Mecila – Maria Sibylla Merian International Centre for Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences Conviviality-Inequality in Latin America – examines past and present forms of social, political, and cultural conviviality in Latin America and the Caribbean. It employs conviviality as an analytical concept to describe ways of living together in specific contexts characterized by diversity and inequality. It links studies about interclass, interethnic, intercultural, interreligious and gender relations in Latin America and the Caribbean with studies about conviviality beyond the region. In doing so, the Centre aims to establish an innovative exchange with benefits for both European and Latin American research.
In the preliminary phase, Principal Investigators (PIs) from each consortium partner will actively participate in the formulation of the research programme. Additionally, three Postdoctoral Researchers, based at the Centre in São Paulo, will support the PIs by contributing with review essays and research on structures, negotiations and representations of convivial contexts in Latin America and the Caribbean. During the third year of the preliminary phase, five international Senior Fellows will join the Centre, substantiating the theoretical and analytical cornerstones of the research programme for the main phase.
The Centre’s headquarters have been established in São Paulo (Brazil) by a consortium composed of three German institutions: Freie Universität Berlin (coordination); Ibero-Amerikanisches Institut, Berlin; and Universität zu Köln, Cologne, as well as four Latin American institutions: Universidade de São Paulo (USP) and Centro Brasileiro de Análise e Planejamento (Cebrap), São Paulo, Brazil; Instituto de Investigaciones en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales (CONICET / Universidad Nacional de La Plata), La Plata, Argentina, and El Colegio de México (COLMEX), Mexico City, Mexico. The Centre draws on the existing long-term cooperation between these institutions. It is financially supported by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) from April 2017 until March 2020. After this preliminary phase, the consortium can receive grants for a main phase of another six years.
The Centre will organize conferences as well as thematically focused workshops on conviviality and inequality at the consortium’s institutions in Latin America and Germany. Research and synthesis outcomes of the preliminary phase will be presented in the Centre’s Working Paper Series as well as by collaborative book projects.