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Hosting the world

Chile, Spain, Argentina, Columbia, Germany – the chair held by Professor Susanne Hartwig at the University of Passau brings together people from around the world. This has also been made possible by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and its sponsorship programmes for young researchers. By Nicola Jacobi

Dr Pia Gutiérrez and Dr Raquel Fernández Menéndez have both been awarded a scholarship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

Dr Pia Gutiérrez been conducting research in the team of Susanne Hartwig, who holds the Chair of Romance Literatures and Cultures at the University of Passau, since July 2022. The Chilean completed her degree in literary studies at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, earning her doctorate there in 2015. Starting in 2017, she taught as an interdisciplinary assistant professor at the Faculty of Literature and Theatre. Her special interest is in Latin American and Chilean theatre, a subject matter she has been working on in Passau as well. Her project is not only about theatre and the creative process in art itself but also about how this process is documented and archived. Her research project at the University of Passau is thus entitled: "Ethics and aesthetics of wandering: cases and archives of Chilean artists".

To me, wandering, as in moving from place to place, is a very special state

Dr Pia Gutiérrez, University of Passau

"To me, wandering, as in moving from place to place, is a very special state," says the 39-year-old literature scholar. "I myself love walking in nature, in the mountains, and notice how a process of thought, contemplation and creation sets in every time." She finds rambling through the countryside around Passau – her current adopted home – deeply inspiring. The urbanite who hails from Chile's capital city Santiago also enjoys the small town’s peace and quiet.

The right research priorities

A scholarship from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for young researchers has given her an opportunity to spend some time at the University of Passau. "I met Professor Susanne Hartwig in Chile through Patricio Lizama, the dean of my faculty. My research priorities fit in very well with hers and so I chose Passau," says Pia Gutiérrez. "I feel great here and have the peace and quiet I need to devote myself to my projects."

Like Pia Gutiérrez, the young Spaniard Raquel Fernández Menéndez is currently employed at the chair of Professor Hartwig as well. She is a postdoc from the northern Spanish city of Oviedo with a doctorate in Spanish Literature and Gender Studies who also successfully applied for a Humboldt scholarship and moved from the Universidad de Alcalá (Madrid) to Passau at the beginning of March. One of her research priorities is "Ethics and Literature" with a focus on women writers whose careers began under the Franco regime. In Passau, she will essentially be exploring practices of interpretation from a gender-specific perspective. "My main focus will be on the representation of the woman author in contemporary Spanish culture," she explains.

I feel great here and have the peace and quiet I need to devote myself to my projects.

Dr Pia Gutiérrez, University of Passau

She is amazed by the great research opportunities in Passau and fascinated by the city's proximity to the country's border and the various influencing factors that go with it. "It gives the place a certain autonomy," she believes. Her stay in Passau will end after this semester. Once back in Spain, she will seek a permanent position at one of the universities in her country. "That's why the Foundation's network is very important for me," she says. Someday she would like to give German scholarship recipients the possibility to research together with her in Spain.

Portrait von Prof. Dr. Susanne Hartwig, Inhaberin des Lehrstuhls für Romanische Literaturen und Kulturen, auf einem der Flure innerhalb der Universität Passau.

Professor Susanne Hartwig

researches images and concepts of disability in literature, theater, and film

How do fictional and documentary texts influence our images and concepts of disability?

How do fictional and documentary texts influence our images and concepts of disability?

Professor Susanne Hartwig has held the Chair of Romance Literatures and Cultures at the University of Passau since 2006. She studied classical philology and romance studies at the University of Münster. Today, she heads the DFG project "Narration, expectation, experience. Disability in contemporary European theater and film". Hartwig also acts as a scout for the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation in the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme (2020-2023). In 2010, she was included in the database academia.net – The Portal to Excellent Women Academics. Since 2014, she has been a member of the academic advisory board of the Specialised Information Service for Romance Studies.

A focus on promoting talents

Chairholder Professor Susanne Hartwig is active in the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation herself, that is in the Henriette Herz Scouting Programme. This programme offers researchers who already supervise a research unit at a university or at a non-university research institution in Germany a chance to internationalise and strategically grow their teams by inviting outstanding researchers from abroad.

"The Henriette Herz Scouting Programme allows us to bring outstanding researchers to Passau on a research scholarship using a fast-track procedure. I have been focusing on "images of disability" and "ethics and literature" in my research for many years, so this programme gave me an opportunity to add international members to the research units," explains Hartwig. "During recruitment, I was able to deepen cooperation and bring in another fellow using the standard procedure."

New perspectives thanks to international guests

Pia Gutiérrez and Raquel Fernández Menéndez are only two of the six young academics who research, have researched or will research at the Chair of Romance Literatures and Cultures after receiving a Humboldt fellowship and thanks to Susanne Hartwig's commitment. In spring 2024, an Argentinian will be joining the team and bring new perspectives and ideas.

I will keep looking out for talents so that I, and the researchers at my Chair, have the best possible conditions needed to facilitate international networking and broaden our research horizon.

Prof. Dr. Susanne Hartwig, Universität Passau

"We have tried out different collaboration formats with the international team. Apart from the customary symposia, workshops and research colloquia, we have been holding lunchtime meetings and, more recently, "lunch colloquia". We discuss various content aspects of the research and consider questions regarding research organisation in the different countries and ethical issues that research faces in the 21st century," says Hartwig. This semester, for instance, Pia Gutiérrez and colleagues from the chair will be organising a conference with guests from her home university in Chile. Hartwig goes on to explain that this type of networking has great value for her research priorities: "I will keep looking out for talents so that I, and the researchers at my Chair, have the best possible conditions needed to facilitate international networking and broaden our research horizon."

Weitere Beiträge

Dr Gianluca Grimalda, who became known as the researcher who refuses to fly, continues his studies on social cohesion and climate change as a PICAIS-fellow at the University of Passau.

Stepan Gagin und Prof. Dr. Hermann de Meer im Gespräch.

The EU Horizon project RENergetic is researching how renewable energy hubs can optimise energy self-sufficiency. As part of the project, a team from the University of Passau is developing smart solutions integrating IT and legal perspectives.

Teilnehmer*innen des deutsch-ukrainischen Symposiums für Cybersicherheit.

Researchers and experts from various fields came together to discuss digital security challenges and solutions at a German-Ukrainian roundtable symposium held in Passau to mark International Computer Security Day.

Symbolbild: Kinderschuhe in der Unikinderkrippe "Krabbelstube Krümelkiste".

A study conducted by economists from the Universities of Passau and Potsdam has revealed that, while public childcare allows mothers to return to work soon after childbirth, a quick return is no ticket to career advancement.

Prof. Dr. Marc Van de Velde und Prof. Dr. Hans-Werner Eroms vor der Bibliothek im Nikolakloster.

Forty years after joining the University of Passau as the university's first research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Stiftung, Marc Van de Velde returns to visit the city where he has friends to this day.

A native of Berlin, Dr Manuela Fritz came to Passau to study Southeast Asia: She has now been awarded the Kulturpreis Bayern for her doctoral thesis about the effects of climate change on chronic illnesses.

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