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.

New publication: „Owning Land, Being Women“

Under the title „Owning Land, Being Women. Inheritance and Subjecthood in India.“ De Gruyter has now published the dissertation of Amrita Mondal, who is researching the property rights of Indian women at the Max-Weber-Kollege of the University of Erfurt.

„Owning Land, Being Women“ enquires into the processes that establish inheritance as a unique form of property relation in law and society. It focuses on India, examining the legislative processes that led to the 2005 amendment of the Hindu Succession Act 1956, along with several interconnected welfare policies. Scholars have understood these Acts as a response to growing concerns about women’s property rights in developing countries.

In re-reading these Acts and exploring the wider nexus of Indian society in which the legislation was drafted, this study considers how questions of family structure and property rights contribute to the creation of legal subjects and demonstrates the significance of the politico-economic context of rights formulation. On the basis of an ethnography of a village in West Bengal, this book brings the moral axis of inheritance into sharp focus, elucidating the interwoven dynamics of bequest, distribution of family wealth and reciprocity of care work that are integral to the logic of inheritance. It explains why inheritance rights based on the notion of individual property rights are inadequate to account for practices of inheritance.

Mondal shows that inheritance includes normative structures of affective attachment and expectations, i.e., evaluatively-charged imaginaries of the future that coordinate present practices. These insights pose questions of the dominant resource-based conceptualisation of inherited property in the debate on women’s empowerment. In doing so, this work opens up a line of investigation that brings feminist rights discourse into conversation with ethics, enriching the liberal theory of gender justice.

Amrita Mondal
Owning Land, Being Women
Inheritance and Subjecthood in India

(series: De Gruyter Studies in Global Asia, 2)
De Gruyter,2021
ISBN: 9783110690361 (Print)
ISBN: 9783110690491 (E-Book)
265 pages
64,85 EUR