Winter Semester 2021/2022

Covid19-pandemic information:
We are currently planning with a hybrid but mostly in-person teaching format with options to go back to full online teaching if required by local/state/national pandemic restrictions. Please be ensured that we will keep you updated at all times.

As we are an English program with a large number of international students, we will guarantee that students will be able to attend all classes. Should it be impossible to enter the country in time for the semester, we will find case-by-case solutions to enable all students to follow the regular curriculum. You will receive more information about how and when to join the courses at the beginning of the semester. Please be ensured that we will keep you updated at all times.

Please choose your courses so you will get a minimum of 10 ECTS/module. Elective courses have to be registered via email to the program coordinator by the end of the second week of the semester (October 22nd).

Following the study plan, first-year SDAC students (5th student cohort), should follow the instructions for Module 1, Module 3, and Module 5.

Second-year students (4th cohort), should follow the instructions for Module 7, Module 8, and Module 9.

 

Note: this page may be subject to modifications. Please check back regularly until the beginning of the semester for updates.

Module 1 – Theories of Decision-Making Across Cultural Contexts  (10 ECTS)

The following classes are mandatory:

Lecturer: JProf. Dr. Stéphanie Homola

Time and Place: Monday, 12:00 – 14:00, online

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis: This lecture in comparative anthropology focuses on the influence of cultural factors in decision-making with a focus on Asia but also in a wider perspective. The first part of the course will expose the differences between anthropological and behavioral sciences’ approaches in assessing cultural factors in decision-making. We will then address how religious worldviews and notions of fate and agency shape individual decision-making in various cultural settings. Lastly, the lecture will focus on concrete cases of social institutions build to deal with uncertainty in collective decision-making (through the example of earthquake prediction in China and Japan) as well as on cultural and social tools available for individual and collective decision-making such as divination rituals and drawing lots rituals.

Additional Information: Mandatory class. No registration is required for this lecture.

Lecturer: JProf. Dr. Stéphanie Homola, Dr. Martina Gottwald-Belinic, Dr. Sven Grundmann, Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller, Dr. Dimitri Drettas

Time and Place: Monday, 16:00-18:00, online

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course will focus on the topic of data within the context of interdisciplinary research. Students will work closely with specialists in multiple academic disciplines, who will address qualitative and quantitative approaches to data collection and analysis. In particular, students will be encouraged to engage with questions related to ‘meaning’. How, for example, is data treated differently across the Social Sciences? and how do different disciplines assess data in order to create meaning? “Interdisciplinary Methodologies” is intended to familiarize students with a variety of approaches to research in the humanities, including branches of Political Science, Economics, Sociology, and Social and Cultural Anthropology.

Additional Information: Mandatory class. No registration is required for this lecture.

Lecturer: Dr. Alexander Horstmann

Time and Place: Tuesday, 14:00-16:00, SDAC 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: World anthropology constitutes an anthropology that overcomes the limitations of Western epistemologies and its normalizing effects on anthropologies outside the Western domain. World anthropology aims to overcome the colonial and racist biases of early anthropology as well as of Western-centric development. The course offers an introduction to anthropological fieldwork methods. Students are encouraged to reflect on the ethical responsibility to research and document places in China and Asia. How would a community and gender-sensitive and responsible approach look like that would include the knowledge of the communities in the development of teaching materials? How can researchers be involved in the defense of rights and what kind of decisions need to be taken? How can world anthropology contribute to the critique of development and to the establishment of alternative forms of development?  How can a world anthropology contribute to the stake of threatened minorities?

Additional Information: Mandatory class. No registration is required for this lecture.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Wednesday, 18:00-20:00, hybrid format

ECTS: 0 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 Information: Mandatory class. No registration is required for this lecture.


