BREMEN TRAC – COFUND Fellowship program
From October 2013 to December 2017 the following 18 postdoctoral fellowships have been funded:
Dr. Maria Mazzoli
This research project will contribute to the description and documentation of Michif, a Cree-French mixed language spoken in sparse communities in Canada and the US. Michif is seriously endangered. Notwithstanding the unique mixed make-up and the level of endangerment, Michif is under-described and still lacks a published grammar. Its description is especially deficient in the morphological domain in which Michif presents a great complexity. In most contact languages morphology gets reduced. Furthermore, due to its limited salience, the study of morphology is often neglected in studies of language contact. Consequently, the description of Michif morphology is a goal for both the field of language description and documentation and the field of contact linguistics.
The goals of the project are the following: (a) to describe the Michif derivational verbal morphology by creating a list and database of Michif derivational verbal suffixes (medials and finals) and testing the distribution and the productivity of each of them, and (b) to document and revitalize the language in cooperation with the Metis community.
This will add to our understanding about productivity in language and how Cree derivation processes have been transformed in the creation of a new language. The project will combine description and documentation with an effort towards the revitalization of the language. Metis students will work as research assistants. They will offer and gain knowledge of the language while working with the researcher and the Metis Elders, the last native speakers of Michif.
Hosting faculty: 10 – Linguistics and Literary Studies; Prof. Dr. Eeva Sippola
Dr. Alkiviadis Ginalis
This research programme presents a first archaeological and historical introduction to the study of ports, harbours and other coastal installations in the Aegean from the Roman to the Byzantine periods. For this first step into a terra incognita, particularly central Greece with Thessaly, Boeotia and Euboea forms the main area of investigation in order to gain equal information for the Roman Imperial and Byzantine periods, but also to compare independent regional and imperial central influences. Taking into account environmental conditions, such as natural, economic, social and political developments, data will be collected via 2 fieldworks studying the coastlines of Greece.
But why the coast? Harbour sites functioned as economic hubs, cultural and social meeting points as well as the main gate for communication and economic exchange since Antiquity – just like the internet nowadays. Consequently, the study of such intermediate sites between land and underwater archaeology play a major role for maritime connectivity, providing a rich new resource with which to understand the cross-cultural dynamics of the Aegean. The study of a combination of major port sites, smaller harbours and private coastal villa estates and agricultural, as well as monastic units of the Aegean Sea establishes very informative port networks, which allow a new overall picture of the periods of transition from Antiquity to the early Middle Ages and consequently present a different approach to European history, archaeology and architecture.
Consequently, this detailed research on the evidence for ports, harbours and other coastal installations, as well as associated shipwreck and other maritime sites will lead to a monograph, forming the first basic literature on the historical developments of harbour architecture and the diachronic interconnectivity of Aegean port networks from the Roman Imperial period to the end of the Byzantine era.
Hosting faculty: 08 – History; Prof. Dr. Tassilo Schmitt
Dr. Ruming Zhang
The mathematical theory of scattering from periodic surface structures is currently concentrated on the study of periodic incident waves leading to periodic problems that are treated in a single period of the structure. In applications, however, one rarely uses incident ﬁelds that ﬁt into such a periodic framework; for example, incident laser beams with different angles used to generate data to determine properties of the surface structure cannot be treated in such periodic framework and new theory and algorithms are needed to cope with such data.
In our project, four topics about these kinds of problems will be studied. The ﬁrst topic concerns the numerical simulation of the direct scattering problems, using the PML technique and a numerical formulation of Dirichlet to Neumann maps to truncate the unbounded domain as a periodic cell. The second subject is the reconstruction of periodic proﬁles using optimization methods. The inverse problem will be formulated as an optimization problem with a regularization technique, and then be solved by an iteration scheme. The third topic is to study the unique determination of the periodic proﬁles from near-ﬁeld data. It plays an important role both in the theoretical analyses and numerical implementations in inverse problems. The fourth problem is to apply the linear sampling method and the factorization method to solve inverse problems. The two methods are fast imaging algorithms for inverse problems. If successful, this project will be the starting point for a mathematical theory for non-periodic inverse scattering theory for surface structures with potential applications in non-destructive testing of nano-optical surface structures.
