As globalization has become an universal topic, in the light of migration and mass tourism, everyone uses the terms “identity’ and “space’. In the politics of science, these expressions are practically developing into a magic formula. The frequency of their use is inversely proportional to their accuracy though. Concepts of identity as well as space have already gone through various cycles in the different humanities. Still, an intensive discussion about the contemporary definition as well as the possibilities and limitations of their use is barely taking place in the classical studies.
The Cross Sectional Group V provided a platform for communication regarding these topics. The group’s main aim was to methodologically and conceptually investigate the core problem of the connection between spatially bound material culture and collective identities − especially ethnic groups −, as preserved in written records. In this field, unconsidered and not infrequently ideologically and politically charged identifications have been made. Furthermore, the humanities have to react to the progress in the natural sciences, for example in genetics or isotopic analysis. The new results have to be integrated into the humanistic research in a methodologically critical manner, also to be able to constructively encounter the biologistic notions which are increasingly reappearing at present. In order to do so, it is also necessary to deal with the questions that the history of science has raised, as well as with the contemporary formation of identities based on archaeological sites and observations. In addition, the study of intercultural exchange which illustrates the dynamics of identities and space, as well as linguistic and narrative discourses of identity, for example in the shape of eponyms or myths, were key aspects of the Group’s research.
The following central questions were being discussed by the Cross Sectional Group V, with respect to their relative references:
- How have “space’ and “collective identities’ been constructed in previous research?
- How are archaeological places constructed in modern times, and do these constructs affect the formation of identities?
- What can spatially bound material culture tell us about collective identities?
- What significance does space have for the formation of identities?
- How do collective identities make an impact on space?
- In what way do the concepts of space vary in different socio-cultural groups?
The Cross Sectional Group V was supported and advised by an independent panel of experts. The members of this CSG-V Think Tank combine knowledge of different disciplines:
- Sebastian Brather (Protohistoric Archaeology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)
- Ute Daniel (Modern History, TU Braunschweig)
- Peter Haslinger (History, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
- Susanne Hummel (Historical Anthropology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen)
- Matthias Jung (Philosophy & Sociology, Johann-Wolfgang-Goethe-Universität Frankfurt a. M.)
- Waltraud Kokot (Ethnology, Universität Hamburg)
- Stefan Pfänder (Philology, Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg)
- Ulrike Sommer (Prehistoric Archaeology, University College London)
- Jürgen Straub (Social Psychology, Ruhr-Universität Bochum)
- Peter Weichhart (Geography, Universität Wien)
The investigations of Cross Sectional Group V is continued in Key Topic Group Identities (Topoi II).