Max-Weber-Kolleg supports „Jena Declaration on Cultural Sustainability“

In the „Jena Declaration on Cultural Sustainability“, numerous signatories call for a cultural approach to sustainability policy. The declaration is implemented in the three programme lines art, education and civil society, which are coordinated in a cooperation between the Max-Weber-Kolleg of the University of Erfurt, the FSU Jena and the HfM Franz Liszt Weimar. The launch event on Thursday 9 September at 3pm will be broadcast live.

The United Nations’ Agenda 2030 came into force on January 1, 2016. In this Agenda, the member states committed themselves to doing everything possible over the following 15 years to achieve 17 goals for sustainable development in the world. These goals include ending poverty; education and a healthy life for all; and achieving sustainable production and consumption. Increasingly, experts are now pointing out that despite immense political, legal and financial efforts, the global community is about to miss its last chance to achieve these UN Sustainable Development Goals in time. Merely increasing existing resources does not appear to be sufficient to implement Agenda 2030.

A network of renowned international institutions, such as the Club of Rome, the World Academy of Art and Science, the Academia Europaea, and the German and Canadian UNESCO Commissions, is therefore now calling for a clear change of strategy through a new cultural approach. On the initiative of Professor Benno Werlen, UNESCO Chair on Global Understanding for Sustainability at Friedrich Schiller University Jena and Fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, more than 30 institutions have already adopted “The Jena Declaration”, in which they define a new cultural approach through which the Sustainability Goals can still be achieved.

Speakers at the launch event at 3 p.m. on 9 September 2021 will include the Co-President of the Club of Rome, Mamphela Ramphele, the President of the World Academy of Art and Science, Garry Jacobs, as well as important co-signatories to the Declaration such as Prof. Hartmut Rosa, Secretary-General of the German UNESCO Commission, Dr Roman Luckscheiter, the President of the Leibniz Association, Prof. Matthias Kleiner, but also, the German climate activist Luisa Neubauer and artists from Afghanistan, Iran and South Africa, among others.

It will take a broad-based global social movement to change thinking and action“
Top-down measures to tackle global challenges, which have dominated so far, cannot take sufficient account of the diversity of cultural and regional differences. For example, many global programmes are poorly adapted to actual local living conditions and therefore find little acceptance. “It will take a broad-based global social movement to change thinking and action for the transition towards sustainable prosperity. This requires fine tuning to local needs and conditions,” emphasises Garry Jacobs, President of the World Academy of Art and Science and one of the first signatories to the Declaration. The primary aim is to get such a movement up and running. 

In order to accelerate and deepen the necessary societal change, the United Nations and political decision-makers must approach more directly the most important actors of change: individuals with their everyday routines and habits. The aim of “The Jena Declaration” is to draw greater attention to the way in which human activities are embedded culturally, regionally and historically. Building on this, the network is calling on everyone to develop inclusive solutions tailored to local conditions. This requires first of all a respectful appreciation of, and regard for, cultural diversity. „The fact that young people worldwide are assigned a central role in the realisation of the programme of the Jena Declaration on Sustainability is particularly noteworthy and, in my view, absolutely necessary. Without the ideas, the demands and the commitment of the generation of tomorrow, it will not be possible to overcome the great social challenges. Today’s generation is obviously finding it very difficult to do so. Therefore, young and old, hand in hand for sustainable improvement, that can be the key,“ emphasises Prof. Uwe Cantner, Vice-President for Young Researchers and Diversity Management for of Friedrich Schiller University.

World Secretariat in Jena
The Declaration’s programme accordingly aims to reach people of all ages – especially younger generations – and of diverse cultural, social and regional backgrounds, and to make it easier for them to act locally in the spirit of global sustainability.

The necessary change extends into all areas of life, as Mamphela Ramphele, Co-President of the Club of Rome, points out, using education as an example: “Humanity has the opportunity to learn from the multiplicity of interconnected planetary emergencies upon us. To learn the lesson we have to embrace nature’s wisdom reflected in indigenous knowledge. At the same time we need to break down the knowledge silos in our outdated education systems.”

Implementation of the declaration will take place along the three programme lines “Art”, “Education” and “Civil Society”. These will be coordinated by a World Secretariat established at the University of Jena in cooperation with the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies (Max-Weber-Kolleg) of the University of Erfurt and the University of Music Franz Liszt in Weimar. “It is a special opportunity for Thuringia and Germany to be able actively to shape future sustainability policy together with such influential partners and a broad social movement,” says Professor Benno Werlen, head of the coordination office.

