Past Austrian Fellows
BMWFW Research Fellows since 1992
Sarah Oberbichler studied History and German Language and Literature at the University of Innsbruck and the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and earned her Master of Philosophy at the University of Innsbruck in 2013. From 2014 to 2017, Sarah Oberbichler worked as a research fellow at the University of Innsbruck on the project, "Labour Migration in South Tirol since the Second Autonomy Statute 1972." From 2017 to 2018, she visited the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota as a research fellow. Her research focuses on the perception of immigrants and refugees in the northernmost part of Italy. The working title of her dissertation is "Analysis of the Perception of Migration and Migrants in South Tyrol on the Basis of its Major Daily Newspapers 'Alto Adige' and 'Dolomiten'." Her research interests are European and regional contemporary history, migration history, media, and digital humanities.
Streif (American Studies, University of Salzburg) spent the academic year 2016-17 at the University of Minnesota's Center for Austrian Studies (BMWFW Minnesota Doctoral Research Fellowship). He has been teaching at the Deptartment of English and American Studies at Salzburg University since 2012. In the same department, he has been working as a research fellow on the project "Gender and Comedy in the Age of the American Revolution" since 2015. The working title of his dissertation is "Coming Out onto the Stage: Homosociality and Theatrical Activity in Colleges in the Age of the American Revolution." For his Master’s thesis, "The Hollywood Conque(e)ror: Marlene Dietrich and the Representation of (Homo)Sexuality and Gender Roles in Classical American Cinema," he was awarded the Fulbright Prize 2013 for "Best Master’s Thesis in American Studies."
Martin Baresch studied Statistics and Economics at the Johannes Kepler University Linz. During his studies at the University, Mr. Baresch started as a research project assistant in the Department of Energy Economics at the Energy Institute in August 2013. After finishing his diploma thesis, Mr. Baresch continued his work at the Energy Institute as a research assistant and started his doctorate studies in Economics in January 2014. The focus of his dissertation is an empirical analysis of the Green Paradox. His main research interests are economic simulation and analysis of energy and environmental issues at a regional and national level. After receiving a research grant from the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW), Mr. Baresch visited the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota as a research fellow from September 2015 to June 2016.
Neumayr is a PhD student and Lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Graz. His work focuses on the possibilities of using "big data" in the social sciences and more specifically the sociology of science. In his dissertation, he combines data of different origin and scope to showcase the specific attributes and attitudes of faculty members compared to other professional groups, such as physicians. The University of Graz supported his studies by awarding him a fellowship in the form of the Jung Scientists Award 2016.
Stern is a doctoral researcher at PRIF (Peace Research Institute Frankfurt) and is working towards her PhD in the Political Science department of Goethe University Frankfurt. Her research focuses on the intersection of protest movements and asylum. In her dissertation, she focuses on protests against refugees in Germany. Previously, Stern was a researcher in the project “Taking Sides: Protests against the Deportation of Asylum Seekers in Austria, Germany, and Switzerland” at the University of Vienna. Stern served as the Center for Austrian Studies’ 2013-14 BMWFW Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Minnesota as well as the Wirth Institute’s 2016-17 BMWFW Austrian Doctoral Research Fellow at the University of Alberta.
Matthias Falter is a political scientist. His research focuses on Austrian politics and contemporary history, political theory, right-wing extremism, antisemitism, and parliamentarianism. In his dissertation, Falter examined the political reactions towards right-wing extremism in the Austrian parliament between 1999 and 2013. In 2012-13, he was the BMWFW Doctoral Research Fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota. From 2008 to 2012 and from 2015 to 2016, Falter worked as a researcher at the University of Vienna and taught several classes in the Department of Political Science. He was awarded with the "Wissenschaftspreis der Margaretha Lupac-Stiftung für Parlamentarismus und Demokratie" in 2011.
Thomas Hörzer was a fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies in the academic year 2011-2012. He studied History at the Karl-Franzens University of Graz and in his dissertation he compared patterns of the spread of the 1918-19 Spanish Influenza epidemic in Minnesota and Styria. Today, Thomas Hörzer works in the private sector.
Thomas Schmidinger is a political scientist and social anthropologist. He teaches at the University of Vienna and at the Universities of Applied Sciences of Upper Austria and Vorarlberg. Schmidinger is an advisor on Kurdistan for an Austrian member of the European Parliament and Secretary General of the Austrian Association of Kurdish Studies. After his fellowship in Minnesota, he also had research fellowships and guest lectureships at the University of Prishtina (Kosovo), Ankara University (Turkey), and the American University of Kurdistan (Iraq). He does research on Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Kosovo, Jihadism, State, and Muslim communities in Europe.
