HCIAS Doctoral Research GroupCommunication and Society in Ibero-America
The doctoral research group
Additional academic skills
Immersion in research and academia
Applications and Funding
Deadline: 26 May, 2022
As a central research institution of Heidelberg University, the HCIAS provides a sustainable institutional framework for pursuing a doctorate in interdisciplinary Ibero-American Studies. In this context, the HCIAS is establishing a structured doctoral program and is setting up the doctoral research group Communication and Society in Ibero-America.
The doctoral research group Communication and Society in Ibero-America
The interdisciplinary HCIAS doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America” allows young scholars to work with both peers and experienced researchers from Heidelberg University and international partner institutions and engage in interdisciplinary dialogue. Doctoral candidates work on their individual projects using both traditional and application-oriented research methods and are involved in thematically related HCIAS research teams. This scientific exchange enables doctoral candidates to develop a comprehensive understanding of how to engage with complex research questions of the humanities and social sciences as they relate to Ibero-America. It also allows them to hone their individual scholarly profile early in their careers.
The HCIAS unites a variety of disciplines from the social sciences, the humanities, cultural studies, and environmental studies to pursue research in area studies on, with, and in Ibero-America. At the HCIAS, Ibero-America is understood to be a macro-region, which is why research at the HCIAS focuses on Latin America and the Iberian Peninsula but also explicitly includes those areas with which there are close historical, cultural, political, or socioeconomic ties. Within the interdisciplinary framework of the doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America”, projects may involve subjects such as sociology, political science, geography, anthropology, cultural studies, history, linguistics, or communication studies.
The range of themes encompassed by the doctoral projects is connected to the HCIAS’ overarching research program on “Spaces and Dynamics in Ibero-America”. Projects aim at addressing the grand challenges affecting Ibero-American societies, paying special attention to societal and communication dynamics, including the perceptual and cognitive aspects of communication in the numerous spaces of contact in the macro-region of Ibero-America. Among others, research interests may relate to topics such as public communication and discourse dynamics on pressing issues like climate change, global health, or conflict; digital communication and politics; civic engagement and opinion formation; population movements and spatial transformations; languages and identities in migration contexts; knowledge circulation and social networks; misinformation and hate speech; the handling of cultural and natural heritage; socio-economic transition and socio-ecological inequalities.
Dissertations within the HCIAS doctoral research group are designed to be completed within three years. They are aligned with the HCIAS’ structured doctoral program. Within this framework, doctoral candidates develop academic skills relevant to the analysis of societal phenomena and dynamics in Ibero-America, especially concerning societal communication. Doctoral candidates conduct original research and expand their interdisciplinary and holistic understanding of communication and society in the macro-region of Ibero-America.
The doctoral candidates taking part in the doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America” develop their doctoral projects in close dialogue with their supervisors at the HCIAS. In addition to holding regular meetings with their advisors, the doctoral candidates regularly present the progress of their dissertations in colloquia where they exchange ideas with peers and more experienced scholars. Proposals for international cotutelle-projects carried out in collaboration with supervisors from universities abroad are possible and greatly welcomed.
Additional academic skills
As members of the HCIAS doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America”, our doctoral candidates have access to a range of specific courses to further broaden their knowledge and skills in theory and methodology, academic writing, presentation, and media. Classes are selected according to individual academic needs and in close consultation with the thesis supervisors.
Immersion in research and academia
The doctoral candidates of the HCIAS doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America” participate in international conferences and publish a scientific paper in co-authorship. They may spend part of their studies abroad to enrich their research project with perspectives from international colleagues and to further hone their academic profile. Doctoral candidates are additionally offered the possibility to gain preliminary experience in teaching and writing grant proposals.
Together with the Heidelberg Center Latin America (HCLA) in Santiago de Chile, a Center of Excellence in Research and Teaching, and Heidelberg University’s offshore campus in Latin America, the HCIAS promotes networking opportunities for early career researchers to become part of an international academic community and develop their research in a collaborative and stimulating environment. Doctoral candidates are advised and supported by both the HCIAS and the HCLA Office in building their personal academic network.
Applications and Funding
Interested young scholars are invited to apply for admission to the doctoral research group “Communication and Society in Ibero-America” twice a year. The HCIAS offers a limited number of scholarships funded by the Landesgraduiertenförderungsprogramm of the State of Baden-Württemberg. Please check our website regularly for new calls for applications.
If you have any questions regarding the doctoral research group or funding opportunities, please contact Dr. Katrin Berty from the HCIAS via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or Dr. Inés Recio from the HCLA via email at email@example.com. We also offer counseling by online or face-to-face appointment at the HCIAS in Heidelberg or the HCLA in Santiago de Chile upon request. Do not hesitate to write!
Members of the HCIAS doctoral research group
Charlotte Blattner, a fellow of the Landesgraduiertenförderungsprogramm of the State of Baden-Württemberg, investigates the sociolinguistic situation of Spanish as a language of migration and as a heritage language in Germany utilizing contrastive analysis. In addition to quantifying the number of second-generation speakers of Spanish who live in Germany, the project analyses the sociological, educational, and political conditions under which this group uses the language. These conditions ultimately determine the decision for or against the retention of the heritage language in families with a migration background as well as their language competence. Charlotte’s project is integrated into the international research project El español en Europa and is supervised by Prof. Dr. Óscar Loureda.
Ana Gómez-Pavón, a DAAD doctoral fellow, examines Spanish as a heritage language in Germany. Her research explores the social and familial dynamics that favor the transmission of Spanish from generation to generation. This work thus contributes to the research project on the demography of the Spanish-speaking community in Europe at the HCIAS. Ana‘s cotutelle Ph.D. project is supervised by Prof. Dr. Óscar Loureda and Prof. Dr. Mercedes Quilis Merín of Universidad de Valencia, Spain, within the framework of a DAAD research grant.
Raphael Hernández Westpfahl, a fellow of the Landesgraduiertenförderungsprogramm of the State of Baden-Württemberg, focuses from a discourse analysis perspective on legitimation strategies of involved actors in large-scale energy projects implemented in Mexico in the wake of the global energy transition towards renewable energies. Within this context, he is also investigating in which ways new migration patterns are emerging. Rafael’s thesis is supervised by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Rosa Lehmann.
Maria Angel Orjuela, a fellow of the Landesgraduiertenförderungsprogramm of the State of Baden-Württemberg, analyzes community practices and experiences of social adaptation in contexts of risk to environmental health based on the communication processes and collective action of rural and indigenous women's organizations in the Amazon region of Colombia. Maria‘s study seeks to reflect on the preparedness and response of these communities in response to natural and anthropogenic threats, including climate change and the current COVID-19 outbreak. This is done bearing in mind that these risk situations have a differential impact on the most vulnerable groups. Maria’s thesis is supervised by Prof. Dr. Francisco Moreno-Fernández.