Fellows WS 2018/19

Simulating Ockham's Philosophy

 "This project investigates the potential of computer simulation to model the ideas of the philosopher, William of Ockham. Ockham is most famous for "Ockham's razor," a principle of parsimony often used in scientific theorizing. However, he is also famous for his nominalism or conceptualism, the metaphysical position that insists there are no real universals in the world but only singulars (in contrast to the position dominant during his time). He also developed an original cognitive theory of “mental language” that serves as the foundation for written and spoken language. This project attempts to use current resources in machine learning and computer simulation (specifically, agent-based modeling) to represent Ockham’s ontology and psychology, and in the process, explore how computer simulations can help facilitate the understanding of philosophical ideas." 


Methodology and Contemporary History of Media Historiography in German Media Studies

The project deals with the theory and history of media historical research in German Media Studies and thereby contributes to the historicization of said discipline. It focusses on the function of historical work in the process of Media Studies’ instutionalization and therefore takes the perspective of contemporary history, meaning that it starts in the 1960s and ends in present days.
Claiming a historical perspective, both on research subjects and the conditions of one’s own academic work, has become a major part of a certain collective concept of Media Studies: It is taken as self-evident that one needs to historicize.

Die gute Nachbarschaft der Bilder


In den 1920er Jahren entwickelte der engere Kreis der Mitglieder der Kulturwissenschaftlichen Bibliothek Warburg (KBW) das Konzept einer „guten Nachbarschaft der Bücher“. Diese wurde von der Idee getragen, dass wissenschaftliche Literatur nicht linear, sondern assoziativ und den weiteren wissenschaftlichen Kontext inhaltlich befördernd, aufgestellt werden sollte. Diese avantgardistische Herangehensweise soll im laufenden Forschungsprojekt mit dem Fokus auf die topographisch angelegten Bildpraktiken der KBW untersucht werden. Im Zentrum der Fallstudie steht die spezifische Bildkonstellation um das 1661/62 entstandene Gemälde Rembrandts Die Verschwörung des Claudius Civilis




„The project draws on works as part of the first author's stay as mecs-Fellow during the winter-term 2014/15. Within this period, as well as on the occasion of subsequent visits to the Institute of Computational Neurology in Jülich, workshops and interviews on neuro-simulation were conducted. There are some audio recordings and the respective, not yet expertly prepared transcriptions. The current 2018/19 project is about the analysis, actualization and the following publication of the discussions and results of the former events, enhanced by more recent findings.  But it is also intended to more fully analyze, compare and explain their meaning on the basis of the already existing research from the entire mecs project on media theory of computer simulations, so as to rate and frame them in a broader context.”

Taming the Weather. Weather and Climate Modification in the Cold War.

After 1945, a discourse on weather and climate modification was established which, until the 1970s, not only allowed different actors from different fields of knowledge to think about the deliberate and controlled influence of weather and climate phenomena, but also generated specific laboratory and field experiments. Emerging environmental concerns, the problematic production and stabilization of knowledge, the insight in the complexity of a globally circulating atmosphere, as well as the establishment of first concepts of uncontrolled climate change led to the problematization and marginalization of the discourse.