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Summer Semester 2019

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Module 2 – Concepts of Chinese Cultural Orientations and Decision-Making (10 ECTS)

Students are required to choose two of the following classes (2,5 ECTS)

Lecturer: Dr. Dimitri Drettas

Time and Place: Wed. 12:00 – 14:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis:

This course aims to present and examine the variety of ways used, in the context of traditional Chinese culture, to obtain an awareness of possible situations or events that have yet to occur, in order to facilitate decision-making processes in the personal, political and economic spheres.

Those methods all have in common the importance given to historical precedents and their overreliance on divination. In this perspective, decisions concerning everyday life (wedding, travels, healthcare) or the administrative and diplomatic fields (policy making, war, and peace) are viewed as singular events whose optimal conditions can be predicted. Mantic practices such as sorting the Yijing 易經 (Book of Changes) hexagrams, dream interpretation, or horoscopy, are recorded in all major works of Chinese historiography as efficient ways to assess the best choice of action. Narratives from the Zuo Tradition or Sima Qian’s Records constitute pattern-setting models of causality in the worldview of traditional culture, which still informs contemporary Chinese society.

Students will be encouraged to apply their analytical skills and critical thinking to explain the seemingly contradictory coexistence of modern science and processes inherited from premodern culture and to question the role played by current repositories of tradition such as almanacs. To that effect, they will be introduced to the common principles of traditional knowledge (cosmology and time reckoning), and to some of the most common techniques practiced nowadays, mainly hexagram sorting and “eight characters fortune telling” (bazi suanming 八字算命). They will be required to familiarize themselves with two essential methodological tools: Claude Lévi-Strauss’ notion of bricolage and Li Ling’s taxonomic work on the set of practices known as “recipes and techniques” (fangshu 方術). The impact of traditional foreknowledge on modern decision-making will be studied through the recurrent coverage, in the Chinese media, of the use of traditional prediction in electoral and commercial strategies, branding and spatial planning, leading to an observation on the relation between officialdom (guanchang 官場) and the necessity to orient oneself in the maze of social life.

Students attending this class will gain an understanding of the cultural background of decision-making in China which will allow them to identify, contextualize and evaluate the rhetoric surrounding official decisions in the Chinese media and political discourse. Moreover, students will be able to recognize the implicit application of traditional methods used to gain knowledge of the invisible, be it actualized or not.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dr. Balsiger

Time and Place: Mon. 16:00 – 18:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis:

The seminar shall reflect on History. In Philosophy of History, it is not always clear, whether Philosophers reflect on the essence of History or about historiographic approaches to Philosophy. There are several topics like e.g. the nature of historical change or reflections about the historic individuum, that shall be touched.

Organizational matters/requirements: This seminar primarily addresses students of the elite-master degree course Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures. Students from other master degree programs and further disciplines interested in the topic of Cultural Philosophy may participate in consultation with their supervisors. Due to restricted facilities, the number of participants is limited to a maximum of 15 personsOnly regular students are admitted!

Literature:

‒  Jacob Burckhardt (1949): Weltgeschichtliche Betrachtungen: Historisch-Kritische Gesamtausgabe. Pfullingen, Neske

‒  Collingwood, Robin G. (1951): The idea of history. Oxford, Clarendon Press.

Lecturer: JProf. Homola

Time and Place: Wed. 10:00am – 12:00pm, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis:

This lecture in comparative anthropology will address and question the so-called opposition between “Western individualism” and “Chinese collectivism” which is often put forward in the literature on decision-making. To do so, we will analyze the roots of Chinese identity and the status of personhood in China. The course will introduce classical studies by Chinese sociologist and anthropologist Fei Xiaotong on social organization in China. We will also rely on more recent works about the issue of morality in contemporary China by anthropologist Yan Yunxiang as well as about the art of social networking (guanxi). In order to give a broader picture of the classical opposition between “the West” and “the East”, the course will also take into account non-Western and non-Asian worldviews and present the structuralist approach of anthropologist Philippe Descola.

Students are required to choose one of the following classes (5 ECTS)

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Bosch

Time and Place: Monday 10:00 am – 12:00 am, Kochstraße

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis:

Decision making is one of the core issues in the economy, politics, and social affairs throughout the world. Moreover, it is of crucial scientific interest, as here it is where social structure meets human action, degrees of freedom meet constraints, social power meets different cultures, rationalities and interests, and decision-makers and other actors cooperate in specific ways within organizations and networks. Good decision making is one micro foundation of survival and sustainability of organizations and other collective actors, both for themselves and in relation to their (embeddedness in) social, cultural and natural environments. Thus, making a decision is not just an act of free will, power, and resources, but is bounded within and growing out from cultural, social and economic frameworks along paths, structures, and corridors of possibilities and constraints.

