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The topic in its juxtaposition of radical and definition might seem an odd choice for a summer school devoted to an interdisciplinary investigation of the issues and challenges that individuals and societies are facing at the present times. Within the European context, not only demographic changes, the need for young and well educated immigrants and a re-thinking of societal coherence in times of diversity have become key policy issues and social, cultural and political challenges of our times, but surprisingly the very approach to the “European project” has only recently undergone a dramatic shift. Instead of the optimistic belief in a Europe based on common values, a re-definition has taken place privileging divide and contention, instead of cohesion and communality in state, society, and religion. Brexit, as one example, is a real challenge both for the UK and the European Union, but it can also stand as a metaphor for this disenchantment, and indicate an urgent need for a re-negotiation of these definitions, meanings, and functions in the European context.


Faced with unprecedented demographic changes (the current large movement of displaced persons, migration on many different levels, an ageing population, low birth rates, and changing family structures) and national and international challenges, the need for us academics is to understand our decisions in more radical terms. What are the definitions impacting social and political structures that we base our decisions on? In which context do we need to define what we mean by State – Society – Religion?


In the dictionary term, a definition is an interpretation, a statement expressing the essential nature of concerns. Juxtaposed with ‘radical’ it means that we have to scrutinize these definitions more closely in order to utilize the power we have in describing, explaining, or pointing to the ambivalences in the concepts which in theory seem defined and clear, but are vague when applied. Although radicalism is mostly encountered in negative socio-political contexts, we want to use the term ‘radical’ as an expression of our responsibility as academics to offer explanations and an analysis of the world we live in. The radical nature of these definitions lies in the fact that the summer school will provide more questions than answers, and will allow us to investigate the different approaches to defining, and connecting state, society, and. Focusing on the emphasis areas of the University of Graz – South Eastern Europe and North, Central and South America – this will provide a basis for an interdisciplinary analysis in terms of opportunities provided and challenges faced in the past, present and future.



Roberta Maierhofer

for the 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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