is on imparting a basic understanding of theory and methods used for analyzing religion from an empirical perspective on cultural research. Religions and their cultural embeddedness cannot be understood as distinctive units. Instead, the course asks for the developments within religions, their exchange relationships, as well as the functions and negotiation processes of forming collective identities. This then equips students with the necessary tool-kit for building on religious studies-based approaches to transculturality in the obligatory electives (M 8,9,10). The module comprises a lecture or a main seminar and a second accompanying tutorial or reading course in which content is explored in greater depth using contemporary and historical examples of religious research.
Modules 8,9,10, Electives: Research Fields of Transculturality
These electives in the second year will expand on theories and methods for the study of transculturality, using topics and questions from current research fields of our professors and lecturers. Within the offered framework during the seminars, students are encouraged to work on their own subjects of interest. They can conduct independent research according to the principles of research-oriented learning either on sub-topics related to the courses, or on individually designed topics, and present their work in the seminar sessions. The goal of the module is to specialize in certain fields of transculturality and to get inspiration for the development of research topics for the upcoming master thesis. You are thus encouraged to further develop your academic drafting skills through written assignments and feedback from teaching staff.
Each module of the three obligatory "electives" (M8, 9, 10) is made up of 2 seminars, which can be studied separately or connected thematically. One seminar is based on active participation (for 3 CP) and a written essay (for another 3 CP), which will be graded (for a total of 6 CP). The second seminar is based on active participation through an oral presentation, readings, or written handouts and drafts (for 3 CP). The grading of the complete module (6 CPs + 3 CPs = 9CPs) is based on the written essay for one of the seminars.
Overall you need to take three modules in “Electives: Research Fields of Transculturality”. From the regular offerings per term in the area of M8, 9, 10 you will find varying topics. Please download the handoutwhich includes achecklist for the special requirements in Modules 8, 9, 10. All relevant information on choices and modes of combination of seminars per one module is available in this handout. Here you can download the recognition file with the grade/achievement record for the modules 8,9,10.
Module 11: Master Thesis with Colloquium
This module qualifies you for designing a master thesis of about 50 pages. A colloquium-seminar supports you to identify an individual topic related to theoretical debates or current research fields of transculturality. In discussion with fellow students and teachers your thesis project is shaped and advanced. Presentation techniques for the final oral examination, after having submitted the thesis, are also practiced.
This module is structured around active participation in a colloquium seminar (3 CP); the bulk is made up of the independent production of a master thesis (30 CP), from finding a theme to completing the manuscript. Advisors provide advice at each step. Registration for the master thesis requires the completion of 60 CPs, in other words the first year of studying MATS has to be successfully completed.
What´s missing from regular teaching: choose from General Studies at Faculty 9
General Studies (GS) allows students to focus on and deepen knowledge in specialist areas of interest. As such you can develop your own study profile while giving weight to particular subject areas. Even though the MATS program doesn’t specifically offer GS, you can still gain credits in GS through Module 4 (Independent Studies) or Module 8/9/10 (the obligatory electives) as well as by attending lectures in other subjects i.e. General Studies offerings in Faculty 09 or the complementary subject group areas. GS courses attended will be documented in the final Degree Certificate.
You can find further information about General Studies in MATS here.