Research and Society

375th Anniversary of Utrecht University
Universiteit Utrecht 375 jaar, 2011

In 2011 Utrecht University celebrated its 375th anniversary with a wide range of festive events and activities. Among the events organised by the Faculty of Humanities were:

> international conference on Franz Liszt (Musicology)
> various events as part of the new literary festival City2cities
> symposium 'Our common future / the future of our commons' (Knowledge Centre Institutions of the Open Society)
> conference 'Sustaining Environments: Responses from the Humanities' (Centre for the Humanities and Harvard University, which also turned 375 this year)
> student film festival '5 Minutes of Fame' (Theatre Studies)
> lecture series as part of the Performance Studies international (PSi) conference 'Camillo 2.0: Technology, Memory, Experience' (Theatre Studies and Festival aan de Werf)
> conference on academic discipline formation (Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science)

Catalogus professorum: all Utrecht professors since 1636
Hooglerarenportretten in de Senaatzaal van het Academiegebouw, Universiteit Utrecht - foto UU/Ivar Pel

During the Dies Natalis on 25 March, Utrecht University’s 375th anniversary, the Catalogus Professorum Academiae Rheno-Traiectinae has been launched. This website provides an overview of all ca. 2600 professors that have worked at Utrecht University since its establishment in 1636. The digital Catalogus Professorum can be searched at various levels: faculty, individual professor, or discipline. The database has been composed by the university Historiography Committee lead by Prof. Leen Dorsman (professor of university history) and the University Library.
Read more: http://profs.library.uu.nl 

Theology archive transferred to the Utrecht Archives
Logo Het Utrechts Archief

Just as the university, Religious Studies & Theology celebrated its 375th anniversary this year - theology has been practiced in Utrecht since the university’s foundation in 1636. On 15 June the archive of the former Faculty of Theology has been transferred to the Utrecht Archives. The archive includes old letters, minutes, exam records, grant applications and annual accounts. The Theology archives transfer is the first in a series that will be executed in the coming years. A similarly sizeable transfer, comprising several parts of the university, has not taken place since 1954.

External advisory board: “Descartes Centre has the potential of becoming a leading institution worldwide”
Portrait of René Descartes (1596-1650) - painting by Frans Hals

Covering all areas of the sciences and the humanities both in research and education, Utrecht University’s Descartes Centre for the History and Philosophy of Science is unique on a national as well as an international level. This is stated by an external international advisory board in its evaluation report on the Descartes Centre. According to the board, the Centre has the potential of becoming a leading institution in the Netherlands and in the world.

Sybille Lammes receives ERC Starting Grant for research of digital maps

Dr Sybille Lammes (Media and Culture Studies) has been awarded an ERC Starting Grant by the European Research Council (ERC) for her project 'Charting the Digital'. With this prestigious grant of max. 2 million euros she will be conducting research in the next five years into the influence of digital, interactive maps on our spatial awareness.

Whether a navigation device that adjusts its route-display according to where the driver chooses to go, or a map in a computer-game that is partly created by players, maps have become more interactive. Instead of just reading maps, users have far more influence on how maps look. To what extent, and how, can digital maps be considered as new techno-cultural phenomena that have altered our way of being in and moving through our spatial environments?

Jan Luiten van Zanden receives KNAW ‘lifetime achievement award’
Jan Luiten van Zanden, foto UU/Ed van Rijswijk

Economic historian Prof. Jan Luiten van Zanden has been award the Prijs voor de Akademiehoogleraar by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). This prize, a sum of 1 million euros for academic work, is intended as a lifetime achievement award for researchers who have proven to be leaders in their field.

“Jan Luiten van Zanden has had an enormous impact on the development of his field, economic history. He was one of the founders of research with large historic datasets. As a pioneer and a source of inspiration he has given the field of economic history a solid basis”, according to the KNAW.

Rosi Braidotti appointed University Professor
Rosi Braidotti, foto Wieke Eefting

Prof. Rosi Braidotti has been appointed University Professor by the Utrecht University Executive Board in effect as of 1 March 2011. Braidotti is the Director of the Centre for the Humanities. She has an excellent international academic reputation and has written a great many books and articles, several of which have been translated into more than 20 languages. In her role as University Professor, she will emphasise the combination of academic excellence and social responsibility. trecht University now has a total of eight university professors, all were chosen for their international calibre, multidisciplinary vision and presence.

European programme ‘Rights to a Green Future’ establishes future research agenda
Green footprint

Prof. Marcus Düwell (Department of Philosophy/Ethics Institute/ Zeno Research Institute) is to chair a new European Networking Programme: ‘Rights to a Green Future’. This network, funded by the European Science Foundation (ESF), brings together leading experts from various disciplines and countries who work on climate change and other aspects of sustainability. Collaborative research is urgently needed in order to develop a research agenda for a future-centred ethics of the environment. How can we determine our responsibilities towards future generations, and what will the political consequences of carrying out these responsibilities be?

EUscreen launches new portal with European television heritage
Televisiegeschiedenis, foto euscreen.eu/VARA

EUscreen is a unique collection of television heritage, comprising the rich history of European television. The portal www.euscreen.eu was officially launched on 27 October, on the occasion of the UNESCO World Day for Audiovisual Heritage. The European project EUscreen is coordinated by Prof. Sonja de Leeuw, Professor of Dutch television culture in an international context at Utrecht University.


