New research project: “The German Literature in 19th Century Brazil. A Literature of no fixed Abode.”
Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Gerson Roberto Neumann (Prof. of German Literature and Comparative Literature, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS – Brazil). The project is funded by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.
Gerson Roberto Neumann (Prof. of German Literature and Comparative Literatur, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS – Brazil).
This project aims at discussing a literature which cannot be incorporated in any history of literature and deals with a literary production in German but written in Brazil. The theme of this literature is the relationship of German immigrants in Brazil and the quest for a new life in this context. This production is neither mentioned in Brazilian literature nor in German literature. It is, due to that reason, a literature without a place, in between two different contexts. Based on both Brazilian and German theories regarding this theme, and also on long discussions at congresses and other events, this issue will be discussed in depth here, aiming at bringing this literary production to a place where it can be seen and heard.
“Travelling Humboldt – Science on the Move” (AvH–R), based at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities; “Humboldt’s American Travel Diaries” (ART), based at the University of Potsdam and at the German State Library – Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation [Deutsche Version]
Studies on Alexander von Humboldt face new challenges and chances: Two projects are dedicated to the digitization, edition and research of those documents and texts that Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) wrote during his travels with the object of further investigation and documentation of his scientific understanding that is still unknown in many aspects.
Julius Schrader (1859): Baron Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859), Oil on canvas, 158.8 x 138.1 cm, New York: Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Both projects pursue a transdisciplinary approach to one of the most prominent scientists, writers and philosophers of the nineteenth century. Their goal is to further unravel Humboldt’s understanding of nature and humankind as deeply intertwined with his experiences as a lifelong traveller.
While there still is much to learn about Alexander von Humboldt, there are also some aspects to disband: the separation of “Humboldt the scholar” versus “Humboldt the scientist” isn’t able to meet an approach that shows the inseparable linkage between nature and culture in Humboldt’s works; the historical fixation of Humboldt as last reminiscence of pre-modern science and his monumentalization as the “last polymath” can’t comply with his ways of practicing and linking the ever-expanding branches of modern sciences.
Based on the travel diaries, which in case of the Academy project include the diaries of Humboldt’s trip to the Americas (1799-1804) as well as those of his Russian Expedition (1829), both projects aim to show how movement and travel are clearly interdependent within Humboldt’s theory of knowledge and how his writing could show the possible path to a still up-to-date understanding and conceptualization of a dynamic idea of science.
Ciencia y espectáculo de la naturaleza
Viajes científicos y museos de historia natural
Miguel Ángel Puig-Samper Mulero (Professor for History of Science and Director of the CSIC Publishing Department, Madrid)
Coordinator: Miguel Ángel Puig-Samper Mulero
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), Instituto de Historia
The project underway was recently approved by the Secretary of State of Research, Development and Innovation (SEIDI), within the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness. “Ciencia y espectáculo de la naturaleza” [Science and the spectacle of nature. Scientific travels and natural history museums] has a project duration of three years. It is part of the research framework Ciencia en un mundo global. Historia Natural, Antropología y Biología entre el viaje científico y la ciudad, coordinated by Álvaro Girón (CSIC). Continue reading →
“Alexander von Humboldt auf Reisen – Wissenschaft aus der Bewegung [Travelling Humboldt: Science on the Move]” (AvH-R)
Plate XLII “42_Vue du Cayambe” in: Humboldt, Alexander von ([1810-]1813): Vues des Cordillères et monumens des peuples indigènes de l’Amérique. Paris: Schoell.
On October 30, 2014, the Berlin-Brandenburgian Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) announced the launch of its new long-term editorial research project “Alexander von Humboldt auf Reisen – Wissenschaft aus der Bewegung [Travelling Humboldt: Science on the Move]” (AvH-R).
With AvH-R, BBAW builds on its long tradition of in-house Alexander von Humboldt scholarship under the direction of Eberhard Knobloch (co-submitter for AvH-R). The project’s director will be Ottmar Ette, Professor of Romance and Comparative Literature at the Universität Potsdam.
The research and academic training project “Archivpelagos Literatur: deutschbrasilianische Inselwelten der Forschung” [Archi-ve-pelago Literature: German-Brazilian Island-Worlds of Research] was given a substantial grant by the Brazilian Ministry of Education (Program PROBRAL, Foundation CAPES) and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).
Starting Januar 2015, PhD candidates and postdoctoral researchers from the Universität Potsdam will jointly work with Brazilian colleagues from the Universidade Federal do Paraná (UFPR) on literary works, authors and intellectual discourses, which have shaped processes of cultural transfer and tranformation between Brazilian and German-speaking individuals and communities since the 19th century. Continue reading →
The Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) will celebrate the purchase of Alexander von Humboldt’s American Travel Diaries in an Opening Ceremony on March 4, 2014. The Travel Diaries were acquired in 2013 as a central element of the rara collection of the Berlin State Library (Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin). They are considered to represent the so called “second”, that is, the scientific discovery of the Americas. Humboldt’s Travel Diaries consist of approximately 4000 pages, densely annotated and filled with sketches and drawings by Humboldt. The purchase of the Travel Diaries was made possible by the generous support of several public and private sponsors.
The ceremony’s speakers will be: Hermann Parzinger (Presindet of the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation), Continue reading →
Detail of Julius Schrader’s portrait “Alexander von Humboldt”, 1859 (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
The Chair of French- and Spanish-speaking Literatures (Prof. Dr. Ottmar Ette) at the Institute for Romance Languages and Literatures of the Philosophical Faculty of the University of Potsdam announces 5 openings in the context of a new BMBF project entitled “Alexander von Humboldt’s American Travel diaries: Genealogy, Chronology, and Epistemology.”
The following three-year positions are available for February 1, 2014:
1 Postdoctoral Research Assistantship (full-time, 40 hours/week) [155/2013]
1 Postdoctoral Research Assistantship (half-time, 20 hours/week) [156/2013]
3 Pre-doctoral Research Assistantships (full-time/40 hours/week) [157/2013]
Salaries for all positions are competitive (E 13 and E 14 in the German context).
In the context of this transdisciplinary project (under the direction of Prof. Dr. Ottmar Ette), the following research disciplinary foci are most desirable: literary studies, visual studies, history of science, geography. The expected outcome for each position is either a completed doctoral dissertation or a publishable monograph.
write a dissertation or monograph in the context of the above project.
help organize conferences/workshops about the topic of the BMBF project.
assist in preparing scholarly editions and/or collections.
collaborate with the project’s partners (Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz) Continue reading →
Together with the purchase, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding a joint research programm by the Universität Potsdam and the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz. Starting in 2014, Prof. Dr. Ottmar Ette (Universität Potsdam) will lead a research group of at least five researchers (doc and postdoc level) to work on the material, cultural, and epistemological significance of Humboldt’s travel diaries, which can be considered the foundation of what Ottmar Ette has coined as “Humboldtian Writing”.
At the same time, the project includes the complete digitization of both the volumes of Humboldt’s diaries as well as the entire literary estate, currently available in the archives of the Staatsbibliothek. Taken together, both initiatives will provide a new ground for current and future research on the history of European science in the 19th century in general and Alexander von Humboldt Studies in particular.
The purchase of the travel diaries was funded by a consortium of both public and private institutions. The nine leather-bound books will be presented to the public in an official ceremony early 2014.