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MWP Newsletter 1 - Spring 2011
Max Weber Programme for
Postdoctoral Studies

The newsletter will be published 2-3 times a year and aims at enhancing the communication between
the programme and its growing community of fellows, former fellows and contributors to the programme.

In this issue: Welcome | New Fellows 2011-2012 | News from ACO | FIESOLE Group |
MWF Contributions | Events | Recent Publications | Best Practices | Announcements

The Max Weber Programme is Europe's largest postdoctoral programme in the social sciences and humanities. It is funded by the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and hosted by the European University Institute in Florence where the research community of professors, researchers and fellows provides an excellent environment for the Programme.
The Programme, open to all nationalities, is designed for junior post-docs who have received a doctorate in economics, law, history, social and political sciences, or a related field, within the last 5 years and who want to advance in their research and academic training, in an active multidisciplinary environment before entering the international job market, or in the early stages of their academic careers.

Welcome: Reflections on the first 5 years
of the Max Weber Programme

By Ramon Marimon, Director, Max Weber Programme
European University Institute

Ramon MarimonIn its first five years of existence the Max Weber Programme has proved to be a unique and pioneer experience in post-doctoral education in the Social Sciences and Humanities. Now that the post-doctoral phase of a research and academic career is starting to become a normal step in SSH (as it has been in the natural sciences for many years) there is no comparable post-doctoral programme with similar selection, dimension and offer.

The pool of applicants has doubled from 555 in the first call (2006-2007), to 1,139 in the latest call (2011-2012) and, even though the budget has remained the same, we have succeeded in expanding the number of Max Weber Fellows from 40 to 51, in part by opening the possibility for candidates, subjected to the same rigorous selection procedures, to join the MWP with outside sources of funding. This means however that the success rate for a funded fellowship has halved (from 7.2% to 3.8%), which is an undeniable sign of the perceived value of the programme. Or is it perhaps just the value of spending a year under the Tuscan sun, while in that limbo between the PhD and a real academic job, or in a sabbatical year from an academic position...? Read More

The New Fellows 2011-2012

The selection of Max Weber Fellows for the coming academic year 2011-2012 has almost come to an end, though small changes may still occur, and a record hight number of 51 fellows have been accepted from 22 different nationalities. See the table below.

Nationality # Nationality # Nationality #
Argentina 2 Spain 2 Italy 8
Belgium 1 Finland 2 Japan 1
Bosnia and Herzegovina 1 France 4 Macedonia 1
Brazil 2 Great Britain 5 Netherlands 1
Canada 2 Hong Kong 1 Romania 2
China 1 Croatia 1 Uruguay 1
Columbia 1 Hungary 1 USA 1
Germany 9 Israel 1    

The Fellows were selected out of a pool of candidates which is ever growing and this year the total number ammounted to 1139 applications, distributed by discipline in the following way: ECO 235, HEC 291, LAW 123, and SPS 490.

To learn more about our incoming Fellows see their online biosketches.

News from the Academic Careers Observatory

By Igor Guardiancich, MWP

Igor GuardiancichMarch 2011 marks the 4th year since the establishment of the Academic Careers Observatory (ACO) of the Max Weber Programme. Since then, the Observatory has been assisting young scholars at all stages of their career through its online resources. The website provides a comparative framework for reflection on the state of affairs of academic careers in the social sciences and humanities in Europe and elsewhere. The website’s success is testified by a steady increase of visitors, who mainly focus on the details of academic career structures in individual countries as well as in comparative terms.