Module 3 – Comparative Philosophy / fate, freedom, and prognostication I (10 ECTS)

The following classes are mandatory:

Coordinator: JProf. Stephanie Homola and Dr. Sven Grundmann
Time and Place: Individual Appointments, Workshops will take place on Fridays between 9:00-17:00, hybrid format

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis for IKGF Project Work: The SDAC program maintains a strong partnership with the International Consortium for Research in the Humanities “Fate, Freedom and Prognostication” (IKGF) at FAU. Every semester, IKGF Visiting Fellows (http://www.ikgf.uni-erlangen.de/people.shtml) present their ongoing research during the regular IKGF Lecture Series (Tuesdays, 6-8 pm, schedule to be confirmed). Students are strongly encouraged to attend these lectures to get insight into the academic world and get into contact with international scholars. To foster exchanges with Visiting Fellows, students will work on an essay (3-5 pages) based either on the topic of one of the IKGF Lecture Series, or on a topic of expertise of one of the IKGF Visiting Fellows. Prof. Homola will introduce students to IKGF Fellows and help them choose a relevant topic.

Additional Information: Mandatory class. No registration is required. Students will get detailed instructions about the IKGF Project Work during the SDAC Orientation Week.

For information about IKGF activities and members, check the IKGF website.

Synopsis for Workshop Series: 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.

Additional Information: Schedule to be released at the beginning of the semester. Mandatory class. Students will be informed via email about the workshops by Dr. Grundmann.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Tuesday, 16:00 – 20:00, once every two weeks, SDAC 02.276

ECTS: 2,5 ECTS

Synopsis: The concept of “culture” has radically been put into question by many anthropologists and among some representatives of neighboring disciplines. Many categorically oppose the application of “culture” – especially the plural form “cultures” – as an analytic category. This critique has been influential since the 1980s, when the “writing culture debate” unfolded and began to inform various follow-up discussions in the following years. Among the most prominent examples was L. Abu-Lughod’s (1991) plea for “writing against cultures”. However, proponents of these critiques mostly failed to convey their arguments to broader audiences beyond anthropology, post-colonial studies, feminist theory, and anti-racism research. Other disciplines, such as business- and marketing-oriented programs teaching “cultural competence”, often speak about “cultures”, while claiming a right for themselves to authoritatively define, quantify and measure them, and to explain human being’s behavior through culturizing explanatory frameworks. Both types of “culture”-related academic research appear to exist in epistemic worlds far apart from one another. This course introduces SDAC students to some anthropological critiques and enables them to develop their own informed argumentation on whether speaking of “culture(s)” should or should not be sustained.

As a second step, the course delves into the interrelated problem of cultural representation, i.e. the (im-)possibility of speaking and writing adequately about human beings, cultural Others, and other “cultures”. A key topic to be discussed in this regard will be the “representation crisis”, which overlaps with the abovementioned “writing culture debate”, and anthropological responses that seek to deal with this crisis productively.

Finally, the course will turn to the question of anthropological comparison. After reviewing its trajectory dating back to the colonial era, when what colonial scholars imagined as “cultures” where dubiously mapped, measured and in effect produced, we will discuss why early post-colonial anthropology largely gave up comparative research, and on which grounds attempts have been made since the early 2000s to rehabilitate comparison in more nuanced and less epistemologically violent ways.

Additional Information: Mandatory class. No registration is required for this lecture.

 

M3 Electives

Students are required to choose one of the offered classes. Since some of the classes are offered through cooperations with other departments additional registration via studon/meinCampus might be required. Please check ahead of time.

Lecturer: Dr. Alexander Horstmann

Time and Place: Wednesday, 10:00-12:00, SDAC 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: The course offers – based on ethnographies – a thorough view of the inner-life and rationales of decision-making of humanitarian and human rights organizations. The course thus offers insights into the strategies and pitfalls of international organizations. The literature is based on fieldwork of anthropologists in international organizations- a new field in anthropology. Organizations covered include the World Bank, the UNHCR, Amnesty International and the French Doctors without Borders, and the International Court of Justice and looks at the factors, governance, courts, civil society, community, media, etc. that impinge upon decision-making. SDAC students may use the insights gained in the course to establish contact with international organizations.

