Curriculum Compass

The IMPRS “Global Multiplicity” is dedicated to providing a structured programme tailored to assist doctoral researchers in successfully completing their work within the allocated funding period. The primary objective of the IMPRS curriculum is to furnish the necessary tools and support to guide doctoral candidates through their doctoral journey. Doctoral researchers joining this initiative become part of a vibrant community, establishing networks and benefiting from a supplementary educational programme that complements their thesis work. With a workload of 180 ECTS, including dedicated research and thesis writing, every aspect contributes directly to the doctoral project, fostering a cohesive learning experience distributed evenly across the programme.


1. Spring School

The annual Spring School, spanning seven to ten days in either March or April, serves as a platform that aims to provide doctoral researchers with both academic enrichment and social engagement. This comprehensive program unfolds in three distinct stages. One segment revolves around thematic group training, involving the participation of doctoral researchers alongside faculty and academic guests. During this phase, doctoral candidates present their project proposals or their fieldwork findings. The subsequent stages focus on writing workshops and training, allowing doctoral candidates to finalize and submit their project proposals or draft chapters to their Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC). Finally, the Spring School concludes with a series of lectures and seminars. These sessions explore cross-cutting themes facilitated by Teaching Faculty members, academics, and international guests, fostering a diverse and interdisciplinary academic exchange.

Learning outcomes:

  • Familiarity with the IMPRS and its participating institutions
  • Academic development through training sessions and informal interactions
  • Development of research presentation skills
  • Improved writing skills through collaborative practices
  • Project proposal refinement (first-year researchers)
  • Writing a thesis overview (third-year researchers)
  • Interdisciplinary exposure though cross-cutting lectures
  • Networking opportunities

2. Research Ethics and Data Management
This essential component of our graduate school’s curriculum focuses on training in and reflecting on research ethics, good scientific conduct, and data management. Researchers will attend two courses – one prior to fieldwork and another afterwards.

The first course aims to familiarize researchers with key ethical issues in ethnographic fieldwork, exploring historical controversies, and ethical implications. Doctoral researchers will be introduced to the main issues of research data management and will receive technical training in how to organize, secure, backup, and otherwise manage data while conducting fieldwork. Legal aspects, including copyright and data protection laws, will also be covered. This course assists researchers in understanding and addressing potential risks, emphasizing ethically sensitive practices and creating effective data management plans.

The second course, conducted post-fieldwork, deepens researchers' understanding of ethics, focusing on publication-related issues and revisiting data management strategies. It reinforces data management plans, ensuring proper organization, documentation, storage, and long-term archiving while considering ethical obligations to research subjects. Researchers will also reflect on the possible tensions between a commitment to the Open Science and Open Data frameworks and their ethical obligations, especially with regard to their interlocutors.

Both courses will take place in-person at the MPI in Halle and will be organized as block seminars.

Learning outcomes:

  • Reflection on key ethical issues in ethnographic fieldwork and your own research
  • Familiarity with the fundamentals of risk management in conducting ethnographic research
  • Training in anonymization techniques
  • Training in data security and data protection regulations
  • Familiarity with the guidelines for good scientific practice from the Max Planck Society and relevant documents from the German Anthropological Association (DGSKA) and the German Research Foundation (DFG)

3. Research Seminar

The seminar aims to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and transversal thinking among researchers across thematic groups. The seminar delves into thematic topics in anthropology, offering advanced training on subjects like Urbanization, Infrastructures, Algorithmic Decision Making, and Global Mobilities. It encourages active involvement, facilitating in-depth knowledge, critical analysis, and academic writing skills through discussions with experts and peers. Other seminars focus on research design or how applying anthropological methods in professional contexts, emphasizing effective communication with the public and professionals. It explores emerging fields for anthropology graduates and includes contributions from alumni and career experts.

Both seminars take place at the MPI in Halle and combine online with in-person sessions.

Learning outcomes:

  • Familiarity with current debates in anthropology
  • Development of skills in critical analysis, academic writing, and discussion
  • Enhancing researchers’ skill-set and professional profile
  • Adapting anthropological ways of thinking and problem-solving to diverse professional settings

4. Writing a thesis: Research and Supervision

Ethnographic fieldwork holds a pivotal role within the curriculum of the research school as a cornerstone of research methodology. It serves as a crucial component where doctoral researchers engage in immersive, firsthand experiences within specific contexts to gather primary data, observe social phenomena, and understand cultural practices. Fieldwork allows students to apply theoretical frameworks learned in the classroom to real-world scenarios. It enables researchers to refine their ethnographic skills, conduct interviews, participant observations, and document practices, thus contributing to original insights and knowledge within the anthropological discipline.

Supervision entails a signed agreement with regular consultations, feedback, and support from the supervisor throughout the research phases. A Thesis Advisory Committee (TAC) oversees progress, meeting before fieldwork, after data collection, and annually, providing feedback and guidance. Thematic group colloquia offer platforms for discussing research proposals and drafts, receiving feedback from peers and teachers, with the frequency varying based on group size and format. Peer-to-peer support events like Spring Schools foster collaboration and a sense of community among researchers, encouraging regular interactions and support. The program includes international faculty and guest participation, enriching the curriculum through master classes, guest lectures, individual mentoring, and involvement in reading groups and seminars, both in-person and virtually, offering guidance and expertise to doctoral researchers.

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