European Graduate School
|European Graduate School|
|Europäische Universität für Interdisziplinäre Studien|
|Rector||Paolo J. Knill|
|Students||ca. 600 total, ca. 150/year|
|Faculty||1 (full-time), ca. 100 (part-time)|
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. Instruction is in English.
EGS was established in 1994 as a postgraduate degree-granting school with two divisions: Media and Communications; and Arts, Health and Society. Founding contributors include thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Jean-François Lyotard. The setting of the campus in the Alps at an altitude of 1,800 m (6,000 ft), with a magnificent view of some of Switzerland's highest mountains, provides a unique learning atmosphere.
It is accredited by a school council ("Hochschulrat") in which the Canton of Valais is represented with at least one member. The school is supervised by representatives of the education ministry of the Canton of Valais, the Graduate School of Music, Theater, and Web Design, Hamburg, the Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, and the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco. Degrees from EGS are not recognized by Germany, nor by several US states, including Maine, Texas and Oregon. The school is also not recognized by the Swiss University Conference, the main regulatory body for universities in Switzerland.
Some noteworthy writers, artists, and musicians who have attended the European Graduate School include Gael García Bernal, Jeffrey Eugenides, John Maus, Ariana Reines, Micah White, Micha Cárdenas, Rachel Zolf, Akilah Oliver, and Masha Tupitsyn.
Arts, Health and Society Division
Offers certificate programs (MAPS and CAGS) and Masters and Doctoral degrees in Expressive Arts Therapy and Expressive Arts Coaching and Consulting, Education, and Social Change. The MA Programs in Expressive Arts are designed to further training and research in the therapeutic, coaching, consultative, educational and social use of the arts. The programs encourage students to take seriously the tradition and disciplines of the arts as they have evolved over the course of human history. In all societies up to the present, the arts have played an essential role in enabling human beings to make sense of their world, to live with suffering when necessary and to be able to celebrate the joy of life. Teaching takes place in the town of Saas Fee in the Swiss Alps (State of Valais, Switzerland) in two sessions each summer from June to August. Students and faculty from all over the world meet to participate in intensive training seminars. The doctoral program in Expressive Arts combines two Summer residential training's at EGS leading to a Certificate of Advanced Post-Graduate Studies (CAGS) with individualized dissertation research in the student's home country. The Summer training is conducted in English; dissertations can be written in English, German or French if suitable advisors can be found. The granting of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by EGS has been approved by the Ministry of Education, Canton Wallis, Switzerland.
The format of a Graduate School for professionals with training exclusively in intensive summer seminars has the advantage that it can commit a faculty of excellent reputation who are internationally engaged leaders or founders in their field. Faculty members come from interdisciplinary practices that cross institutional boundaries. They advocate investigative learning and creative inquiry which embraces the stratified complexity of the concrete problems we face today. They are familiar with thinking that expands the horizon of established frameworks and creates networks between disciplines and institutions in both the private and public sector. Faculty that have joined EGS are enthusiastic about projects that engage the typical adult learner. They appreciate the benefit of the innovative learning that goes on between faculty, students and participants in on-going projects.
Media and Communications Division
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, Chantal Akerman, Pierre Alféri, Pierre Aubenque, Alain Badiou, Lewis Baltz, Jason Barker, Julian Barnes, Jean Baudrillard, Yve-Alain Bois, Catherine Breillat, Victor Burgin, Judith Butler, Sophie Calle, Hélène Cixous, Diane Davis, Manuel DeLanda, Claire Denis, Jacques Derrida, Tracey Emin, Bracha Ettinger, Christopher Fynsk, Antony Gormley, Peter Greenaway, Durs Grünbein, Werner Hamacher, Barbara Hammer, Donna Haraway, Michael Hardt, Martin Hielscher, Michel Houellebecq, Shelley Jackson, Mitchell Joachim, Friedrich Kittler, Claude Lanzmann, Christian Marclay, Colum McCann, Carl Mitcham, Jean-Luc Nancy, Klaus Ottmann, Hans Ulrich Obrist, Cornelia Parker, Laurence A. Rickels, Avital Ronell, Paul D. Miller a.k.a. DJ Spooky that Subliminal Kid, Wolfgang Schirmacher, Volker Schlöndorff, Michael Schmidt[disambiguation needed], Hendrik Speck, Bruce Sterling, Allucquére Sandy Stone, Elia Suleiman, Friedrich Ulfers, Gregory Ulmer, Agnès Varda, Paul Virilio, Victor J. Vitanza, Hubertus von Amelunxen, Margarethe von Trotta, John Waters, Samuel Weber, Caveh Zahedi, Krzysztof Zanussi, Siegfried Zielinski, Slavoj Žižek and Jan Zwicky.
In 2006, Slavoj Žižek became the Jacques Lacan Professor at EGS, which has helped to further publicize the school regionally and globally.
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 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.
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.
Wolfgang Schirmacher was the founding Dean of the Media and Communications division (which confers Masters and Ph.D. degrees). Professor Schirmacher retired from that post in the Autumn of 2006 and now serves as the Program Director. The current (as of 15 March 2007) Dean of this division is Professor Friedrich Ulfers (also distinguished faculty at New York University).
EGS has established curricular cooperation with:
- Appalachian State University Boone, North Carolina.
- Beit Berl Academic College. Doar Beit Berl, (Israel)
- California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, California.
- Clemson University, College of Architecture, Arts, Humanities. Clemson, South Carolina.
- Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany.
- 17, Instituto de Estudios Críticos. Mexico
- International School of New Media, Lübeck, Germany.
- Internationale Hochschule für künstlerische Therapien und Kreativpädagogik, Calw, Germany.
In addition, EGS is engaged in a collaboration with Resling Publishing House in Israel, including on a translation of Avital Ronell's 2001 book Stupidity.
Notes and references
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- European Graduate School
- Media and Communications Division
- Arts, Health and Society Division
- EGS Press Publisher of POIESIS journal
- EGS at gradschools.com
- Bruce Sterling's 2006 Summer Seminar Notes
- Jamming with Condoleezza. Interview with Greg Ulmer at EGS