Archive for the ‘darmstadt’ Category

Teilnehmende Beobachtung und visuelle Methoden: Soziales sehen.

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Im Sommersemester werden Lars Meier und ich zusammen ein Seminar an der TU Darmstadt unterrichten. Das letzte Mal, dass wir dort gemeinsam unterrichtet haben ist dann fünf Jahre her… Der Ausschreibungstext für das Seminar lautet folgendermaßen:

Die teilnehmende Beobachtung, also die bewusste und reflektierte Teilnahme des Forschenden an sozialer Interaktion, ist eine klassische Forschungsmethode der Soziologie. Sie findet Verwendung in vielfältigen Settings, die von Untersuchungen in Boxclubs oder Ghettos hin zu solchen an Arbeitsplätzen oder in Wohnungen reichen. Im Seminar werden in einem ersten Schritt die Grundlagen dieser Methode vermittelt, wobei ein besonderer Fokus auf die praktische Verwendung visueller Hilfsmittel wie Foto und Video gelegt wird. Im zweiten Schritt erstellen die Teilnehmenden dann eigene Beobachtungen und Aufnahmen, die sich auf für sie relevante Themenbereiche beziehen (oder auch auf Felder, zu denen die beiden Seminarleiter aktuell forschen). Die Schwierigkeiten und Ergebnisse dieser eigenen Kleinprojekte werden dann gemeinsam besprochen und in Hinblick auf mögliche Präsentationsformen (Text, Collage, Film, Internet, etc.) diskutiert.

Wir freuen uns schon sehr auf die Möglichkeit, zusammen mit den Studierenden der TU den Blick ins Feld zu wagen und mit visuellen Forschungshilfsmitteln zu experimentieren. Und darauf, alte FreundInnen und KollegInnen wieder zu treffen und gemeinsam Zeit im 603qm zu verbringen!

Last train to Darmstadt.

Thursday, November 27th, 2008

Strange. This is the last time I am driving the ICE route to Darmstadt. After almost six years of commuting back and forth between Berlin and southern Hessia, it feels strange to look out at the landscape passing by. The interior of the trains, even with their changes over the course of the last years, may not be home, but it is a well known place to be. Bye Darmstadt, bye ICE, bye bahn.comfort status.

Pan’s Labyrinth – Fantastic faun.

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

I saw this movie much later than I wanted to – in fact I wanted to see it before watching last year’s Oscars. That obviously did not work out as planned. Therefore I took the opportunity when the filmclub of Darmstadt University of Technology showed the movie a few weeks ago. Seeing it at the film club had the added benefits of a low price, carry-in food to your liking, and evading the dubbed German version of the movie. Guerra has a certain ring to it. It is somehow different than war or Krieg. One thing, however, is almost always being evoked by this word: cruelty. The cruelty of war is not hushed in this movie, but the movie it achieves something much more important and much rarer: it shows how a child uses a world of fantasy to cope with the terrors that haunt herself, those who are dear to her, and those who are a threat. Is it only her fantasy? You should watch the movie and then decide. Latin american film and prose often has this magic twist. In any case, Guillermo del Toro has made a very good movie that is certainly worth watching. The movie got three oscars and a whole lot of praise. Because of that, I had very high expectations – they were not disappointed, but they were also not exceeded. Even though I am sure El Laberinto del fauno will loose a bit when watched on DVD it will still be a very good movie. Spanish language cinema has quite a bit to offer these years, don’t miss it!
IMDb entry | Trailer


Sunday, February 18th, 2007

montage showing a blackboard, a foggy mountain valley and nordic skiingDer Strategieworkshop der Darmstädter Stadtforschung im Kleinwalsertal war inhaltlich und dynamisch ein voller Erfolg – Stadtforscher der Republik: haltet die Augen und Ohren auf und bereitet Euch innerlich auf das vor, was da so kommen wird…!

Das gute Leben in Darmstadt.

Friday, January 12th, 2007

eine Espressotasse und ein Glas WasserFindet sich bei der allnachmittäglichen Betrachtung des eigenen Espressos im 603qm.

Loitering in my favorite loitering spot again.

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Ah well, this is what I like so much. Arriving in Darmstadt, I can get rid of my luggage and then walk over to the 603qm. Outside, it is almost stormy. Inside, there are people that I recognize and appreciate. Even people you do not know offer some of their chocolate to not-too-famished strangers like yours truly. Perfect. It’s good to be back for another two years. And now it’s time to get another beverage. And perhaps some pastry goodness.

