Current KOSMOS Summer Universities

Currently two international KOSMOS Summer Universities are funded

HU institution HU institution


Prof. Philip van der Eijk, Department of Classics

Prof. Markus Asper, Department of Classics       

Dr. Colin Guthrie King

Department of Slavic Studies and Department of History

Prof. Dr. Hannes Grandits, Department of History

Prof. Dr. Christian Voss, Department of Slavic Studies

Dr. Nenad Stefanov, Department of History


Title Title

Globalized Classics -

Globalisierte Altertumswissenschaften

Phantom Borders - Real Boundaries

European Experiences post 1989 from a global Perspective

Scheduled dates of the event Scheduled dates of the event

August - September 2015


30.08.2015 - 13.09.2015
Cooperation partners
Cooperation partners

Princeton University 

University of Chicago

University of Oxford

Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa

Keio University

Columbia University

Stanford University

Harvard University

University of Leiden

Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Freie Universität Berlin

Max Planck Institute


Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation

Ethnological Museum Berlin

École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales

University of the Aegean

Harvard University

University of Cambridge

University College London

University of California

Central European University

University of Vienna

University of Helsinki

Oxford Brookes University

Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique

Centre Marc Bloch

Freie Universität Berlin

European University Viadrina

Research focus Research focus

The KOSMOS Summer University Globalized Classics – Globalisierte Altertumswissenschaften researches the historicisation of knowledge of the ancient world in the context of its global reception. 

In the spirit of August Boeckh, a friend and close colleague of Humboldt, the Summer University Globalized Classics aims to develop a new, interdisciplinary research paradigm for investigating and interpreting pre-modern cultures and their artefacts. 

Globalisation will initially be considered from a temporal aspect – from the perspective of the history of science. How has knowledge of the ancient world been generated throughout history, from the historians of antiquity itself up to present research approaches? 

The second aspect of globalisation is to be understood geographically: Globalized Classics widens our view of antiquity. Traditionally, the study of antiquity has primarily concentrated on Greece and the Roman Empire. The inclusion of non-European cultures of the Near East, India and China provides a new dimension for our understanding of the ancient world.

The third “globalising” aspect of this KOSMOS Summer University is an institutional one, geared towards the internationalisation of classical and ancient studies. This Summer University will thus dedicate space to non-Western research perspectives on the ancient past.      

Globalized Classics pursues both theoretical and practical approaches. The hands-on crafts of preservation, restoration and interpretation not only of canonical texts but also of tangible canonical cultural artefacts such as ancient sculptures and monuments, will form the content of intensive teaching units led by specialists in the field. A workshop on methods for conducting research into pre-modern cultures will give participants advance theoretical impetus for their subsequent work with texts and objects.

The highlight of the KOSMOS Summer University will be a two day-conference during which leading international researchers will discuss a series of questions: How has globalisation influenced perspectives on Greco-Roman culture? To what extent has globalisation challenged and modified Western understandings of antiquity as the “cradle” of humanity and civilisation and as a key element in Western cultural identity? What contribution has research into non-Western antiquity made? How is research into the ancient world institutionalised, organised and positioned globally both in universities and in other social and cultural bodies? How can differences in research practices be explained and what can be learned from these differences?  

Dr. Colin Guthrie King



Archaeologist and art historian Jaś Elsner has taught at Corpus Christi College, Oxford since 1999, where he is currently the Humfrey Payne Senior Research Fellow in Classical Archaeology and Art. Since 2003 he has been a regular Visiting Professor of Art History at the University of Chicago.

Elsner is an internationally renowned specialist in the art and cultural history of late antiquity and the early Middle Ages. His innovative research into Roman artwork in late antiquity reconstructs the relationship between classical art and ancient subjectivity. He has also worked on the history of collecting and organising. His research is a model example of the interweaving of various classical/ancient studies perspectives with a relevance that goes far beyond the field. In his work on the reception of ancient art, Elsner reflects on the political and social value of canonical culture. 

Elsner will bring an important project to the Summer University: the preparation of a large exhibition on the theme Empires of Faith, which he conceived. The exhibition will be carried out in cooperation with the British Museum, and participants in the Summer University will have the opportunity to get involved in its planning.






The 2015 KOSMOS Summer University Phantom Borders - Real Boundaries is dedicated to two central fields of research that have become recent hot topics:

The first topic, Phantom Borders, continues research started by the competence network Phantom Borders in Eastern and Central Europe, which is occupied with the reappearance, under entirely different social conditions, of lines of division – usually former imperial borders – that lost their political meaning long ago.

In contrast to essentialising concepts, here two questions stand in the foreground: why are people consciously or subconsciously resorting to demarcations that have long since disappeared and for what reasons may these borders become visible in structures and discourses at varying times? With this approach, it is possible to critically analyse contemporary ways of perceiving social conflict, like the present discussion of a “divided Ukraine”. The idea of Phantom Borders thus responds to experiences of deep societal change and analyses social practices in which the search for new social positions, affiliations, and orientations becomes visible. 

At the same time, European societies, particularly the EU, are having an impact on the very real experiences of new forms of drawing boundaries. Although it is usual in academic discourse to speak of the lessening significance of the classic nation state, or territorial state, and thus of its borders and the methods of control that it used to exercise, this does not mean that barriers and borders have vanished altogether.

On the contrary, it is becoming clear that there are new forms of control and new efforts to regulate immigration. Given the current glut of wars and crises, there is increasing discussion across the globe about strategies for effective border security and for dealing with refugees. Perceptions of hermetically sealed barriers thus remain present in a modified form.

The KOSMOS Summer University will bring these fields of enquiry together: the issue of the presence in everyday life and in social interaction of borders that were thought to have disappeared alongside the establishment of new techniques and practices for defining new borders.

The scope of this research is not limited to Europe and European attitudes, but also necessarily deals with the global processes that rebound on Europe.

Dr. Nenad Stefanov




KOSMOS Fellows

Nathalie Clayer is head of department and senior research fellow at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique in Paris. Her political and social research focuses on the Ottoman Empire and the Balkans. She is widely known outside her own field as a specialist in European Islam.

Alongside her research into Islam and Sufism, the history of mystical Islamic brotherhoods in the Balkans, and Albanian Islam, she addresses the political and social construction of identity in Albanian history. She has produced a series of standard works about south-eastern Europe and the Near East.

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Sevasti Trubeta is Assistant Professor for Sociology with a focus on globalisation and immigration at the University of the Aegean, Greece.

Her research deals with the construction of political identity and the role of ethnicity in social and political conflicts.

Her work on borders, discourse of the body, and eugenics has triggered a wave of innovation in sociology that has gone far beyond just south-eastern European studies. 

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