Meet Johannes Gerken, a new member of our EUS team!

 523x547 @ 94,0During the summer semester of 2023, our European Studies team expanded, as Johannes Gerken joined us in Magdeburg! Before the summer break began, I met with Johannes to ask him a couple of questions about his arrival in Magdeburg and the path he took before he landed in the Otto Stadt.

I share with you our conversation, so that you too can get to know Johannes Gerken and wonder about his next steps in Magdeburg, as lecturer and researcher!

First things first, how was your first impression of Magdeburg?

Johannes: My first impression was pretty positive. Before having started my new position here at OvGU, my last visit to Magdeburg had already been ten years ago, and I couldn’t quite remember it. But after my first weeks of working here, I was positively surprised by the city and the university. Our campus here at Zschokkestraße is really nice. I particularly like the lovely Café here at the Campus.

Why European Studies?

Johannes: Since school times I have been interested in European politics and integration. My extended essay in upper school, for instance, compared the European Union to the Hanse League. During my studies in politics and history at university, European integration has remained one of my interest foci. Hence, I wrote my final thesis about European integration and afterwards began writing my PhD thesis about transformations of the EU’s statehood. I’m not quite sure why European integration made such an impression on me, but it’s fascinating how the European Union evolved from its very beginning until now. Building such a complex supranational polity with all its arrangements to integrate different cultures, traditions and political ideas is an inspiring source for intellectual and scientific work.

Would you please tell me about your academic and professional path?

Johannes: As already mentioned, I studied politics and history at the University of Kassel to become a teacher for secondary schools. But during my studies I recognised, that research greatly appeals to me. Hence, after my first state examination, I decided to continue with my PhD instead of applying for the second stage of vocational training to become a teacher. The research during my doctoral studies, which I also accomplished in Kassel, focussed on the measures undertaken to combat the Euro crisis. It highlighted transformations within the statehood of the European Union during this existential crisis due to three interrelated processes of constitutionalisation which have given the Union’s statehood a new quality. Furthermore, I have been working at the Centre for Teacher Education at the University of Kassel for the past four years, where I was part of the executive board; unfortunately, though, without enough time to conduct my own research. Thus, I’m very glad to get the opportunity to dive into European Studies again and to have room for new research activities here at OvGU.

What can we expect from you as a new member of the European Studies team?

Johannes: One of my main areas of interest is the EU’s economic governance. Therefore, I’m planning to bring this issue into my future teaching. Due to my personal theoretical background, which builds on critical theories of the state, statehood, power and society, students can expect that issues of societal power relations and political dominance will also be integrated into my teaching. Currently, I’m planning a research project which seeks to scrutinize interventionist tendencies within the EU’s economic governance, which I will hopefully be able to discuss with some of the European Studies students in future courses. But as a start, I’m going to teach the introductory course to European Studies for our new Bachelor students next semester.

Any message you would like to share with European Studies students?

Johannes: Wow, that’s not an easy question… But I think one crucial piece of advice I would like to share with European Studies students is to be open-minded and to look beyond the surface – not only for scientific reasons. Use your time at University to develop your interests and shape your own profile. And as always, stay self-reflective and self-critical.

That is one important piece of advice for all students at our university, I would say!

As for European studies students, I hope you enjoyed getting to know a bit about Johannes Gerken and you read it here first: fruitful and interesting discussions await you in his seminars!

Letzte Änderung: 10.08.2023 - Ansprechpartner: Webmaster