Press releases

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May 29 2019

Ceremonial presentation of the „Cambridge Habermas Lexicon“ at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften

Cambridge University Press publishes lexicon on Jürgen Habermas

FRANKFURT. A great honour for Jürgen Habermas: in the year of his 90th birthday, Cambridge University Press has published an extensive lexicon about the philosopher and sociologist who was a professor at the Institute for Philosophy at Goethe University until 1994. The international team of authors includes academics from Goethe University. The two editors Amy Allen and Eduardo Mendieta personally presented the compendium to Jürgen Habermas on Monday May 27 at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften in Bad Homburg. 

In more than 200 entries, Habermas' basic concepts, categories and topics are explained and their intellectual and academic context detailed. The palette of more than 120 concepts extends from “aesthetics" to “world disclosure"; the list of important Habermas-related thinkers begins with Theodor W. Adorno and ends with Iris Marion Young. The Frankfurt philosophers Axel Honneth and Reiner Forst are discussed in the chapter “Names Associated". The work is characterised by a system of references between individual entries and literature for further reading on each topic. In addition, it contains an overview of Jürgen Habermas' academic career, a list of his works, and an extensive bibliography. The publishers hope that the lexicon will serve as a source of reference for academics, students and other readers interested in Habermas' work and its reception in the 20th and 21st century. 

Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, professor for philosophy at Goethe University, and director of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften emphasized that the “Cambridge Habermas Lexicon" demonstrates Habermas' towering importance. “Yes, I would even go so far as to state that Jürgen Habermas is the worldwide most important philosopher of all philosophers living today. And we can be proud and grateful that he is a member of the Institute for Philosophy at Goethe University and a frequent guest at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften, as well as at the Frankfurt Excellence Cluster 'The Formation of Normative Orders'. We have all learned immensely from him to this day." 

Lutz-Bachmann also announced that a new book by Habermas is expected to be published this year: “In the fall of this year, at the age of almost 90, this great philosopher and important intellectual stimulator will be submitting his 1,700-page late work in two volumes, “Diskurs über Glauben und Wissen" (Discourse on Faith and Knowledge) to Suhrkamp. We had the privilege of discussing preliminary passages from this work in a small work group two years ago during a workshop over several days at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften. This work lets us see his intellectual brilliance once more from a totally new perspective." 

Amy Allen, Eduardo Mendieta (eds.): The Cambridge Habermas Lexicon. Cambridge University Press 2019 

Further Information: Beate Sutterlüty, Fellow Programme and Scientific Communication, Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften Bad Homburg. Phone: +49 6172-13977-15; ;


May 29 2019

Researchers at Goethe University launch a website on the status of women working in economic research institutions in Europe

Leaky pipeline: women subject to disadvantages in career development

FRANKFURT. A website presenting the results from a web-based tracking tool about the proportion of women working in economic research institutions in European countries was launched on Tuesday, May 28. The new website provides extensive and reliable data, without which the status of women in economics would be impossible to assess. Using a web-scraping algorithm, data is collected from the public websites of all research institutions in Europe, with particular focus on Europe's 300 most highly ranked economics research institutions. 

The website is the result of years of work. It began with an idea from the Women in Economics Committee of the European Economic Association (EEA), whose objectives include collecting data on the status of women in economics professions in Europe. WinE Committee member Guido Friebel, and Sascha Wilhelm, both at Goethe University Frankfurt, expanded the data collection efforts with financial support from EEA. Friebel is also a fellow at CEPR in London and IZA in Bonn. 

The website presents information about the proportion of women in different positions in universities, business schools, and other institutions. It paints a similar picture for Europe as in the USA, but there are substantial differences between the countries and regions of Europe. Institutions that rank higher in terms of their research output tend to have less women in senior positions. The finding supports the "leaky pipeline" hypothesis, according to which women are subject to a double burden, resulting in disadvantages in their career development. Surprisingly, higher ranking institutions also employ few women at the junior level as well. The website is meant to help promote the debate about women's representation in society, and to develop avenues for further data collection and research. 


