Summer Semester 2021

Due to ongoing pandemic restrictions, we are planning with on online summer semester with options to go back to classroom teaching as soon as possible. Please be ensured that we will keep you updated at all times.

Note: this page may be subject to modifications. Please follow up for updates.

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

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

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Stéphanie Homola

Time and Place: Wedn. 10:00am – 12:00pm, online

ECTS: 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 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.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dr. Philipp Balsiger

Time and Place: Mon. 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis:

Basically, philosophical Anthropology deals with problems like the exact meaning of humans in a substantial sense. As humans are not able to define themselves in such essential way, first the preconditions on which this judgement will be based on have to be clarified. Hence, one of the core questions in philosophical anthropology therefore is, whether humans essentially are mean or good-natured. Then, another key problem would be to figure out in which way humans differ from other animals. Based on these fundamental issues the further core problem raises which of humans behaving is natural and which is socially adopted. All such questions are crucial preconditions to answer the question about decision-making in intercultural contexts.

Keywords
Philosophical Anthropology, good and evil, innate vs socially adopted, human specifications.

Literature

‒ Dutton, Edward (without vintage). Keyword ‘Philosophy of Anthropology’, in: Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), https://iep.utm.edu/anthropo/

If you’re seriously interested in participating in this seminar, please send as soon as possible an E-mail to Prof. Balsiger (philipp.balsiger[at]fau.de) so we can keep in contact by E-mail. This will guarantee that you will get corresponding documents and further information.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Stéphanie Homola

Time and Place: Thu. 12:00pm – 2:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This seminar will introduce Chinese media and Chinese Internet culture, including 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.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Thu. 6:00pm – 8:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course offers SDAC students an introduction into some selected anthropological approaches to the study of topics related to Artificial Intelligence (AI), robots, and the social life of algorithms. The course furthermore includes two sessions addressing intersections of religion and AI – in this part, we will also read some publications from religious studies.

This is a work-intensive course: For a successfully completion it is decisive that participants read all of the weekly literature. They will also make brief weekly entries (1-2 pages) to Learning Diary after each session (explained in first session).

Each student will give at least one presentation (not more that 15 minutes!) during the semester – in most cases on a monograph or edited volume.

The course complements Prof. Müller’s LawTech project work, but is also open to all other interested SDAC students. The course is open to non-SDAC students from any other study programs at FAU. It is possible to audit the class, under the (strict, non-negotiable) condition that external participants attend each of the sessions, prepare the weekly readings and give an oral presentation.

 

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

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

Lecturer: PD Dr. Jan Heiß

Time and Place: Mo. 4:00pm – 6:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course deals with magic and sorcery. People influence their environment in various ways. A simple way to influence one’s environment is through body movements, tools, or communication, and the effects are easily understood. Magic and sorcery are also ways to influence environments, they are said to work in mystical or supernatural ways. What, however, does this mean? How do people conceptualise magic and sorcery? How do magic and sorcery have an effect on the world? What do they do to the practitioner’s mind? Do they even presuppose a different kind of consciousness? While these questions focus on practices and practitioners, magic and sorcery are also social and cultural phenomena. There importance waxes and wanes according to changes in social and economic structures. Some argue that neoliberalism and capitalism trigger off new forms and waves of magic and sorcery while some see historical continuities. A thread running to the discussion is the question if the existence of magic and sorcery can be proven or falsified.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Thu. 10:00am – 12:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course will introduce second-semester students of the SDAC Program to politics and culture in the “Malay World” (dunia Melayu) in Southeast Asia, focusing in particular on Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei in the post-colonial and contemporary period. The disciplinary focus will primarily (but not exclusively) be anthropological.

In a broadly accessible manner tailored to the SDAC’s interdisciplinary setting, we will discuss a broad range of empirical and analytic themes in the context of each of the three countries, as well as cross-cutting topics and trends. Issues to be discussed include, for example, classificatory power, nation-building, nationalism, ethnicity, stereotypes, staged authenticity, religion, gender, authoritarianism, bureaucracy, and the politics of culture, broadly defined.

Upon successful completion, students will have acquired competences to better understand political and socio-cultural transformations in Malay-speaking Southeast Asia and analyze them vis-à-vis parallel developments in other regions (while critically reconsidering the very logics of “regional” and “cultural” distinctions). They will also learn to identify crucial actors, institutions and events of post-colonial and contemporary Southeast Asian politics and develop an understanding of how anthropologists and other social scientists have studied and explained them. Students will be encouraged to immerse themselves into Southeast Asian perspectives and discourses, while unthinking normalized “cultural”/national stereotypes.