Further information and access to the live stream event via the declaration website.

University of Erfurt is a member of the ORCID Germany Consortium as of 1 September

The University of Erfurt will become a member of the ORCID Germany Consortium on 1 September.

„In this way, the university is making an important contribution to the promotion of open science communication and laying the foundation for easier reporting of the research outputs of our scientists – not least thanks to the possible (future) integration into internal university systems such as the university bibliography (Hochschulbibliographie) and the Research Information System (FIS Forschungsinformationssystem)“, explains Anne Lehmann, a member of staff at the Research Data Management Service Office at the University of Erfurt.

Names are rarely unique. And so, if the names are the same, confusion with other researchers can occur. But also the change of names (e.g. after marriage), e-mail addresses or employers makes it difficult to clearly assign people to their scientific achievements. ORCID (Open Researcher and Contributor ID) offers an internationally recognised, unique, persistent personal identification number for free use by researchers.

The ORCID ID is a global standard for uniquely identifying researchers and associating them with their research achievements. With the ORCID ID, scientists have full control over their own data and can improve the visibility and discoverability of their research. The broad support of ORCID by publishers, research institutions and funding bodies also simplifies data management, for example thanks to automatic import options for publications.

New publication about the relationship between Jewish and Christian liturgy

„Analogy and Difference: The Dynamic Relationship of Jewish and Christian Liturgy“ is the title of a new volume by Claudia D. Bergmann and Benedikt Kranemann, which has just been published by Aschendorff publishing house.

The relationship of Jewish and Christian liturgies in the course of history is very complex. One can observe, among other things, mutual influences and adoptions, but also differently motivated tensions. The anthology investigates topics ranging from antiquity to the present. Among them are contributions on Gen 22 in hymnological traditions, receptions and transformations of the Psalms, coexistence and confrontation in the Middle Ages, liturgies in contexts of social upheaval, and the relationship between liturgy and music. The essays from the areas of Jewish Studies, Cultural Studies, Religious Studies, and Liturgical Studies open up numerous perspectives on the relationship between Jewish and Christian liturgies, but also generate new research perspectives.

Claudia D. Bergmann und Benedikt Kranemann (eds.)
Analogy and Difference: The Ever-Changing Relationship of Jewish and Christian Liturgy
Analogie und Differenz: Das dynamische Verhältnis von jüdischer und christlicher Liturgie

(series: Liturgiewissenschaftliche Quellen und Forschungen, 112 )
Aschendorff publishing house, 2021
ISBN 978-3-402-11282-3
312 pages
46 EUR

Christopher Degelmann was elected to the Die Junge Akademie

Dr Christopher Degelmann, alumnus of the Max-Weber-Kolleg at the University of Erfurt, has been granted the special honour of admission to the Die Junge Akademie.

The Die Junge Akademie is, according to its own information, the first academy of young academics worldwide. It opens up interdisciplinary and socially relevant creative spaces for outstanding young academics from German-speaking countries. The Die Junge Akademie was founded in 2000 as a joint project of the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities and the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina. A membership is intended not only to promote research, but also to support members in actively and creatively shaping the dialogue between science and society.

As an ancient historian, Dr Degelmann will now be a member of the Die Junge Akademie for five years, together with nine other new members from a wide range of disciplines, and will work on interdisciplinary projects. The prerequisite for a membership is an outstanding doctorate completed about three to seven years ago. In addition, at least one other excellent scientific paper is expected and members of the Die Junge Akademie are also expected to have a keen interest in joint projects at the interface of science, art, society and politics, and to enjoy interdisciplinary work.

„I am pleased that the dissertation completed in Erfurt as well as the good experiences in interdisciplinary exchange at the Max-Weber-Kolleg have made it possible for Christopher Degelmann to be elected as a member of the Die Junge Akademie and wish him much success and joy for his new tasks in the context of the Die Junge Akademie!“ says Prof. Dr. Jörg Rüpke, who supervised Dr. Degelmann’s dissertation – published under the title „Squalor. Symbolic Mourning in Political Communication in the Roman Republic and Early Imperial Period“ – at the Max-Weber-Kolleg.