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

So, who’s who? First, there are the people from Darmstadt. They sent me a letter today. If you were listening to the sounds of the rumor mill you might have already guessed what is inside… Yes! It did work out as I hoped. 11 a.m. September 22nd I handed in my Dissertation. Two hours later I had my job interview for a postdoc position in the new post-graduate college Topology of Technology. Today I received the written approval of the college. Yay! Beginning sometime in November or December, I will not be dependent on the totally incompetent and not-so-subtly cruel social workfare system. That, I can tell you, is a relief in itself. However, it is of course much better than that because I really wanted to work exactly in that position: a post-doc in a Graduiertenkolleg, and even better, a post-doc in a Graduiertenkolleg that consists of people that are intellectually brilliant, socially competent and personally likeable. More about all of this in later posts.
But – as the title of this post hints – this is not all the news that I got. The above was, quite easily guessed, the good part. Now comes the bad. Last week, construction work has begun right across on the other side of the street. Yes, that is also right in front of our beloved balcony. Meow. We’ll see how the construction site develops but it appears as if the greatest and most marvellous part of the whole Choriner Straße will be left standing: the huge Cherry tree that astounds everyone when it becomes a world of blossoms in the spring. It would have been a grievous loss indeed. This was the bad.
Now comes the ugly. As usual, it has something to do with our Landlord. The property management firm Kirchner & Freund, which manages the building we live in, is not exactly shining in the bright light of competence. This in itself could be bearable. However, their letters also hint at a certain vice that is fostered by what one may quite righteously call capitalism. Thus they raised the rent by about ten percent a few years ago. We complied grudgingly. This year, they again wanted to raise the rent by roughly nine percent. We did not agree and sent them the necessary objections. They did not accept. (No surprise there.) We agreed to a partial raise by a bit more than one percent and paid the respective sum. To this partial agreement they never replied. Instead, I found a letter in our letterbox yesterday. It was utterly official and sent from the local court. They actually sued us! Sadly this is a joke but the ugly truth. We’ll see how things go. Since all the prior steps had been made in accordance with the Berliner Mieterverein, we will be financially supported by the renter’s association. I already contacted a lawyer and sent all the documents to his office. Ugly business. But better have the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly than ride with the trio of the apocalypse…
*starts playing the harmonica*

Fußball-WM und Soziologie.

Sunday, May 7th, 2006

Auf gibt es Informationen zur spannenden, von Sybille Frank und Silke Steets organisierten Ringvorlesung unter dem Titel stadionwelten. Wer Mittwochs in der Umgebung von Darmstadt ist, sollte den Abend im großen Hörsaal des Residenzschlosses verbringen – Ohren spitzen und Augen schärfen. (Freunde der Schriftsetzung können eine schöne ſs Ligatur genießen.)

Post-conference hiatus is over.

Sunday, October 23rd, 2005

The conference was quite a success. Nice people, interesting talks, no major disasters. I did not leave Darmstadt immediately to have opportunities for socializing and joining the one-year Diskothek anniversary party in the 603qm which was quite a bit of fun. On sunday I took the night train to Copenhagen, where I … became ill for a few days when the post-stress relaxation set in (probably enhanced by the less than ideal sleeping conditions in the sleeping coach and potentially infected co-sleepers in same coach). However, a few bins filled with handkerchiefs, visits to the local sauna and hearty meals later, I recovered. And now I am back in Berlin. I did some work after the conference though, as you will see in the next entry to this blog.

The drums are beating faster.

Tuesday, October 11th, 2005

The conference is drawing closer and closer. Pace and rhythm of work are picking up…

Darmstadt does the fest-thing.

Monday, October 10th, 2005

I was happy to be back in Darmstadt again, after a prolonged abscence over the summer. And I was again amazed about this city. There must be a fest or some similarly public place occupying activity at least every second weekend. They never stop. The Südhesse ist a festive person. A good thing. Even though I am not sure if I like the Nierenspießchen.

Seminar success.

Monday, July 18th, 2005

Last week Lars and I hosted the last session of our seminar Sehen, Hören Fühlen – Stadtethnografien erstellen (eng: Watching, Listening, Sensing – Doing Urban Ethnographies), which was – much to our relief and joy – a big success. Nine research projects had been performed by groups of up to three students. Almost all of them invested a substantial amount of time in their studies, they tackled with their position, impact, and responsability as academic observers, and they presented some really interesting aspects of the publicly accessible places they studied in Darmstadt and Heppenheim. They observed different plaza and park areas, a cafe, a cemetary, and a group of large-scale-chessboard players. Lars and I are now looking forward to getting the final results of the different studies in written form. All in all this seminar worked out at least as good as we hoped it would. Kudos to the students involved! It would be just perfect if one could teach more of these seminars, particularly if one could offer a two-semester practical seminar…

Proud and tired.

