From mid February to mid March, 2020, Christine Unrau was Capes Print Visiting Professor at the Universidade Federal do ABC, São Paulo State, Brazil. There, she pursued her research project on sentimental education, i.e. the mobilization of emotions in the context of forced migration. Although the current president has adopted a politics of closure, Brazil still plays a central role in the reception of refugees in the Americas, also thanks to the support and advocacy work of NGOs and civil society organizations. As she could observe, some of their protagonists have developed an elaborate concept of raising awareness for refugees’ plight without victimization. One example is the photographic exposition “Um lar chamado São Paulo” (A home called São Paulo), co-organized by the NGO Instituto ADUS in the Centre of São Paulo in 2017.
During her stay, she also presented her research in seminars, workshops and lectures. Her first public lecture was entitled “Time for indignation?” and explored emergence of indignation as an emotion norm in the context of globalization. The second public lecture, “Sentiment and Progress? On the role of emotions for political change”, took up the notion of progress, which has recently acquired centre stage in debates on the form and directionality of political transformations.
Together with Stephan Hollensteiner, the managing director of the research area Transformation of Contemporary Societies at the University of Duisburg-Essen, she also gave an introduction to research opportunities in Germany and the Ruhr Area, with a special emphasis on the Centre’s fellowship programme. With this, they contributed to a deepening partnership between the UFABC and the University of Duisburg-Essen, which is rooted in historical and structural commonalities between the two universities, especially concerning a commitment to post-industrial transition (in the Ruhr Valley and the ABC-region of São Paulo), diversity and educational justice. Earlier this year, UFABC Professor of International Relations Gilberto Rodrigues had conducted research at the Centre for Global Cooperation Research.
Shortly after her visit, the Federal University of ABC suspended all public events and classes as a precautionary measure against the spread of the corona virus. The situation in the São Paulo metropolitan area has become much more critical ever since. The Federal University of ABC has actively contributed to mitigation efforts against the corona virus and adopted a flexible concept for the continuation of classes and exams during the crisis.