When it comes to discussing general principles of cultural dynamics, it is one of the most intricate questions whether developments in different cultural fields follow one common logic, or whether they are rather governed by specific rationales of their own. Scholarship within the various disciplines seems to entirely disagree in this respect. On the one hand, there are advocators (Hegel, in the first place) of a single, comprehensive rationale of development, which is said to govern the diverse spheres typically labeled ‘culture’. On the other hand, casting art as autonomous (Kant, the Russian Formalists, the New Critics, Adorno) will lead to the assumption that the production of works of art is largely independent from politics and economics. Even so, the relation between the two latter spheres may also be conceived in different ways.
In keeping with broad areas of interest and fields of research on the part of the variety of instructors from six different institutions and five different countries, as well as from diverse humanistic disciplines, the PCD summer schools are to represent a conceptual laboratory, an open forum for ideas, and a source of inspiration—rather than a ‘school’ in a pedagogical sense. Their respective topics and proposals for discussion are linked to the PCD’s research agenda, which focuses on describing principles of cultural dynamics (for an extended portrayal of the research agenda see here).
As part of the summer school, the participants of the mobility programs of the PCD network, circulating in the course of the year, assemble for two weeks in Berlin. In addition to the Incoming and Outgoing Junior Fellows, the PCD network invites graduate and doctoral students from all partner universities to take part in the summer school at Freie Universitaet Berlin. The individual sessions are taught by postdocs and senior scholars, whose research focus pertains to the network’s field of study. By way of an immediate exchange with advanced graduate and doctoral students, these scholars present their research topics during colloquia, discussing content-related implications with regard to the framework subject of cultural dynamics. An accompanying cultural program provides these international and interdisciplinary scholars with the possibility of exchanging ideas, thus implementing and strengthening the backbone of the PCD project—the conception of a network.