European Graduate School

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European Graduate School
Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien
Seal of the European Graduate School
Type Private Institute
Location Saas-Fee, Switzerland

The European Graduate School (EGS) in Saas-Fee, Switzerland is a privately funded graduate school founded by the non-profit European Foundation of Interdisciplinary Studies. Its German name is Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien ("European University for Interdisciplinary Studies"). It is governed by a presidential board that includes a representative of the Swiss canton of Valais.[1] Instruction is in English.[2]


EGS was established in 1994 as a postgraduate degree-granting school with two divisions: Media and Communications; and Arts, Health and Society.[3] The setting of the campus in the Alps is at an altitude of 1,800 m (6,000 ft), with a magnificent view of some of Switzerland's highest mountains.[4]

Accreditation and Recognition of Degrees[edit]

It is accredited[5] by a school council ("Hochschulrat") in which the Canton of Valais is represented with at least one member. The school is not accredited by the Swiss University Conference, the main regulatory body for universities in Switzerland[6] (in Switzerland, unlike in other European countries, the accreditation system operates on a voluntary basis[7]).

Because of this, degrees from EGS are not recognized by Germany,[8] nor by several states in the United States, including Maine,[9] Texas[10] and Oregon.[11][12]

Media and Communications Division[edit]

Jean-Luc Nancy and students at EGS, June 11, 2006

The Media and Communication Department focuses on creative breakthroughs and theoretical paradigm shifts, bringing together master's and doctoral students with an interest in art, philosophy, communications, film, literature, internet, web and cyberspace studies with artists, writers, and philosophers.

Faculty and guest lecturers give 3- to 6-day-long courses during the 4-week summer seminars. Visiting faculty have included Giorgio Agamben,[13][14][15][16] Chantal Akerman,[15][17][18][19] Pierre Alféri,[20] Alain Badiou,[14][15][21][22][23][24] Lewis Baltz,[21] Jason Barker,[25] Julian Barnes,[26] Jean Baudrillard,[15][19][21][26][27][28][29][30] Yve-Alain Bois,[15][21][31] Catherine Breillat,[21][32][33] Victor Burgin,[15][19][21][34][35][36][37] Judith Butler,[15][21][38][39][40][41][42] Sophie Calle,[21] Hélène Cixous,[21][43] Diane Davis,[21] Manuel DeLanda,[21] Claire Denis,[21][43][44] Jacques Derrida,[21][26][45] Tracey Emin,[15][21][46] Bracha Ettinger,[43][47] Christopher Fynsk,[21][48] Antony Gormley,[19][21][43] Peter Greenaway,[14][15][21][26][49][50] Durs Grünbein,[21] Werner Hamacher,[21] Barbara Hammer,[21] Donna Haraway,[14][15][21][51] Michael Hardt,[21] Martin Hielscher,[21] Michel Houellebecq,[26] Shelley Jackson,[21][52] Mitchell Joachim,[53][54] Friedrich Kittler,[55] Claude Lanzmann,[15][21][56][57][58] Christian Marclay,[15][59][60] Colum McCann,[61] Carl Mitcham,[21][62][63] Jean-Luc Nancy,[15][19][21][26][43][64][65][66] Klaus Ottmann,[67][68][69][70] Hans Ulrich Obrist,[21] Cornelia Parker,[21] Laurence A. Rickels, Avital Ronell,[15][21][71][72][73] Paul D. Miller[21] a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid,[15][26][74][75][76] Wolfgang Schirmacher,[15][19][21][43][77] Volker Schlöndorff,[14][21] Michael Schmidt[disambiguation needed],[21] Bruce Sterling,[21][78] Allucquére Sandy Stone,[14][15][19][21][79][80] Elia Suleiman,[19] Friedrich Ulfers,[21] Gregory Ulmer,[15][21] Agnès Varda,[21] Paul Virilio,[26][81][82] Victor J. Vitanza,[15][21][43] Hubertus von Amelunxen,[15][19][21][83][84][85][86] Margarethe von Trotta,[87][88] John Waters,[15][21][26][89][90][91][92] Samuel Weber,[15][21] Caveh Zahedi,[93] Krzysztof Zanussi,[21][94] Siegfried Zielinski,[15][21] Slavoj Žižek[14][15][21][26][95][96] and Jan Zwicky.[97]

Teaching philosophy[edit]

Studies involve two years of coursework, including rigorous on-line writing requirements based upon a structured reading list, and two three-week summer seminars in Switzerland, during which students are evaluated for their active participation in nine hours of seminars and lectures each day with visiting professors, philosophers, filmmakers, and artists[98] and spend their final three years writing a thesis or dissertation, followed by a traditional oral defense.

Slavoj Žižek described his involvement in EGS in an interview with Swiss magazine Die Weltwoche:

There is an international summer school, the European Graduate School... What is interesting with this school is the selection of lecturers – there are well-known philosophers and artists from the whole world, including filmmakers Peter Greenaway and Volker Schlöndorff, theorists Donna Haraway and Sandy Stone, and philosophers Giorgio Agamben, Alain Badiou and I. We three are friends. We meet there each year, are engaged for three weeks. I can bring my wife, do a 90-minute lecture each morning and am free afterwards.[99]

Slavoj Žižek also described the rigor and prestige of EGS as an academic institution during an interview in 2006:

EGS is not only a place to create an interaction between students, but gives them freedom. Not freedom to do nothing, but precisely freedom to work in this creative inter-space. Also, the way the talks are done, we do very serious theoretical work here. I like how the school approaches me. You know, I had to be there for exams for the students so I thought how should I terrorize them, I told them: "You ask yourself a question and then you answer it". Ah, but you know, they didn’t have any excuses. They couldn’t have said: "Ah, sorry, I could not answer you." They had to be at their best. No excuses. We are challenged to do so. So, it’s wonderful to see how somebody like Badiou comes; it’s like work in progress that you can see. It’s really serious work. It’s enough mixing between students and professors as equals so that you can get real productive exchange, not just ritualistic questions, answers and so on. I think this is what accounts for the growing success of EGS. It’s simply a negative proof of the failure of today’s academia.[100]

Intercollegiate connections[edit]

EGS has established curricular cooperation with:

See also[edit]

Notes and references[edit]

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External links[edit]

Coordinates: 46°06′52″N 7°55′46″E / 46.11457°N 7.92939°E / 46.11457; 7.92939