The project "Understanding University: The Rhetoric(s) of German Academia" will focus on the history of the European university and in particular on the rhetorical practices it has cultivated, which, according to the project leaders, continue to have an impact and still shape debate conventions in seminar discussions and inform the stylistic norms of scholarly writing. At the same time, the German university does not systematically disclose or teach these conventions – unlike, for example, its counterparts in the Anglo-Saxon world. Addressing the “academic habitus” from the point of view of rhetoric is intended to disenchant the widespread idea of a seemingly natural talent as a prerequisite for participation in academic discourse. The project, which was conceived by Anita Traninger, a professor of Romance languages and literatures at Freie Universität Berlin, together with Isabelle Fellner, Oliver Gent, and Angie Martiens, emerged from the group's work in the Collaborative Research Center 980 “Episteme in Motion.” Taking their work on the history of knowledge as a starting point, they developed a teaching project to contribute to a critical reflection on the university's structural resistance to diversity. The teaching project combines an analysis of the historical reasons for this situation with a practical component. To allow international students to participate, the course will be taught both in German and English.
Prof. Beate Koksch, Institut für Chemie und Biochemie - Organische Chemie
Prof. Christoph Schalley, Institut für Chemie und Biochemie - Organische Chemie
In the winning project proposed by Professor Beate Koksch and Professor Christoph Schalley from the Institute of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Freie Universität Berlin, the students will deal with the diversity of molecules and the way they cooperate in chemical reaction networks. The course "Molecular Diversity – Emergent Properties in Chemical Reactivity Networks" will not only cover chemical processes in diverse molecular settings, but also draw parallels with other complex systems such as insect colonies, the global climate, or social phenomena from traffic jams to mass panic. The organizing team, which in addition to Beate Koksch and Christoph Schalley includes two chemistry students, Elena Petersen and Anthony Krause, and two doctoral researchers, Hendrik Schröder and Dorian Mikolajczak, pursue the goal of contributing to a “differentiated scientific world view.” They invited lecturers from the fields of biology, climate research, and sociology. Teaching the students how to successfully carry out research is another goal of the course: The students taking the class will design experiments that will be used as public presentations at the Long Night of Science at Freie Universität Berlin on June 9. They will also produce educational films that are understandable for a diverse public audience and that will be made widely accessible.