KWI Welcomes Sixth Cohort of International Fellows

This week KWI receives its sixth cohort of international fellows who will be in Essen from April 2023 until the end of September 2023. We also welcome our new colleague Laura Reiling, who joined KWI in March. At the same time we are wishing farewell to our fellows of the last cohort: Tim Altenhof, Kris Decker, L. Sasha Gora, Alexandra Irimia, Sandra Janßen, Verena Kick and Marissa Petrou.

We are highly encouraging collaborations between the fellows and members of the UA Ruhr universities. For any requests or further information, please contact Dr. Ricarda Menn.


Dr. Christian Kirchmeier is Assistant Professor of European Culture and Literature at the University of Groningen. He received his Doctor of Philosophy (Dr. phil.) in Modern German Literature from the University of Munich and was a visiting scholar at Yale University for his postdoctoral research. At KWI, he will explore the literary and filmic representation of microtopoi.

Dr. Sanam Roohi has held various fellowships, most recently the Alexander von Humboldt fellowship at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen (2020–2023), During her time in Essen, Roohi will work on her book manuscript, tentatively titled In Pursuit of the American Dream: Kamma Diasporic Giving and the Transnational Reproduction of Caste Capital.

Dr. Philipp Weber studied German Literature, Philosophy, and Modern History in Münster, Berlin, and Paris. He was a Feodor Lynen Fellow at Indiana University Bloomington and is now at the Ruhr University Bochum. His research project at KWI deals with the dynamics between morality and narratives.

Dr. Laura M. Reiling is a literary scholar and new postdoc researcher at KWI. After a period working in science communication, she will focus on her new project about the literature of German artists’ residencies as well as on ecocriticism. She is also co-editing the KWI blog.

Dr. Cecilia Sebastian received her PhD in German Studies from Yale University in May 2022. She is currently working on her book manuscript, Critical Theory in Revolt, which charts a new history of the Frankfurt School tradition of Critical Theory through its 1960s engagement with Black and anticolonial liberation struggles and the global student movements that they inspired.

PD Dr. Christian Berger is a historian of modern and contemporary art. As Thyssen@KWI Fellow, Christian Berger will study examples of public art in the Ruhr area, focusing on works that directly engage with the industrial history of the respective sites instead of concealing their past use, transformation, and exploitation.

Dr. Candela Marini is a cultural historian with a focus on nineteenth-century visual culture. She holds a PhD in Romance Studies from Duke University. During her time as an international fellow at KWI, she will work on her book manuscript, titled Images at the Front: War Photography and Visual Literacy in Argentina and Chile (1860s–1880s).

Dr. Niklas Barth is Assistant Professor (Akademischer Rat a.Z.) at the Institute for Sociology at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität in Munich. From August until November 2022, he was a visiting fellow in the German Department at Yale University. At KWI, Niklas will work on his second book project, entitled (In)Communicability: Forms, Functions and Limits of Tactful Communication.

Detailed information about the fellows and their research interests, pictures, and CVs can be found on the KWI homepage.


KWI International Fellowships are awarded for six months to excellent researchers from the humanities, cultural studies and social sciences. The Thyssen@KWI Fellowship, financed by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation, is integrated into the international fellowship programme and reaches out to excellent researchers of all nationalities. Both fellowship programmes were established in 2020. The next call for applications will follow shortly.

(3 April 2023)