The past few months have been particularly hectic for the ACO, both with respect to the events it organized and due to exciting new research activities that Research Assistants Igor Guardiancich and Eva Rossi, as well as Mike Mariathasan (Economics Department) are carrying out under the supervision of the Director, Prof. Ramon Marimon. Read More

In Fiesole and beyond:
facilitating academic mobility in Europe

by Nicky Owtram, Head of the Language Centre, EUI

Nicky OwtramThe FIESOLE Group came into being hand in hand with the opening of the Max Weber Programme in September 2006. A group of applied linguists, educationalists and language professionals from various higher education institutions in Europe met to brainstorm ideas about how to give concrete support to the first cohort of Max Weber Fellows. An initial list of suggestions for workshops designed to address the academic communication needs of these highly mobile young scholars was immediately accepted by Ramon and off we went! Read More

MWF Contributions

"Libya: What Went Wrong?"

by Claudia Anna Gazzini, Max Weber Fellow 2009-2011

Claudia Anna GazzinThe explosion of violence that followed the popular demonstrations in Libya in mid-February and the ensuing civil war caught everyone by surprise. All parties, with few exceptions, had predicted that the wave of popular revolt originating in Tunis and Cairo would not wash the shores of Tripoli.

The reality turned out to be very different. The regime’s violent repression of what was initially a small protest, staged by less than a hundred activists, provoked significant defections of high-ranking military and political officers within Gaddafi’s regime, triggering the immediate formation of an opposition government and, soon after, open civil war and foreign military intervention. Read More

Appreciating Pompeu Fabra
(the 'Universitat' and the man)

by Matthew Hoelle and Stéphanie Novaki
Max Weber Fellows 2010-2011

Matthew Hoelle and Stéphanie NovakiIn the first week of April, with six of our colleagues in the Max Weber Programme, we traded the weather, food, and sites of Florence for the weather, food, and sites of Barcelona as part of a teaching exchange hosted by the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). Our home for the week was a series of studio apartments conveniently located equidistant between the beach and the university. This setting offered us unique opportunities, both academic and cultural. Read More

This space is intended for you, the current and former Max Weber Fellows, contributors to the programme, the EUI community and other readers of this Newsletter.

We especially welcome short pieces on themes of broad interest. Max 500 words. Please send your contributions to


Recent Events

5th Classics Revisited Conference, 30 March 2011

by Michael Sevel, Max Weber Fellow 2010-2011

5th Classics Revisited ConferenceOn March 30th, the Weber Fellows hosted the 5th Classics Revisited Conference on "Hobbes and the Modern State: A 21st Century Interdisciplinary Perspective".

Speakers included an impressive panel of Hobbes scholars and political theorists, from the EUI and beyond. Eleanor Curran (Law, Kent) opened the conference with a lecture on Hobbes's theory of rights and his relation to the natural law tradition in ethics and politics. An interesting discussion followed about these topics, as well as his views about free markets and economic productivity. Read More

Multidisciplinary Research Workshop
6 April 2011, Villa La Fonte:

Non-majoritarian institutions:

by Yane Svetiev, Max Weber Fellow 2010-2011

Multidisciplinary Research WorkshopThe Max Weber Programme hosted an interdisciplinary workshop exploring the theme of Institutional Independence. The workshop, which was organised by members of the Law Academic Practice Group of the MWP and was supported by the Global Governance Programme at the RSCAS, sought to revisit the question of non-majoritarian institutions. Such institutions have been proliferating beyond the more traditional setting of independent courts, to central banks, other regulatory agencies, as well as supranational and academic research bodies. While the issue has been salient in the EU context for some time, one special point of interest was to explore the extent and robustness of institutionalisation in other regional integration contexts. Read More

Upcoming Events

Max Weber Lectures April, May & June 2011

Wolfgang Streeck, 20 April 2011, Villa La Fonte
Our next monthly Max Weber Lecture will be on 20th April with Wolfang Streeck, Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany.
He is a leading figure in comparative political economy and institutional theory. He wrote “Re-Forming Capitalism. Institutional Change in the German Political Economy”.
His talk for the Max Weber Lecture is entitled: “States, Markets, and the Uncertain Limits of Public Debt”. Abstract (PDF)

Elhanan Helpman, 18 May 2011, Villa La Fonte
In May the Max Weber Lecture will be by Elhanan Helpman who is professor of Economics at Harvard and works in the field of international trade, political economy and economic growth.
He is one of the founders of the new trade theory and endogenous growth theory. In the field of political economy, his research focuses on how the interaction of lobby groups and politicians shapes trade. His talk is entitled "Trade and labor Market Outcome". Abstract (PDF)

Bruce Ackerman, 15 June 2011, Villa La Fonte
Bruce Ackerman who is Sterling Professor of Law and Political Science at Yale will give the last Max Weber Lecture of the year. His major works include Social Justice in the Liberal State and his multivolume constitutional history, We the People.
The title and abstract for the lecture will be available shortly on the MWP webpages

See the full list of the Max Weber Lectures 2010-2011.

