University of Erfurt

Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt

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HES-Stipendiat des Jahres 2013 mit renommiertem Natalie-Zemon-Davis-Preis ausgezeichnet

Dr. Marco Lamanna von der Universität Luzern (Schweiz), der im Jahr 2013 mit einem Herzog-Ernst-Stipendium der Fritz Thyssen Stiftung in Gotha über „Liborius Capsius (1589–1654) and the Evangelical University of Erfurt“ geforscht hat, hat kürzlich den renommierten Natalie-Zemon-Davis-Preis erhalten. Mit dem Preis, der das Lebenswerk der kanadisch-amerikanischen Historikerin würdigt, wird alljährlich der beste Artikel des in Kanada erscheinenden Journals Renaissance et Reformation ausgezeichnet, das Zemon Davis mitbegründet hat. Lamannas preisgekrönter Artikel "Tommaso Campanella in the Schulmetaphysik: The Doctrine of the Three Primalities and the Case of the Lutheran Liborius Capsius (1589-1654) in Erfurt" ist das unmittelbare Ergebnis seines Forschungsaufenthaltes in Gotha und fasst die dabei gewonnenen Erkenntnisse zusammen.
Das Forschungszentrum und die Forschungsbibliothek Gotha gratulieren Dr. Marco Lamanna sehr herzlich und freuen sich über die Auszeichnung.

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Freigeist-Fellowship for Bernhard Schirg at the Gotha Research Centre

The Volkswagen Foundation has granted Bernhard Schirg a Freigeist-Fellowship for his project “Reaching for Atlantis. The cultural biographies of objects under the Swedish Empire and beyond” at the Gotha Research Centre, Erfurt University. According to the supporting foundation, the fellowship is aimed at “young extraordinary researchers alternating between different recognized fields of research and thereby taking the risk of conducting a “different” kind of science”. The scholarship is endowed with almost one million Euros and scheduled for a duration of five years.

“The Fellowship presents a wonderful opportunity to realize an idea with the utmost independence, freedom and openness in an environment and with a team of choice, in addition to being able to pursue my research beyond disciplinary constraints and typical academic career patterns”, says Bernhard Schirg. The fellowship holder, who has a PhD in Neo-Latin, had been working on a Berliner project about the Swedish history of science and on antiquarianism in the Baltic Sea region until the End of 2016. He became a Herzog-Ernst scholar at the Gotha Research Centre of the University of Erfurt in spring 2017 to further pursue his research on the project there.

Schirg explains that the aim of his Freigeist project “is to simultaneously narrate a history of science, of nature and of collections and to visualize it with the help of selected objects, on whose base contemporary scholars at the time of the Swedish Empire (approx. 1650 – 1720) formulated the renowned narrative of their nation’s early history”. With help of a digital platform and through the incorporation of historical sources he plans to outline how these objects were contextualized and interpreted at varying times in history. In doing so, Schirg intends to cooperate with international researchers, libraries, museums and experts in the field of Digital Humanities. These complex perspectives on objects will allow an insight into their social history(-ies), scientific paradigm shifts as well as into Early Modern collection methods. “For this Gotha is an ideal place, since its object collections sit amidst a historical library and an excellent Research Centre with lively international exchange. The Research Library offers unique collections and presents a strong partner for cooperation, not least in light of the technical challenges of this project.”

The starting point of Bernhard Schirg’s work is the monumental four-volume big “Atlantica”, in which the polymath Olof Rudbeck (1630 – 1702) from Uppsala not only traces Platon’s Atlantis, but also the origins of the entire ancient tradition back to the North. This then led to various interpretations and reinterpretations of the material culture and classical heritage. The systematic study and interpretation of archaeological findings along with nordic nature gave access into reading the writings of classical authors as (misunderstood) testimonials of a glamorous early history of Sweden – the true Atlantis. United as artefacts and all natural specimens in contemporary collections, these testimonials provide visible evidence of the rudbeckian antiquarians, who, through their hermeneutical efforts, attempted to counterpoise the superpower’s deficit using historiographical sources.

The interdisciplinary project dares to attempt a shift in perspectives on what is an enormously influential, yet often disregarded epoch in European intellectual history.  Through numerous documents and photos – amongst them travel reports, academic publications and correspondences between scholars – it traces the historical development of selected objects in academic and social contexts and contributes to their repositioning by detaching them from their former collection- and interpretation contexts.

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