Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century with a Globally Connected Academia
The Katekisama program is a global approach to academic collaboration. It offers young scholars and senior researchers an original and vibrant platform of interdisciplinary, cooperative education and research that enables them to critically explore and analyze today’s global complexities. Scholars and PhD students gain from the excellence, experience and global expertise in the social sciences and humanities, and from their new and exclusive forms of academic mobility, forging academic and personal links between partner institutions. Katekisama cooperation partners are currently the Institute for European Global Studies of the University of Basel, the Faculty of Arts of the University of Bonn and the University of Ghana.
Katekisama refers to Erasmus of Rotterdam’s journey around the world, the transformation of global knowledge and the importance of new directions in future academic cooperation. The Universities of Basel and Bonn want to contribute to a new understanding of academic education by promoting a visionary concept of knowledge as a crucial part of what we call ‘global commons’, i.e. the essential resources and goods whose global availability will shape the future of the 21st century.
Katekisama is a wooden sculpture of Erasmus of Rotterdam from the 16th century. The sculpture, today in the National Museum in Tokyo, was attached to the stern of the ship De Liefde, which was the first Dutch ship to land in Japan in the year 1600. For centuries the mysterious sculpture was kept in a Buddhist monastery, its origin forgotten and its meaning interpreted in many different ways, be it as a Chinese god, a bogeyman or a missionary.
Katekisama symbolizes global connections and the importance of intellectual exchange. As a global hybrid, the figure illustrates the development of a new direction in the social sciences and humanities: it stands for a new global competence in academic education and research and for the innovative potential and unifying power of scientific exchange and universities over many centuries. Katekisama thus shows a path of humanitarian universalism across all kinds of borders.
The program produces a dynamic platform of exchange along different modes of collaboration:
These courses enable digital forms of mobility for students. They are courses offered in English and open to the (PhD) students. Students at the participating universities benefit from a broader range of courses, an increase in the proportion of English-language instructors, and insights into the study system and learning styles of another university. Digital mobility in teaching also provides more convenience and a more inclusive studying experience for all students, for instance for those with child or other care obligations.
Open Courses in the current semester can be found here.
Collaborative Courses involve fellows and faculty members from partner universities to design and teach courses together. Students benefit from the interdisciplinary expertise of several instructors in one class. The instructors/faculty members, meanwhile, enjoy a low threshold environment for the exchange of ideas and research themes while deepening different regional scientific experiences.
Signature Courses are block seminars for doctoral students and researchers from Katekisama partner universities to present their ongoing projects routinely, learn new methodologies and socialize through truly global knowledge-production practices. They will be offered as rotating seminars, where every year one partner teaches a signature course in situ for the students of another partner, the following year for the students of the third partner, and so on.
Katekisama Fellowships are offered to scholars at all stages in their career to spend time for research at one of the Katekisama partner universities. This instrument of the program is aimed at scholars from the participating universities, but also at scholars from other institutions, to make sure that the initiative is open and inclusive.
The Katekisama Workshop is offered annually and brings together researchers from the participating institutions. It takes place in hybrid form. The teaching collaborations at the core of Katekisama also have the function to provide a hands-on stimulation to deepen conceptual debates. During regular inter-university workshops, participants will jointly develop cutting-edge perspectives and methodologies to explore the current thematic priorities of Katekisama.