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Thursday, 12:00-14:00, SDAC 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: coming soon

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Heiner Bielefeldt

Time and Place: Thursday, 10:00-12:00, hybrid format (KH 0.024)

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Human rights are rights held by all human beings equally. They claim universal validity across national, regional, and cultural boundaries. Without the aspiration of universalism, the very concept of human rights would cease to make much sense. In retrospect, however, it seems obvious that the historical human rights declarations, starting from the Virginia Bill of Rights (1776), have always displayed aspects of particularism. While headlines, such as “rights of man” or “droits de l’homme” betray an androcentric bias, experiences of people from lower social strata, persons with disabilities, religious and ethnic minorities, indigenous peoples and others may have had merely limited, if any, impact on the formulation of human rights declarations. Moreover, the very idea of human rights has attracted objections that it one-sidedly reflects a European worldview or a Western way of life, which allegedly fail to meet the demands of people from other parts of the world. Do we have to conclude that the aspiration of universal human rights is but an empty illusion? Before tackling that central question, we have to define the claims of human rights and their inherent limitations. Subsequently, we will deal with the “textbook version” of the genesis of human rights in comparison to more critical, innovative readings of their historical development. We will analyse the relationship between individual rights and communitarian solidarity and explore the specific “secularity” of human rights claims as opposed to notions of divine rights. Another subject of the investigation will be the interrelatedness of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights. A question that has found increasing attention is how freedom of religion or belief can be reconciled with claims of gender equality or the emancipation of sexual minorities. The lecture will furthermore explore possible tensions between human rights and democracy. If there is any time left towards the end, we might also deal with controversial ideas of an evolutionary self-transcendence of humanity towards a “post-humanist” stadium and possible dangers arising from such futuristic visions. The lecture series belongs to the mandatory module “human rights” within the Master’s programme “Political Science”. It is also part of the “Human Rights Master” syllabus. Students will have access to background material through “StudOn”.

Additional Information: Elective course. Additional registration via studon is required. More information can be found on Univis.

Lecturer: Dr. Martina Gottwald-Belinic

Time and Place: Monday, 10:00-12:00, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Recent changes in the economic environment imposed by the new industrial revolution and challenges and economic difficulties confronted by the limitation of globalization development path pioneered by Euro/American societies since the origins of the capitalist is changing view on the world order. Most economic scholars and observers turn their focus to transition development in East Asia, especially on the remarkably successful development of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the so-called “Chinese Model” of economic transition.
This course will give a systematic and insightful view of China’s transformation road on becoming an important player for the global economy. This includes the challenges in labor transformation and readiness of Chinese economy, firms and society in general for economic absorption of new technology trends and catch up with the changes the world economy is facing up to date. The aim of the course is to provide the students the framework for understanding of China’s economy, structural and institutional changes in China and readiness for the new challenges ahead in sustaining past accomplishments and moving towards the modern Chinese economy. Special focus will be given onto soft power and cultural integration into the world economy as well as economic, diplomatic, and investment activities of China recent increased expansion abroad.

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

 

Module 5 – Specific Approaches of Selected Academic Disciplines – Europe (10 ECTS)

Please choose two from the following classes:

Lecturer: Gréta Biró, M.Sc.
Time and Place: Hybrid format, details below.
ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This seminar will address theories and methodologies discussing the relationship between anthropology and international development. It aims to introduce students to the multiple ways in which anthropological research can enhance our understanding of policies and practices in international development

Anthropological critique of international development has emerged from academic analysis that prioritizes the experiences of those “being developed”, reminding us that development is more than economic change and involves important social and cultural elements and decisions. This focus on “bottom-up” processes is often placed in contrast with “top-down” economic development planning.

The anthropological perspective on international development is, however, complicated by the different views that emerge from critical anthropologists of development, and anthropologists working in development agencies/policy. We will look at such views by addressing key issues, such as violence, gender relations, and environmental issues, with special attention on decision-making processes among the various actors involved, asking who decides for whom, why and what are the consequences?

Course Arrangement:

In-person sessions: Every second week on Wednesdays, from 12:00-14:00 (SDAC 02.276), till Christmas break, including October 27 (first class), November 10, November 24, December 8.