The seminar will introduce into a set of classic and present-day theories and case studies of decision making in organizations and societies. We are going to combine the classical questions of individual actors, power and interests, and the (ir)rationality of organizational processes with the most recent topics of intercultural and transcultural contexts and organization-environment relations.

Recommended Literature:

  • Friedberg, E., & Crozier, M. (1980). Actors and systems: The politics of collective action. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
  • Ekman, P. (2003). Emotions Revealed. London: Weidenfeld&Nicolson
  • Gigerenzer, G. (2008): Gut Feelings. Penguin
  • March, J.(1989). Decisions and organizations. Oxford/New York: John Wiley & Sons
  • March, J. (1994): A primer on decision making. How decisions happen. New York: Free Press
  • Rosa, H. (2003). Social acceleration: ethical and political consequences of a desynchronized high–speed society. Constellations, 10(1), 3-33.
  • Sennett, R. (2012). Together: The rituals, pleasures, and politics of cooperation. Yale University Press.
  • Weber, M. (2004). The Essential Weber. Edited by Sam Whimster. New York, NY.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Holtbrügge

Time and Place: Following Soon

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Lecture: 2h/week (written examination)

Seminar: 2/3 seminars during the semester (attendance required)

Synopsis: Following Soon

Lecturer(s): Prof. Dr. Nehring & Prof.Dr.Dr. Balsiger

Time and Place: Tuesday, 14:00-16:00, Institute for Mission Studies and Religious Studies, Jordanweg 2, 91054 Erlangen

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: At first glance, the definition of Culture is rather simple: Humans use (and often exploit) nature for their own purposes. Hence, performing Culture means nothing but a transformation of nature into forms that are appropriate for human needs. Therefore it is stated that culture represents a higher level of development of civilization. Cultural Philosophy now tries to find answers on further questions like the origin of culture and the ways of development of culture. Thus, the seminar will focus on various concepts of Culture that are distinct in their approaches and in their explications concerning the topics mentioned above.

Organizational matters/requirements: This seminar primarily addresses students of Theology and the elite-master degree course Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures. Students from other master degree programs interested in the topic of Cultural Philosophy may participate in consultation with their supervisors. Due to restricted facilities, the number of participants is limited to a maximum of 15 persons. Only regular students are admitted!

 

Module 4 – Influences of Cultural-Religious Variances on Decision-Making Processes (10 ECTS)

Students are required to choose two of the following classes (2,5 ECTS)

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Smith

Time and Place: Thu. 10:00am – 12:00am, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis:

This course will focus on a variety of different anthropological approaches to the subject of rationality, emphasizing recent social and cognitive anthropological research on the occult in European and North American cultures. Students will gain a passing familiarity with the history of European magic and Spiritualism, as well as a number of paranormal sub-cultures that are prevalent in Western popular culture. More importantly, students will learn to identify the patterns that these beliefs and behaviors share and work to identify ways in which we can locate rationality within intellectual milieus that are often dismissed as irrational in the social sciences. In order to frame this complex subject, the course will begin with a brief history of the New Age movement in Western Europe and the United States, moving on to discuss the disassociation of the terms ‘religious’ and ‘spiritual’ in 20th century counter-cultural movements. Building on this intellectual historical framework, the course will focus on ethnographic work conducted in a variety of contemporary religious sub-cultures, including Wiccan or Neo-Pagan groups in the United Kingdom, trans-denominational evangelical organizations in North America, and the syncretic ‘spiritual but not religious’ (SBNR) phenomenon. Students will be encouraged to interrogate how religious forms of rationality can be re-imagined in ostensibly secular terms and pushed to interrogate the relationship between contemporary ‘spirituality’ and aspects of consumer culture.

Lecturer: Anna Schneider, M.A.

Time and Place: Mon. 14:00 – 16:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis:

Decision-making processes are highly complex and strongly intertwined with their social environment. The course starts with a close look at modern society and the transformations affected by globalization. Other aspects we are going to examine are risk as one characteristic feature of post-industrial societies and their changing value systems.