Award for Erfurt theologian Thomas Sojer

The Erfurt theologian Thomas Sojer has been awarded third place in the „Salzburg University Weeks“ audience prize for his lecture „Mechanical or Organic Solidarity? An Appeal to Symbiotic Life“, the theologian from Erfurt was awarded third place in the Audience Prize at the „Salzburg University Weeks“.

The prize was awarded after a voting process that, due to Corona, had to take place as digitally as the Hochschulwochen – otherwise the largest summer academy in the German-speaking world with over 1,000 participants – itself. This year, the general theme was „What (still) keeps us together? On Commitment and Fragmentation“. The first prize was awarded to the young theologian Andree Burke from Hamburg, second place went to the theologian Maximilian Gigl from Munich.

Thomas Sojer studied Catholic theology in Graz, Innsbruck and London. He has been a research assistant at the Faculty of Catholic Theology at the University of Erfurt since 2021 and is also a doctoral student at the Max Weber College at the University of Erfurt.

The lectures of the „Salzburg University Weeks“ are still available for listening as a podcast.

Hermine Bähr presents a working paper on ‚Knowledge, Science and Society: The State of the Art of social Science Studies‘

The aim of this study is to examine the production of transdisciplinary knowledge in the context of real-world laboratories. The concept of transdisciplinarity describes the intentionally installed research setting of hybrid knowledge production at the science-public nexus that is aiming to solve pressing societal challenges. Especially in the context of climate change, sustainable development and urban planning, so-called real-world laboratories are implemented to co-create ‚robust‘ and ’socially relevant‘ knowledge that leads to social change.

This project takes a Science and Technology Studies account to investigate – by applying ethnographic and reconstructive sociology research methods – how practices of knowledge production change under the condition of research done in transdisciplinary settings.

One part of this project is to develop a conceptual account for a better understanding of the connections between science and society when it comes to the transfer of knowledge claims into changed structures. The other part is to empiri-cally analyze the interactions and transformations that occur when facts and ‚matters of concern‘ travel in between – that is, to reject the linear model of knowledge transfer by acknowledging the ambiguity of knowledge in the making and the complexity of its interactions.

In order to follow the implementation process between scientific and public knowledge production and deliberation, a case study is chosen, that shows the transfer from the global claim of decarbonization to the structural change in one particular region. The chosen case study is a rural periphery of post-GDR coal mining regions: Lusatia and the lignite coal mining area in central Eastern Germany (Mitteldeutsches Revier). This area is particularly interesting, as it amplifies the societal tensions between urban vs. rural understandings of energy politics and touches upon issues such as populism, skepticism, representation and marginalization.

Simone Wagner presents a working paper on ‚Space in Conflict – Cospatiality and its Effect on the Authority of Superiors‘

Many conflicts between religious superiors and their chapters as well as civic magistrates deal with spatial issues. These can be explained by applying the concept of cospatiality. Jacques Lévy defines cospatiality as „une des interspatialités caractérisée par la mise en relation de deux espaces occupant la même étendue“. During the conflicts the actors tried to conceptually and physically distinguish between the precinct of the collegiate church and urban space. However, they failed to do successfully. By challenging the meaning applied to space by their adversaries actors created cospatiality. Walls were constructed as dividing as well as permeable. Physical formations like doors and sounds could act as a switch triggering spatial interaction. Cospatiality influenced the authority of the superiors. As monastic and urban space interacted their authority was challenged.

Research to listen to: University of Erfurt launches „WortMelder“ research podcast

With the episode „Quo Vadis, Catholic Church? The crisis and the way out of it“, the University of Erfurt has launched its new academic podcast „WortMelder“. Julia Knop, Professor of Dogmatics at the Faculty of Catholic Theology, talks about the deep crisis of the Church and how the so-called Synodal Way can initiate reforms.

The first episode marks the beginning of a series of talks with which the University of Erfurt would like to regularly introduce a scientist and their research via the audio format. The aim is to focus on the socially relevant aspect of their research and to discuss topics that concern everyone in an understandable way. „Our scientists are looking for answers to socially relevant questions every day,“ says Carmen Voigt, press officer at the University of Erfurt. „We want to get to the heart of them in the podcast and show what our researchers are actually working on – and how important their work is for society. With the increasingly popular podcast format, i.e. audio (or video) files that can be subscribed to, we have found a suitable channel for this, which makes it possible to break new ground in research communication and thus reach new people.“

The first interviewee in the „WortMelder“ podcast Prof. Dr. Julia Knop is herself a member of the Synodal Way – a dialogue assembly with about 230 members – and works there as an expert on reform proposals for the Catholic Church. She once again explains the extent and the reasons for the crisis, which (power) structures need to be changed, for whom she is actually doing all this and why this crisis concerns us all.

