Within the strategy of the University of Basel, the Centre of Competence Cultural Topographies belongs to the profile area 'Culture' and seeks to define and focus the general topic 'Cultural Foundations and Boundaries of Europe'. The centre coordinates interdisciplinary research activities and education within and beyond the framework of faculties. The centre's main foci are on heightening the visibility of research in the Humanities at the University of Basel; the development of a clearly outlined profile and the targeted advancement of graduate studies.
By coordinating individual research projects, the Centre of Competence aims toward a more comparative perspective in research. We thus accomodate the University's concern for interdisciplinary research and collaboration.
For a study of the cultural foundations and boundaries of Europe, the notion of 'topographies' is productive because it covers a spectrum of meanings ranging from the concrete and material to the metaphorical. Due to its various levels of meaning, 'topographies' provides the common ground for a variety of synchronic and diachronic approaches and research interests. Moreover, many scholars at the University of Basel are already working on questions of space and place such that this focus for joint activities suggests itself quite naturally.
Initiated by Prof. Dr. Ina Habermann, the Centre of Competence was approved by the University in January 2009. THe inaugural meeting took place on March 12, 2009.