Ellen Aa. Reinertsen investigated different methodological approaches
"The research stays gave me insights into diverse European research traditions and into my own methodological approach", reflects Ellen Aasland Reinersten, who used the grant to present her project to different European New Testament parable milieus.
As her report reflects, there are many ways to use an ATTR mobility grant.
Ellen Aasland Reinertsen is a New testament scholar and priest. Her PhD thesis is on parables in the New Testament, with the working title "Lost in Reseption? Potential and Paradox in Parables with Intersectional Female Characters". Reinertsen's main goal with the mobility grant was to present and receive criticism on her PhD project sketch, and to broaden her scholarly network. She planned to visit the most well reputed university in Europe within her field, the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany, but ended up visiting more universities to broaden the methodological impulses.
Visiting the most reputable and activie milieu
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin has one of the most well known and active milieus in Europe relevant for my research on early Christian parables. In order to get feedback from this milieu in an early stage of my project, I planned three separate visits during my first year as a PhD.
During my visits to Humboldt, I had the opportunity to present my project many times and to differend audiences. I also had access to the extensive library at Humboldt, which was very helpful. More importantly, I had several meetings with parable researchers, and it was especially interesting to discuss with Konrad Schwartz, who recently finished his own PhD on parables and who is now a postdoc in Berlin.
The first time I travelled to Berlin, there was also a “Tagung” with researchers from all over the German speaking Europe presenting and discussing their research. It was very useful to take part in this Tagung. During the second stay, I presented my project at the New Testament research “Colloquium” of Professor Jens Schröter.
Changing the plans to get broader methodological impulses
My original plan was to go to Humboldt on all three occasions. However, after I had been to Humboldt twice, I wanted to receive other methodological impulses. At the same time, I had also heard about the Parables and the Parting of the ways - project in Utrecht/Groningen which I wanted to know more about. This project has embedded feminist and intersectional perspectives. Therefore, I applied to the ATTR Board to redirect my last research stay to Groningen/Utrecht, and it was granted.
In the Netherlands, I visited Annette Merz, professor of New Testament Studies at The Protestant Theological University (PTHU) in Groningen. She is also part of Parables and the Parting of the ways - project. During the week I spent in Groningen, I presented my project seven times, either in groups or to different individual scholars at both PTHU, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen and Utrecht and at the Catholic University in Utrecht.
I met with, presented for, and discussed with most of the Parables and the Parting of the ways- scholars, the joint Rijksuniversiteit Groningen-PTHU New Testament Research group, scholars in Jewish studies and researches working with cognitive, feminist/intersectional approaches and a Luther expert.
I think most of my approaches and methodologies were touched upon. I was also able to work extensively on one of “my” parables with Professor Merz. I plan to keep working with these scholars and to attend the conferences arranged by the project Parables and the Parting of the ways.
Unique opportunities to rethink my approaches
At the different research stays, I have presented my project at least ten times. It feels like every angel of my project description has been commented on – several times. Scholars from different university contexts have been “thinking with me” about my project, pointing out what is unclear and how their research traditions would relate to my methodological choices. Instead of reading about different research milieus, I have experiences some of them. This has given me unique opportunities to rethink my approaches and sharpen my research questions, as well as many suggestions for material and literature. And of course: Given me research networks for future discussions and cooperation.
The different universities have received me well. My hosts has expressed enthusiasm about discussing my project and providing suggestions. I found it valuable to have these possibilities so early in the project period, while my project is still in its early phases. So: Thank you, ATTR!