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The Bat of Minerva in Austria and Germany, August-November 2014

English Language Interviews


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Peter Shea introduces the Bat of Minerva’s trip to Austria and Germany and the interviews to follow.


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Peter Kampits, emeritus professor of philosophy at the University of Vienna, talks to Peter Shea about his experiences and travels as a student and professor of philosophy, and his progression of interests from existentialism (Sartre & Camus) to analytic philosophy (Wittgenstein) to the practical discipline of biomedical ethics. He complains that medicine and ethics have been considered as separate subjects since Aristotle and Hippocrates, and he reflects on the value of philosophy in the present world. He considers the problem of the Other and compares Sartre’s and Martin Buber’s ideas about it.


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Thomas Schmidinger, political scientist, social and cultural anthropologist, and scholar of the Middle East, talks to Peter Shea. He recalls his wealthy, conservative Catholic upbringing as it framed his early awareness of racial and social inequity and prompted his interest in the Middle East and the relationships between religion, state, and society. He describes his and his friends’ extracurricular exploration of anarchist and left-wing political philosophy as young adults. He discusses the intellectual culture of Austria and the University of Vienna in fascism’s wake and describes his attitude towards teaching and strategy for promoting critical thinking in his students.


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Martin Balluch is an Austrian physicist, philosopher, and prominent animal rights activist. He co-founded the Austrian Vegan Society in 1999, and has been president of the Austrian Association Against Animal Factories (Verein Gegen Tierfabriken) since 2002.

Writing about his work in Austria, Balluch says activism has given Austria animal protection legislation that is among the most advanced in the world. He attributes the effectiveness of the activism to a united front among animal advocacy groups, which are elsewhere often divided by ideology and arguments about tactics.


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Eugene Quinn, radio producer, DJ, and writer, talks to Peter Shea. He describes his upbringing, his parents’ appreciation of words, and his life in Austria as an expatriate from London. He discusses his work with cultural organization Space and Place on the Vienna Coffeehouse Conversations and describes some of Vienna’s political, social, and ethnic climate and legacies. He talks about Viennese food culture.


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Peggy Skopec is a retired teacher of English at a high school (gymnasium) in Vienna.


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Karlheinz Essl
, composer, computer musician, and improviser talks to Peter Shea. He talks about playing progressive rock and finding the “utopian” concepts of Karlheinz Stockhausen as a teenager, and explains his ideals of musical experience with reference to the ideals of John Cage. He describes how his memories of playing prog rock came back to him during his career as a composer and caused him to explore free improvisation and its “bodily expression”. He considers the precursors of free improvisation, then describes his performances and the importance of the improvisers’ one-on-one communication and the audience. He discusses his students and his composing works in relationships with musicians.


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Isabel Ettenauer, concert toy pianist, talks to Peter Shea about how she came to perform on toy pianos through the music of John Cage. She describes varieties of the instrument, her collaborations with composers, and why she likes playing the toy piano. She considers her relationship to the classical piano canon.


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Salah Ammo, Kurdish musician, talks about his path to musicianship, his childhood experiences of nature, and his family. He talks about Syria’s many layers of cultural history, his Kurdish background, and his life and music in Damascus and Vienna. He mentions some of his son’s impressions of Vienna after moving there from Syria.


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Johanna Kandl is an Austrian painter. Her work seeks to expose myths of religiosity, historical constructions, capitalism, to distort them to the point, as it is neatly put, that they become recognisable.


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Manuel Esnoz is an Argentine visual artist and painter. He has had several gallery and museum exhibitions, including at the Kravets/Wehby Gallery in New York.


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Christian Koeberl is director of the Natural History Museum of Vienna.


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Karl Pfeifer is Director of Vienna’s Center for the Documentation of the Austrian Resistance.


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Katharina Hagenhofer is a graduate student in organic agriculture at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna, studying the mechanisms by which young people acquire land or access to land for farming.


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Rebecca Louise Paxton is a graduate student working in the Institute for Organic Agriculture, a part of the University of Natural of Natural Resources and Life Sciences in Vienna. Her thesis work explores the meaning of one of the ethical principles that guide the organic agriculture movement in Europe: “Organic Agriculture should sustain and enhance the health of soil, plant, animal, human and planet as one and indivisible.” In this interview, she discusses how she came to work on this topic and how she thinks about her research.


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Milena Klimek is a Masters student at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. Her research title is “Farmer and Consumer Practices; A Social Theory Perspective of Organic Partnerships in Austria and Minnesota”.


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Bernhard Freyer is Professor at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) in Vienna. He spoke at the IAS in 2011 for the conference on “How We Talk about Feeding the World“.


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Raymond Toller is a PhD candidate in evolutionary biology at the U of Vienna.


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Stefan Heid was trained as an ethnologist, works in the family used car business near Edlitz, and writes about Burgenland.


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Professor Andreas Eckert is Director of re:work International Research Center, Berlin.


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Professor Jürgen Kocka is Permanent Fellow at re:work International Research Center.


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Professor Norbert Finzsch (Universität zu Köln, Cologne, Germany) is a Fellow at re:work International Research Center. His project concerns “The End of Slavery, the Role of the Freedmen’s Bureau and the Introduction of Sharecropping in the American South, 1863 to 1880”. In this interview, he discusses controversies around the ratification of the UN Convention on Genocide.


