This cluster uses the lenses of physics, sociology, and literary studies to critically and comparatively examine the ways we imagine and reimagine the worlds in which we live, from the cosmos to social structures and from cultural to personal experiences. It exposes students to the ways in which our social locations inform our world-views as well as our disciplinary perspectives and methodologies. We will probe western and Indigenous cosmologies, normative and alternative gender and sexuality structures, and imperial and decolonial racial systems. 360 participants will explore various ways knowledge can be decolonized in the academic context, including how knowledge development can be treated as an active and collaborative process.
Established narratives of Europe tend to be Western European and focused on high politics. This cluster changes the focus from structures to stories, using an interdisciplinary approach (incorporating political science, history, and German studies) to critically examine Europe’s past and present from the margins. What does Europe look like from the perspectives of those whose voices are usually missing from mainstream narratives – the disempowered, queers, migrant laborers, artists, refugees, and people from Europe’s eastern and southern peripheries? By inserting and foregrounding perspectives of the historically marginalized along with an examination of their theoretical, cultural, and political contributions to European society, this 360 aims to provide critical analytical tools to not only foster greater understanding of the broader context of modern Europe but to rethink what Europe itself is.