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Roundtable | "Diversity Turn" in German Research Policy

Oct 17, 2023 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM
Diversity Turn - Roundtable

Diversity Turn - Roundtable

SCRIPTS is hosting the roundtable "Diversity Turn in German Research Policy" on October 17 from 14-16h.

Panellists will be Andrea Bührmann (Director of the Göttinger Institut für Diversitätsforschung), Gülay Çağlar (SCRIPTS & FU Berlin), Thomas Hinz (Universität Konstanz and member of the Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality"), and Kathrin Zippel (SCRIPTS & FU Berlin).

All are welcome to attend in person — we kindly ask for registration in advance.

Webex participation also possible, the link will shortly be posted on this site.


“Diversity” seems to be the new rising paradigm within German research policies. Working in tandem with the already well diffused but equally ambiguous principle of “excellence”, diversity is seen as a means of ensuring international competitiveness in academic research. However, the establishment of Diversity Offices and “research-oriented equity and diversity standards” by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) has been met with controversy in the academic community.

The critiques of the diversity turn focus on alleged anti-merit-based diversity policies that supposedly counteract aspirations for excellence. Proponents of the diversity turn, however, examine the seeming meritocracy of the university critically and propose a more inclusive notion of excellence. Another hot topic of this debate is if diversity measures cause restrictions of academic freedom. In this heated exchange on principles, the scientific evidence behind the justification for diversity is often overlooked if not strategically disregarded.

Our roundtable aims to address these controversial issues by choosing the format of a cluster of excellence as a case study and exploring the following questions: how can diversity be realized within such a cluster? How do clusters of excellence balance diversity, excellence, and merit? How and where can lessons learned from comparable international contexts be applied to this format? If clusters serve as places for innovation for German academia, how can their knowledge be transferred to universities and scaled up to the system as a whole? The roundtable will provide a platform for a nuanced discussion on the challenges and opportunities presented by the "diversity turn" in German research policy and its implications for academic excellence and inclusion.


Prof. Dr. Andrea D. Bührmann is a sociologist at the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Göttingen. She is founding director of the Göttingen Diversity Research Institute. Her work focuses on gender and diversity studies, the sociology of work and economics, and qualitative methodologies of social research.

Prof. Dr. Gülay Çağlar is political scientist at the Otto-Suhr Institute for Political Science, Freie Universität Berlin. Gülay Çağlar is director of the research unit Gender & Diversity as well as board member of the Margarita von Brentano Center. Çağlar’s work focuses on gender studies and feminist theories, nutritional policies, global governance, and political resistance.

Prof. Dr. Thomas Hinz is a sociologist at the Department for Sociology, University of Konstanz. Thomas Hinz is principal investigator and member of the board at the cluster of excellence ‘The Politics of Inequality’. Hinz’s research focuses on survey experiments, methods of empirical social research, labor market sociology, organizational and economic sociology, and social inequality.

Prof. Dr. Kathrin Zippel is sociologist at the Department of Political and Social Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin. Kathrin Zippel is Einstein Strategic Professor for sociology with focus on gender studies. Zippel’s research is focused on gender equality and diversity measures as well as on gender aspects of global change processes in science and education.

About the event

Time & Location

Oct 17, 2023 | 02:00 PM - 04:00 PM

Freie Universität Berlin
Seminar Room 2.2051 (Level 2)
Fabeckstr. 23-25, 14195 Berlin