Sunday, April 10th, 2005

The conference is over. Preparations for the conference were the reason why I didn’t have any time to post during the last week. The conference was quite a success: people from all over the world (literally), people from a wide range of academic disciplines, and people from different non-academic backgrounds. And in spite of all these differences a very relaxed, friendly and productive atmosphere. It was even better than I would have hoped – all the work that we invested in the plannig and organization was definitely worth it.
Again, thanks again to the Studentischer Filmkreis Darmstadt, who made it possible to even offer a free movie for the participants of the conference!
*turns computer off to take a nap*

Conferences, conferences, conferences.

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

This seems to be the motto of the year. Sizzling hot from my inbox comes the newest announcement: our college’s concluding conference Technisierung/Ästhetisierung – Technological and Aesthetic (Trans)Formations of Society is now putting out it’s call for papers. Check out the conference website to learn more about potential panels, program, and registration.

I also encourage you to take a closer look into the next German issue of Le Monde Diplomatique – you should be able to find an announcement for our conference Negotiating Urban Conflicts.

First: puzzlement, then: delight.

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

This is why one should have student or university film clubs: to be pointed to movies that are really good, but that you would normally not see. Last week I’ve seen one of these pearls, again presented by the Studentischer Filmkreis Darmstadt. Radio no Jikan is set in the studio of a radio station and revolves around the many mishaps, mismanagements, misunderstandings, small favors, flirtations, frustrations, and other human flaws that make life interesting. First, I was a bit insecure if this movie is meant as a drama or as a comedy – and I am still not totally sure – since Japanese customs are unknown to me, it took me a while to adapt to what was going on and who might be good or bad or nice or unfriendly. However, I guess much of this movie’s high quality stems from the fact that this really remains a bit in the dark. Most of the characters have their charming sides, and almost all of them annoy you too. Excellent ensemble movie with a totally chaotic, dramatic and hilarious ending. To be recommended. As should be the folks from the Filmkreis, who even prepared a small introduction in Japanase (I think).
IMDb entry

Conference getting closer.

Thursday, January 20th, 2005

Today, Sergej has finished the website for our upcoming conference Negotiating Urban Conflicts. The conference will take place in Darmstadt, April 7th-9th. Yours truly will talk about Pacification by Design: An Ethnography of Normalization Techniques.

(Yes, the html has been generated by Dreamweaver and there are lots of ugly font tags – if I find some spare time, we’ll see if we can fix this.)

Singing the hymn.

Thursday, January 13th, 2005

What would life in Darmstadt be without the 603qm? A bleak and frustrating experience. This Sunday, for example, we enjoyed the Österreichspätstück. The employees of the 603 served Austrian food, and they even created a mountainscape out of cardboard to adorn part of the interior. Lars and I spent a happy afternoon there, lounging, listening to good and unobtrusive tracks, looking at the cardboard alps, and scrutinizing other customers – as every sociologist who is sincere about his or her calling has to.

Tom is here.

Wednesday, December 15th, 2004

Very good. This morning I picked up Tom Gieryn at Darmstadt central station, showed him his hotel, and introduced him to the Important Places on TU Campus. Which means to the mensa, where we had breakfast and lunch, and to the 603qm where we consumed hot beverages – all the time in the company of colleagues of mine. All of them so far have been supplied with names of authors and books to read. Most excellent. My personal favorite so far is John Stilgoe. I am really looking forward to his talk on Truth Spots tomorrow evening. There will be quite a few visitors from abroad, I think (mostly Mannheim and Bielefeld).

The elegance of showing worlds collide.

Saturday, May 8th, 2004

On Tuesday I finally saw the Barbarian Invasions. Lars, Master Berking and yours truly entered the audimax in Darmstadt equipped with a six pack of Pfungstädter and good moods. We left with empty bottles and even better moods. It was an excellent movie – the best I saw this year together with Lost In Translation. Although several reliable sources told me that this movie would be worth seeing, I have not exactly felt like watching a movie about a dying university professor who gets visited by a bunch of relatives and friends at the right place and in the right time so far. I do not regret that it took me a while to watch it, because the setting was fun, and the movie was in French with German subs, which made it possible to appreciate some of the very crafty, intellegent and funny dialogues. The translation was fine, but it still was a welcome enhancement to listen to the actors talking a charming mix of Canadian french and English. The conflicts between father and son, between junkie and broker, wife and ex-affairs were developed in a plausible, dramatic and definitely entertainingly un-boring way. In a very elegant way, this movie combined pain and joy, without resorting to clichée or special effects. If you haven’t seen it yet, take steps to rid yourself of being in such an unfortunate situation.
IMDb entry | Trailer

Ploughing through the Water.

Thursday, May 6th, 2004

1400m. Dolphin distance: 75m. My shoulder and back muscles: aching, sore, stiff.