Hosting faculty: 03 - Mathematics - Center for Industrial Mathematics (ZeTeM); Prof. Dr. Armin Lechleiter
A complex hyperplane arrangement is a finite set of codimension 1 affine subspaces in a complex space of finite dimension. Despite their apparent simplicity, hyperplane arrangements are involved in many fields of sciences and their study has gained its place over the past four decades on the crossroads of algebra, geometry, topology and combinatorics. An issue that has furthered much of the development over the years is to understand the extent to which inherent combinatorial data determines geometric or topological invariants of the arrangement. For instance, the cohomolgy of arrangement complements is determined by its combinatorics following groundbreaking results of Brieskorn, Orlik and Solomon. Whether the same holds for Milnor fibers of hyperplane arrangements is an intriguing and wide open question of central interest. We propose to study the topology of Milnor fibers in this vein, thereby relying on algebrogeometric techniques, notably Sheaf cohomology and mixed Hodge structures. Moreover, we propose to employ methods from the newly emerged field of Tropical Geometry, whose impact on arrangement theory has only started to be explored, in order to reach a deeper understanding of these notoriously difficult varieties.
Dr. Pauline Bailet
Hosting faculty: 03 - Mathematics - ALTA; Prof. Eva Maria Feichtner
How do we read a dynamic and shapeshifting surface that demands rapid shifts of attention and multiple reading strategies? Meaning, even when considered as arbitrarily related to form, has been studied as if it was inscribed in a stable and neutral surface. However, digital texts are, from the computer processor to the screen, ever-changing artifacts. Besides that, a digital text can assume the contours of a movie, a game or the pages of a book. Shapeshifting is the ability of a creature to change its form. While reading a mutating text, the reader's attention and approach also shifts. In order to address these texts, one needs to take into account digital materiality, multimodality and the cognitive and physical tasks performed by the reader. The way meaning emerges is a key element in this research project. The term "shapeshifting" will be applied to the production and reception of meaning, which is constantly being deferred or delayed in digital transient texts. Likewise, electronic literature can be described as a rapid changing field. Digital media invite experimentation, and thus allow the creation of new types of texts. However, because they often emerge in response to new technology, digital works are being permanently subjected to obsolescence or dispersal across the web. There are several institutions, as for example ELO (Electronic Literature Organization) and ELMCIP (Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice), working to find new ways to deal with electronic literature’s constant metamorphosis. By using the concept of "shapeshifting", I will track several turning points in the history of electronic literature and propose a general perspective from which to view such field.
Dr. Daniela Côrtes Maduro
Hosting faculty: 10 - Linguistics and Literary Studies; Prof. John A. Bateman
Contrary to the prevailing line of interpretation, I contend that there is a distinctive dialectical and materialistic element in Rousseau's social and political work that has been neglected by his scholars. I hold that it is precisely this neglected dialectical element in Rousseau's philosophy that allows his work to be interpreted as providing a framework for the creation of a wholly new model of human civilization.
My interpretation posits a very clear connection between Rousseau's social and political theory and the line of analysis that is encountered in the philosophy of the first generation of the Frankfurt School and its elaboration by Theodor W. Adorno, Max Horkheimer, and Herbert Marcuse. The core concepts of this analysis are negativity, non-identity thinking, and dialectics as a relation between content and form. In my view, Rousseau's theory contains a very similar line of critique. Moreover, I contend that while the origins of critical theory have been attributed to the philosophy of the Enlightenment, particularly that of Kant and Hegel, its connection to Rousseau's philosophy, which I maintain is clearly evident, has been overlooked.
