Strategic research areas

The Department of Cross-cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) wishes to enable more flexibility and more new and temporary, research initaitives and to  encourage more interdisciplinary research.  The opportunity for innovation, creativity and interdisciplinary initiatives is a prerequisite for being at the forefront of international research and thus seeking external resources and attracting and keeping scientific talent.

That is the reason we utilize clutches for strategic research areas. A cluster is a research group that focuses on a specific subject that spans several research areas,  e.g. the Arctic, Islam, materiality studies and litterature.

AREAlitt: Approaches to literature in area studies

Bringing together scholars from several of the department's study areas, in this cluster we wish to approach aesthetic products from an interdisciplinary area-studies perspective, focusing on literature as our primary example of knowledge production imbued with aesthetic significance. Being predicated on a specific area and language proficiency, language-based area studies are concerned with the application of a vast number of theories. Theories pertaining to culture and politics naturally predominate, while the aesthetic aspects of cultural production and products are rarely touched upon explicitly.

Our ambition is to explore and identify a whole range of relevant approaches to literature in language-based area studies, and to focus on works of literature as meaningful beyond their specific historical and cultural contexts, in order to include these existential and transcendent reflections in our understanding of the cultures and languages we study.

Coordinators: Tine Roesen and Anita Pluwak

CCRS’s resource research cluster

The aim of this open cluster is to bring together researchers, students and external partners in a common exploration of cultural, social, economic and political dynamics of resources. This focus turns our analytical attention towards materials, energy, services, staff, knowledge, or other material and immaterial assets that are creatively transformed to produce benefits and in this process may be utilized, consumed, hoarded, remade, turned scarce or depleted – all with significant consequences for societies, local, regional as well as global.

The cluster wants to investigate how questions and conflicts associated with resource knowledge regimes, infrastructures, development, risk and security etc. are linked to particular imaginaries, and forms of sociality, emotions, ideologies, policies, moral economies, place- and people-making, exploitation practices and entrepreneurship.

Coordinator: Frank Sejersen

Cluster for interdisciplinary research on religion

The Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) is a treasure trove for interdisciplinary engagement with a diverse range of topics related to religion. While the field of Religious Studies has a focus on religion at its core, researchers in several other study areas at ToRS also engage with the topic of religion with e.g. attention to identification patterns, cultural heritage or politics. The aim of this research cluster is to fashion an open milieu for interdisciplinary conversations and research in and of religion.

Coordinator: Andreas Bandak

Food Matters

The Food Matters cluster engages in research of all aspects relating to food, including religious, material, social, political and economic questions.  The different research activities carried out over the course of recent years have already shown the advantage of a cross-disciplinary approach to this particular topic. The themes studied within this cluster will include taste (the growing importance of insects, the cultural change in taste through time as evidenced by ancient recipes), health and nutrition, movement of foods (e.g. chillies, ‘German’ potatoes, Greek symposia and Indian food), the role food plays in identity construction, and negative food (memory and bad taste). Members of the cluster have already been involved in research concerning food origins, the role of commensality, the relation between food and identity, as well as food and its economic and social role.

The humanities should make a more prominent contribution to the study of foods, past and present, since much research has been dominated by scientific approaches that mostly focus on nutritional or health aspects. The humanities, however, highlight the varied cultural influences on food making and consumption that influence food choice and processing. Food Matters adds a wider regional and diachronic perspective as well as more diverse perspective on food. The group is open to more members, who might want to join the cluster for all or only certain activities.

In February 2020 an international workshop with 12 speakers and over 25 participants with the title “Food and Drink in Feasting” was held successfully at the University of Copenhagen.

Coordinators:  Susanne Kerner and Morten Warmind