Further information: Professor Guido Friebel, Faculty of Economics and Business Administration, Goethe University Frankfurt. Phone: +49 69 798-34823; Sascha Wilhelm,


May 29 2019

International symposium at Goethe-University analyses contemporary literature and how it diagnoses the times

Japan between 1989 and 2019

FRANKFURT. A symposium entitled “Texts of the Heisei Era – Readings of Contemporary Japanese Literature" organised by Japanese Studies at Goethe University will take place on 6 and 7 June 2019. Academics from Japan, the USA, Great Britain, France, Switzerland, Austria and Germany will speak at the event, including Victoria Young from the University of Cambridge, Yoshio Hitomi from the School of Culture, Media and Society, Waseda University Tôkyô, American lyrics researcher Jeffrey Angles and renowned Japan expert Michiko Mae from Düsseldorf. A younger generation of researchers whose focus is on literature will also take part. 

The turn of eras in Japan gave rise to the conference. Contemporary Japanese literature, the “Literature of the Heisei Era" (Heisei bungaku), beginning in 1989 with the death of Emperor Hirohito (1901-1989) and the end of the Shôwa era, developed over three decades until the abdication of the Heisei-Emperor Akihito on 30 April 2019, when it entered the realm of historicity. The current governmental maxim under Emperor Naruhito is “Reiwa". The time is therefore opportune to consider the authors, texts and trends of the past era and formulate initial insights and hypotheses. 

Building on research already carried out at Goethe University, central issues will be discussed in dialogue with different scientific traditions, beginning with the question of what is understood by “literature" during the years between 1989 and 2019, in which a transition of the national literature “system" (kokubungaku) took place on various levels. Together, the question of determining a canon for Heisei literature can be discussed, along with which literary issues should be taken up by Japanese studies experts, and which writers are likely to shape the literary future in the Reiwa era. 

Symposium “Texts of the Heisei Era – Readings of Contemporary Japanese Literature“
6 Juni 2019, 15:30 Uhr: Westend Campus, Eisenhower Room
7 Juni 2019, 9:30-20:00 Uhr: Bockenheim Campus, Room Jur 717

Organisation: Prof. Dr. Lisette Gebhardt/Christian Chappelow M.A./ Damian David Jungmann (Japan Studies, Goethe-Universität) 

The event is open to the public; registration at would be appreciated


May 27 2019

New Collaborative Research Centre analyses diverse role of RNA molecules / Another RNA Collaborative Research Centre extended

Investigating molecular regulation of the cardiovascular system 

FRANKFURT. Goethe University and TU Munich have jointly obtained a new Collaborative Research Centre (Sonderforschungsbereich – SFB), which will receive approximately € 11 million in funding from the German Research Foundation over the next four years. An additional SFB on RNA research has been extended for the second time. The funding of two powerful research collaborations underlines the excellent work being done in the field of RNA research at Goethe University. 

The new SFB comprising a consortium of 30 renowned researchers will investigate the influence non-coded RNAs have on the development, regulation and cellular processes of the cardiovascular system. The extended SFB deals with the structure and function of different RNA variants in biology and chemistry.

Ribonucleic acids, or RNAs, were long considered merely messenger molecules that coded genetic information for the creation of proteins. Meanwhile, it is known that over 90 percent of the RNA molecules carry out an astonishing variety of other tasks. Many of them regulate processes within the cell (siRNA, miRNA and sRNA) and others create fascinating three-dimensional structures and serve as enzymes of switches for cellular processes. Non-coded RNAs also play a significant role in cardiovascular diseases. 

The new trans-regional SFB “Non-coding RNA in the cardiovascular system," coordinated by Professor Stefanie Dimmeler from the Institute for Cardiovascular Regeneration at Goethe University Frankfurt and Professor Stefan Engelhardt from the Institute for Pharmacology and Toxicology at TUM will research how non-coded RNA is created and transported in the cardiovascular system. It will furthermore look into how it influences cellular processes and which role it plays in the occurrence and cure of cardiovascular diseases. Over the long term, the collaborative also hopes to find new therapeutic target molecules. 

Additional partners are the Ludwig-Maximilian's-Universität (LMU), the Max Planck Institute for Heart and Lung Research in Bad Nauheim, and the Hannover Medical School. 

