Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Researched-Based Learning


Negotiating Religion and (Neo-)Populisms in Gender-Based Activisms in South and Southeast Asia (transregional) (Summer Term 2020)


In the summer term 2020, a group of students from Gender Studies and the BA Asian and African Studies at the IAAW investigated gender-based activisms with different ideological positions with regard to the status of women, gender roles and gender ideological orientation in South and Southeast Asia from a transregional perspective. 

Conducting a project seminar in digital teaching format via zoom was a challenge for all of us and required reflection on digital communication and working formats, but also offline formats and spaces. In addition to weekly zoom sessions and group discussions in breakout rooms, we used padlets as an interactive means to structure working group processes, to provide and visualize them with different materials and to document results. This was complemented by audio podcasts, interactive Etherpad-based group work and an Ideenbörse, along with skype-based consultation hours for small and large groups to discuss ideas, steps and challenges of group work. In the individual project seminar sessions as well as in the various working groups of the self-chosen student projects, we examined negotiation processes of activists at the intersection of religion and (neo-)populism with case studies from Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India - be it LGBTQI activisms, subaltern activisms around the topic of citizenship or youth activisms in a transregional perspective.

We were supported in the project seminar by Sumrin Kalia, PhD student at the Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies, with a session on transnational networks and activisms. A second session on approaches and challenges of feminist social science research jointly took place with the workshop Wissensproduktion, funded by bologna.lab, and the tutor Nadine Heil.

The seminar was divided into three blocks: in the first part of the seminar we read key theoretical and methodological texts with an emphasis on decolonial, indigenous and feminist critical approaches. A second block was dedicated to (empirical) basic texts on the issue at hand in selected countries. The third block - Stop, Listen & Reflect - created time and space for students to reflect on their own positionality and approach as well as to discuss the conceptualization and implementation of the various student projects. Currently the students are working on their projects, which will be available as audio podcasts, blogs, "Zine" magazine, reports, classic term papers and interactive infotainment formats on the website at a later date.



Workshop Knowledge Production - Reflecting critically through alternative, decolonial and indigenous approaches to research (Winter Term 2019/20)


Alternative, decolonial or indigenous approaches, backgrounds and results of knowledge production are often faded out, distorted, marginalized or not recognized and acknowledged as equivalent knowledge. In interactive discussions and group work, we work together on first introductions to these approaches, epistemologies and critical methodologies. This course stands for the dialogue with science and serves as a space for the implementation of your own research interests, which you bring with you from a wide range of fields. No matter what phase of your studies you are in, whether you are a first-year student of a bachelor's program or in the middle of your master's program, it is always the right time to put on the critical glasses of looking at your and other research methods.



'Fieldwork under Fire' - volatility, hegemony, neo-colonialism and knowledge production in the global south in the context of gender, displacement and activisms (Summer Term 2019)


In the summer term 2019, a group of students of Asian and African Studies and Gender Studies came together in the context of this BA project seminar in order to not only develop and work on an independent research project in the sense of learning through research, but also to reflect on and implement this, analogous to the teaching and research portfolio of our Transregional Southeast Asian Studies team, from the perspective of alternative, decolonial-feminist approaches. Interactive brainstorming exercises, group discussions on various country reports as well as on current examples of action research from the Global South, repeated feedback and student peer review moments were just as much a central component as classic seminar formats such as short presentations or text discussions.

Further information and a list of seminar papers can be found here.