As a next step, we will follow up on the decision-making process by taking a closer look at the gathering and assessment of information. We will critically analyze which sources information comes from and how it is usually connected. This will show the influence of social environments not only on the decision-maker but also on the data the decision-maker collects. For a deeper understanding, we will generate an overview of influencing social factors like gender, ethnicity, education and so forth in class and discuss specific examples in depth. Attention is given to such questions as: How are decisions made? Which contextual social factors influence decision strategies? How do those factors shape or constrain human behavior?

As an addition, the course includes the basic theory of social stratification in connection with social factors. Subsequently, we will draw from the discipline of psychology to familiarize ourselves with and contemplate cognitive biases and the role of emotions in decision-making processes. We will finish by connecting the knowledge we have gained with different steps of decision-making, particularly the process of information gathering and assessment.

To get a better understanding of the interdependence of environmental surroundings and decision processes, we will combine theoretical knowledge with a group exercise as well as one individual, long-term research project. The assignments are designed to enhance students’ abilities to apply course theories to the real world and to sharpen their qualitative research skills.

Research Project:
In this project, you will have the opportunity to begin to envision potential solutions to social problems. You will study a local community organization that is working to ameliorate poverty, crime, drug abuse, teen pregnancy, environmental degradation, and more. How effective is the organization? How are decisions being made? What would you do differently?
• groups of two students
• qualitative research on structure and decision-making process of one community organization
• methods: qualitative interviews and observations

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Robert LaFleur

Time and Place: Wed.16:00-18:00, starts May 29th, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis: This (SDAC) seminar begins with an examination of the management themes at the heart of the Chinese historical tradition. Running the world’s largest empire was a practical and theoretical challenge for generations of leaders, and the tradition contains some of the finest works ever written that deal with organizational structure, hierarchy, and social interaction. In particular, we will examine the manner in which one of China’s most prominent thinkers, Sima Guang (1019-1086), articulated the relationship between case studies and management action. We will also study management models and case studies from early social organizations to today’s multinational corporations. These texts that form the foundation of this course represent a window onto ways of understanding complex historical, social, and even cognitive issues in decision-making and management—“ yesterday” and today.

Students are required to choose one of the following classes (5 ECTS)

Lecturer: Dr. Martina Gottwald

Time and Place: Mon. 12:00 – 14:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

Lecture Begin Date: 29.04.2019

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis:

Behavioral economics is one of the fastest growing scientific fields and field of practice. This interdisciplinary field is a combination of concepts derived from microeconomics, social & cognitive psychology, behavioral decision research, consumer research, experimental economics etc. Its focus is on the question “How do people make decisions”. How do they cope with risk and uncertainty? How do they weight the present against the future? How do people perceive money and use it? Do people know what made us happy in the past and what will make us happy in the future? …

Behavioral game theory extends standard (analytical) game theory by considering how players feel about the payoffs other players receive, limits in strategic thinking, the influence of context, as well as the effects of learning (Camerer, 2003). Games are usually about cooperation or fairness.

Students will be expected to get familiar with the literature presented in class, to think critically and analytically and to present and defend ideas clearly and rigorously. This implies a lot of reading, so students will earn their grades by presenting Academic paper assigned from the reading list in the class. Besides, there will be a final examination based on learned topics.

These tools/ models will be taught from scratch and no existing knowledge of game theory, economics, or mathematics is required.

Lecturer: Sven Grundmann, M.A.

Time and Place: Wed.14:00 – 16:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: In an increasingly complex world, politicians must make a decision under uncertainty and risk. In this seminar, we analyze how new forms of collaborative governance might help to improve controversial decision-making processes. We will examine the relationships between policy design, collaborative governance, and political institutions, as to identify possible resolutions to transform political conflicts into productive and sustainable outcomes. This course will blend theoretical insights with professional practice examples from Europe and abroad.

Recommended Reading: Hoppe, Robert (2010): The Governance of Problems. Puzzling, Powering, Participation. Bristol.

 

Module 6 – Rationalities of Decision-Making (10 ECTS)

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Smith

Time and Place: Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

Synopsis: Following Soon 

Lecturer: Dr. Gottwald

Time and Place: Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

Synopsis: Following Soon

  

Lecturer(s): Sven Grundmann, M.A.

Time and Place: Following Soon

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis: The Workshop-Series goes beyond the classes taught in the framework of the Master’s program “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures” and provides the students with insights from practitioners and selected scholars. Students will get the opportunity to develop and train new sets of skills and to discover the state of the art of applied research in the humanities and social sciences. In the upcoming summer semester, we offer a diverse program which will cover workshops on futurology and rhetorics.