SFB begins third funding period 

The focus of the extended SFB “Molecular Principles of RNA-based regulation", headed by Professor Harald Schwalbe, Institute for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, is the function of RNA in chemistry and biology. The researchers from Goethe University and TU Darmstadt are particularly interested in how RNAs regulate gene expression. During the first two funding periods (eight years in total), the researchers established diverse spectroscopic methods to decode the structure of the complex macromolecules. These methods are now to be transferred from in vitro systems (prepared molecules in test tubes) to living systems (in vivo). The researchers expect new insights into the function of different RNA variants in living cells.

  Stefanie Dimmeler and Harald Schwalbe agree: “The continuing funding of RNA research in Frankfurt will help Goethe University bolster its status as pioneer in this field." 

Further Information: Prof Stefanie Dimmeler, Institute of Cardiovascular Regeneration, Faculty of Medicine, Niederrad Campus, phone: +49 69 6301- 6667,
Prof Harald Schwalbe, Institute for Organic Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Faculty of Biochemistry, Chemistry and Pharmacy, Riedberg Campus, phone: +49 69 798-29737,


May 23 2019

Goethe University researchers create postgraduate academy in Bamako (Mali) – almost € 1 million in funding from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung

Strengthening fundamental research in Africa 

FRANKFURT. Researchers from Goethe University and the University of Basel are creating a postgraduate academy in Bamako (Mali). The project, entitled “Pilot Africa Postgraduate Academy" (PAPA), has received € 973,000 from the Gerda Henkel Stiftung. The aim is to strengthen fundamental research in the humanities and social sciences in Africa. 

The sponsored project “Pilot African Postgraduate Academy" (PAPA) is aimed at early career researchers who have recently completed their doctoral degree in the area of humanities or social sciences and who work at universities in Africa. The goal is to deepen their understanding of the value of science for its own sake and foster their interest in conceptual fundamental research. “Africa is not only in need of applied research based on the needs of the development industry, but of excellent research that makes a contribution to the further development of global knowledge production as well, both in substance and in method," says Professor Diawara from the Institute for Ethnology at Goethe University, who conceived the Academy together with Professor Elisio Macamo from the University of Basel. 

“This project is unique in that the Henkel Stiftung is deliberately promoting the quality of fundamental research in Africa – not career paths or applied research," says Project Coordinator Dr Stefan Schmid from the Centre for Interdisciplinary Africa Research (ZIAF) at Goethe University. In 2018, Professor Diawara and Professor Macamo approached the Gerda Henkel Stiftung with the idea of developing a project for early career African researchers that was fundamentally different from the usual programmes. Together they will receive € 973,000 in funding from the foundation. The academy will be attached to the independent research centre “Point Sud" in Bamako, Mali, founded by Prof. Mamadou Diawara in 1997. 

An educational programme will be set up at the new academy which will encourage the scholars to engage in critical dialogue with their disciplines, the area studies and their identity as scientists with fundamental epistemological questions. The intensive education and supervision of these carefully selected young scientists will enable them to teach and publish at a new level after completing the three-year PAPA cycle.

Twice a year, there will be two-week workshops for 15 selected early career researchers and up to four established academics in Bamako. A mentoring programme will connect high-ranking researchers and award-winners with their homeland institutions. In addition, a strong network will be made available to scientists and academics from francophone African countries living both within and outside of Africa for exchange and common projects. 

The project is focused on early career researchers from seven francophone African countries that despite notable progress continue to play only a minor role in global knowledge production. The independent and established researching institution in Mali, Point Sud, constitutes the centre of this project due to its longstanding expertise and far-reaching network with partners throughout Africa. The Centre has been financed by Goethe University since 2003. The PAPA programme will be supported by selected mentors from Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gabon, Mali, Niger and Senegal, who will supervise the scholarship winners and implement the idea of the academy in their scientific environment. Together with the project “The bureaucratization of African Society" in Dakar, the newly founded Institute for Advanced Studies (IAS) in Accra, MIASA, the IAS in Stellenbosch and Nantes, and the new Africa Excellence Cluster at the University of Beyreuth, an entire network exists with an express interest in taking the Fellows' career development to a new level at the end of the project cycle. 

The project will be set up at Goethe University and coordinated jointly by Dr Stefan Schmid from Goethe University's Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies (ZIAF) and a new project coordinator at Pont Sud in Bamako. It is scheduled to start in July 2019 and will initially run until July 2022. 

Further information: Dr Stefan Schmid, General Manager of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Africa Research (ZIAF), Westend Campus, Phone: +49 69 798-32097, E-Mail