Moritz Stern Fellowships in Modern Jewish Studies:
Cultural, Intellectual and Literary History (in cooperation with the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities)In the past couple of years the Lichtenberg-Kolleg has been actively and deeply involved in the research project, The Diaries of Anne-Frank: Research, Translations and Editions. As directors of the project Raphael Gross, director elect of the Deutsches Historisches Museum in Berlin, and Martin van Gelderen have set up an international and interdisciplinary research team to prepare new critical and historical editions of the diaries of Anne Frank (so far in Dutch, English, German and Italian) and a joint research monograph that puts the diaries in a variety of comparative, literary and historical perspectives and explore readings and receptions. In the coming years, 2017 and 2018, the project will come to a close - the English-language edition and the research monograph will be submitted to Cambridge University Press for review and publication.
For the Lichtenberg-Kolleg the Anne Frank project has marked the start of the development of a strong research focus on Modern Jewish Studies. In cooperation with the Göttingen Academy of Sciences and Humanities we are now setting up the research group Modern Jewish Studies: Cultural, Intellectual and Literary History. The group will bring together up to four Early Career and one or two Senior Research Fellows. At the Kolleg, named after one of the most versatile and funniest representatives of the Enlightenments in Europe, Modern Jewish Studies will be fairly eclectic and ecumenical in its agenda and tastes. It does not favour any specific theoretical or methodological approach, recognising that within the field a rich variety of alternative approaches are explored and debated with great passion. In terms of subject matter our focus is on the cultural, intellectual and literary history of the early modern and modern period, i.e. from 1500 until the present. There is a preference for projects that want to open up comparative perspectives and study authors and thinkers, topics and traditions within wider transnational, European or even global vistas.
The Early Career Fellowships are named after Moritz Stern (1807-1894) who from his birthplace Frankfurt am Main moved to Göttingen in the spring of 1827 to study with one of Europe's finest mathematicians and astronomers, Carl Friedrich Gauss. Moritz became the first doctoral student of Gauss and defended his doctoral thesis successfully in 1829. It was the start of a remarkable career, closely connected with Gauss and hence with the home of the Lichtenberg-Kolleg, the historische Sternwarte/Historical Astronomic Observatory, for so many years the house of Gauss and his family. Stern was a prolific mathematician and writer.
In 1877, he published a brief celebration of Gauss, who had died here in the Sternwarte in 1855. The main reason for Stern's fame was his appointment in 1859 as Ordinarius, as regular Professor of the University of Göttingen. Stern was the first non-baptised Jew to obtain such a position and many saw his appointment as a clear sign of the progress of Jewish emancipation in Germany. Eight decades later, in the early 1930s, many descendants of the Stern family left Frankfurt and Germany, literally running for life. Amongst these refugees were Otto Frank and his family, including his daughter Anne, who fled and moved from Frankfurt to Amsterdam.
The research Modern Jewish Studies strongly benefits from the financial support of the Anne Frank Fonds, Basel.