Dr. Georgios Moraitis
Hosting faculty: 08 – Social Sciences – Institute for International and Intercultural Studies (InIIS); Prof. Dr. Martin Nonhoff
Dr. Kurt Martin Stange
Topographic depressions are typical features of every mountain chain. Studying the sedimentary archives of these (intra-montane) basins provides valuable insights into erosion–sedimentation processes in mountain ranges and their sensitivity to climate change and tectonic activity. The proposed research project is aimed at unravelling the causes and consequences of erosion of intra-montane drainage basins in the Pyrenees.
A reconnaissance study was carried out in the neighbouring Nata and Usia catchments which drain towards the main river Cinca at its passage through the Ainsa depression (Aragón, Spain) – i.e. an Eocene piggyback basin that is sandwiched between south-Pyrenean thrust sheets and which is recognized as a prime target for the gravel mining industry and petroleum exploration. Preliminary observations and sediment exposure dating revealed similar systems of young valley terraces and residual erosion surfaces in the Nata and Usia catchments that are deeply dissected by gullies and canyons. These dramatic and landscape features witness several intense late stage erosion episodes, but yet the timing and mechanisms of events remain unclear.
Combining digital terrain analysis with field surveys and sediment exposure dating, we will clarify (i) the causes and timing of intense late stage erosion episodes and terrace aggradation phases and (ii) the relative impacts of tectonic fault activity and hydrological (climatic) parameters on successive basin excavation stages, erosion rates, and intra-montane sediment fluxes. Results will contribute to evaluate the sensitivity of mountain catchments to erosion and to assess geomorphic thresholds for sediment transport and deposition in response to changing environmental (climatic) conditions.
Hosting faculty: 05 - Geosciences; Prof. Hans-Joachim Kuss, Prof. Cornelia Spiegel
Dr. Eirini Papadaki
The project focuses on adoption reunions in order to examine changes and transformations of regimes of anonymity in Greece. The politics of knowing or not knowing information about genetic connections constitutes a cultural terrain where people negotiate their hidden and fragmented pasts, their memories and their practices about ways of belonging into their world. Ethnographically will be explored the changing practices and discourses (legal, bureaucratic, ethical) about secrecy and identifyability in order to provide insight on the changing regimes of anonymity in the field of kinship. Through the collection of life stories, the study of the transformation of family and cultural scripts, as well as the documentation of changing structures and regulations, the project will contribute to the ongoing anthropological discourse about kinship, the political aspect of kinship in social life and more general will contribute theoretically to the study of the transformations of intimate life.
Hosting faculty: 09 - Anthropology and Cultural Research; Prof. Michi Knecht
Dr. Bin Shao
Topological insulators (TIs) in three dimensions (3D), which possess metallic surface states in the bulk band gap, have attracted considerable attention in recent years. When magnetic interaction is introduced into TIs, the time reversal symmetry (TRS) is broken, not only a gap will be opened at the Dirac point, but also a lot of intriguing quantum effects are predicted by theoretical research, such as topological magneto-electric effect, quantum anomalous Hall effect, weak localization behavior in transport, and enhanced spin transfer torque. Besides, TIs with TRS breaking have also been considered to be possibly applied in spintronics. To achieve these effects above, the key issue is how to introduce magnetic interaction into TIs. In this project, within the framework of density functional theory, we will investigate the effects of the interfacial transition metal intercalation (TMI) at the interface between 2D layered normal insulator (NI) and TI on the Dirac surface state of TIs. Furthermore, a magneto-electric effect, where the easy axis of TMI can be switched by external electric field, will be proposed to tune the switch on/off of the gap at the Dirac point.
Hosting faculty: 01 - Physics; Prof. Thomas Frauenheim
Dr. Catarina Alexandra Vicente Guerreiro
The Saharan desert has been recognized as the world’s largest source of aeolian soil dust, probably accounting for almost half of all the aeolian material supplied to the world’s oceans. Given the huge amounts of dust blowing into and over the Atlantic Ocean every year, the impact of such atmospheric dust loadings in ocean-climate change and marine ecosystems needs to be investigated. Coccolithophores, representing the dominant phytoplankton group in oceanic oligotrophic regions but yet also including r-selected taxa capable of responding to short-term environmental changes related to nutrient input, provide interesting perspectives as indicators of ocean fertilization due to atmospheric dust input.
