Sofia Bianchi Mancini presents a working paper on ‚Narrative Property in Lucan’s Pharsalia III‘

Lucan’s Book III focuses on the battle of Massilia – a fight historically fought in 49 B.C. between Caesar’s forces and Pompey’s sympathisers. In the book, the poet gives voice to the brutality and viciousness of the conflict through a vivid portrayal of how Roman and Massilian soldiers were dismembered, amputated, or decapitated. However, the battle of Massilia, as recounted by Lucan, is much more than this grotesque and violent account. The peculiar construction of the entire narrative – alongside the usage of key Latin terms and references to specific elements used in Roman religious and ‘magical’ practices – shows how Lucan narrates and constructs a peculiar kind of property, namely one that is strictly related to the self and the body. The way he relates it ultimately serves the purpose of creating a new identity, through Stoic philosophy, that may solve the political problems of his own time.

Raminder Kaur presents a working paper on ‚Sacred Cities: A Sacerology of the Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, India‘

In this paper, I adopt interdisciplinary perspectives to develop a sacerology of how the sacral flows on and through the land, and that then influences presence in the place. Departing from solely anthropogenic perspectives, such perspectives provide ontological glimpses into other worlds. There is a radical beyond that evades rationalisation and compartmentalisation while being central to human experience and existence even if they be located in the urban. With a focus on the Harmandir Sahib, otherwise known as the Golden Temple, in the Indian city of Amritsar, I elaborate on four main registers of engagements or ‘quantum qualities’ that change according to place, person and phenomena. These contingent categories are foundational, validatory, everyday and tapestry.

Lorenzo Cozzi presents a working paper on ‚The other Apocalypse: the thought of history in Nicholas of Lyra’s Postilla Litteralis‘

After a short introduction of Nicholas of Lyra’s biographic and intellectual path, I will show how this exegete’s reflection on the Apocalypse is placed within a specific groove according to which the pages of the Book of Revelation provide an opportunity for a continuous reading of the history of Christianity. I will therefore focus mainly on the most problematic moment of the work, namely the au-thor’s comment on Revelation XX. In fact, it is precisely in this chapter that Nicholas, declaring his lack of access to the prophetic gift, reveals his myopia in the face of any attempt to recompose the events surrounding him from an historical-eschatological perspective. As I will show in Part II, with this strategy, the prophetic word is therefore subjected to a speculative work aimed at subtracting it from the claims of the apocalyptic thought and at relocating it adequately within a social project suited to the needs of the Church of the time.

Mourning for Jutta Vinzent

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Dr. Dr. Jutta Vinzent. Jutta Vinzent, born in 1968, was Senior Lecturer (Associate Professor) for Modern and Contemporary Art at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Associate Fellow at the Max-Weber-Kolleg for Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt.

After studying German literature, art history and philosophy in Munich, she was awarded a doctorate in 1996 in Cologne with the thesis „Edlef Köppen – Schriftsteller zwischen den Fronten. Ein literaturhistorischer Beitrag zu Expressionismus, Neuer Sachlichkeit und Innerer Emigration mit Edition, Werk- und Nachlassverzeichnis“. She documented her interdisciplinary interests in 2004, when she was awarded a doctorate in art history at the Department of History of Art in Cambridge with the thesis „Identity and Image. Refugee Artists from Nazi Germany in Britain, 1933-1945“. In between, she was first Honorary Research Fellow and then (until her death) tenured Senior Lecturer in Art History at the University of Birmingham.

In 2012, Jutta Vinzent was appointed Fellow at the Max Weber Centre for Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt to work on the project „Modernist spaces in 1930s Britain“. She was well prepared for this through the EU-funded project „Overcoming Dictatorships“ with partners in Romania, Hungary, Poland, Germany and Italy, in which she had participated from 2006-2009, as also evidenced by her numerous publications on migration and internal emigration of artists in the face of authoritarian regimes.

Her active collaboration and the development of new projects in the context of the Max-Weber-Kolleg led to new fellowships with new project plans, such as the project „Precarious Spaces – Precarious Times. Commercial Exhibition Cultures in Times of Conflict“ in 2015, in which she explored exhibition cultures.

As part of the „Meister Eckhart“ Research Centre, she then also organised a very practical exhibition in Erfurt and in Korea that contrasted modern art by Taery Kim and medieval manuscripts by Meister Eckhart. This project was also published (together with Christopher M. Wojtulewicz) under the title „Performing bodies. Time and space in Meister Eckhart and Taery Kim“.

In Erfurt, she has not only been involved in the various research groups at the Max -Weber-Kolleg, but has also collaborated with the „Erfurt RaumZeitForschung“ and co-organised a conference, the results of which were published in the volume „SpatioTemporalities on the Line“ edited by her and Sebastian Dorsch in 2018 by De Gruyter. This volume deals with the ‚world-image production‘ in everyday life and the sciences through lines and linearity from a multidisciplinary perspective. She then continued her research on the relationship between modern art, artistic self-relationships and space in her monograph „From Space in Modern Art to a Spatial Art History. Reassessing Constructivism through the Publication „Circle“ (1937)“ published by De Gruyter in 2020.

Inspired by her work with the research group „Dynamics of Ritual Practices in Judaism in Pluralistic Contexts from Antiquity to the Present“ at the Max-Weber-Kolleg, she has again accepted as a fellow in 2019 the project „Forced Urbanism. Jewish Internment in the British Empire“.

Last year, she was also involved in the successful application for the second funding phase of the International Graduate School (IGS) on the topic of „Resonant World Relations in Socio-Religious Practices in Antiquity and the Present“, funded by the DFG and FWF.

