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Goethe University PR & Communication Department 

Theodor-W.-Adorno Platz 1
60323 Frankfurt


Nov 8 2022

Forum deepens the transatlantic conversation in times of threats to democratic governance and lifestyles

Formal inauguration of the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften

BAD HOMBURG/FRANKFURT. On Friday, November 4, 2022, the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum was officially inaugurated before a full auditorium in the lecture hall of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. The forum is named after John J. McCloy, who served as U.S. High Commissioner in Frankfurt from 1949 to 1952.

Present at the ceremony were Goethe University President Professor Enrico Schleiff, the Mayor of Bad Homburg Alexander W. Hetjes, and the forum's initiators: Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Director Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, the spokespersons of the "Democratic Vistas" research area Professor Gunther Hellmann and Professor Johannes Völz, as well as the Bad Homburg-based forum sponsors Bernd von Maltzan and Felix Hufeld. Guest of honor was John J. McCloy II, son of U.S. High Commissioner John J. McCloy. The keynote was given by Professor Charles A. Kupchan of Georgetown University, an expert on U.S.-European relations, who served as special advisor to President Barack Obama and as a member of the U.S. Security Council. In his introductory remarks, Kupchan spoke about the West's enduring strengths as well as its vulnerability in the world of tomorrow.

The forum's goals

The new forum at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften brings together personalities from academia, politics, culture and business to discuss the significance of transatlantic relations in the crisis-ridden present. In fostering this dialog, it aims to help strengthen the form of democracy that has emerged in the transatlantic setting and develop it further in the context of a changing world order.

The forum's name commemorates the Americans' commitment to the development of German democracy in the postwar period. However, Johannes Völz, co-spokesman of the related research focus "Democratic Vistas," emphasized that "our aim is not to unreflectively revive the old transatlantic community of values."  That, Völz said, would be too short-sighted. While the Forum remains committed to the transatlantic idea, he said that nowadays it is important to examine Western democracies in their interconnectedness with a North-South and an East-West axis.

Civic commitment

The new forum was initiated by Forschungskolleg director Matthias Lutz-Bachmann and the two research project spokespersons. Bernd von Maltzan accompanied and promoted the forum from the very beginning. In his words: "As [German] Foreign Minister Baerbock recently put it, it is extremely important now to use the 'transatlantic moment' to counter the current challenges threatening democracy. As someone who grew up in the postwar era and is deeply grateful to the Americans for their contribution to building German civil society, I would like to contribute to that cause by supporting the exchange of ideas among scholars and policymakers at the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum."

Future forum and research focus activities have already received commitments for funding, meaning democracy researchers will be able to come to the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften for guest visits as early as fall 2023 to contribute to the forum and its research focus.

Forum namesake John J. McCloy lived in Bad Homburg.

John J. McCloy served as American High Commissioner in Frankfurt from 1949 to 1952 and lived with his family in "Haus Hohenbuchen" on the edge of Bad Homburg's “Kurpark", the spa gardens. His son, John J. McCloy II, now almost 85 years old, has vivid and fond memories of the years he spent there as a youth. In his speech at the forum's opening, he emphasized that naming it after his father was a great honor and privilege for him. After all, he added, the forum builds on his parents' firm conviction that culture, science, education and social commitment are crucial building blocks for the development of democratic societies. His mother, for example, was known throughout Bad Homburg and beyond for her social commitment as well as for the events she organized. Bad Homburg Mayor Alexander Hetjes presented the guest of honor with a large volume of photographs on the history of Bad Homburg, saying, "The name of John J. McCloy and his wife Ellen enjoys a very good reputation in Bad Homburg to this day."

Images for download:


1.       Inauguration of the John McCloy Transatlantic Forum: Rush McCloy, Alexander Hetjes, Laura McCloy, Enrico Schleiff, John McCloy III, Bernd von Maltzan, John McCloy II, Gunther Hellmann, Charles Kupchan, Johannes Völz, Felix Hufeld, Iris Koban, Matthias Lutz-Bachmann.

