Liza von Grafenstein presents a working paper on ‚Urbanization – Opportunity or Challenge for Child Health in India‘

While a country is undergoing the transformative process of urbanization, undernutrition, overweight, and micronutrient deficiencies are often present at the same time. Due to limited data the literature hardly examines whether urbanization is an opportunity or a challenge for child health. This study contributes to the literature by investigating the ambiguous effects of urbanization on child nutrition treating urbanization not as a dichotomy and focusing on India where the triple burden of malnutrition is prevalent. Using NFHS-4 survey data and the urbanisation classification of Global Human Settlement Layer project, I describe the opportunities and challenges urbanization brings about for children between 2 and 5 years of age. As this study sheds light onto the ambivalent role of urbanization, policy makers will be able to target public health interventions more effectively.

Here you can find more information about Liza von Grafenstein.

New publication: „Religion and its History. A Critical Inquiry“

Routledge has just published a new book by Jörg Rüpke entitled „Religion and its History. A Critical Inquiry“, a new book by Jörg Rüpke has just been published.

„Religion and its History“ offers a reflection of our operative concept of religion and religions, developing a set of approaches that bridge the widely assumed gulf between analysing present religion and doing history of religion. Religious Studies have adapted a wide range of methodologies from sociological tool kits to insights and concepts from disciplines of social and cultural studies. Their massive historical claims, which typically idealize and reify communities and traditions, and build normative claims thereupon, lack a critical engagement on the part of the researchers.

This book radically rethinks and critically engages with these biases. It does so by offering neither an abridged global history of religion nor a small handbook of methodology. Instead, this book presents concepts and methods that allow the analysis of contemporary and past religious practices, ideas, and institutions within a shared framework.

The author, Jörg Rüpke, is Professor of Comparative Religion at the University of Erfurt and Vice Director of the Max-Weber-Kolleg.

Jörg Rüpke
Religion and its History. A Critical Inquiry
(series: Routledge Studies in Religion)
Routledge, 2021
ISBN 9780367677084
174 pages
Hardcover: 120 £ // Ebook: 25,89 £

ONLINE WORKSHOP: Transnational Political Movements and the Imaginaries of the Homeland

Some of the crucial normative transformations resulting from ‘globalization’ are driven by transnational political networks, and are mediated by the social imaginaries that these networks create. Now, it might seem obvious that transnational networks tend to create ‘globalist’ or ‘internationalist’ imaginaries, and this is what research on such network imaginaries often assumes. Our workshop focuses on a different type of network imaginary: Its goal is a comparative discussion of transnational networks that are sustained by, and recreate, a specific imaginary of the homeland, and that sustain forms of political critique which owe their plausibility to this imaginary of the homeland. Diasporic communities often convey a stronger sense of difference, of being a ‘people’ with ‘roots’ outside their countries of residence. Here, the creation and maintenance of highly ‘modern’ global networks is reinforced by a ‘traditionalist’ notion of home. At the same time, this ‘traditionalist’ notion is itself a product of multiple ‘modern’ networks between the countries of origin and settlement. While the idea of the homeland has always been linked to excesses of the imagination (see GDR poet Thomas Brasch’s description of nostalgia for the homeland: „Ich will dort bleiben / wo ich nie gewesen bin“), the modern long-distance network, by offering a rather selective access to what happens in the homeland, makes it much easier for new fantasies about this homeland to emerge. Often, the resources enabling long-term activism within the ‘homeland’ are made available through diaspora networks driven by this kind of selective imaginary. It is also through these kinds of political mobilizations that ‘globalization’ has triggered a ‘politics of differentiation’ (Glick Schiller), and an ethnicization of difference.

The Workshop will take place from 28th till 29th May 2021. The detailed program you can find here.

If you are interested in participating please send a mail to Andreas Pettenkofer (andreas.pettenkofer(at)

Call for Papers: Listen to the Global South! Uncovering the Roles of Southern Actors in Writing Global Gender Norms

The M.S. Merian – R. Tagore International Centre of Advanced Studies “Metamorpho-ses of the Political” (ICAS:MP) is an Indo-German research collaboration of six Indian and German institutions funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). ICAS:MP combines the benefits of an open, interdisciplinary forum for intellectual exchange with the advantages of a cutting-edge research centre. Lo-cated in New Delhi, ICAS:MP critically intervenes in global debates in the social sci-ences and humanities. In the framework of its Thematic Module 5 “The Challenge of Gender”, we are organising the workshop “Listen to the Global South! Uncovering the Roles of Southern Actors in Writing Global Gender Norms” which will be held virtually on December 1st and 2nd, 2021.