This is a work-intensive course: For a successfully completion it is decisive that participants read all of the weekly literature. They will also make brief weekly entries (1-2 pages) to Learning Diary after each session (explained in first session).

Each student will give one presentation (not more that 12 minutes!!!) during the semester.

The course is open to non-SDAC students from any other study programs at FAU. It is possible to audit the class, as long as participants regularly attend and prepare the weekly readings.

Students interested in deepening their engagement with politics and culture in the Malay World are encouraged to approach the lecturer and discuss a possible supervision and project ideas, either for their Master thesis or to begin the pre-doctoral preparations of a PhD project.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dr. Philipp Balsiger

Time and Place: Wed 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: From a philosophical point of view this anthropological core topic has become important again since French philosophers have rediscovered the importance of gifts and offerings for establishing solid social situations. The seminar will mainly focus on the classical text of Marcel Mauss (1872–1950). But there will also be further sideways glances, e.g. on Jacques Derrida, George Bataille or Marcel Hénaff. Concerning the anthropologist Marcel Mauss, social life is based on the triad of offering, accepting, and responding. For long time this hypothesis has solely been discussed in the anthropological discourse. Since the 1990ties it has become fashionable among philosophers to re-think about this topic. Philosophers as Derrida, Lévinas, or Ricoeur are unanimous in their opinion that offering is a process which is not based on reciprocity as a precondition. Current philosophical contributions accept that the base of gift giving is less rigid. Their re-definition brings in new aspects that will be considered.

Keywords: Social philosophy, Philosophy of economy, Social Society, Exchange of Gifts, Ethics S ocial philosophy, Philosophy of economy, Social Society, Exchange of Gifts, Ethics

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. Vol. 1: Consumption, New York: Zone Books

If you’re seriously interested in participating in this seminar, please send as soon as possible an E-mail to Prof. Balsiger (philipp.balsiger[at]fau.de) so we can keep in contact by E-mail. This will guarantee that you will get corresponding documents and further information.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Markus Promberger

Time and Place: Monday, 12:00 – 2:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Obviously, there is no end of history, and the short history of the 21st century presents itself as a sequence of crises. Not only the ups and downs of the business cycle, but severe and substantial crises are arising – and/or increasingly being recognized, finding their way into our experience and social, economic and cultural practices and living conditions. Be it the dot.com crisis of the early 2000s and the SARS/MERS epidemics, the meanwhile so-called Great Recession of 2007 and after, the Covid-19 pandemic, and climate change with its increasing incidence of disasters and a lack of political answers: They all do not touch just one area, nation or social group, but reach across areas, subcultures and communities, nation states and global regions, although in different ways.

Nevertheless, and strikingly, the usual answer that the better-off are less afflicted may or may not apply, but is not completely sufficient. Indeed, the well-off have more resources than the poor to cope with substantial trouble, but even under relatively equal living conditions there are individuals or small groups, cities or other units who do better than their peers, be it that they are less harmed, recovering more quickly or even thrive where others don’t. This is called resilience.

The concept of resilience had originated in solid state mechanics, psychology and ecosystems research after the second world war, but entered sociology and economics hardly a decade ago, still remaining an interdisciplinary approach. The seminar will explore this concept by following the literature tracks since its origin, take a look at the changes necessary for using it in social sciences, and investigate its explanative power for the situation and development of individuals, households, organisations and institutions. We will learn about the ways to observe and measure resilience, and explore the pitfalls and chances of using the concept in socio-political fields of decision and action.

The seminar will be held in English through internet communication and is open for advanced students from sociology and other disciplines of the philosophical faculty. In order to ensure a satisfying level of debate in the seminar and prevent free riding, participants are requested to read the literature and prepare a brief paper in English of about 2-3 pages on a given question from meeting to meeting, ready to present and defend it orally during the seminar sessions. These papers can be collated and revised to be submitted as the seminar term paper until August 31st, but different elaborations on other topics related to the seminar are also welcome for this purpose, if agreed. Unjustified absence may lead to exclusion. Please be aware that the teaching mode may shift at short notice due to the general situation or the rules applicable.

