Area of Concentration: Cultures

Learning Objectives

Students deal with different world regions and their transregional connections.

Students learn to use cultural and social theories, in order to question an essentialist understanding of culture and to take on the complexity of transcultural entanglements in a globalised world.

Cross-cultural skills can no longer be considered as ‘soft’ but have turned into an integral part of professional qualifications. An examination of the multifaceted conceptions, images and constructions of (trans)culturality is an important prerequisite for a critical assessment of cultural belonging, difference, and representation. Enhanced and new forms of (im)mobility, the simultaneous dissolution and strengthening of borders and contested multicultural regimes form cultural dimensions of globalisation processes. The latter include both now new (transcultural) formations and “hybridity” as well as constant attempts to claim cultural boundaries in never-ending debates about Leitkultur (‘dominant culture’) or the so-called ‘clash of civilizations’. The dialectics between (national) cultural claims and (trans)cultural negotiation processes in global networks requires a constant balancing act and fosters an explorative and nomadic approach to cultural studies.

This area of concentration deals with symbolic orders as well as with patterns of perception and behaviour which underlie our thoughts and actions and are at the same time continuously transformed by them. In a globalised world, the impact of cultural movements and contact situations is enhanced, for example in (forced) migration patterns or in the transnationalisation of companies. In this context particular attention should be given to the diverse forms of organisational culture practices. The courses investigate cultural trans(formations) in different world regions as China, the Americas or Eastern Europe, for example, as well as supranational alliances and associations (e.g. BRIC, the EU or NAFTA). In thematic terms, questions of religion and society, markets and consumers, gender and diversity, or conflict and cooperation will be up for discussion. Literature, film, art and music will serve in this area of concentration as a basis for the analysis of social and cultural processes.

The area of concentration promotes students’ transcultural skills, as well as their reflection on constructed everyday images and conceptions of cultural differences in politics, the economy and society. While at the Bachelor level the focus lies on particular world regions and their networks, at the Master level this knowledge is progressively embedded in deliberations of cultural theory.


Jelena Tosic

Prof. Dr. PD

Assistant Professor

Büro 51-6038
Unterer Graben 21
9000 St. Gallen

Rita Kesselring

Prof. Dr.

Associate Professor of Urban Studies

Büro 52-6208
Müller-Friedberg-Str. 6/8
9000 St Gallen