Jutta Vinzent not only had a wide range of interests and was always open to new interdisciplinary projects and questions, but was also particularly committed to promoting young researchers and equality, including by supervising many junior researchers and by temporarily taking on the task of deputy equal opportunities officer at the Max-Weber-Kolleg.

„We will greatly miss her always cheerful and hands-on manner, her incredible optimism and her drive. Our sympathy goes out to her husband, Professor Markus Vinzent, and her children,“ said the directors of the Max-Weber-Kolleg, Professor Hartmut Rosa and Professor Jörg Rüpke.

Workshop „Science Communication“

With the support of the University of Erfurt’s Research and Graduate Service, the ComDigMed junior research group is offering an online workshop on the topic of „Science Communication“ on Monday, 10 January, from 10 am to 4 pm. Doctoral students from all junior research colleges are cordially invited to attend.

How can science communication be defined? How do I reach people outside of science with topics from my research? The online one-day workshop offers an overview of current trends and developments in science communication. The focus will be on an introduction to the definition of science communication and an impulse on target group analysis. The interactive online workshop will offer participants an overview of possible formats for communicating their science topics to specific target groups.

Registration is now possible with Thorsten Ziegler by e-mail.

Frederic Guillaume Gass Quintero awarded DAAD Prize

Frederic Guillaume Gass Quintero, doctoral student at the University of Erfurt, will be awarded the DAAD Prize for Outstanding Foreign Students and Doctoral Students in 2021. The prize is awarded annually by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and enables DAAD member universities to honour foreign students or doctoral students for special commitment. Due to his outstanding academic achievements, the Max-Weber-Kollege nominated Gass Quintero for the award.

Since 2019, the native Colombian has been a doctoral student at the Max-Weber-Kolleg of the University of Erfurt. He is working on a project on „The experience of state violence and the making of a political opposition. An ethnographic case study from Colombia“. He is using social science and ethnographic methods to investigate the peace process in Colombia. Specifically, he uses participant observation to study a group of civil society organisations in Bogota in order to understand the social mechanisms underlying civil engagement in anti-violence campaigns and the formation of civil society coalitions in the context of a highly polarised society.

However, the peace process in Colombia does not only drive Gass Quintero in theory, but also occupies him in his non-academic engagement. For example, in spring 2019 he participated in the call for a transnational report to the International Criminal Court (The Hague) regarding the systematic murder of human rights defenders in Colombia. He prepared a letter and petition document signed by Colombian parliamentarians, which he then delivered in person at a meeting at the Bureau du Procureur at the ICC in The Hague. He met with European parliamentarians in Brussels to denounce the human rights crisis in Colombia and participated in a meeting with the Free Lula da Silva Committee at the Assemblee Nationale, France, in the summer of 2019. During this meeting, he formulated a request for an official visit by French parliamentarians to Lula da Silva in prison. In the same year, he filed a complaint against the murder of indigenous activists in Colombia at the United Nations and was also able to arrange a meeting at the United Nations in Geneva between two Colombian human rights activists and the Office of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders at the United Nations. But even beyond that, Frederic Guillaume Gass Quintero has been involved in many activities aimed at organising the Colombian migrant community abroad.

Currently, the 29-year-old is working on the results of his field research in Colombia for his dissertation, which is being done in cooperation with the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) in Paris under a Cotutelle agreement. He has now been honoured for his outstanding academic achievements and great commitment.

Also nominated for the DAAD award this year were Hubert Hager, competitive athlete and student at the Faculty of Education, and Kyaw Si Th, one of the winners at the Commitment Award 2020 and student at the Willy Brandt School of Public Policy at the University of Erfurt.

„We are proud of our international students and doctoral candidates,“ says a delighted Prof. Dr. Beate Hampe, Vice President for International Affairs at the University of Erfurt. „In addition to their commitment and achievement, they bring wonderful diversity to our campus, from which we as a university can only benefit.“

Julia Seeberger received the Romanesque Research Award

The historian Julia Seeberger from Erfurt has been awarded the Romanesque Research Award by the European Romanesque Center in Merseburg. The jury thus honoured her dissertation on „Olfaktorik und Entgrenzung – die Visionen der Wienerin Agnes Blannbekin (died 1315)“.

The prize is endowed with 2,000 euros and has been awarded to young researchers since 2011. And so it was to be awarded again in 2019 to Julia Seeberger, research assistant at the Professorship for Medieval History at the University of Erfurt. Due to Corona, however, the award ceremony could not take place at first. But now, belatedly, it was presented.

In her study, which will soon be published as a book in the series Nova Mediaevalia. Sources and Studies on the European Middle Ages by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht Unipress, Julia Seeberger devotes herself to a text corpus of visionary records, which she is able to reinterpret with the help of olfaction, the analysis of smell and olfactory perceptions in the visionary texts. This enables a broader understanding of the written mystical experiences of a young Viennese woman of the late 13th and early 14th century in a Franciscan milieu. Until now, the name „Agnes Blannbeckin“ has been attributed to her, but this is not verifiable, as Seeberger notes. This finding has not been changed by the discovery of new manuscripts containing the vision texts. Seeberger has made a weighty contribution to mystical research, and she enriches the innovative field of research into the history of the senses with a historical olfaction that has yet to be brought to light.

In his laudation, Jörg Ulrich from the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg praised her extraordinarily innovative research achievements. Her dissertation is a sensory-historical look at the life story and visions of Agnes Blannbekin, who is less well-known than other mystics such as Hildegard von Bingen, said the Centre.

Background: The European Romanesque Center in Merseburg is concerned with researching and communicating the Romanesque cultural heritage. It concentrates on scientific questions of architecture, art, archaeology, theology, history and legal history of the Middle Ages.