Online sessions: Every second week on Mondays, from 18:00-20:00, till Christmas break, including  November 15, November 29, December 13, December 20.

Only Online teaching in January and February: January 10, January 17, January 24, January 31, February 7 (exam, which will be an assignment).

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

Lecturer: Dr. Martina Gottwald-Belinic

Time and Place: Monday, 14:00-16:00, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Behavioral Economics is one of the fastest growing scientific fields and field of practice in Economics. This interdisciplinary field is a combination of concepts derived from microeconomics, social & cognitive psychology, behavioural 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 economics integrates sociological concepts and psychological evidence into economics. These includes for example prospect theory, biases in probabilistic judgment, self-control bias, mental accounting theory, influence of memory, attention, categorization, self-serving, risk attitude, motivation and cognitive capacity/ heuristics on decision of economic agents operating either as households, firms, governments or agents within institutional markets.

  1. Macroeconomics- application of modern economics on how economic system / policy affect individuals and how companies decide and make choices by assessing national and international economic structure, performance, and policies. Conceptually relevant, this relates to neoclassical model assumptions on decisions of firms, households, full confidence expectations, bounded rationality, and behavior analysis. The policy implication includes consumption, investment, labor market and unemployment, economic growth and business cycles.
  2. Microeconomics- Behavioral economics adopt and adjust principles of economics on optimization, how economic agents try to chose best feasible option and converge to equilibrium when integrating with others. Behavioral content of conceptually relevant topics concerning optimization and social interaction like intertemporal choices, role of experience and knowledge in choosing optimal and best feasible option, decision based on assessed circumstances compared to reference point, attitudes towards risk and loss-aversion, problems incorporated in self-control, the role of social preferences, endowment effect and behavioral biases related to framing effect, moral sentiments, choice bracketing and dynamics.
  3. Policy- application of behavioral economics and economic sociological concepts on institute of work and employment, efficiency in resource allocation and agency problem or information asymmetries.

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

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

Lecturer: Dr. Sven Grundmann

Time and Place: Thursday, 14:00-16:00, SDAC 02.276
ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: In the early 1970s, design theorist Horst Rittel and urban planner Melvin M. Webber published their treaty “Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning” in which they discuss why the planning of policies and social, cultural or environmental problem solving cannot succeed. Problems faced by policy-makers are entirely different from problems natural scientists or engineers have to deal with. Many policy problems are wicked problems, which are principally undecidable and for which no scientifically “right” or “wrong” solution exists. Decision-making processes in public policy often follow the course of normative judgments where distinctions between “good” and “bad” dominate the debate. In this course, we discuss approaches of reasoning which could supplement evidence-based decision-making concepts. This form of argumentation enables decision-makers to consider cultural and normative values in their assessment of policy alternatives. Policy advising is more an art and craft rather than a scientifically rigorous technique. Therefore, we will practice ethical reasoning by discussing some specific cases of wicked policy problems.

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

Lecturer: Anna Schneider, M.A.
Time and Place: Wednesday, 16:00-18:00, online
Studon link for registration and access to zoom link: https://www.studon.fau.de/crs4016084.html
ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: Decision-making can hardly be described as a detached process. Decisions, decision-makers, and their motives are influenced by their social context, interdependencies, and identities. This course starts with a brief introduction to sociological approaches to decision-making and focuses on the feminist sociological perspective, which understands gender as an organizing principle of society and its institutions. The course is designed to acquaint the students with the discipline and to facilitate critical thought concerning the impact of social factors on decision-making processes. A primary course objective is for students to connect information about individual social identities and expectations to larger social and political contexts.

Following the introduction to Sociology as a discipline, prominent examples of gender and queer theories will be discussed. For example, we will explore the work of de Beauvoir, Butler, Gildemeister, and Adams, as well as closely examine theories of constructing and deconstructing gender. We will apply this theoretical knowledge in exploring questions of representation and absence in decision-making processes and the social perception of decisions and decision-makers. Additionally, the course will rely on empirical work and compare several case studies to enable the students to gain a hands-on understanding of the material.

