Austria, Seggau, Leibnitz, Austria

Transformation, Transgressions, and Trust in Europe and the Americas

when 3 July 2016 - 17 July 2016
duration 2 weeks
credits 6 ECTS
fee EUR 1300

The only consistency of today's world is change, often in many directions, unpredictable and triggered by self-determination on different levels, political and natural events, cultural reassessment as well as global affairs. Individuals, states, and regions are constantly engaged in transformation processes. Societies are thus permanently changing. While some countries undergo complex transformations towards more democratic and participatory forms of government, others have to re-adjust their political and social models to cope with new challenges. Demographic change in Western Europe and Northern America, the need for young and well educated immigration 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. Nation-building and ever-deeper forms of economic and political integration retrace and dilute borders with immense impact. Globalization reflects a broader more idiosyncratic process of economic development. At the household level, this transformation affects the individuals’ choices in human capital investment and reproductive decisions. Europe and Northern America are 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). Social change and fundamental transformation processes are mostly achieved through transgressions of existing rules and the status-quo. Such processes often lead to more inclusive and democratic societies, as was the case when transgressions resulted in the abolition of slavery, or the acceptance of human rights and inclusion of disenfranchised groups. Thus, societal norms were reframed from illegal to legal, from inacceptable to acceptable. Trust plays a very important role in terms of how and whether we accept social change as a challenge or a threat. Depending on our level of confidence, transformation processes will be accepted as inevitable, or strongly opposed as a threat of the status quo. Today, Europe and America can be seen as facing a crisis of trust on individual and collective levels.

The summer school will offer the possibility of examining the current debate on transformation, transgressions, and trust in Europe and America by focusing on the current challenges to established forms of government, welfare policies and modes of participation in a radically changed global world, where migration and transnationalism play an important role. 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 Academic Advisory Board

Course leader

The University of Graz in cooperation with
the Commission of the Bishops‘ Conferences
of the European Community (COMECE)
and the Diocese Graz-Seckau. The Office
of International Relations of the University
of Graz acts as the coordinating unit. Prof.

Target group

The Graz International Summer School Seggau
is designed for internationally oriented, highly
motivated students from all disciplines,
who wish to deepen their understanding
of current European and International
affairs by studying and discussing global
developments and challenges in terms of
transformation, transgression and trust
reflecting aspects of individual, social,
political, religious, cultural, literary,
regional, economic, cohort and national

Course aim

- develop skills in public speaking, academic writing, and critical thinking
- discussion and networking possibilities with international lecturers and students
- Interdisciplinary cooperation of teachers and students on the cultural, intellectual and historical dimensions of current European and International affairs in view of their positioning in a globalized world.

Credits info

6 ECTS Credits
(for participation and seminar paper)

Fee info

EUR 1300: The total student participation fee of 1300
Euro covers the course costs, tuition and room
& board for the entire two weeks. Scholarships
are available, and will be awarded upon
application. Travel arrangements have to be
made and paid for individually.


Please check our official website for detailed information on scholarships.