Religious Studies professor Birgit Meyer receives Anneliese Maier-Forschungspreis
Birgit Meyer

Birgit Meyer, Professor of Religious Studies, is one of the seven winners of the Anneliese Maier-Forschungspreis, awarded by the prestigious Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung. She receives 250,000 Euros for collaboration between the Utrecht department of Religious Studies and Theology and the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin in the next five years.

New project to improve primary school pupils’ writing skills
Schoolkind schrijft © iStockphoto.com/akajeff

Prof. Huub van den Bergh (Utrecht Institute of Linguistics OTS) has been awarded a grant of 700,000 Euros by the Netherlands Organisation of Scientific Research (NWO) for a research programme intended to improve the writing skills of pupils in the last years of primary school. In the project a series of lessons will be developed, as well as instruments for teachers to assess texts in a more reliable and objective manner.


25th Anniversary of Taal- en cultuurstudies

Besides the university, the bachelor programme Taal- en cultuurstudies [Language and Culture Studies] had an anniversary to celebrate as well: its 25th birthday. Central theme of the anniversary party on 24 March was Labour Market Orientation. The audience of alumni, students and staff members enjoyed a varied programme with speakers, poetry and music. Guests of honour were Thijs Pollmann (founder and first Education Coordinator of the programme) and Berteke Waaldijk (Education Coordinator 2005-2010, currently Vice-Dean Education).

Saskia van Winkel wins Volkskrant/Duitsland Instituut thesis award
Saskia van Winkel wint scriptieprijs Volkskrant/Duitsland Instituut

Saskia van Winkel has won the biennial Master thesis award of the Volkskrant newspaper and the Duitsland Instituut Amsterdam. Van Winkel, who is a Master student of German language and culture, wrote her Intercultural Communication thesis about the differences between German and Dutch corporate websites.

Her thesis, titled Interkulturelles Webdesign - Deutschland und die Niederlande, was supervised by Emeritus Prof. Wolfgang Herrlitz. The thesis award jury thought Van Winkel’s thesis very convincing: “Van Winkel clearly demonstrates that even a universal medium such as the internet is highly influenced by cultural sensitivity. (...) Her research is thorough and comprehensive.”

Humanities College students present magazine Humanities Connected
Tijdschrift Humanities Connected

The first class of students of the Humanities College has presented their magazine Humanities Connected. The publication marks the end of the two-year honours programme for students of the Faculty of Humanities. The students have dedicated ‘their’ issue to the theme ‘Dutch identity and the Humanities’. As the magazine’s name suggests, the contributions connect social issues with knowledge from the Humanities. The volume includes contributions on the national historical canon, multicultural society, and heritage institutions such as Rembrandthuis and Rijksmuseum. On 26 May the first class of Humanities College students received their certificate.

Annemart Pilon, Anne Roetman and Lisa Thunnissen winners of Talent Scholarships Literary Translation

The Utrecht Master students Annemart Pilon (Italian), Anne Roetman (English) and Lisa Thunnissen (Spanish) are the winners of the Talentbeurzen Literair Vertalen 2011 [Talent Scholarships Literary Translation]. The scholarships are an initiative of the Dutch Foundation for Literature (Nederlands Letterenfonds) and the Master programme in formation Literair vertalen [Literary Translation]. All three winners graduated from the Vertalen [Translation] Master programme and took the extra courses on literary translation made possible by the Nederlandse Taalunie. The Talent Scholarship consists of a sum of € 3.200, earmarked for 80 hours of supervision by an experienced professional translator. With his or her coaching, the winning student will write a substantional translation.

New Erasmus Mundus grant for Women's & Gender Studies programme

This summer the European Commission announced that the Erasmus Mundus Master’s programme GEMMA, coordinated by Utrecht University, has again been awarded a grant for 5 years. GEMMA is a joint interdisciplinary Master's programme in Women's and Gender Studies. This grant will enable the GEMMA consortium to select around 35 excellent students worldwide each year and to offer them an Erasmus Mundus grant, so they can enter the programme. 

HCSSH-student Jeroen Bouterse wins UU Thesis Award
Jeroen Bouterse wint UU-scriptieprijs

Jeroen Bouterse, student of Historical and Comparative Studies of the Sciences and Humanities (HCSSH), is the winner of Utrecht University's Thesis Award for the best Master's thesis of the past year. The prize was handed to him by rector magnificus Bert van der Zwaan during the opening of the academic year on 5 September. Bouterse's thesis supervisors Prof. Floris Cohen and Prof. Wijnand Mijnhardt graded his thesis Fallen into Nature. Augustine, Melanchton and the relation between original sin and nature knowledge with a ten out of ten.

Joppe van Driel wins Volkskrant-IISG History thesis prize 2011
Joppe van Driel wint Volkskrant-IISG Scriptieprijs 2011

Joppe van Driel, alumnus History and Philosophy of Science, has won the Volkskrant-IISG Scriptieprijs voor Geschiedenis 2011 with his thesis Enlightening the matter of science – The anti-materialistic Enlightenment philosophy of Jean de Castillon (1709-1791). Joppe van Driel studied Physics and Astronomy (BA) at the Universiteit van Amsterdam and got his master History and Philosophy of Science at the Descartes Centre (Utrecht University). His thesis supervisor was Prof. Paul Ziche.