Learning from Global Economic Crisis:
Lessons for and from the Social Sciences
11 May 2011, Villa la Fonte

The upcoming conference on Global Economic Crisis is jointly organized by the Pierre Werner Chair (RSCAS) and the Max Weber Programme.

Global economic crises, such as the European Crisis of 1931, or the still unresolved current crisis, reveal social and economic problems often dormant in normal times. In this they offer very valuable lessons to social scientists. In turn, during times of crisis, social scientists are challenged to come up with explanations and solutions, thus to identify and develop valid theories and to separate the facts from unsubstantiated claims. Read More

Max Weber Programme Lustrum Conference
Villa la Fonte, 8-10 June 2011

The latin word lustrum refers both to a period of five years and to the celebratory ritual which marked such a period of rule and government.

During this year’s Max Weber Fellows June Conference the programme celebrates its first five years of existence and experience. A good time to show the Max Weber Fellows’ contribution to the Social Sciences and Humanities, and to Academia.

Therefore, this year’s June conference, in addition to showing the ongoing research of the 2010-2011 Max Weber Fellows, it will also be intended as a forum to foster cross-disciplinary and inter-cohort academic collaboration with the previous four years, as well as a forum of reflection of the early stages of Academic Careers in SSH in different cultural environments. Read More

For more information about other upcoming events in the Spring, see the Activities page on the MWP website

Best Teaching Practices

As in previous years, also the current Max Weber Fellows had the opportunity to do filmed Micro-Teaching sessions with professional feedback from Angela O’Neill from College d’Europe. Four fellows, Sarah Easterby-Smith (HEC), Catherine Fletcher (HEC), Michael Sevel (LAW) and Rebecca Zahn (LAW) were selected as examples of “Best Practices” and their films can be viewed at the MWP Youtube Channel, where you will also find abstracts of the monthly Max Weber Lectures.

To find out more about the teaching activities at the MWP see our website.


Honours and prizes of Max Weber Fellows
in 2010-2011

Elaine Fahey received a European Commission Jean Monnet Lifelong Learning (EU Legal Studies) Award (2010-2013)

David Koussens was awarded the Fonds québécois de la recherche sur la société et la culture – FQRSC in 2010

Stéphanie Julie Novak received the "Prix Dalloz" for her doctoral dissertation in October 2010

Alessia Paccagnini received the Premio Salvatore Vinci for the best paper extracted from an Italian PhD Dissertation

Mathias Staudigl was awarded a prize for his dissertation by the Austrian federal ministry of science and technology in 2010 (Würdigungspreis des Bundesministeriums fürWissenschaft und Forschung Österreich)

Heng Wang received the First Prize, Youth Outstanding Research Award, Chinese Society of International Economic Law in 2010

Rebecca Zahn received the European Trade Union Confederation's Brian Bercusson Prize for her PhD for its contribution to European Labour Law in 2011.

Career Moves

Stephane BeaulacCongratulations to Stephane Beaulac who has been promoted to “full professor” at the Law Department, University of Montreal, Canada.
Stephane was a Max Weber Fellow in 2006-2007.

Max Weber Babies

The Max Weber Family keeps growing and we are happy to announce the birth of yet another six Max Weber Babies:

DavidDavid was born on 8 March 2011 (son of Irit Samet and Michael Porat)

MarcoMarco was born on 27 January 2011 (son of Brigitte Le Normand and Ted Sandstra))

Alice and NicolasAlice and Nicolas were born on 24 October 2010 (daughter and son of Silja Hausermann & Simon Bornshier)

WillowWillow was born on 7 October 2010 (daughter of Mehmet Dosemeci and Jennifer Thompson)

NikolausNikolaus was born on 7 July 2010 (son of Katja Haustein and Andreas Corcoran)