Until 21.06.2021 you can submit papers that relate to the workshop theme and the broad topics. Here you can find more about the theme of the workshop, the submissions and formularities.

Professor Gábor Gángó researches Baron von Boineburg in Padua

Prof. Dr. Gábor Gángó, associated fellow of the Max Weber Kolleg at the University of Erfurt and member of the Research Centre for Early Modern Natural Law of the Gotha Research Centre and the Max Weber Kolleg is going to the University of Padua for one year to work on a project on „The Conversion of Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg“.

Johann Christian von Boineburg, book collector, patron of the arts, chief court marshal at the court of the Mainz Elector Johann Philipp von Schönborn, and not least friend and supporter of the young Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, is no stranger to Erfurt. His library has long been an ornament to the city; his son, Philipp Wilhelm von Boineburg, keeper and propagator of the valuable book collection was appointed governor of Erfurt in 1702 and rector of Erfurt University in 1705. The library bequest as well as Boineburg’s scholarly correspondence, some of which was previously unknown, which Prof. Gángó collected in German archives and libraries, form the material basis for the research.

In Padua, Prof. Gángó will focus on Boineburg’s problems of faith, which crystallised in a special way in his conversion. Boineburg, who received a Lutheran education in Jena and Helmstedt, was converted at the Imperial Diet of Regensburg in 1653. In the literature, his better career prospects at the court of the Mainz Elector Johann Philipp von Schönborn are given as possible reasons. Here Gángó wants to overcome the previous state of research and also reveal the intellectual motives for the conversion. To this end, he will also examine the collective thought processes in Boineburg’s correspondence with other scholars. This collective communication and thought process has a lot to do with Italy and cannot be understood without the Italian context. Impulses of the Counter-Reformation in the 17th century in general and also specifically in Boineburg’s case came from Rome, which will be shown using the collected source materials as a basis for the historical reconstruction of scholars‘ communication with Italy.

Prof. Gángó says: „I am pleased that my previous basic research on Boineburg and Leibniz is also receiving great international recognition in this way and I am looking forward to the new research results that will be revealed in the work.“

New publication: „Biographies of the Reformation“

A new book by Martin Christ, Junior Fellow at the Max Weber College of the University of Erfurt, has now been published by Oxford University Press in the series „Studies in German History“. It is entitled „Biographies of the Reformation: Religious Change and Confessional Coexistence in Upper Lusatia, 1520-1635“.

In 288 pages, the book provides a new narrative of the Reformation and shows that the concept of the „urban Reformation“, in which cities are seen as centres of Lutheranism, needs to be reassessed, especially in cities in East Germany. It shows that in a region like Upper Lusatia, which did not have a political centre and underwent a complex Reformation with many different actors, there was no clear confessionalization. By approaching the Upper Lusatian Reformation through important individuals, Martin Christ shows how they had to negotiate their religiosity, resulting in cross-confessional exchange and syncretism.

The Society for Renaissance Studies invites all interested parties to an online presentation of Martin Christ’s book on 1 June at 7 pm. Please register at

Martin Christ
Biographies of a Reformation. Religious Change and Confessional Coexistence in Upper Lusatia, 1520-1635
(series: Studies in German History)
Oxford University Press, 2021
ISBN 978-0-19-886815-6
288 pages


Scientific Management (m/w/d) des Sonderbereichs SFB TRR 294 „Strukturwandel des Eigentums“ an der Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena.

Start: 01.08.2021 | Befristet: 31.12.2024 | Vollzeit (40h) | Bewerbungsfrist: 05.06.2021

Im Rahmen des SFB Transregio 294 “Strukturwandel des Eigentums” der Universitäten Jena und Erfurt ist an der Universität Jena an der Fakultät für Sozial- und Verhaltenswissenschaften, Institut für Soziologie ist zum 01.08.2021 eine Stelle als Wissenschaftliche Geschäftsführung (m/w/d) des Sonderbereichs SFB TRR 294 „Strukturwandel des Eigentums“ zu besetzen.

Der Sonderforschungsbereich verfolgt das Ziel, einen fundamentalen Strukturwandel der Formen und Einbettungen von Eigentum, der spätestens seit 1989 zu beobachten ist, zu untersuchen. Der Sonderforschungsbereich mit Schwerpunkt in der Soziologie umfasst insgesamt 23 internationale und interdisziplinäre Teilprojekte.

Ausführliche Stellenausschreibung

Max-Weber-Kolleg offers support for doctoral preparation

The Max Weber Centre for Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt is once again offering young academics financial support for their doctoral preparation this year.

The programme is aimed at young female academics who have recently obtained an excellent Master’s degree or are about to do so and who wish to do an interdisciplinary doctorate in the context of the Weberian research programme at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, which can be supervised by members of the Kolleg.