Reading:

Keck, M., & Sakdapolrak, P. (2013). What is social resilience? Lessons learned and ways forward. Erdkunde, 5-19.
Promberger, M., Meier, L., Sowa, F., & Boost, M. (2019). Chances of ‘Resilience’as a Concept for Sociological Poverty Research. In Resilience in Social, Cultural and Political Spheres (pp. 249-278). Springer VS, Wiesbaden.
Revilla, J. C., Martín, P., & de Castro, C. (2018). The reconstruction of resilience as a social and collective phenomenon: poverty and coping capacity during the economic crisis. European Societies, 20(1), 89-110.

Registration required: open Moday, 5.4.2021, 8:00 Uhr – Friday, 23.4.2021, 24:00 Uhr via: meinCampus.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Wed 2:00-4:00 pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course provides a framework for SDAC students who plan write their Master thesis in the framework of Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller’s new “LawTech” research agenda.

The course combines a close reading of relevant literature with space for students to discuss and gradually further develop their project plans. The discussed literature will serve to broaden and deepen the students’ disciplinary foundations in legal anthropology. In the second half of the semester, we will then read an important contemporary monograph from the anthropology of law (chapter by chapter). A particular focus will be placed on the study of courts and other state-based legal institutions, which are of primary interest to the new research group, with a decidedly global and non-Eurocentric anthropological orientation.

Some of the sessions will be chaired and organized by students.

 

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

Lecturer(s): Prof. Dr. Stéphanie Homola, Dr. Martina Gottwald-Belinic, Prof. Dr. Robert LaFleur, Dr. Sven Grundmann

Time and Place: April 6th – April 9th 2021, Workshops take place on selected Fridays

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

The Spring School (online) is designed as a first step for students to start thinking about their Master Thesis project and will focus on “how to craft a research project”.

A provisional schedule has been sent out to students and the finalized version will be distributed soon.

In the meantime, students are encouraged to start thinking in a broad (or more precise) way about what interests them in terms of discipline(s), field, topics, data collection…

 

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. Some of the sessions will have the character of workshops, where students can develop and train new sets of skills. Other sessions will introduce the students to new fields of applied research and the frontier of scientific development.

Lecturer(s): Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller / Guest Lecturers

Time and Place: Wed, 6:00-8:00pm, online

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis: The SDAC Guest Lecture Series offers students of the Elite Graduate Program “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures” the opportunity to learn about cutting edge research from distinguished scholars of socioculturally oriented decision-making studies from across the world. Guests include university-based researchers from a range of disciplines alongside practitioners working at the intersections of academic research and applied decision-making.

 

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

Lecturer(s): Martina Gottwald-Belinic

Time and Place: Wed. 12:00 – 02:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Game theory provides useful tools to help solve decision-making problems within the organization where different stakeholders interact (from industrial organization, non-profit-organizations, governmental organizations, etc.). The lectures will focus on decision making within the (business) organizations where the outcome depends on the decisions of two or more autonomous players and where no single decision maker has full control over the outcomes. The game theory model is constructed around the strategic choices available to players, where the preferred outcomes are clearly defined and known. Game theory distinct among cooperative game (the players need to signal their intentions to one other), zero-sum non-cooperative game (players need to conceal their intentions from each other), mixed-motive game (the players’ interests are simultaneously opposed and coincident). Besides we will talk about the three categories of games: games of skill; games of chance; and games of strategy as well as agency problems.

Classes will consist of lectures, discussion of assigned readings and exercises illustrating the main concepts – theoretical frames application into the practice and applied game cases. The tools/ models will be taught from scratch and no existing knowledge on game theory, economics, or mathematics is required.

Further following interdisciplinary application will be given:

  • Game of skill, preference relations and optimization (resource allocation and application of linear programming to solve utility maximization problem / expenditure minimization problem)
  • Game of chance and probability theory
  • Choice under uncertainty (lotteries; expected utility theory; risk aversion)
  • Building a theory for simultaneous games, static and dynamic games
  • Game of strategy and Bayesian Game
  • Agency problems- adverse selection and signaling
  • Producer Theory (Production Sets, Production with a Single Output, Cost Minimization
  • As supplementary topics: the “shapley” value in cooperative games, social justice (decision making in democratic society), the (mathematical) matching problem

Literature will be provided to the students in form of scripts and reading materials.