During my two-year Marie Curie fellowship at the University of Bremen, I plan to enhance fundamental understanding of coccolithophores in relation to the oceanographic and meteorological dynamics of the Atlantic Ocean, and their potential as proxy for assessing environmental variability and ocean’s fertilization related to the episodic occurrence of trans-Atlantic fluxes of Saharan dust. My work will be performed on the basis of an outstanding data set collected along an array of five sediment trap moorings in the Atlantic Ocean, from NW Africa into the Caribbean (12ºN), lying directly underneath the largest dust plume originating from the African continent. I will be part of the research team working on the ongoing multidisciplinary projects “TRAFFIC“, funded by the Dutch National Science Foundation (NWO), and “DUSTTRAFFIC“, funded by the European Research Council (ERC), under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Rüdiger Henrich (Univ.Bremen/MARUM), Dr. Karl-Heinz Baumann (Univ. Bremen/MARUM) and Dr. Jan-Berend Stuut (NIOZ/MARUM).
Hosting faculty: 05 - Geosciences - MARUM; Prof. Rüdiger Henrich
Dr. Jordi Cabos
The project investigates the role of literature in encouraging women and men who are suffering the devastating effects of late capitalism to resist. This research seeks to address two claims. In the first place, the experience of meaninglessness, often designated as a source of suffering in late modernity, may be better understood by considering the set of narratives with which women and men explain their relationships with themselves and with the world. These narratives not only determine these relationships, but also influence how reality itself is depicted, encroaching on individuals’ subjectivity. In fact – and this is the project’s second claim – this hermeneutic component that intercedes the relationships between the individual and the world grants literature a crucial value in the face of this meaninglessness. Literature discloses the constrictions produced by these narratives in the individual’s subjectivity; it disputes the knowledge derived from them and provides alternative paths to retell reality. The main aim of this study is to examine how literature arises as a form of resistance against these narratives. It is through the willingness to insert oneself into the world that literature becomes a way of courage: countering the narratives that may constitute individuals’ reality in late capitalism.
Hosting faculty: 10 - Linguistics and Literary Studies; Prof. Gisela Febel
Dr. Sophia Hoffmann
This project investigates the social effects of a large expansion of humanitarian aid in the Middle East region, specifically in Syria, Lebanon and Jordan (also referred to as the ‘Levant’ region). The project will look at this development from the perspective of political science, in particular from the discipline International Relations.
The most recent growth of humanitarian aid in the region began in 2007, as a response to the Iraqi refugee crisis. For example, the UN refugee agency’s (UNHCR’s) Syria budget for 2006 was USD 1.4 million and by 2010 stood at USD 166 million. In 2013, facing a huge crisis as a result of the Syria war, UNHCR requested USD 1.4 billion to run its aid programmes inside Syria, while the region-wide request exceeded 5 billion dollars.
This massive expansion of humanitarian aid is bringing new, foreign actors to the region, who, in addition to material resources, bring new policies, knowledge, programmes and ideas into the local context. This project focuses on one particular aspect of these changes, and looks at how aid organisations manage security issues, i.e. how they ensure the security of their staff, their operations, and that of the people they deliver aid to. Managing security includes ideas about who and what may present a threat, and very concrete measures to control such threat, for example in the design of refugee camps (fences, compounds, containers), in movement restrictions (curfews, timetables, off-limit areas) and direct control and surveillance of people and spaces. This project will collect in-depth, empirical information about the security management of aid organisations in the Levant, and analyse how it interacts with and affects the local context.
Hosting faculty: 08 - Social Sciences - Institute for Intercultural and International Studies (InIIS); Prof. Klaus Schlichte
Dr. Jenni Kuuliala
The research project studies the representations of the experience of corporality and physical disability in the later medieval Europe (ca. 1200-1500). The main sources for the project are the canonization processes conducted by the papacy to investigate putative saints’ life and miracles, as well as the documents concerning heresies, among them the most important ones being the inquisition records.
