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Too little, too late? How can we understand and react to the multifaceted changes that we are confronted with in our lives? Although we are frequently told that in today’s world the only consistency is change, our daily lives seem to be governed by a surprising consistency and lack of flexibility. Institutions and their structures, rules and regulations, habits and routines do not appear to accommodate what we have come to think of as our “fluid identities” (Bauman). On the other hand, we experience a lack of agency in reacting to the processes that not only have drastic future implications, but are increasingly seen as points of no return. Political uncertainties and climate change, demographic transformation, continual re-thinking of societal coherence in times of diversity, as well as new technologies that will redefine the notion of work, are often met with reactions ranging from resignation to ignorance. They sometimes erupt in aggression and violence against others, increasingly taking the place of critical reflection and civic engagement.


In order to develop strategies and methods to meet the immense challenges of our time, this summer school suggests engaging in academic contemplation and interdisciplinary exchange. In times of a constant devaluing of science and scholarship, taking the time for vigorous intellectual investigation is a radical act of resistance to quick-fix solutions. Meditating change and at the same time mediating change offers us the opportunity of developing disruptive intellectual approaches and ideas, as we can gain insights into political, social, economic, and cultural forces that make us believe that the challenges we face are essential, natural, and inevitable. Such thorough analysis offers us the possibility of moving from a passive position to active involvement in transformation processes in order to become agents of change by an authentic reformulation of our identities.


In our interpretation, meditating and mediating change is the taking on of the responsibility of intellectuals to offer critical in-depth discussion in a world of babble. This is a radical commitment to academic pursuit not as abstract, but as concrete and necessary as an engagement with state, society, and religion, in order to understand the dynamics and structures that govern us as individuals, but also determine the structures we are all governed by. Such an effort makes us understand the facts and figures, the material realities, and how they are culturally represented. The summer school will provide more questions than answers, and will allow us to investigate the different approaches to the definitions of state, society, and religion, and their interconnectedness. Focusing on the emphasis areas of the University of Graz – South Eastern Europe and North, Central and South America – this program will offer a basis for discussing global and continental challenges as well as opportunities that change entails.


Roberta Maierhofer and Barbara Ratzenböck

for the Academic Advisory Board





Students will deal with the relevance and effect on global affairs of Europe/EU (emphasis on South Eastern Europe) and beyond by attending the offered morning and evening lectures, panel discussions, and participating in one of the following seminar  modules in the afternoon:


Besides the morning lectures and the seminars in the afternoon, students will go on a one-day excursion to Graz, the capital of the province of Styria. This one-day trip to Graz will include a visit to the University of Graz, a reception at the City Hall, as well as, a guided city tour. Students will also have time to stroll around and explore the unique city of Graz by themselves. More information will be provided during the first week of the summer school. (Visit:

There will also be an optional excursion to Maribor, another European Cultural Capital, and the second biggest city of Slovenia, where students will have the chance to get in touch with local students and professors for a mutual exchange. The Maribor excursion is an additional program point, organized by the GUSEGG Team, but fees are not covered for this excursion.

There is an outdoor swimming pool at the venue; you can also play volleyball or football at the green, or play table tennis. Furthermore, we will organize movie nights, a karaoke evening and you will have a wine tasting at the Seggau Castle, which is famous for its excellent local wine. You may also want to walk down to the city of “Leibnitz”, about a quarter of an hour per foot from Seggau Castle.




Participants will receive a certificate of participation at the end of the summer school. Please note that this only confirms the participation and cannot be used for credit transfer.

Students who wish to receive the 6 ECTS credits are required to participate in the full program AND to write a seminar paper. Instructions about the procedure will be distributed throughout the course of the summer school. Once students have received a positive grade, transcripts will be sent to them. These transcripts can be used to obtain credit at the home institution.


Morning Lectures (9.00 – 12.00 am)

Lecturers teaching the seminar modules in the afternoon as well as experts in the field will deliver morning lectures that provide the context for the seminar modules. All students are required to attend the morning lectures; thus, the topic of these lectures will be directed towards a general audience. After the presentation by the lecturer, there will be a break, followed by a plenary discussion, in which the students will have the change to ask questions.

Seminars (3.00 – 6.00 pm)

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