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International Doctoral Program in Culture Studies - THE LISBON CONSORTIUM - Doutoramento FCT



Culture Studies have come of age over the last two decades. Within the framework of the crisis in the humanities and the growing call for renewed arts-based forms of knowledge production, the study of culture has changed from being a frame for humanities' disciplines into gaining prominence in its own right. Two developments triggered this change. On the one hand, the rise of cultural studies in the 1960's drew attention to the social-political dimension of culture, to its ordinariness and the many ways in which power was blended into creation. On the other, over the course of the 1980's a new metadiscipline Kulturwissenschaft (science of culture) drew on the interpretative skills of the humanities and the growing attention to forms of mediation in media studies to look at the multiple ways in which culture matters as driver of artistic creation and also address how societies represent themselves and view others, look at the past and prepare the future. Bringing together the sociological methodology that is proper to British cultural studies with the interpretative qualitative approach of Kulturwissenschaft, Culture Studies is by definition transdisciplinary. It has risen to become a problem-oriented metadiscipline, representing a new paradigm of integrated reflection on the artistic forms of expression of individuals and societies, across the visual arts, literature, cinema and the media.

The International Doctoral Program in Culture Studies is a dual-degree programme in Culture Studies awarded by the Catholic University of Portugal, the University of Giessen and the University of Copenhagen. It builds from different disciplines in the humanities and the social sciences, thereby assuming the interdisciplinarity of contemporary modes of knowledge production focused on problem-oriented and practice-based research. As Alain Touraine argues, the study of culture has become the new paradigm of the 21st century. If conceptually, Culture Studies rethink the disciplinarity of the humanities, socially the discourse of cultural rights inspires new notions of citizenship, sensitive to issues of gender, difference and diversity of religion, age, class and geography (Touraine, 2005). What is more, the study of culture has gained economic significance, couched in the growing importance of the cultural and creative industries. On the educational level, a striking feature of the cultural sector is its reliance on highly trained professionals. Eurostat reports that circa 21% of professionals in this sector are PhD holders, making them those with the highest education level in all of the European job market.

The program is born out of the commitment to develop a doctoral program that promotes both high level research training at the forefront of scientific interest and responds to the cultural sector's growing call for highly qualified professionals. It is inspired by the ‘collaborative turn' on two levels: firstly as a model of advanced research training that draws from artistic practice and cultural management to reflect on theory and in turn embeds practice in theoretically informed premises; secondly as a form of doctoral training that is transnational by definition, because the study of culture inevitably deals with diversity.

The programme works on a feed-back loop model, allowing the research methods and theories it devises to be tested in institutional practice by means of internships, curating and other applied projects (i.e. audience research, implementation of new strategies in museum services) while bringing artists, curators and cultural managers to reflect on their practice within scholarly work. These new training formats are specifically directed at tapping into the innovative potential of creative practices and combining these with research agendas that are challenge-based and object-based rather than discipline-based in a traditional sense.

The program intends to inspire students to customize their curriculum and is committed to support work placement. It will provide doctoral students with methodological tools for cultural analysis, challenging them to revise phenomena that are either "invisible" or undervalued by contemporary societies while encouraging a look into the humanist tradition to deepen the understanding about the discourses and creations that have moulded cultural history. Consequently, it aims to promote original and internationally relevant research and to integrate doctoral students into multinational research teams. In addition, it will support knowledge transfer, urging students to take their work outside the seminar room and interact with professional realities other than academia.



As part of a tri-national network, students will benefit from up to two semesters at one of the partner institutions in order to conduct empirical or theoretical research. The stay abroad is part of the co-tutelle agreement and will also allow the candidate to work with the second supervisor. A work programme will be established for the duration of the stay at the partner institution. Within the framework of the many exchange agreements between the three partners universities, CECC and their international counterparts, candidates may apply for an additional stay as a visiting researcher, specially if these agreements are of particular importance to the research project.


The Lisbon Consortium - Catholic University of Portugal

Program Director: Isabel Capeloa Gil

Graduate Center for the Study of Culture - University of Giessen

Program Director: Ansgar Nünning

Copenhagen Doctoral School in Cultural Studies - University of Copenhagen

Program Director: Frederik Tygstrup


External advisory commitee:

Andreas Huyssen (Columbia University, Villiard professor of Comparative Literature)

Monika Schmitz-Emans (University of Bochum)

George Yúdice (University of Miami)


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