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New Humboldt Fellows at LMU

Munich, 10/27/2011

Five new Humboldt Fellows have recently arrived at LMU Munich to carry out research projects in their special fields. One of them, Professor Dennis Danielson (University of British Columbia, Canada) has received the Konrad Adenauer Research Award. Danielson’s host is Professor Andreas Kühne of the Institute for the History of Science. Three new Humboldt Fellows are based in the Faculty of Law at LMU: Dr. Gabriel Perez-Barbera (Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Argentina) is working with Professor Helmut Satzger, Dr. John Wei (Grinnell College, USA) with Professor Susanne Lepsius, and Dr. Eric Knibbs (University of Pennsylvania, USA) with Professor Peter Landau. Finally, Humboldt Fellow Susanne Reichlin will work as a guest of Professor Beate Kellner at the Institute of Germanic Medieval Studies at LMU.

The Fellowship Program sponsored by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation enables highly qualified postdoctoral scholars and scientists from abroad to carry out research projects in Germany. Successful applicants work together with an established investigator of their own choice. Thus the number of Humboldt-sponsored scholars hosted by a university is a useful indicator of its international reputation and the size of its network of contacts.

Dennis Danielson
Dennis Danielson is a well-known science historían and literary scholar, who is an acknowledged expert on the English poet, theologian and political thinker John Milton. His other major research interest concerns the history of the so-called Copernican Revolution, which followed on the paradigm-changing proposal made by Nicholas Copernicus postulating that the Earth is not at the center of the cosmos but orbits the Sun together with the other planets. Danielson is interested in both the scientific and the wider cultural aspects of this intellectual upheaval, and focuses on both its historical and cosmological significance. During his stay at LMU Danielson plans to continue his interdisciplinary studies on the literary, cultural and scientific reception of Copernicus’ heliocentric model of the cosmos.

Dennis Danielson studied English literature at the University of Victoria (Canada) and Intellectual History at the University of Sussex (UK), before going to Oxford University, where he studied English and Philosophy. He subsequently obtained a PhD in English at Stanford University in California in 1979. On his return to Canada that same year, he took up a position at the University of Ottawa, where he remained until 1986. Danielson then joined the University of British Columbia (Canada), where he is now a professor of English.

Eric Knibbs
Eric Knibbs is a historian who specializes in the medieval period. His doctoral thesis deals with the early history of the Archdiocese of Hamburg/Bremen in the 9th century and will be published later this year, he studied the role of documents forged during the Carolingian era. His research at LMU will be devoted to the largest and most influential collection of fabricated documents in the history of medieval Canon Law -- the so-called Pseudo-Isidorean Decretals, a series of false papal decrees put together in the 9th century. Knibbs hopes to throw new light on the origins, content and propagation of this set of forgeries. His aim is to produce a comprehensive treatise on Pseudo-Isidore.

Eric Knibbs studied History at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) and at Yale University (USA), where he obtained his doctorate in Medieval Studies in 2009. Since then Knibbs has held the post of a Teaching Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania.

Gabriel Perez-Barbera
Concealed cameras and microphones can help law enforcement agencies to obtain crucial evidence in criminal investigations, but their use may also infringe the constitutional rights of individuals. Evidence obtained by such means is often introduced into Argentinian courts by public prosecutors, although its admissibility is not formally regulated by the country’s criminal code. In his research project, Gabriel Perez-Barbera will attempt to clarify whether the use of evidence  obtained by methods that are not explicitly regulated by law actually conforms to the tenets of the Argentinian Constitution. With respect to this issue, the provisions of the Argentinian Constitution are essentially the same as those in the German Basic Law. However, in contrast to the situation in Argentina, it is generally accepted in Germany that every State intervention – including steps taken for the purpose of collecting evidence – that could involve an infringement of the rights of the accused must be explicitly authorized by a formal legal directive.

In 2004 Gabriel Perez-Barbera was appointed Professor of Criminal Law at the University of Córdoba (Argentina), where he had completed his legal studies in 1991. From 1991 to 2003 Perez Barbera practiced as a lawyer, before taking up the post of an Advisor to the Ministry of Internal Security in the Province of Córdoba. From 2004 to 2006 he served as Director of the Judicial Police in the Province of Córdoba. Since 2006 Perez-Barbera has been a judge in the Court of Criminal Appeals in Córdoba (Argentina). In 2007 he obtained a doctorate in Criminal Law from Córdoba University.

John Wei
John Wei is a legal historian whose current research project focuses on the increasing attention paid to the theology of repentance by scholars and practitioners of canon law in the years from 1140 to 1217, as well as its significance for the development of “learned law” in general during this period. The scholarly study of Canon Law began in 1140 with Gratian. Canon Law then became an integral component of the so-called learned Common Law (ius commune) during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period, but Gratian and his successors also devoted themselves to strictly theological problems, in particular the theology of repentance. This singular conjunction of interests forms the background for Dr. Wei’s research project.

John Wei has been fascinated by various aspects of the early development of Canon Law since his undergraduate studies at Princeton University (USA). In 2008 he obtained his PhD at Yale University, and his doctoral thesis was devoted to the investigation of a medieval treatise on repentance. In 2008 Wei was appointed an Assistant Professor at Grinnell College in Iowa (USA).

Susanne Reichlin
Susanne Reichlin is a specialist in German Studies with a focus on the medieval period. Her research interests lie in the lyric poetry and shorter epics of the High and the Late Middle Ages, in cultural theories of gift-giving and exchange, and in the historical development of theories of communications media. At LMU she will work on a research project entitled “The Aesthetics of Inclusion: Discursive and Textual Strategies in Middle High German Crusader Poetry”. Her intention is to study how various types of discourse are employed and combined in Middle High German lyric poetry dealing with themes associated with the Crusades. In this context, political propaganda and aesthetic concerns should not be regarded as polar opposites. Instead, they must be seen in terms of their interaction and located in a wider historical context.

Susanne Reichlin studied German, Philosophy and Economics at the University of Zurich (Switzerland) and at the Humboldt University in Berlin. Following a stint as a Research Fellow in Paris, she obtained a doctorate at the University of Zurich in 2007. Since then Reichlin has been a member of the academic staff at the University of Zürich, and was named Coordinator of the doctoral program in "Medium and Context in Premodern Times".

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