The main focus of the project is on the reconstructions of the experiences of a ‘defective’ vs. ‘faultless’ body, and how these conceptions interlinked with ideas of body and pain in religious discourse. Medieval canonization records provide an excellent source material for the (re)constructions of bodily difference, as a major part of miracles done by the saints were healing miracles. Inquisition records, on the other hand, provide a tool for detecting the ways the varying meanings of body in the religious discourse influenced the experience of corporality and, furthermore, how it affected the way different bodies were categorized and defined.
In addition to religious discourse, corporality and the experience of disability are here linked with a person’s life course, which strongly depended on gender, age and socio-economic status, as well as his/her position either as a layperson or as a cleric or a nun. Additionally, as modern sociological studies have proposed that the experience of bodily difference is greatly influenced by interaction with one’s community, the communal nature of the experience of an impaired body will be analysed.
Hosting faculty: 08 - Social Sciences, Institute of Historical Science; Prof. C. Nolte
Dr. Michael Kirkedal Thomsen
Most widely-used computation models are deterministic; a given input will always give the same result. If one restrict these models with backwards determinism (two identical results are computed from identical inputs), the result is models covered by reversible computations. From a scientific perspective, the relation between these models and the deterministic models are interesting, but another motivation comes from the fact that information discarding models necessitates dissipation of some small amount of heat. This gives the prospect of using reversible computation to save energy, but more importantly it can be useful for novel technologies where the hardware must be kept at a very low temperature. Reversibility in the logic model also give a relation to quantum computing.
In this project the objective is to design and further develop scalable methods for describing reversible logic circuits. This will be done by deeply investigating the reversible logic circuit model, where little is still known about its algebraic structures. This knowledge will then be used to create functional description languages that can be applied at different levels of design abstraction. An important task here will be optimisation and translation between the high-level languages and low-level algebraic structures. Finally, the project will also investigate the complexity theory of reversible circuits; results from this can show what bounds there exists in the reversible logic circuit model.
Hosting faculty: 03 - Mathemathics/Computer Science; Computer Architecture & Reliable Embedded Systems; Prof.R. Drechsler
Dr. Alejandra Castro Carranza
Zinc oxide nanowires (ZnO NWs) have shown to be promising nanoscale building blocks for optoelectronic applications. Additionally to their semiconducting behavior, ZnO NWs combine a series of interesting properties such as chemical stability, easy synthesis, and biologic compatibility.
The formation of hybrid nanocomposites with organic semiconductors is a fascinating novel approach to tailor the optoelectronic properties of ZnO nanostructures. To control the optoelectronic properties of such composites, a fundamental understanding of the semiconducting characteristics of both the ZnO and the organic material is necessary.
In this study we will explore the electronic properties of ZnO NWs, the organic materials, and the nanocomposites formed by both of them. We will use electrical characterization of metal-insulator-semiconductor capacitors and thin film transistors. Specifically, we will take the well known poly(3-hexylthiophene) (P3HT) as a standard organic semiconductor and, further, a new organic boron-based compound. The electrical characterization will be focused on understanding the density of states (DOS) in both the separate materials and the nanocomposites, since the DOS determines important features such as conductivity, absorption, and luminescence. We will analyze and model the relation of the DOS and the optical properties in the materials and their combinations. Finally, a functional device such as a solar cell will be fabricated on base of the ZnO-NW hybrid composites.
