Bard College Berlin News
How can the Global South be more self-determinative in the face of northern hegemony? Prof. Dr. Kai Koddenbrock brings expertise in postcolonial political economy to Bard College Berlin
Koddenbrock’s research specialties include the international monetary system, global and domestic financial markets, geopolitics, and geoeconomics. He is the co-founder of the African Monetary and Economic Sovereignty conferences, co-leads the Politics of Money Network, and heads a research group at the Africa Multiple Cluster of Excellence. He has previously worked for the United Nations in NYC, the World Food Programme in Rome, and the Global Public Policy Institute in Berlin.
During his time at BCB, Koddenbrock will pursue a comprehensive research project on economic and political self-determination in the Global South. He says, “My main research interest for a long time has been to understand the persistence of global inequalities and power asymmetries at a very basic level. And more specifically I’ve looked at the role of monetary and financial relations and how they prevent, especially people in the Global South, from being more self-determinative.”
Koddenbrock is currently hiring two postdoctoral fellows to complete the project, which will consist of “studying in the current moment, what countries and governments—who are supposed to represent the people—are doing to increase both their wealth in a very unequal world society, but also their power in the face of northern hegemony.”
In a time of transition to a multipolar world order, a significant question that Koddenbrock seeks to answer in his research is, “What are countries in the Global South trying to do to profit from this moment?” One example he gives of this is the mining industry. For instance, Koddenbrock explains, “Indonesia nationalizing their nickel to get better prices from the global north, or Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia cooperating in lithium production of batteries, and the same in Congo and Zambia.”
In addition to research, Koddenbrock is also looking forward to teaching classes and getting to know BCB students. When asked about his teaching style, he says, “I'm curious about the person behind the student… I'm really interested in where they're coming from, and I always enjoy witnessing their evolution, their thought process, and their personality growth.”
His teaching philosophy is to “encourage [students] to make up their own mind, to read critically, not to be too much in awe of something that is written down, because many contradictory things are being written down. In reading and discussion of readings, first read the text very closely, and do not immediately brainstorm and criticize it. But to take the text seriously, and at a later stage, look for weaknesses and further thoughts that you might have.”
Teaching in a liberal arts environment will be a new, but welcome, experience for Koddenbrock. He is particularly interested in learning from the arts as an educational component at BCB, explaining, “German public universities usually don't tend to have any art because they are outsourced to arts universities or colleges.” And when it comes to BCB’s methods of teaching, he states, “One thing I'm really looking forward to is the team-teaching approach that BCB adopts. Both of my classes will be co-taught. So I mean, already planning the syllabus together was great… doing that as a team. I think it's just a very different approach to teaching than being the solitary professor who's totally alone and does his or her thing.”
Prof. Dr. Kai Koddenbrock is an appreciated addition to Bard College Berlin, and we look forward to seeing the impacts of his research and teaching on both the BCB community and the global academic stage.
Post Date: 09-06-2023