Jan Surman is a visiting researcher at the Poletayev Institute for Theoretical and Historical Studies in the Humanities at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow and Research Fellow at the Internationales Forschungszentrum Kulturwissenschaften in Vienna. He specializes in history of science and scholarship in Central Europe, history of universities, and histories of translation and scholarly languages. His current work is devoted to issues of scientific translation in the Habsburg Monarchy and to Ukrainian Science in the Interwar Period.
Thomas König was a fellow at the CAS in the academic year 2008-09. During his stay, he finished his dissertation, which examined the impact of academic exchange in the early Cold War (published in 2012, under the title "Die Frühgeschichte des Fulbright Program in Österreich” by Studienverlag, Innsbruck). Besides a few occasional stints in science policy, Thomas has maintained a strong scholarly interest in the various intersections of politics and science, and has shifted his focus to more recent decades. He has published several articles on European research policy and research funding, and published a book, "the European Research Council" in 2017 (by Polity Press, Cambridge). In 2014, he was a Fulbright research scholar at the Center for European Studies at Harvard, and he is currently at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna (IHS).
Simon Loidl wrote his dissertation on colonial propaganda in Austria-Hungary in the Department of Economic and Social History at the University of Vienna. The dissertation was published as "'Europa ist zu enge geworden.' Kolonialpropaganda in Österreich-Ungarn 1885-1918" in October 2017. Simon Loidl is working as a freelance journalist and historian in Vienna. He writes for various Austrian and German papers and magazines about current affairs in Austria and about historical topics. Occasionally, he works on research projects and exhibitions.
Barbara Louis (Reiterer) currently works as a data analyst, curriculum developer, and project manager at the Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Vienna, Austria. Occasionally, she also teaches classes on academic writing and works as a translator and editor. She received the BMWFW Doctoral Research Fellowship during the academic year 2006-07 and remained in the Twin Cities to attend graduate school starting in 2007. She earned her PhD in History of Science, Technology and Medicine from the University of Minnesota in 2015 with a dissertation titled "A Second Chance in Exile? German-Speaking Refugees in American Social Work after 1933." From 2010 until 2012, she held a doctoral fellowship at the German Historical Institute in Washington, DC as part of a project team working on "Transatlantic Perspectives: Europe in the Eyes of European Immigrants to the United states, 1930-1980."
Silke Stern earned her Master’s degree in History in 2004 from the Karl-Franzens-University Graz. For the following academic year (2005–2006), she was the BMWFW doctoral fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota. In her PhD dissertation, she wrote about the relationship between the United States and the Habsburg Empire in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Since 2006, she has worked as a research assistant at the Boltzmann-Institut für Kriegsfolgen-Forschung and there she was part of the project "Österreichische Unternehmen in Kriegs- und Nachkriegsjahren," from 2011 until 2012 as well on the project "Das Ende einer Epoche: Der Kreml und Osteuropa 1989" from 2012 until 2014.
Mirjam Marits, born in Graz, graduated from the University of Graz in English and American Studies (her Master's thesis was titled "Descriptions of Physiognomies in English Fiction from Realism to Modernism“) in 2003. She spent the following academic year, 2004-05, as Austrian BMWFW Doctoral Fellow at the University of Minnesota. After returning to Austria, she started working at the daily newspaper "Die Presse" in Vienna in 2006 where she has been working ever since. She is currently editor at the "Chronik“ desk as well as columnist.
Manuela Steinberger was a fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies in the academic year 2003–2004. Steinberger earned an MA Degree in Art History from the Karl-Franzens-University in Graz and her dissertation research was concerned with connections between political concepts and advertising in the 1930s.
Harald Stelzer is professor of Political Philosophy and Head of the Section Political Philosophy at the University of Graz. He holds two Master's degrees: one in Philosophy and one in Sociology from the University of Graz. He also received his Doctoral degree from the University of Graz in 2003, as well as his Venia legend in 2013. He has worked on the social and political philosophy of Karl Popper and Critical Rationalism as well as on the development of the outline of critical rational ethics. His main research interest is in decision-making under uncertainty from the perspective of normative theory as well as in applied ethics with a special focus on climate engineering. In his latest book (under publication at Rodopi in the Series on Critical Rationalism), he puts forward a critique on the moral philosophy of communitarianism.
Stephan Hametner is a professor and researcher at the University of Education Upper Austria in Linz. He obtained his Doctoral degree in Music Education at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, and holds a degree in Musicology and a Diplom qualifying him to teach eurythmics. Besides that, he works as a psychotherapist in a therapy and advisory center for men and in private practice. His longstanding research interest is the development of a subjectivistic and constructivist oriented didactics of music in combination with advanced teaching and learning settings in music teacher training.