2.   First John McCloy Transatlantic Forum: Professor Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Professor Johannes Völz, Professor Charles Kupchan, Professor Gunther Hellmann

Photos: Stefanie Wetzel

Further information
Website of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften:

Event recording: The event, including the speech given by Charles Kupchan, was recorded, and the video will be made available on the Forschungskolleg's YouTube channel in the coming days.

Contact: Iris Helene Koban

Managing Director Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften; Tel.: +49 (0)6172 13977-10

Beate Sutterlüty

Science Communication; Tel.: +49 (0)6172 13977-15

Editor: Dr. Dirk Frank, deputy head of PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13753,


Nov 4 2022

Frobenius Research Promotion Prize goes to Dr. des Valerie Nur

Mobile Tuareg artisans in Niger

The Frobenius Research Promotion Prize goes to Bayreuth this year: Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University honors Valerie Nur for her outstanding dissertation on Tuareg artisans in Niger.

FRANKFURT. Each year, the Frobenius Institute honors excellent ethnological dissertations in German-speaking countries with the Frobenius Research Promotion Prize, endowed with 3000 euros. This year the prize went to Valerie Nur for her doctoral thesis "Handwerkliche Arbeit als soziale Praxis. Eine ethnologische Studie über die handwerklichen Praktiken der endogamen Handwerkergruppe der inadan Tuareg des Aïr in Niger" (Craft as social practice. An anthropological study of the craft practices of the endogamous artisan group of the inadan Tuareg of the Aïr in Niger). The thesis was supervised by Professor Gerd Spittler and submitted to the Bayreuth International Graduate School of African Studies in Cultural Anthropology. It is based on a field study in the course of which Valerie Nur spent a total of twenty months with the Inadan (Tuareg), who have received little attention in research to date, at various locations in the Aïr mountains as well as in the capital Niamey (Niger). 

Together with the Inadan, Valerie Nur reflected on craft work and was able to gain intensive experience with craft practice during her field study. In her work, she describes the everyday handicrafts of the men and women, such as leather work, the procurement process itself, the making and reshaping of tools, and the recurring changes that occur in craft practice. Moreover, Valerie Nur explains how intricately this work is integrated into the daily family life of the mobile Inadan, who grow up with the craft and are connected by kinship over hundreds of kilometers. Since the finished products have a spiritual value beyond their market value, the craft is of special importance for the social relations of the Inadan beyond these family ties. 

Valeria Nur's study also contributes to migration research; after all, mobile craftsmen are also migrant workers, capable of working anywhere and of expanding their skills. Valerie Nur's dissertation convinced the committee with its underlying intensive and self-reflective ethnographic research as well as with the excellent linguistic presentation of the results.

Images for download: 


Image 1: A blacksmith in his workshop in Timia surrounded by neighbors and children. (Timia, 2013) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Image 2: A craftsman soaks wood for a camel saddle. (Niamey, 2014) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Image 3: Two craftsmen with shouldered axes on their way to a customer. (Mont Bagzan 2015) (Photo: Valerie Nur)

Further information 

Frobenius Institute for Research in Cultural Anthropology at Goethe University
Dr. Katja Geisenhainer
Tel: +49 (0)69 798-33058;

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531, 


Nov 3 2022

International conference at Goethe University looks at the history of the Jewish Frankfurt during the Nazi era and after 1945

Destruction and New Beginnings 

FRANKFURT. An international conference organized by Goethe University's Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History of Modernity and the Present as well as several partners, will take place from

Sunday, November 6, through Tuesday, November 8, 2022
in the Casino Building on Goethe University's Westend Campus

The topic of discussion will be “Jewish Frankfurt. Destruction and Fragile New Beginnings, 1933 to 1990".

