Interview Series “Seen Through a Spatial Lens … – Spatializations in Global Times”
Interview with Dr. Constantin Katsakioris (Academy of Advanced African Studies, Bayreuth, Germany)
Our interview series “Seen Through a Spatial Lens … – Spatializations in Global Times” presents the guests invited by the Collaborative Research Centre 1199. The short interviews combine a peek at our guests’ research with an invitation to creatively reflect upon our focus on spatializations. Enjoy reading!
The second interview is with Constatin Katsakioris, a fellow of the Leibniz ScienceCampus “Eastern Europe — Global Area” (EEGA) and hosted by the SFB. Constantin Katsakioris holds a PhD from École des Hautes Études en Science Sociales (Paris, France). He is a researcher at the Bayreuth Academy of Advanced African Studies. Currently, he researches educational mobility and East-South interactions during the Cold War.
This blog post is also published on the TRAFO Blog, Link.
Interview with Constatin Katsakioris
- In three sentences, what do you research and which questions guide your research?
I am a historian of the relations between the Soviet Union and the Third World, working on their cultural and scientific cooperation, as well as on their political and economic ties. My current project is titled “Training the Third World Elites: The Socialist Countries, the Global Cold War, and the Educational Revolution” and my aim is to write a comprehensive history of the educational aid the socialist countries provided to the Third World.
- What motivates you in your research? Which personal experiences encourage you to continue your research?
The main motivation is my conviction that the topic is of major historical importance. Besides, my friendship with African colleagues, former students in the Soviet Union, has further encouraged me to pursue this research project.
- Which key insights from your research do you consider to be the most surprising for general audiences? Why do you believe this to be the case?
The data I have gathered on the educational cooperation between the USSR and the Third World, which demonstrate the importance of this relationship and which have been largely ignored, have indeed surprised the audience wherever I presented them.
- Seen through a spatial lens, which processes of spatialization – understood as a central dimension and result of social actions – are particularly relevant in your research? Why?
This educational cooperation I study was meant to change the political and economic geography of the postcolonial world and in many respects it achieved this aim. Political, economic, and intellectual borders were transcended through educational exchange.
- Let’s take a look from the future! Which processes of spatialization in the early twenty-first century will be crucial for society in 2050?
The rise of China and India and the social media revolution have already a tremendous impact and will have transformed the world in which we live by 2050.
- What role could science – and your research – have played in this development and how do you think this could have happened?
For science, in general, I cannot come up with a conclusion. As for my research, the most positive and optimistic conclusion is that people from different national, cultural, or political backgrounds can close ranks, build bridges, and imagine a common and better future.
Image Source: Personal (4 July 2017)