 

Students are required to choose one of the following classes (5 ECTS)

Lecturer(s): Prof. Dr. Dr. Balsiger

Time and Place: Thu. 16:00 – 18:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Philosophically the topic has become important again since French philosophers have rediscovered the importance of offerings for establishing solid social situations. The seminar will focus on the classical text of Marcel Mauss but there will also be some sideways glance especially on George Bataille.

Organizational matters/requirements: This seminar primarily addresses students of the elite-master degree course Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures. Students from other master degree programs and further disciplines interested in the topic of Cultural Philosophy may participate in consultation with their supervisors. Due to restricted facilities, the number of participants is limited to a maximum of 15 persons. Only regular students are admitted!

Literature:
‒ Mauss, Marcel (1990, orig. pub. 1925). The Gift: The Form and Reason for Exchange in Archaic Societies. Routledge Classics (Paperback)
– Bataille, Georges (1988, orig. pub. 1949). The Accursed Share. New York: Zone Books

Lecturer: JProf. Homola

Time and Place: Thu. 12:00pm – 14:00pm, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis:

This seminar will introduce Chinese media and Chinese Internet cultures, such as blogging, social networks, censorship issues, Internet language, and social control issues. It will also provide useful tools to search for and monitor both academic and general information on Chinese society and culture. We will deepen our knowledge of contemporary Chinese society through media documentation and cultural products such as printed and digital press, documentary films, movies, literature, and music.

Module 10 – Master’s Thesis (10 ECTS)

As this is classified as a writing seminar, you will not receive an official mark; however, in order to submit the master thesis, we require that students attend and encourage full participation.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Alexander Smith

Time and Place: Week 1: May 13th, 14th, 16th, 17th / Week 2: May 20th, 21st, 23rd, 24th; 9:00-12:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Conference Room

Synopsis:

In this short, intensive seminar students will work closely with a professor and writing instructor, who will help them to mold their data and fieldwork experiences into a polished written paper. Students will also have the opportunity to practice oral presentations of their research in preparation for their thesis defence. This seminar is mandatory for fourth-semester students.

 

Additional Classes

Lecturer: Dr. Drettas

Time and Place: Thurs. 02:00 – 04:00, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

Synopsis:

This course aims introduces non-Sinophone students to the fundamental features of Modern Standard Mandarin, in the form normalized as Putonghua 普通话 (the official national language of the People’s Republic of China), in order to best prepare them to their Beijing semester by allowing them to apply their basic knowledge as soon as they arrive in China, hence facilitating their acclimation to this new linguistic and cultural environment.

A strong emphasis is put on a phonetic acquisition and oral training, with stress on tonal patterns and prosody. The official romanization system, Hanyu Pinyin 汉语拼音, is introduced shortly before the sinograms, or Chinese characters (Hanzi 汉字), in their official simplified form. Following the didactic principles of Joël Bellassen and Zhang Pengpeng (A Key to Chinese Speech and Writing, Beijing: 1997), oral and written expression will be comprehensively taught together: once word compounds are explained, the characters rendering them are fully presented one by one, from their etymology to their stroke order, their main semantic values and a selection of the words they form with other characters.

A typical session starts with 15 to 20 minutes of exposition by the instructor, using set phrases and introducing new words and grammatical features which the students are required to reproduce by interacting with the instructor and with one another. The rest of the class is then dedicated to explaining the new content in English, hence giving students the opportunity to verify their intuitive and deductive skills, a necessary foundation to the build-up of Sprachgefühl. Audiovisual material such as popular songs and recordings of radio or television shows are used whenever possible, as a way to accustom students to the sonorities and rhythm of the language. Regular interactive exercises include the deciphering of street signs, advertisements, and news headlines.

Fundamental cultural elements pertaining to the history, geography, society, and customs of contemporary China are introduced on the occasion of each new lesson (e.g., teaching the 5 cardinal points will lead into the names and locations of the country’s 23 provinces). Occasionally, other varieties of Chinese, such as Cantonese and Hokkien, are mentioned, as well as Classical Chinese and “traditional” (unsimplified) characters, as they all permeate, to various degrees, the language habits of today’s Chinese Mainland.

By the end of the semester, students will be expected to command at least a third of the 400 most frequent characters defined by Bellassen and Zhang as the “minimal threshold” of essential sinograms. They should be able to look up unfamiliar characters using printed or digital dictionaries, and to write simple texts on paper or electronic devices, using both handwriting and Pinyin input methods. They will know how to introduce themselves, engage in a simple conversation, and formulate elementary requests in standard modern Chinese.