Frankfurt am Main was one of the most important centers of Jewish life and culture in Europe up until 1933. During the National Socialist regime, Frankfurt's Jews were also systematically disenfranchised, persecuted and murdered, and the city's Jewish communities dissolved. The conference is dedicated to the history of the Jewish Frankfurt in the Nazi state and traces both the threats to it as well as its destruction. Under the protection of the U.S. military administration, a new Jewish community was established in the postwar period, several Jewish organizations settled in the city, and Jewish life developed anew. The conference will also shed light on this history until the 1980s, when it was precisely from Frankfurt that impulses emanated for a new visibility of the Jewish community in the Federal Republic.

The conference focuses on different facets of these two highly different, yet closely linked phases of Frankfurt's Jewish history. How did Frankfurt's Jews experience the exclusion from the city's society and their persecution, what was irretrievably lost in the process, and how was the intellectual and cultural legacy of the Jewish Frankfurt able to continue thriving in exile? Under what conditions did the Jewish community reestablish itself, and by what means did Jews return to the center of Frankfurt's urban society in the postwar decades?

The conference will bring together internationally renowned scholars and present the latest findings on Frankfurt's Jewish history during the Nazi era and after World War II. The event will kick off on Sunday, November 6, at 19:00 with a keynote lecture by Steven E. Aschheim, professor emeritus at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, on the topic "Before the Catastrophe: Frankfurt's Diverse Jewish Intellectuals and the Entangled Vortex of Change." On Monday, November 7, at 19:00, Professor Michael Brenner of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich will give a second keynote lecture on "Jewish Postwar Geography: Frankfurt between Föhrenwald, Düsseldorf and Berlin."

The conference is part of the project "Synagogue Memorial Book of Hesse", organized by the Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion at Goethe University Frankfurt, the Education Department of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, and the Institute for Christian-Jewish Studies at the Augustana University Neuendettelsau. The project's aim is to comprehensively research and document the history of the Hessian Jewish communities and their synagogues. The “Synagogue Memorial Book of Hesse" is organized in cooperation with the Fritz Bauer Institute for the History and Impact of the Holocaust, the Jewish Community Frankfurt and the Jewish Museum Frankfurt.

The conference program is available here (in German):

Further information:
Dr. Stefan Vogt
Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion Faculty of Protestant Theology
Westend Campus Phone: +49 (0)179 5281106

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,


With the exception of black holes, neutron stars are the densest objects in our universe. As their name suggests, neutron stars are mainly made of neutrons. However, our knowledge about the matter produced during the collision of two neutron stars is still limited. Scientists from Goethe University Frankfurt and the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics in Pohang have now developed a new model that gives insights about matter under such extreme conditions.

FRANKFURT. After a massive star has burned its fuel and explodes as a supernova, an extremely compact object, called a neutron star, can be formed. Neutron stars are extraordinarily dense: To reach the density inside them, one would need to squeeze a massive body like our sun down to the size of a city like Frankfurt. In 2017, gravitational waves, the small ripples in spacetime that are produced during a collision of two neutron stars, could be directly measured here on earth for the first time. However, the composition of the resulting hot and dense merger product is not known precisely. It is still an open question, for instance, whether quarks, which are otherwise trapped in neutrons, can appear in free form after the collision. Dr. Christian Ecker from the Institute for Theoretical Physics of Goethe University Frankfurt, Germany, and Dr. Matti Järvinen and Dr. Tuna Demircik from the Asia Pacific Center for Theoretical Physics in Pohang, South Korea, have now developed a new model that allows them to get one step closer to answering this question. 

In their work, they extend models from nuclear physics, which are not applicable at high densities, with a method used in string theory to describe the transition to dense and hot quark matter. “Our method uses a mathematical relationship found in string theory, namely the correspondence between five-dimensional black holes and strongly interacting matter, to describe the phase transition between dense nuclear and quark matter", explain Dr. Demircik and Dr. Järvinen. "We have already used the new model in computer simulations to calculate the gravitational-wave signal from these collisions and show that both hot and cold quark matter can be produced", adds Dr. Ecker, who implemented these simulations in collaboration with Samuel Tootle and Konrad Topolski from the working group of Prof. Luciano Rezzolla at Goethe University in Frankfurt. Next, the researchers hope to be able to compare their simulations with future gravitational waves measured from space in order to gain further insights into quark matter in neutron star collisions.