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Professor Christoph Conrad (Université de Genève, Geneva, Switzerland) is a Fellow at re:work International Research Center. His research concerns “Unpacking ‘Global Aging’. Work-Retirement Arrangements between Demographic Scenarios and Welfare Regimes”.


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Dr. Charlotte Bruckermann (London School of Economics, United Kingdom) is a Fellow at re:work International Research Center. Her research concerns “Homemaking in Rural China. Women’s Everyday and Ritual Work in Generating Notions of Place”.


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Professor Hans Bertram (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Germany) is a Fellow at re:work International Research Center. His research concerns “Work-Life Balance. Comparing Japan and Germany”.


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Dr. Nitin Varma (Humboldt University, Germany) is a Research Associate at re:work International Research Center. His research concerns the production of “coolie” labour in colonial capitalist world and the social history of domestic servants in India.


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Dr. Julia Tischler is Research Associate at re:work International Research Center in Berlin.

German Language Interviews


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Franz Wuketits is a philosopher of biology at the University of Vienna.


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Marco Feingold is President of the Jewish community in Salzburg (Israelitische Kultusgemeinde Salzburg).


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Siegfried Kröpfl is a chef and author of the cookbook “Wir Kochen Vegan”.


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Raffael Hickisch is founder of Chinko Project, a project to establish a nature preserve in the Central African Republic.


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Anna Putz runs a coffee shop and gourmet food store on the Meidling Market Square.


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Christian Chvosta runs a coffee shop, restaurant, and gathering place on the Meidling Market Square.


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Hale and Josef Thauerbach are organic farmers and schnapps producers on the St. John pilgrimage path, Kaltenberg, Mühlviertel.


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Norbert Hintersteininger is a software designer for breeding software for rare domestic animals and a preserver of rare breeds in Sankt Thomas am Blasenstein.


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Hilda Gruber is owner of Hedwigs Gartl, a shop by the side of the road selling herbs in Bad Zell.


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Reinhard Derntl, owner of a vegetable farm and distributorship, Frischgemüse Derntl, in Naarn im Machlande.


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Bruno Seiser is a beef producer in Unterweißenbach, Mühlviertel, who markets his beef locally.


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Adelheid Kreiner is owner of Stoaninger Alm, a restaurant and ski lift in Schönau, Mühlviertel.


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Leopold Holtzman is owner of an egg farm and pasta factory in Königswiesen, Mühlviertel.


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Ully Leitner is an organic farmer and a specialist in herbs in Liebenau, Mühlviertel.


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Waltraud Egger runs a small grocery store and meat market.


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Waltraud Haslhofer and Andreas Ortner are owners of Hutti’s Jausenstation, a restaurant in Pierbach, Mühlviertel.


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Karl Viehböck is a producer of prize winning honey in Schönau, Mühlviertel.


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Markus Faulhammer runs his family’s wine business in Deutsch-Schützen.


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Jürgen Csencsits is a trained chef who runs a gourmet restaurant in Harmisch.


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Maria Prinz is an herb gardener and workshop leader in Neuburg.


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Norbert Art-Uro is an artist living in Neuburg.


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Michaela Fassl and Markus Uitz run a Community Supported Agriculture farm in Litzelsdorf.


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Karl Trummer runs a juice processing and retail business in Stegersbach.


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Julia Wolf raises and sells old varieties of vegetables in Wörterberg, Burgenland.


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Michael Hartl does gardening aiming at partial self-sufficiency, as well as programming and blogging, near Heiligenbrunn.


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Irmi Salzer farms and works for an international organisation that represents small farmers, near Litzelsdorf.


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Elke Piff raises herbs and makes quality herbal products in Oberschützen, Willersdorf.


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Walter Haider is the manager of a small grocery, Nah und Frisch, in Sankt Thomas am Blasenstein.


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Christian Ahorner is a trained chef taking over the family business, Gasthaus Ahorner, in Sankt Thomas am Blasenstein.


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Margit Spiegl is leader of the women farmers in the region of Schönau.


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Norbert Eder is a producer of juice and owner of a communal juice press, Pankrazhofer Most und Säfte, Tragwein.


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Sabina Hoser runs a small grain operation from which she bakes her own bread, Biobäuerin und Bäcker, Bad Zell.


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Michaela Fröhlich is a teacher of agriculture at Gemeinschaftsgarten Bad Zell.


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Karl Stöcher is a baker at Cafe Stöcher in Bad Zell.


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Franz Leitner is a baker and restauranteur at Taverne zu Prandegg in Schönau.


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Manfred Huber is founder Sonnberg Biofleisch in Unterweißenbach.


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Regina Fragner is a farmer and schnapps producer in Kaltenberg.


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Sylvia Edelmann rents a large plot from a farmer on the outskirts of Vienna.


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Ingeborg Preininger manages Wien & Kulinarik, a project to make connections between small local producers and customers in Vienna.

 

The FoodShed team that worked with Peter Shea on these videos is grateful for the support of the University of Minnesota’s Center for Austrian Studies and Global Spotlight Programs and to the Institutes for Advanced Study and the Environment for their financial, administrative, and intellectual support.

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