On the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan, its annual conference sets out to analyze and discuss the role of the social sciences in Japan and Germany, with a particular emphasis on social science research on Japan. In times of neo-liberal reforms and related budget cuts, within universities and research institutes, but also in society as a whole, debates about the role of research in society, the legitimacy of academic research or the valorization of research outcomes intensified. Scholars and academic institutions increasingly face demands to produce "relevant knowledge" beyond academic debates and to prove the value of research for society. While within academia, scholars discuss the role of third party funding for academic research and related risks for academic freedom, in broader society, questions are raised about the degree to which academic work is serving, or should serve, "societal needs". Therefore, this conference aims 1) to discuss the challenges to social science research in the context of these contestations as concerned scholars and 2) to analyze role perceptions of social scientists visa-vis policy makers and society. Speakers from Japan and Europe will address the following questions: What are the core challenges for the social sciences in both countries? How do social scientists in both countries address these challenges? How do social scientists in both countries perceive their roles as scholars? How can the impact of their research on society be assessed? What kind of new forms of knowledge (production) emerge(d) from interactions between academia and society?
The conference on "Social Science Research and Society in Japan and Germany: Impact, Institutions and Perspectives" will be held by the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan (VSJF), the Freie Universität Berlin (FU) and the Japanese-German Center Berlin (JDZB) from November 23 to 25 at the JDZB. It is supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, German Research Foundation), the Graduate School of East Asian Studies (GEAS) and Taylor & Francis Group.
Language of the conference will be English only.
As in previous years, a Gender Workshop will be held on 22 and 23 November before the Annual Conference of the German Association for Social Science Research on Japan. The program of the Gender-Workshop with the title "Review and New Horizons" can be found on the Blog Modernes Japan