Recommended Literature:

An Introduction and application, Game Theory by Graham Romp, Oxford

Game Theory, An Applied Introduction by Jose Luis Ferreira

Osborne, M. and A. Rubenstein (1994), A Course in Game Theory, Cambridge, MIT Press.

Fudenberg, D. and Tirole, J. (2007), Game Theory, Cambridge, MIT Press.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dr. Philipp Balsiger

Time and Place: Tue. 04:00pm – 06:00pm, Henkestraße 91, House 8, Room 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: The seminar reflects on History. Even if the question about History is put in a functionalists manner, the answer is not that easy, but when it comes to the essentialists question, History turns out to be a rather diffuse concept. This lack of conceptual clarity is owed to the fact that in Philosophy of History it is not always clear, whether Philosophers reflect about the essence of History or about historiographic approaches to Philosophy. There are several topics that shall be touched. E.g., what are the principles of History and on the other hand what are the principles of the process of History? Which are the driving powers for History or what is the nature of historical changes? Are such changes related to a specific ideological position? Does there even exist a specific law of development? Or is History nothing but a poor human invention, and therefore the result of an anthropomorphic description? And how is the past related to the present? Unanswered questions abound!

Keywords

Philosophy of History, Historiography, Metaphysics, Presence, Past and Future, Process, Progress, Historic Development; Methods of History.

Supporting Literature

‒  Jacob Burckhardt (1943): Reflections on History. Introduction by Gottfried Dietze. Translated by M. D. H.. First published as “Force and Freedom”. London, George Allen & Unwin LTD (cf. https://b-ok.cc/book/1196287/a8be88)

‒ Collingwood, Robin G. (1946): The Idea of History. Oxford, Clarendon Press; revised edition, with an introduction by Jan Van der Dussen, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1993.

– Danto, Artur C. (1965): Analytical Philosophy of History. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press

– Veyne, Paul (21992): Michel Foucault: Die Revolutionierung der Geschichte. Suhrkamp

– Toynbee, Arnold J. (1946, 1957): A Study of History. Abridgement of Vol. I‒VI (1946), and Vol. VII‒X (1957). London, Oxford University Press.

If you’re seriously interested in participating in this seminar, please send as soon as possible an E-mail to Prof. Balsiger (philipp.balsiger[at]fau.de) so we can keep in contact by E-mail. This will guarantee that you will get corresponding documents and further information.

Lecturer: Dr. Sven Grundman

Time and Place: Thu. 2:00pm – 4.00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis:This course provides an introduction into the research on decision-making processes in complex governance systems. In the first part we focus on comparative political science. Through a systematic study and comparison of different types of government and political systems, we will gain a better understanding of political institutions, constitutions, the public sphere, and internal power relations. In the second part we examine the multi-level governance system of the European Union and take a closer look on the relationship between the European Union on the one hand and the People´s Republic of China on the other hand. You will learn how to analyse diverse political regime types and be able to reflect critically on the challenges of EU-China relations.

Lecturer: PD Dr. Jan Heiß

Time and Place: Tue. 02:00pm – 04:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: tba

Lecturer: Dr. Christopher Schlembach

Time and Place: Mon. 10:00am – 12:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: In the framework of the theory of action, decision making or choices determine „future conduct after having considered several possible ways of action“ (Schütz, 1962, p. 67). Starting from Schütz important analysis of social action and its relationship to processes of will formation and decision making, we will analyse and discuss some approaches to the field of (rational) decision making that emerged since the first half of the 20th century. For one, Herbert Simon found that rational decision making is always restricted (bounded) by our knowledge of the situation, the evaluation of future affairs and the human capacity of information processing. As one consequence of decision making in differentiated and pluralized (complex) society and under conditions of unintended and unanticipated consequences of purposeful social action, sociologists and political scientists found that bold projects of action must be translated into little, reversable steps. This approach has been conceptualized as incrementalism or “muddling through.” Being in a situation of “still muddling, not yet through” (Lindblom, 1979), we will discuss these shallows of decision making (and goal setting) in different cultural settings and in a highly mediatized contemporary situation in which algorithms and information infrastructures pervade all sectors of the social and cultural realm.

Recommended Literature:
Schütz, Alfred. 1951. Choosing Among Projects of Action. In: Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 12(2), pp. 161–184.
Simon, Herbert. 1958[1945]. Administrative Behavior. A Study of Decision-Making Processes in Administrative Organizations. New York: Macmillan.
Maddox, George L. Muddling Through: Planning for Health Care in England. In: Medical Care 9(5), pp. 439–448.

