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New Visiting University Chair attracts major academics to Bielefeld from all over the world

Published on 29. Juni 2015, 14:17 h
Named after Harald Weinrich, the father of German as a second language (DaF)

Bielefeld University is setting up a new Visiting University Chair for top-ranking international academics. The chair is being named after Harald Weinrich, the founder of German as a second language (DaF) who worked in Bielefeld for many years. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) is funding the initiative by the Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies for a maximum of four years as part of its visiting fellows programme. As the first Harald Weinrich Visiting Fellow, Professor Dr. Claire Kramsch from the University of California, Berkeley, USA will be coming to Bielefeld in the summer semester of 2016. Professors from Belarus, Italy, Cameroon, Turkey, and the United States should follow.


Harald Weinrich – Sprachwissenschaftler und kosmopolitischer Intellektueller: Jetzt steht sein Name für einen internationalen Gastlehrstuhl. Foto: Yves Noir
Harald Weinrich – linguist and cosmopolitan intellectual: His name now stands for an international visiting chair. Photo: Yves Noir
Professor Dr. Harald Weinrich – whom the Chair is being named after – was the founder of the subject German as a second language (DaF) in Germany. After teaching and carrying out research at Bielefeld from 1969 to 1978, he was appointed to the first Chair for DaF in Germany at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. Weinrich was one of the founders of Bielefeld University and the first Director of the Center for interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) from 1972 to 1974. He also played a decisive role in founding the Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies in Bielefeld. Now aged 87 years, he is a Romance scholar, a linguist, and literary scholar – as well as an author, essayist, and poet. His most well-known work is his ‘Textgrammatik der deutschen Sprache’ [Textual grammar of the German language]. He is also the initiator of the Adalbert von Chamisso Prize for authors writing in German whose mother tongue is not German

‘Even as a German, Harald Weinrich held a chair at the prestigious Collège de France in Paris, he was at America’s elite Princeton University, and he held the Galileo Chair at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa. It is this spirit of a cosmopolitan intellectual that his name gives to the chair,’ explains Professor Martina Kessel, Bielefeld University’s Vice Rector for International Affairs.

Renowned academics from all over the world should come and spend a semester working in Bielefeld. What is special is that guests will be invited from the entire spectrum of disciplines encompassing German as a second language, linguistics, and literary studies. The initiative came from Professors Dr. Walter Erhart (Literary studies), Dr. Uwe Koreik (German as a second language), and Dr. Ralf Vogel (Linguistics), who had already gained positive experiences through the joint Master’s study course German as a second language and German studies. The new visiting fellows programme should further extend the cooperation between the disciplines and, depending on the research specialization of the visiting fellow, also bring in other departments within the faculty. Beyond this, the programme should further develop and promote international German studies. Within the framework of the visiting fellows programme, there are plans to hold an international conference on the role of international German studies and German as an academic language at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) in 2018.

Contact:
Professor Dr. Uwe Koreik, Bielefeld University
Faculty of Linguistics and Literary Studies
Telephone: 0521 106-3631
Email: uwe.koreik@uni-bielefeld.de

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