Additional Information: Elective course. Final registration is required until the end of the second week of the semester.

Please note: As this class will be concluded by the Christmas holiday, students should expect to have to attend two additional timeslots in November/December. The exact time and date for those appointments will be discussed in class with the students.

Lecturer: Prof. Dr. Dominik Müller

Time and Place: Thursday, 16:00-18:00, SDAC 02.276

ECTS: 5 ECTS

Synopsis: This course provides a framework for SDAC students who plan to write their Master’s 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. 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 7 – Contexts of Decision-Making in China (10 ECTS)

Two mandatory classes

Lecturer: Dr. Dimitri Drettas

Time and Place: Tuesday, 16:00 – 18:00, SDAC 02.276.

ECTS: 5 ECTS

SynopsisIn traditional Chinese historiography, the term gŭdaì 古代, meaning literally ‘Antiquity’, refers in fact to the period spanning over three millenaries which starts in remote ancient times and ends in the mid-nineteenth century, right before the decline of the Qing dynasty (1644-1911). Gudai is loosely rendered as ‘premodern’ for the purpose of this course, which introduces students to the basic knowledge of that timespan’s history. Using the constitution of a centralized system of government as common thread, students will familiarize themselves with the chronological milestones and main events of early China, from the Shang (ca. 1600-1046 BCE) to the Eastern Han dynasty (27-220 CE), through the flourishing medieval Tang (705-907) and Song dynasties (960-1279), and up to the advancements of the late imperial Ming and Qing dynasties, which ends with the establishment of the Republic in 1912. Sociocultural changes, the importance of visual culture and material evidence will be emphasized throughout the course. An overview of the issues surrounding the periodization of Chinese history will also be provided, and a critical approach of “classical history” on both the Western and Chinese sides encouraged, starting with the unrealistic image of the “immobile Empire of the Middle”. Patricia Buckley Ebrey’s The Cambridge Illustrated History of China (2010) will be used as main handbook. Endymion Wilkinson’s Chinese History: A New Manual, 5th ed. (2017) and Jacques Gernet’s Le monde chinois, 4th ed. (1999) will also be referred to. 

Lecturer: Christian Buskühl, M.A.

Time and Place: Monday, 8:00 – 10:00, 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 WS 21/22.

or 

One class at FAU outside SDAC classes in Erlangen/online in WS 21/22 (5 ECTS). Conditional on acceptance by the teacher – to be organized by the student. Please conctact the program coordinator before.

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: Monday, 12:00 – 14:00, online

ECTS: 5 ECTS

SynopsisThis course aims to provide students with the skills required to identify, interpret and evaluate arguments, defined as the reasoning offered in support of claims encountered in speech and writing, from academic publications to political discourses and media reports. Understanding the distinction between opinions, proto-arguments and arguments, being able to analyze argument construction and to recognize basic logical fallacies, will help students avoid common rhetorical traps and elaborate sounder arguments. The book, Logical Self-Defense, by Blair & Johnson (1994), will be used as main manual throughout the course, which will focus on the first two sections, “The Basic Tools” and “Fallacies”, and parts of section IV, “Advanced Argumentation”. A selection of the exercises ending each chapter will be discussed with the class. Besides, selected passages from Carl Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (1995) will be proposed for student presentations and additional discussion focusing on the application of the principles developed in the manual to the fields of parascience and skeptical inquiry. There will be occasional references to another classical handbook, Robert H. Ennis’ Critical Thinking (1996). All reading material will be distributed by the instructor in PDF format or in print, when required.

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

Time and Place: Wed, 18:00-20:00, hybrid

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: Prof Dr. Alexander Horstmann

Time and Place: Thursday, 18:00-20:00, SDAC 02.276

Synopsis: coming soon

Besides the specific SDAC courses, FAU offers a variety of courses open to students from the SDAC program. All coures offered in English at the Faculty of Humanities can be found here. Please be aware that these courses are not included in the SDAC modules and therefore the ECTS cannot be used for a SDAC module. If students participate and take the examination the class will be shown on the final transcript.