Center for Global Studies (CGS)

Retraite Global Studies

Retraite Global Studies HS 2020

Freitag, 06.11.2020 - Samstag, 07.11.2020

Schloss Ueberstorf

Open to Ph.D. students of the doctoral Program Global Studies. In case of vacancies, further admissions of Ph.D. students and advanced Master students at the University of Bern are possible.

Veranstaltende: Center for Global Studies | Graduate School of the Humanities | Walter Benjamin Kolleg
Redner, Rednerin: Prof. Dr. Thomas Späth
Datum: 06.11.2020 - 07.11.2020
Uhrzeit: 12:15 Uhr
Ort: Seminarraum
Schloss Ueberstorf
Schlossstrasse 14
3182 Ueberstorf
Merkmale: nicht öffentlich

Die Retraite HS2020 wurde abgesagt!

Information and Program for Participants

The Global Studies Retreat offers an opprtunity for PhD candidates to exchange ideas about their current work outside the ordinary university environment and among an interdisciplinary group of peers. The retreat takes place at Schloss Ueberstorf, a historic castle surrounded by a natural park and located in the canton of Fribourg, a short train ride away from the city of Bern.

(Mehr zum Schloss:

The group activities of the retreat comprise three parts:

We start with the experiment of “elevator speeches”: each participant presents a description of her/his own research project in a simple and coherent way, understandable to a diverse audience, in a very short period of time (the time span of an elevator ride, up to max. 120 seconds). The participants are encouraged to point out the global aspects/issues involved in their dissertations. The aim is to assess together the global dimension in which the ongoing projects are being placed.

Each participant provides a short text of their own (0.5 to 10 pages) that she/he wants to discuss with colleagues. Participants are expected to read all of the texts provided by their peers in advance in order to discuss them during the retreat (40 min. for each text).  For this text work, participants are encouraged to speak their own language. The passive understanding of English, French, German, Spanish is welcome (simultaneous translations will be provided where necessary).

Given the current circumstances of Coronavirus outbreak and its subsequent impact, participants are required to read the introduction and three chapters (8, 9 & 10) of the book Purity and Danger by Mary Douglas. With the aim to reflect on concepts such as “contamination” and “otherness”, we propose to exchange our thoughts about the global phenomenon of the current crisis and its different interpretations.


Friday, November 6th


Departure from Bern main station, train S1, in the direction of Fribourg. In Flamatt, change to Bus 131 (direction Albligen, Dorf). Get off at Ueberstorf, Dorfstrasse. Arrival time: 12:36, 5 min. walk to the hotel and check-in.
13:15 Welcome/Introduction
13:30 – 14:30 Elevator speeches and feedback session (A)
14:30 – 15:00 Break
15:00 – 16:20 Text work (B1)
16:20 – 16:30 Short break
16:30 – 17:50 Text work (B2)
17:50 – 18:15 Break
18:15 – 20:00 Apero-Talk: Pandemics as a social and global phenomenon (C)
20:00 Dinner
22:00 Glühwein in the garden (optional)


Saturday, November 7th

09:15 – 10:25 Text work (B3)
10:25 – 10:55 Break
10:55 – 12:15 Text work (B4)
12:15 – 12:30 Final discussion
12:30 Lunch
14:00 approx. Return journey



  • Each participant prepares her/his elevator speech in advance. The time span for the presentation of each project is limited to 120 seconds, so keep it short and keep it simple! Additonally, take into account the project’s global aspects/issues.

  • Upload a text of your own on ILIAS at least two weeks before the event startdate. Please note that any kind of text (also work in progress) up to 10 pages can be uploaded (abstracts, section of the thesis, drafts, presentations, etc.)
    Link to ILIAS:

  • Each participant is expected to have read all the texts in advance and to bring printed versions. While reading, mark the texts with:

         + or ++ for sections considered interesting, successful
         ? or ?? for sections considered unintelligible, unclear
         For every text: Think about one or two core arguments of the text

  • Students are required to read the texts which form the basis for our discussion on Pandemics as a social and global phenomenon.

  • Link to ILIAS:

Further information

  • Please note that no lunch is offered on Friday

  • Charges for accomodation, dinner, lunch (except alcoholic beverages) and

  • refreshments during the event are covered, as well as the costs of the train ride (2nd class) from Bern and back. For reimbursement, participants must hand in a train ticket/receipt

  • Bring warm clothing for a Glühwein in the garden (if you like the idea of gathering around an open fire)

  • Address: Schloss Ueberstorf, Schlossstrasse 14, 3182 Ueberstorf

  • Questions: Please write to Virginia Holzer,