In the context of the Bologna Process of neoliberal European university reform, the German authorities have recently promoted an “Excellence Initiative” which has defined as one key objective the promotion of area studies. To the extent that such initiatives constitute a more modestly funded imitation of existing U.S. programs and share their affinity with evolutionist modernization theories and their instrumental function in orienting elite strategy, they operate as a vector of “re-Westernization” of the German university. However, these initiatives may also in some cases open up new spaces for the development of critical approaches to migration studies and ethnic and racial studies, from a more subaltern perspective, with openings to critical gender studies and attention to minority politics.


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