After the one-semester doctoral preparation, which also includes individualised mentoring, an exposé should be available that enables application to the doctoral programme of the Max-Weber-Kolleg. The doctoral preparation is oriented towards the individual needs of the participants and consists of mentoring in relation to the research question of the dissertation project and the research status, participation in selected colloquia and the opportunity to participate in seminars and in the qualification programme of the University of Erfurt (certificates are also issued for the latter). The admission procedure as a doctoral candidate to the Max-Weber-Kolleg remains unaffected.

For the participation in the doctoral preparation, the Max-Weber-Kolleg offers financial support for the duration of up to six months in the form of a scholarship, which is awarded according to the scholarship statutes of the University of Erfurt. The doctoral preparation usually starts at the beginning of the respective semester on 1 April (summer semester) or 1 October (winter semester). However, direct follow-up funding in the case of acceptance as a doctoral candidate from a doctoral scholarship can only be made possible if the full six months are not required for the preparation of the exposé and the application deadlines for acceptance as a doctoral candidate at the Kolleg are observed.

Since the Max-Weber-Kolleg would like to support women in a special way, this call for applications is exclusively addressed to women. For information on requirements and application, please refer to the call for applications (German only).

In addition, the Max Weber Kolleg announces up to three of these scholarships for all applicants. Please find all information in the following announcement (German only).

Wissenschaftsrat presents new recommendation on Institutes for Advanced Study

„The recommendations of the German Council of Science and Humanities show that the Max-Weber-Kolleg is on a very good and promising path with its concept of combining an IAS with a Graduate School, taking into account interdisciplinarity, internationality and intergenerationality. We are pleased with this confirmation of our work and look forward to continuing along this path,“ said Hartmut Rosa and Jörg Rüpke, the directors of the Max-Weber-Kolleg.

On 28th of April 2021, the German Science Council (Wissenschaftsrat) presented its recommendations for the funding of Institutes for Advanced Study. The Science Council is the oldest science policy advisory body in Europe and was founded on September 5, 1957 in the Federal Republic of Germany by the Federal Government and the Länder on the basis of an administrative agreement. It advises the Federal Government and the governments of the Länder on all matters relating to the substantive and structural development of science, research and higher education.

In recent decades, Institutes for Advanced Studies (IAS) have developed worldwide from an exceptional phenomenon into a distinctive type of institution in the science system. Based on historical models – such as the Princeton IAS – today a variety of functions and forms are gathered under this umbrella. They enable scholars from different universities in Germany and abroad to devote themselves intensively to a research project for a limited period of time within the framework of a fellowship. The Max-Weber-Kolleg of the University of Erfurt is the only Institute for Advanced Study in Thuringia and was consulted in the preparation of the recommendation and is also mentioned in the recommendation of the Council of Science and Humanities in several places as an example, for instance when it comes to the promotion of young researchers:

„Special attention is paid by a large part of the IAS to the promotion of young scientists. In this context, the task of promoting young scientists is one of the statutory tasks of both university-based and non-university institutions. For example, the Max-Weber-Kolleg for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt focuses on the promotion of young academics at university-based IAS.“

The recommendations of the Council of Science and Humanities refer to aspects such as interdisciplinarity, internationality and promotion of young researchers and call for enabling long-term planning for IAS.

New Publication: „Erfüllung im Diesseits“

A new book by Josef Römelt, moral theologian at the University of Erfurt, has been published by Herder under the title „Erfüllung im Diesseits“ (Fulfilment in this world). It looks at the question of how contemporary utopias challenge the Christian message of salvation.

The religious offer of a final anchorage in God, in a life after death, is challenged today by a widespread fascination with this world, with life in the here and now. Josef Römelt’s book explores the spiritual atmosphere of our time and enters into a dialogue with the popular thinkers Yuval Noah Harari („Homo Deus“) and Hartmut Rosa („Resonance“), whose utopias have found a great echo.

Harari stands for a functional-rational, technically-perfected view of reality, as represented by the so-called transhumanists. They promise an optimisation of life in this world with the help of natural science and technology. Hartmut Rosa, on the other hand, has presented an influential counter-vision with his theory of resonance and resonant human relationships with the world. Both exponents of the intellectual atmosphere of our time fundamentally challenge the Christian message of salvation. Josef Römelt shows how the Christian faith can find a new, human-friendly language in the confrontation with Harari and Rosa and thus open up important resources of meaning: It becomes an invitation to the human longing for deep vitality, joie de vivre and a love of life, to trust oneself even in the borderline experiences of failure, illness and death.