York University has recently joined with universities in Berlin, New York and Toronto to offer students the opportunity to be part of a new international PhD program.
The International Graduate Research Program – The World in the City: Metropolitanism and Globalization from the 19th Century to the Present – will run until September 2016 with an option to extend it for an additional four and a half years.
Nine of the first students to be part of the new International Graduate Research Program attend a ceremony in Berlin
“This kind of international collaboration for the benefit of our best doctoral students is now a sine qua non for the training of junior academics. It provides them with the important experience of gaining academic experience outside of their own institutions and cultural contexts,” says York Professor Ute Lehrer of the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES). It will also provide for research collaborations among faculty and graduate students at the various universities.
“The first Berlin-based PhD student, Sabine Barthold, has just arrived to take classes at York University and the University of Toronto this fall and to meet with her Toronto supervisor,” says FES Professor Roger Keil, director of the City Institute at York University (CITY).
The program is a collaboration of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, City University of New York, Columbia University, Fordham University, New York University and University of Toronto, as well as York University.
“Berlin and New York had a longstanding relationship with a similar program funded by the DFG. When this ended, they decided to enlarge the group of participating universities and add one city: Toronto,” says Keil. “The York group applied for seed funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) for a trip to Berlin to attend a strategy meeting by all participating institutions in the summer of 2010. We continued to collaboratively work on the application with the final presentation in Berlin in September 2011.”
Professor Dorothee Brantz, director of the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the Technische Universität Berlin, heads the program, sponsored by the German Research Foundation Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).
The Canadian Centre for German & European Studies at York, CITY, FES, York’s Faculty of Graduate Studies and York International provided support in putting together the York contributions to this program, which Keil says will provide students with an invaluable experience.
The participating universities have already selected the first 13 students, plus one post-doctoral researcher. The program seeks to foster dialogue between historical and interdisciplinary urban studies in the following research fields – Building Metropolitanism: Architecture and Urban Planning; Moving Metropolitanism: Migration and Mobility; Thinking Metropolitanism: Knowledge and Communication; and Natural Metropolitanism: Environment and Sustainability.
The rise and development of modern metropoles is closely connected with global economic, ecological, political, cultural and infrastructural networks, says Keil, but the historical dimensions of such metropolitan-global connections have been hardly investigated. While scholars in the field of urban studies consider globalization as an essentially contemporary phenomenon, those researchers who are interested in long-term global processes have not paid much attention to the specific role of cities.