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On the recommendation of the Faculty Board, the Board of the University of Groningen has appointed Hilde Bras, Susan Aasman and Rina Knoeff as full professors at the Faculty of Arts. The appointments have been made in the context of the Aletta Jacobs Incentive Fund, which has created fifteen new chairs across the UG to promote female academic talent to full professorships. With the two new chairs in Digital Humanities and Health & Humanities, the Faculty Board is explicitly committing itself to the strategic objectives of both the Faculty and the UG for the period 2021-2026, as also expressed in the UG-wide schools Digital Society & Technology and the Aletta Jacobs School of Public Health.
Hilde Bras has been appointed as full professor of Economic and Social History, with a special focus on Global Demography and Health. She specialises in "social science history" and applies theories and methods from the social sciences in her research into the past. Hilde Bras' research focuses on the global history of population and health.Central are the changing inequalities between individuals and groups in health, mortality, family size, migration, and family formation. The guiding question is how specific social, cultural, economic and geographical circumstances played a role in the creation of these inequalities during the last 200 years. A goal is also to better understand the implications of these developments for sustainability, social values, and economic productivity.
In the past, Hilde Bras was principal investigator of the NWO VENI project "Siblings and the Life Course" (2004-2008) and the VIDI project "The Power of the Family. Family Influences on Long-Term Fertility Decline in Europe, 1850-2010" (2011-2016). She has published about her research in, among others, Continuity and Change, The History of the Family, Demography, Population Studies, Demographic Research, Journal of Biosocial Science and Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.
Hilde Bras is also a member of the Social Sciences Council (SWR) and alumna of The Young Academy of the KNAW. She is a Senior Research Associate of the Global Data Lab (Radboud University), chairman of the Nominating Committee of the Social Science History Association, board member of the Historical Sample of the Netherlands, and editorial member of the Low Countries Journal of Social and Economic History.
Susan Aasman has been appointed as full professor of Digital Humanities. Her field of expertise is media history, including amateur media practices, documentary history and the emerging fields of internet history and web archeology. Since 2016, Aasman has been appointed as the director of the Centre for Digital Humanities. In this capacity, she was successful in building the Centre into a vibrant platform for innovative research. Over the years, she has organized numerous workshops and events in order to establish an engaging interdisciplinary research environment. In close collaboration with staff from Information Science and Media Studies, but also from Archeology and Arts, Culture and Media, she was able to build the successful Master (and Minor) track Digital Humanities with a strong focus on computational skills, data analysis and critical theories.
In the past, Aasman has taken part in the NWO Free Competition programme "Changing Platforms of Ritualized Memory Practices. The Cultural Dynamics of Home Movies". She has published in TMG/Journal for Media History, VIEW, Screen and was editor of the book "Materializing Memories: Dispositifs, Generations, Amateurs" (Bloomsbury, 2018) and co-author of "Amateur Media and Participatory Culture: Film, Video and Digital Media" (Routledge 2019).
According to Aasman, it is crucial for researchers and students to learn to engage with both digitized and born-digital data and explore and acquire digital research skills. The coming years, the main goal will be to stimulate the ongoing digital turn within the Humanities as it will open new pathways to address various important societal issues that are currently at stake.
Rina Knoeff has been appointed as full professor of Health and Humanities. She is also director of the Groningen Centre for Health and Humanities, coordinator at the Aletta Jacobs School for Public Health and active in (inter)national networks of medical humanities. She is known for her comments on the COVID19 crisis in the media (e.g. in NRC, de Volkskrant and on Radio1 OVT). She was principal investigator of the NWO Free Competion Programme Cultures of Collecting. The Leiden Anatomical Collections in Context (2008-2012), and the VIDI project "Vital Matters: Boerhaave’s Chemico- Medical Legacy and Dutch Enlightenment Culture" (2012-2017).
Rina Knoeff specialises in the history of medicine and health in the Enlightenment, with special attention to the history of (anatomical) collections, the cultural history of the body and lifestyle medicine in the 18th century. A recurring question in her research is how knowledge of (medical) history can help in answering important health questions today.
This last question will be leading for Rina Knoeff's Aletta Jacobs chair in Health and Humanities: “Humanities can make an important contribution to scientific education and research into the historical, cultural, social and political mechanisms that so often determine health. It is therefore particularly fitting that this chair in Health and Humanities is situated within the Faculty of Arts and is named after Aletta Jacobs. After all, Aletta Jacobs knew better than anyone that health extends beyond the field of medicine alone”.
Aletta Jacobs incentive fund
During the award ceremony of 2020 Aletta Jacobs Awards on Friday 6 March, Rector Magnificus Cisca Wijmenga announced that the University of Groningen had created an incentive fund for the appointment of 15 new chairs, exclusively for female scientists and researchers. This fund will serve as an incentive for female scientific talent in the associate professor phase to advance to full professor. The chairs are named after the figurehead of the RUG: Dr. Aletta Jacobs.
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