University of Wisconsin–Madison

Current Research

2017-2018 Transatlantic Research Exchanges

CGES is transitioning from Research Theme Group-based structures towards more focused transatlantic research exchanges such as:

1. Public Environmental Humanities

Key UW-Madison Faculty: Gregg Mitman, William Cronon, Elizabeth Hennessy, Lynn Keller

The Center for Culture, History, and Environment (CHE) will collaborate with the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Societyat the Ludwig-Maximilian University in Munich (RCC) and the Environmental Humanities Laboratory (EHL) in Stockholm to explore new areas in the public environmental humanities.  Along with exchanges between the U.S. and Germany, we proposed to host a summer institute at UW-Madison that would give graduate students hands-on experience in utilizing different media platforms to reach a broader public in environmental issues.

2. The German Language and Migration in the 21st Century

Key UW-Madison Faculty: Mark Louden, Weijia Li

In the wake of over one million migrants to the Federal Republic of Germany last year, the Germans stress the importance of language instruction in promoting social integration.  Understanding the historical and contemporary experiences of linguistic minority groups in successfully maintaining a heritage language while also becoming proficient in the language of the social majority can help Europeans, including Germans, to develop policies and programs to facilitate bilingual and bicultural identities.  The purpose of this project is to investigate successful minority language maintenance in the context of contemporary transnational migration, specifically in regards to the Federal Republic of Germany, the United States, and Canada.

3. U.S./EU Comparative Law Studies

Key UW-Madison Faculty: Heinz Klug, Steven Barkan

For forty years, Wisconsin’s first international partnership–its Sister State agreement with Hessen–has led to multiple educational and business connections.  The most successfully has been through a bi-lateral agreement between the UW-Madison Law School and Justus Liebig University in Giessen for graduate student exchanges, faculty visits and exchanges, and other forms of academic cooperation.  Because of this agreement, UW-Madison Law School faculty and students have developed strong personal and professional ties with members of the Giessen law community.  We hope to increase our active partnership and research activities with our best German partners at the Law School at Giessen and other institutions.

4. Studies in Early German Phonographic Recordings of African Music

Key UW-Madison Faculty: Ronald Radano, Tejumola Olaniyan, Pamela Potter

The study of non-Western musical cultures, known as “comparative musicology”, took its great strides in the first three decades of the twentieth century.  By comparing findings from non-Western musical cultures with those of Western music, pioneers in the field hoped that one could isolate common denominators among music systems and derive generalizations about music perception.  With colonial expansion, the rise of popular interest in exotic peoples, and the opportunities for direct observation offered by the POW camps during World War I, comparative musicologists were able to greatly expand their data collection, leading to the establishment of the phonographic commission at the University of Berlin.  This project will work with the archival holdings of approximately 10,000 phonographic cylinders of African music recorded before World War II and housed at the Phonogramm Archiv in Berlin.  The project leaders plan to launch a study that will position the recordings at the center of an analysis of the European colonization of Africa.

5. Policy-Making Processes and Outcomes in the Institutions of the European Union and Its Member States

Key UW-Madison Faculty: Nils Ringe, Mark Copelovitch

Nils Ringe studies the decision-making processes and outcomes in the four main institutions of the European Union (the Council of the European Union, the European Commission, the European Parliament, and the Court of Justice of the EU) and their linkages and interactions with domestic politics in Germany.  Ringe’s research is focused on intraparliamentary special caucuses and agreements intended to “work around” the obstacles created by partisan jockeying inside the German and EU legislatures.  Mark Copelovitch studies the EU’s role in key international issue areas and international institutions, including the intersections of fiscal policy with social policies, and the relations between German monetary policy and the overall outcomes that interventions are expected to produce.  A great deal of his current scholarship focuses on the politics of financial crises.

6. Gender, Society, and Higher Education

Key UW-Madison Faculty: Myra Marx Ferree, Felix Elwert

This research area is divided into three projects.  The first concerns higher education.  University structures are challenged to do a better job at including women especially in the higher ranks, because women scientists are seen as a significant part of the human capital that nations can hardly afford to waste, and because women’s status stands as a symbols of national progress and modernity.  Germany and the U.S. are challenged to advance women more vigorously into leading positions at universities even as the higher education systems of both countries are undergoing other significant restructurings to enhance their visibility, perceived quality, and ability to recruit students internationally.  The second project looks at the consequences of teenage motherhood in Germany, a demographic studied considerably in the United States and Britain but not in Germany.  The third project is a collaboration on a large-scale randomized field experiment to foster college enrollment among disadvantaged German high-school students by identifying and motivating underrepresented students and investigating optimal targeting of guidance counseling.