International Research Center for Cultural Studies

University of Mainz, Saarstraße, Mainz, Germany


established Established :

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In the early 1990s the ruling coalition government (Social Democratic Party of Austria [SPÖ] and Austrian People’s Party [ÖVP]) under Chancellor Franz Vranitzky and Minister of Science and Research Erhard Busek reached a resolution in their governmental negotiations to establish two large, internationally oriented research centers: the so-called AUSTRON (a spallation source/particle accelerator for basic research in physics) and, on a significantly more limited scale, a center for interdisciplinary humanities. The AUSTRON project initially remained unrealized (though a smaller variation of the project recently came into being in Wiener Neustadt under the name MedAustron). The center for interdisciplinary humanities, however, was quickly christened as the “IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies” under the leadership of Professor Moritz Csáky. Founded as a non-profit association in 1992, it went into full operation in 1993 at its location at Danhausergasse 1 in Vienna’s fourth district. Over the following three years the IFK’s founding directorate—consisting of Professor Moritz Csáky, Professor Helga Nowotny, Professor Dieter A. Binder, and Professor Manfred Wagner—together with Dr. Lutz Musner, the academic coordinator, crafted the organizational structure of an international institute for advanced study in the field interdisciplinary cultural studies. This included an International Advisory Board (IAB), and an infrastructure for visiting scholars, conferences, workshops, and lectures. The first research foci were dedicated to the themes “Cultural Plurality in Central Europe,” “Science,” and “Art and Cultural History.” The initial cohorts of first-rate scholars invited to contribute to these areas included, e.g., Edward Timms (Karl Kraus), Jean-Pierre Cometti (Ludwig Wittgenstein), and Jacques Le Rider (Viennese fin de siècle).

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