Image for Download: 

Caption: Illustration of the new method: the researchers use five-dimensional black holes (right) to calculate the phase diagram of strongly coupled matter (middle), enabling simulations of neutron star mergers and the produced gravitational waves (left).

Further information
Dr. Christian Ecker
Institute for Theoretical Physics
Goethe University

Editor: Dr. Phyllis Mania, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0)69 798-13001, Fax 069 798-763-12531,


Oct 26 2022

Historian Steven E. Aschheim opens new Buber-Rosenzweig Lecture series at Goethe University 

What does Europe mean for Zionism? 

FRANKFURT. The latest lecture series introduced at Goethe University – the "Buber-Rosenzweig Lecture on Jewish Intellectual History and Philosophy" – focuses on topics related to Jewish thought in both the past and the present. Following the 2021 establishment of the Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History of Modernity and the Present, the lecture series will replace the "Martin Buber Lecture", which had addressed topics of Jewish thought, history and culture since 2010 and which brought numerous renowned researchers to Frankfurt.

The new lecture series will be kicked-off by Professor Steven E. Aschheim from Jerusalem. 

Thursday, November 3, 2022, at 18:15 
Lecture Hall 5 in the Lecture Hall Center
Westend Campus

Aschheim will be speaking about the topic “Zionism and Europe". 125 years after the First Zionist Congress, held in Basel in 1897, the renowned historian and emeritus professor of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem addresses the role Europe played in the history of the Zionist movement in the 20th century and continues to play in the state of Israel to this day. He addresses the tension that prevailed in Zionism's early days: although Theodor Herzl, author of the famous "The Jewish State" (1896), and other representatives of the Zionist movement fundamentally questioned whether Jewish life in Europe was possible in the face of rising anti-Semitism, Zionism was nevertheless deeply rooted in Europe – in ideological, cultural, social and political concepts. The many-voiced debates about nationalism, humanism, and cosmopolitanism that took place in Europe before World War I shaped the self-image of the various Zionist currents. Aschheim will also explore the question of how Europe was perceived after the founding of the state of Israel, and in the wake of the experiences of World War II and the genocide of European Jews. He will also discuss the significance of relations with Europe in current social, political and cultural debates in Israel.

The "Buber-Rosenzweig Lecture on Jewish Intellectual History and Philosophy" will in future be held annually. The series is organized by the Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion and the Buber-Rosenzweig Institute for Jewish Intellectual and Cultural History at the Faculty of Protestant Theology. The lectures are financed by the Martin Buber Professorship and the Faculty of Protestant Theology.

"We are very pleased to have Prof. Steven E. Aschheim, an important interpreter of German-Jewish and European-Jewish history in the 20th century, deliver the first lecture in our new series named after Martin Buber and Franz Rosenzweig, two important figures in Frankfurt's Jewish history," says Prof. Christian Wiese, director of the Buber-Rosenzweig Institute. The Jerusalem-based historian is the author of numerous influential books, including "The Nietzsche Legacy in Germany" (1992), "Culture and Catastrophe: German and Jewish Confrontations with National Socialism and Other Crises" (1996), "Beyond the Border: The German-Jewish Legacy Abroad" (2007), and "Fragile Spaces: Forays into Jewish Memory, European History and Complex Identities" (2018).
The lecture will be held in English. Registration (at is desired, but not mandatory for participation.

Further information:
Dr. Stefan Vogt
Martin Buber Professorship for Jewish Philosophy of Religion
Faculty of Protestant Theology 
Westend Campus
Phone: +49 (0)179 5281106

A portrait of Prof. Aschheim and the event poster are available for download at: 

Caption: Professor Steven E. Aschheim from Jerusalem will speak on "Zionism and Europe" at Goethe University. (Photo: private)

Editor: Dr. Anke Sauter, Science Editor, PR & Communication Office, Tel: +49 (0) 69 798-13066, Fax: +49 (0) 69 798-763 12531,