 „WortMelder“, the science podcast of the University of Erfurt is now available on the known streaming services and on the website of the University of Erfurt at (German only).

New Publication: „Critical Theory and New Materialisms“

A new publication by Hartmut Rosa, Christoph Henning and Arthur Bueno entitled „Critical Theory and New Materialisms“ has just been published by Routledge. It is based on a conference on this topic in Erfurt.

Despite its origins in „historical materialism“, critical theory has had little to say about questions of materiality in recent decades: Jürgen Habermas‘ „intersubjective turn“ resulted in research foci on normativity, on intersubjective recognition and modes of justification. Questions of ecology, stubbornness and the effective power of things were rather neglected. For some decades now, these have been the focus of „new materialism“ following Karen Barad, Jane Bennett or Rosi Braidotti. Until now, the two currents have had little to do with each other, and there have even been isolated instances of hostility. This volume brings representatives of both currents into a discourse and discusses how critical theory and new materialism can inspire each other – and where differences remain.

Hartmut Rosa, Christoph Henning and Arthur Bueno (Eds.)
Critical Theory and New Materialisms
Routledge, 2021
ISBN: 9780367257040
216 pages 
hardback: 139,96 EuUR  / ebook: 26,94 EUR

New collaborative research centre in Erfurt and Jena is dedicated to questions of ownership

The Friedrich Schiller University Jena will host the opening conference of the new Collaborative Research Centre/Transregio (SFB) 294 „Structural Change of Property“ on 8/9 July. The SFB started work at the universities of Jena and Erfurt at the beginning of the year and is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

Researchers from sociology, political science and history, philosophy, law and economics, Chinese and South Asian studies and religious studies are investigating the structural change of property in 23 sub-projects. Thematically, the Collaborative Research Centre deals with the history of property since antiquity, with current conflicts over property as well as with future property relations and alternatives to private property. Research is conducted not only in the European context, but also in India, China and Brazil, for example. According to the three speakers Hartmut Rosa, Silke van Dyk and Tilman Reitz, the future structures of property will undoubtedly be negotiated on a global scale. At the opening conference, the researchers will discuss present and future property relations with guests from academia, practice and the media.

The initial diagnosis of the interdisciplinary research network is that disputes about the form, meaning, distribution and obligation of property will clearly gain in intensity in the coming years.

„This is not just about the distribution of income and assets, but about a wide range of issues, such as the ownership of data, of gene sequences, of global resources up to the wind and raw materials on the moon, the question of who owns the city, or whether bodily organs can be property,“ says Hartmut Rosa, the spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Centre. The Berlin citizens‘ initiative Deutsche Wohnen & Co expropriate for the socialisation of large real estate companies, but also the attempt by the German government to protect key industries from Chinese access and even nationalise them if necessary, are just two current examples of the disputes to be expected, he says. At the same time, the researchers observe that what it means to own property is changing:

„The dominant idea of ownership implies that the owner can dispose of his property and shape it, but also that he has to take care of it. Today, when residential property is acquired by large real estate funds and often resold in a fraction of a second, owners who hold shares in the funds generally do not know what they own, and tenants do not know to whom they pay the rent. This changes the character of what property is and means,“ explains Silke van Dyk, co-speaker of the SFB. Similar shifts can be observed when, for example, music titles or literary products can not only be multiplied arbitrarily and free of charge via digital means, but when they are no longer acquired as personal property at all, but are only used or ’streamed‘ temporarily.

„Then ownership of cultural products is replaced by technical access rights. This also changes the character of ownership,“ explains Tilman Reitz, also a co-speaker. In any case, after decades of partly aggressive and global privatisation of property in almost all economically relevant areas, up to and including water and wind, political and also technical counter-tendencies can now be observed everywhere. These not only bring about new forms of ownership, which are reflected for example in diverse forms of sharing economies or commons, but have also set in motion a worldwide reflection on alternatives to the property form of society.

Interested parties can follow the event online (identification code: SFB_294):

The speakers of the SFB are also available for individual interviews (contact: koordination.sfb-eigentum(at)