Erkner Encounters

The “Erkner Encounters” are a series of informal meetings of the research group with expert in the field to debate issues in relation to the globalisation of higher education at the IRS in Erkner

PD Dr. Nadine Scharfenort, Freie Universität Berlin

On the afternoon of 14 December we were happy to welcome Dr. Nadine Scharfenort at our office in Erkner. Although the holidays are approaching and we were having gingerbread and coffee which put us already in the Christmas spirit, we nonetheless had a very fruitful discussion again. Nadine Scharfenort, currently visiting professor for “Globalisation, Transformation, Gender” at the department of Human Geography at Freie Universität Berlin, was very interested in our project and shared some insights of her broad knowledge of urban development processes in the Arab Gulf region. We discussed whether there is indeed something that can be described as the “Dubai model” of urban development and how IBCs and transnational urban education zones fit in there. As an additional topic, she raised the issue of gender in the context of IBCs. We discussed the question whether IBCs empower women in the Gulf countries by offering them additional opportunities to obtain higher education or if they are rather restricting them as they offer their parents an opportunity to keep their daughters close and inside the country when they would have otherwise sent them abroad to study.

Photo: Jana M. Kleibert

Photo: Jana M. Kleibert

For more information on Nadine’s work, here are two of here most recent and/or upcoming publications:

  • Scharfenort, N. (2018): Willkommen in Silamsi?! – Wahrnehmung und Konfliktpotentiale des arabischen Tourismus in Zell am See-Kaprun. In: Zeitschrift für Tourismuswissenschaft 2 (2018)
  • With Al-Hamarneh, A. und J. Margraff (Forthcoming 2019): Neoliberale Stadtentwicklung in der arabischen Welt

PD Dr. Steffen Wippel, Philipps-Universität Marburg

Our second Erkner Encounters took place on 19 October 2018. This time we came together with our guest Steffen Wippel, who is a senior research fellow at the research network Re-Configurations at the Center for Near and Middle Eastern Studies (CNMS) in Marburg. As his academic work revolves – among other topics – around questions related to processes of (trans)regionalisation and urban development in the West Asia and North Africa (WANA) region, he offered us valuable insights related to our research topic. Hence, we debated the role that different geographical scales play for the transnationalisation of higher education and how it is possible to conceptualise the often blurry spatiality of IBCs. Regarding the matter of the urban dimension of IBCs in the WANA region, he shared some of his ideas on neoliberal urban development and we discussed to what extent Dubai can be understood as a role model for urban and economic strategies.

Photo: Jana M. Kleibert

For some more information on Steffen’s work, here are two of his most recent publications:

  • Wippel, Steffen; Andrea Fischer Tahir (Ed.) (2018): Jenseits etablierter Meta-Geographien: Der Nahe Osten und Nordafrika in transregionaler Perspektive. Schriftenreihe “Nahoststudien”. Baden-Baden: Nomos.
  • Wippel, Steffen (2017): Sindbad the Sailor revived? Oman and its Indian Ocean Links; in: Leïla Vignal (Ed.), The Transnational Middle East: Places, People, Borders, Abingdon/New York: Routledge 2017, S. 122-147.

Alexander Raev, Universität Tübingen

For our first Erkner Encounters Alexander joined us on 13 September 2018 to discuss about transnational higher education (TNE) and the findings from his PhD research at the University of Tübingen in the Graduate Programme on “International comparative research on education and eduation politics in the welfare state”. He presented interesting insights on the decision-making processes of the German state on transnationalising higher education. We debated the differences between the strong role of German national state actors in this field, for example in establishing binational universities, and more market-driven Anglo-American approaches to TNE and international branch campus development. Where do French IBC policies fit here? What important themes have not been addressed in relation to the IBC phenomena? How reliable are existing sources of data? And how to connect to past colonial education policies? And to contemporary issues  around (student) migration? Interesting interdisciplinary discussions that we will have to continue in the future.

Photo: Tim Rottleb

Photo: Tim Rottleb

For some more information on Alexander’s work, here are two of his most recent publications:

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