 

Please register on MeinCampus until 23/4/21.

 

Module 7 – Contexts of Decision-Making in China (10 ECTS)

Two mandatory classes

Lecturer: Dr. Dimitri Drettas

Time and Place: Thu. 12:00 – 2:00 pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course aims to provide students with the fundamental knowledge required to comprehend and analyze decision-making processes taking place, on both individual and institutional levels, in the contemporary society of the People’s Republic of China. By familiarizing themselves with elementary information about the history, geography, and political system of today’s China, students are progressively encouraged to examine the influence of social and cultural factors in the way decisions are made in the Chinese context. Identifying and analyzing the modalities of both implicit and explicit decision-making processes will allow them to keep a critical distance from overly simplistic, generalizing, and misdirected accounts published in and outside of China, hence preparing them to better observe and understand social phenomena, without depending on doubtful information, when they experience living in the country itself.

Lecturer: Christian Buskühl, M.A.

Time and Place: Wed. 8:00am – 10:00am, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Module 8 – Specific Approaches of Selected Academic Disciplines (10 ECTS)

Depending on individual study plans and progress, students can earn credits by attending:

One or two SDAC classes in Erlangen/online, to be chosen among SDAC elective classes in SS20, WS20, and/or SS21

or 

One class at FAU outside SDAC classes in Erlangen/online in SS21 (5 ECTS). Conditional on acceptance by the teacher – to be organized by the student.

or

Supervised Empirical Research Project (Germany or abroad)

Credits: 5 ECTS

Topic: to be discussed with supervisor

The Empirical Research Project gives SDAC students the chance to apply their knowledge about empirical data collection (e.g. ethnographic fieldwork) in a more advanced and comprehensive setting. This project work can potentially help students conducting preparatory work for their Master’s Thesis.

The research project will be graded based on a field report. Here, students should reflect on their (first) experiences with empirical data collection. The practicalities (including work-load estimation, the extent of the report, etc.) will be discussed individually with the respective supervisor.

 

Module 9 – Developing Transcultural Sensitivities (10 ECTS)

Lecturer: Dr. Dimitri Drettas

Time and Place: Wed. 10:00am – 12:00pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This seminar invites students to reflect on their experience living in different cultural environments, and to attempt to place it in the perspective of their training in decision-making studies.
Each student presents concrete examples taken from their own life and discusses them with the class under the instructor’s supervision. Students are then asked to frame and analyze them in terms of decision-making processes by applying the models and methods they have been introduced to (SWOT analysis, hard choice, crossroads, etc.), while taking into consideration the intercultural and social factors depending on each individual’s particular background. Additional material may be provided by the instructor to further the discussion. Students are free to conceal or modify any aspects of their personal accounts they do not wish others to know about, as long as the experience itself (and especially the decision-making processes taking place in it) is authentic. All students, as well as the instructor, agree to full confidentiality on the content of the shared experiences.

Lecturer(s): Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller / Guest Lecturers

Time and Place: Wed, 6:00-8:00 pm, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: The SDAC Guest Lecture Series offers students of the Elite Graduate Program “Standards of Decision-Making Across Cultures” the opportunity to learn about cutting-edge research from distinguished scholars of socioculturally oriented decision-making studies from across the world. Guests include university-based researchers from a range of disciplines alongside practitioners working at the intersections of academic research and applied decision-making.

 

Additional Offers

Lecturer: YAN Bin 晏斌, ECCS

Time and Place: Tue. 08:00 am – 10:00 am, online

Synopsis:

This course is a continuation of last semester’s Modern Chinese Language for Beginners.

Please register with Dr. Dimitri Drettas

Lecturer: Julia Klingel, M.A.

Time and Place: Mon. 02:00 – 04:00 pm, online

ECTS: 2,5

Synopsis: During the Career Advice sessions we will take a systematic look at how to effectively find, apply for, and then get a job from the SDAC perspective. We will look at different career paths, such as academia, business, politics, NGO work, etc. and how the SDAC degree might prepare students for those fields. Students will be asked to prepare a mock (or real) application and carry this ‚case study‘ through the semester. At all times, we will discuss which FAU Career Service institutions might help students with more specific cases.

Students are encouraged to also attend the seminars and events for international students offered by FAU’s Career Service.

First session: 19/04. Please register via email.