Stefan Riegler holds a PhD in Business Administration from the Karl-Franzens-University Graz, Austria. During his studies, he was an ERASMUS student in Edinburgh, Scotland and a Research Fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He has worked for the Austrian Economic Chamber and for IBM Austria. In 2007, he joined the Austrian Federal Ministry of Economy and Labour, where he served as a political advisor in the office of the Federal Minister, being responsible for economic policy and economic promotion as well as for research and innovation policy. In 2011, he became Head of the Department for RTI-Strategy and International Research and Technology Cooperation. Since 2009, he has been a member of the supervisory board of the "Austria Wirtschaftsservice" and since 2014, a member (and 2017 chairman) of the Board of Trustees of the Austrian National Foundation for Research, Technology and Development.
Anita Eichinger studied Philosophy and German Philology at the University of Vienna, the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis and the University of California, Berkeley. Between 2012 and 2014, she attended the Master degree program, “Leadership, Politics and Management”. Since 2008, she has been head of the department “Digital Services.” In this function, she established the digital library www.digital.wienbibliothek.at. She concerns herself especially with questions concerning digitalization, processing of information, and data networking. Since 2017 she has been Deputy Director of the Vienna City Library.
Rudy Weissenbacher is a researcher at the Institute for International Economics and Development at the Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) and teaches at several universities in Austria. He earned a PhD in Social and Economic Sciences from WU, after having studied History at KF University of Graz (M phil) and Social Sciences at Montclair State University (MA). He specializes in European regional and international development, international political economy as well as regional and European integration. Weissenbacher has published several articles on his research and a book titled "Jugoslawien. Politische Ökonomie einer Desintegration" in 2005 (by Promedia, Vienna). The title of his forthcoming book is "Peripheral Integration and Disintegration in Europe". Weissenbacher was a Fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies in the academic year 1996–1997.
Dr. Winderl is a development practitioner, educator, and political scientist. After working as staff of the United Nations in Bhutan, Afghanistan and Nepal, he now provides consultancy services to UN agencies and other development organizations since 12 years of planning, monitoring, and evaluating results. He holds a Doctorate from the University of Vienna, Austria, a Master's of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool, UK and a Master's in European Politics, Cultures and Societies from the Free University Brussels, Belgium. He wrote his PhD thesis on "Nationalism, Nations and State," some of it during his fellowship at the Center for Austrian Studies, University of Minnesota. His thesis and other publications can be found on his website at winderl.net.
Thomas N. Burg graduated as MA (Mag phil) from the University of Vienna in 1992, after having studied History and German Philology. From 1995 onwards, he founded the Center for New Media at the Danube-University Krems, and headed it until 2005. During this time, he established an international conference on Social Software: BlogTalk.net. From 2005 onwards, Thomas was a founder of an Enterprise 2.0 software development firm, founder of an E-Commerce project and worked as a marketing and product manager for startups like Playyoo and MindMeister. From 2012 until late 2016, Thomas worked for Medical Publisher, Medizin Medien Austria, as Head of Digital Services. He established digital products and services as tools for content-marketing for the pharmaceutical industry and for physicians and pharmacists. He is a manager (with P&L responsibilty) with 20 years of experience with regards to building products, brands, and communities across digital businesses. In May 2017, Thomas joined Semantic Web Company - one of the leading vendors of Semantic Web technologies.
Dr. Manfred Blümel is the founder and CEO of Zeitgeist Research. Prior to founding Zeitgeist Research, he served as the Worldwide Head of Corporate Market Research for Amazon.com in Seattle. He brings years of experience in the retail, e-commerce, software, beverage, travel, and mobile application industries. He specializes in brand equity measurement, decision path analysis, segmentation, and product concept testing, as well as customer satisfaction metrics and advertising effectiveness measurements. Blümel is a highly regarded e-commerce consultant, working with companies such as Bain Capital and McKinsey, he is a frequent speaker at the America Marketing Association, Market Research Association, and the Austrian Chamber of Business.
Sonja Kröll earned her Master’s degree in English/American Studies in 1991 from the University of Salzburg. For the following academic year, 1992-92, she was the first BMWFW doctoral fellow at the Center for Austrian Studies at the University of Minnesota. After getting married in 1995, she returned to the U.S. where she began working for the English Composition Program at the University of Miami. In 2004, she and her husband returned to Minnesota, where she has been working as a freelance writer and translator while raising her two kids. She is currently employed at the St. Paul public school library at Frost Lake Magnet School.