Hosting faculty: 01 - Physics, Solid State Physics - Semiconductor Optics; Prof. Jürgen Gutowski
Dr. Marta Marciewicz
While the share of renewable energies is increasing matching the supply with demand becomes a problem. Transformation of energy generated from sustainable sources into energy accumulated in hydrogen gives a clean, high energy density fuel. Nevertheless storage of hydrogen is a rather difficult task. Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers (LOHCs) are compounds that can carry hydrogen under standard temperature and pressure and release it in a catalytic process to be used as fuel. The carrier is not destroyed during usage but goes through multiple cycles of hydrogenation/dehydrogenation and can be distributed through already existing crude oil based infrastructure. If this technology is to be applied on a wide scale there is a possibility that LOHCs will be released to the environment, as it often takes place with fuels nowadays. Therefore identifying and characterising environmental hazard associated with this new technology before it enters widespread use is very important. The aim of the project is to measure ecotoxicity towards bacteria, aquatic plants/animals and susceptibility to biodegradation in order to establish (eco)toxicological profiles of several LOHCs.
As a result the possible dangers associated with LOHCs can be identified indicating if they can be e.g. persistent, toxic towards aquatic organisms or mutagenic. Additionally elements of chemical structure that are responsible for those effects can be identified and avoided in further development of this technology.
Hosting faculty: 04 - Production Engineering, Chemical Engineering-Recovery and Recycling; Prof. J. Thöming
Dr. Lajos Szalmas
The scope of the project is the development of novel computational methods for simulating the flows of rarefied gases and studying their properties. Such flows have attracted considerable attention during the last years in the scientific community due to the interest in micro and nano-scale transport phenomena and more traditional applications such as vacuum science. The proper description of rarefied gases requires the consideration of the velocity distribution function and the Boltzmann equation, which typically can be solved only numerically. The most popular numerical methods for solving kinetic equations are the probabilistic direct simulation Monte-Carlo (DSMC) and the deterministic discrete velocity method (DVM). However, the original versions of these approaches need to be improved in order to achieve better computational performance. In the present project, the DSMC will be further developed in its variance-reduced form in order to increase the computational efficiency of the DSMC in the case of low-speed flows. The project addresses the numerical investigation of flows of rarefied gaseous mixtures through poles and membranes. The goal of this study is to obtain an optimal performance of the gaseous separation in these devices. The DVM in its accelerated form will be further developed for other types of flows than currently available in the literature. The DVM will also be applied for a physically more accurate calculation of rarefied gas flows on the basis of the Boltzmann equation. In the near-continuum region, extended hydrodynamics may be used to describe the gaseous flow. In this situation, the so-called slip phenomena play an important role. In the framework of the project, a new direction for describing the slip effects is planned to be explored.
Hosting faculty: 04 - Production Engineering, Chemical Engineering - Recovery and Recycling; Prof. J. Thöming
Dr. Rahat Imran
My interdisciplinary research focuses on a comparative study of the work of independent Muslim feminist women filmmakers from Pakistan, Iran and Afghanistan, who, since the late 1970’s, have shared similar, yet varying, histories of politically motivated Islamization (Pakistan), Islamic Revolution (Iran), and Talibanization (Afghanistan) in their respective countries. As these women filmmakers have revisited their particular histories to present a counter-history of developments and practices, particularly those instigated by fundamentalist forces on the pretext of religion, my study will chart and establish the emergence of a Feminist Cinematic Resistance Movement that can be seen as an anti-fundamentalist ‘cinema for change’--- one that is pioneered by Muslim women from these societies that have a shared history of fundamentalist ideologies, and state imposition of rigid Sharia laws that have particularly targeted women’s rights and freedoms. My work examines the contribution of these Muslim women filmmakers who have boldly defied socio-cultural, political, and religious constraints in some of the most hostile environments and conservative societies, and chosen film as their medium to question various forms of oppression in their respective countries.
Additionally, my study aims to evaluate the significance of these productions as pedagogical tools for consciousness-raising, cross-cultural communication, and filmic activism to garner support for social change and legal reforms in these countries.
My interdisciplinary post-doctoral research is part of a book project that bridges film studies, women's/feminist studies, religion/Islam and culture in Muslim societies, history, and cross-cultural communication with a focus on gender and human rights issues, and feminist cinematic activism and resistance by Muslim women filmmakers.
Hosting faculty: 09 - Cultural Studies, Film and media studies, film education, media education; Prof. W. Pauleit