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In Retrospect: Ideenwettbewerb "Juniorforum"




Ideenwettbewerb Juniorforum

In spring 2011, the DHC called for applications for "Juniorforum", a postdoctoral research fellowship program set up in collaboration with the Freie Universität’s Research Department. The program was designed for postdoctoral researchers from the Freie Universität’s two humanities departments “Philosophy and Humanities” and “History and Cultural Studies”. The program was intended to support fellows in submitting a successful grant application for the execution of a subsequent project at the Freie Universität. The program offered funding for a maximum of one year, and the Research Department provided professional guidance in preparing grant proposals.

During the course of the competition, DHC offered an information event about funding opportunities for postdoctoral research projects in Germany. A list of the funding schemes presented by the research department can be downloaded here.

The selection took place on July 1, 2011. Applicants defended their proposals and discussed them with a committee of professors, the Vice-president, and a postdoctoral humanities researcher from the Freie Universität.

The following four research projects have been selected:


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Ghassan El Masri: From Ethos to Ethics. The Poeticity of the Moral Transformation at the Rise of Islam

Dr. Masri studied Philosophy at the American University of Beirut and holds a PhD in Arabic Studies from Freie Universität Berlin. In his project, instead of treating the Qur’an as a holy text sui generis, Dr. Masri analyzes it as a literary work, using modern philological methods. His aim is to place the Qu’ran in its context, and particularly to set it in relation to the Arabic poetry and literature of its time. With this approach, Dr. Masri intends to open up the literary meanings of the Qur'an both to Muslim and non-Muslim readers alike.


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Eva Hausdorf: Staub zu Staub. Ein Material in der Kunst zwischen Schöpfung und Verfall (From Dust to Dust. An Artistic Material between Creation and Decay)

Eva Hausdorf received her Master’s degree and PhD in Art History from Freie Universität Berlin. Currently she is working as a curator at Bucerius Kunst Forum, Hamburg. In her project, Dr. Hausdorf studies the use of dust as an artistic material, with a focus on examples from 20th and 21st century art. She will apply an interdisciplinary approach, providing a systematic history of dust between theological and philosophical codification. The project promises deeper insights into such crucial topics as the institutionalization of art, the temporality of art, and artistic (self-)consciousness about the ephemeral nature of art.


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Dörte Rokitta-Krumnow: Frühe Formen sozialer Differenzierung. Der archäologische Nachweis im levantinischen Neolithikum (Early Forms of Social Differentiation. Archeological Evidence in the Levantine Neolithic)

Dörte Rokitta-Krumnow received her Master’s degree and PhD from Freie Universität Berlin. In her research, she examines the causes and consequences of early social differentiation in the Neolithic of the Levant, by analyzing material findings such as architecture, stone tools, and burial grounds. The project is particularly original in its approach, combining methodological aspects from both archeology and the social sciences.


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Jörg Volbers: Situierte Vernunft. Praxistheorie, Pragmatismus und das Problem der Kritik (Well-founded reason. The Theoratisation of Practice, Pragmatism and the Problem of Criticism)

Jörg Volbers studied and gained his PhD from Freie Universität. He was formerly a research associate at Freie Universität’s Sonderforschungsbereich 447 "Kulturen des Performativen" (Performative Cultures), where he worked on the relevance of creativity in Wittgenstein. In his project, Dr. Volbers analyzes a systematic problem in contemporary theory. The term 'practice' is an indispensable tool for description and analysis in today’s humanities disciplines. From a methodological perspective, the term is particularly appealing since it allows to view sense and meaning as the results of publicly accessible acts, which can be described and analysed from a scientific perspective. But this perspective is confronted with a problem: How can one concieve phenomena such as creativity, a rational change of semantic normativity, or criticism in a methodological framework based on the notion of 'practice'? Dr. Volbers wishes to explore this problem by re-reading the classics of American pragmatism.