Summer School for PhD Candidates

The Collaborative Research Centre 1482 “Studies in Human Categorisation” invites you to a summer school at the Johannes Gutenberg University @uni_mainz from June 18-24, 2023; application deadline: 28 Feburary 2023



Call for Applications

International and Transdisciplinary Summer School for PhD Candidates

Telling People Apart: Sorting, Grouping and Distinguishing


June 18 - June 24, 2023


Johannes Gutenberg-University Mainz, Germany

Organized by the Collaborative Research Centre 1482 - Studies in Human Categorisation


The Collaborative Research Centre 1482 “Studies in Human Categorisation” [Humandifferenzierung] invites you to a summer school at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz from June 18-24, 2023. In five work-intensive days (plus voluntary program on June 18th and 24th), we will examine a phenomenon that is as ubiquitous as it is fundamental: Human beings continuously differentiate and categorise each other in a variety of ways, for example by age, gender, nationality, religion, language, race, attractiveness, but also by dietary habits or music preferences. In an exchange with renowned experts from various disciplines, conceptual and methodological foundations for the study of human categorisation will be discussed in different formats.

The summer school understands itself as an explicitly transdisciplinary endeavour and is therefore aimed at doctoral students from all kinds of disciplines concerned with "differences" between humans, but also between humans and non-humans (things as well as animals). The goal of the summer school is to engage its participants in the discussion and development of new perspectives on practices of human differentiation. The summer school offers its participants the opportunity to jointly explore the theoretical concept and empirical research perspective of "human categorisation". Participants are invited to reflect on their own research projects in the light of the insights gained in these discussions. “Human categorisation” contains the proposal to bring the heterogeneity of human differences investigated in different fields under one conceptual umbrella. Crucially, these differences are not – as the concept of "diversity" for instance assumes – regarded as given differences between types of human beings, but as the result of practices of human categorisation. Moreover, the relevance of certain categories, such as gender or race, is not simply assumed, but treated as an empirically open question. Discussions will focus on the "doing" of differences as well as their "undoing".

The summer school will pursue the following overarching questions:

  • What is the analytical value of "human categorisation"? What is the theoretical and empirical potential of this perspective?
  • How can practices of human differentiation be investigated? Which methodological approaches are suitable for which forms of human categorisation?
  • Under what conditions does a particular difference become salient? How, when and why does a certain category appear to be particularly relevant? How do they re-emerge or disappear again? 
  • Who or what are the agents of categorisation? Human beings? Artifacts? Institutions? Discourses?
  • Who categorises whom? When do self-categorisations and categorisations by others correspond to or contradict each other? 

In this summer school, participants will come together in a variety of formats to work on their projects. There will be workshops led by international experts, including professors from the Collaborative Research Centre, from various disciplines, such as sociology, linguistics, theatre studies, translation studies, anthropology, history, or media and cultural studies. Every morning will start with a writing breakfast, giving participants the opportunity to reflect on the previous day. One-on-one advisory sessions allow participants to discuss their projects or their careers with advanced scholars. The program will be rounded out by keynote lectures by Stefan Hirschauer, Rivke Jaffe, Ted Schatzki, and Jürgen Streeck.





We welcome applications from doctoral students worldwide regardless of their disciplinary affiliation. To apply, please send us a short description of your PhD project (no more than 3 – 5 pages) together with a cover letter and a CV in English. In your PhD description, please outline your topic, methods, current stage in the process, and how your project relates to the theme of the summer school. In the cover letter, please let us know your motivation and expectations. How do you imagine your project will benefit from a discussion of approaches, methods, theories, or case study examples regarding practices of human categorisation?  

Please submit the above-mentioned documents in one PDF-file via e-mail to summerschool1482[ at ] until the 28th of February 2023.


Please check our homepage for updates:


Recommended readings


Dizdar, Dilek, Stefan Hirschauer, Johannes Paulmann, and Gabriele Schabacher, eds. 2021. Humandifferenzierung. Disziplinäre Perspektiven und empirische Sondierungen. Weilerswist: Velbrück.


Hirschauer, Stefan. 2021. “Un/Doing Differences. The Contingency of Social Affiliations.” In Diversity and Otherness: Transcultural Insights into Norms, Practices, Negotiations, edited by Lisa Gaupp, and Giulia Pelillo-Herstermeyer, 62–95. Berlin: de Gruyter.


Hirschauer, Stefan, ed. 2017. Un/doing Differences. Praktiken der Humandifferenzierung. Weilerswist: Velbrück.


Nähere Informationen

summerschool1482[ at ]