Following Chakrabarty’s call to "provincialize Europe," the conference organizers deploy the notion of "provincializing the social sciences" as a point of departure for fostering a critical conversation on the interface of area studies and social sciences. The workshop thereby aims not only to foster reflection about false claims to universality and tendencies to marginalize "other" knowledges in the social sciences, but also to work toward a more political and theoretically reflective formulation of area studies.
The workshop participants will discuss three main topics:
1. Genealogical considerations of the emergence of disciplinary divisions between "major" and "minor" subjects in different historical and political contexts
2. Approaches that question the epistemic primacy of social sciences while integrating largely unnoticed epistemologies of "other" parts of the world in the social sciences
3. Area studies perspectives that challenge the established epistemologies especially with regard to the theoretical categories of gender and religion.
The conference was organized in cooperation between the Center for Area Studies (CAS) and the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies (BGSMCS). The organizers see it as the initial event of a long-term exchange that would lead to a broader research project at Freie Universität.