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Research Projects of the Costa Rica Center

Contemporary Poetry from Latin America and the Caribbean (latinale.academica)

Together with a student research and teaching group  (latinale.academica), associated to the Latinale Poetry Festival (, the newest poetic styles from Latin America and the Caribbean are explored. A focal point is found in Costa Rica, for example, with the poetry of Luis Chaves who, in October 2015, was able to visit the Universität Osnabrück in the scope of the Latinale (with collaboration from the Literature Office in West Lower Saxony).

People Involved: Dr. Rike Bolte, research group latinale.academica at the Universität Osnabrück (Andre Beyer-Lindenschmidt, Katja Brama, Alisa Farthmann and Philip Hillebrandt), Dr. Luis Alberto Arellano (Universidad de Querétaro),  Ethel Barja (Brown University)

Partners Involved: Festival de la Palabra and Universidad de Puerto Rico (Río Piedras) (requested)

Financing: Universität Osnabrück

Project Phase: Planning

Cultural Conceptions of Attachment in Costa Rica

The theory of attachment is one of more influential theories within developmental psychology. Based on the fundamental conception works by the English psychiatrist John Bowly, the attachment theory states the need to establish a link with a person of determined reference. That need is acquired during the first year of life and it is later considered as the organizer of the development in the future. The definition of attachment, as well as the assumptions over the ontogeny of the quality of the attachment, is considered universal. From the perspective of evolution, psychology and cultural anthropology, an increasing number of doubts were expressed about the universality assumption. Nevertheless, the universality of the motive of the attachment is not in doubt. But the definition of the term attachment and the ontogeny must be adapted to the corresponding cultural contexts and thus it is necessary that they vary. This cooperation project with Professor Dr. Mariano Rosabal-Coto from the Universidad de Costa Rica must serve as a contribution to the empirical basis of conceptions of attachment related to culture. Given the cultural diversity of the Costa Rican population, the country represents an ideal place for research. It is expected to examine four family groups with a child in his/her first year of life: middle class families living in cities and with euro-hispanic origin, afro-caribbean families, native families and less educated families from rural regions. On this data qualitative and quantitative methods are applied.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Heidi Keller, Prof. Dr. Mariano Rosabal-Coto

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica, Instituto de Investigaciones de Psicología; Universität Osnabrück, Institut für Psychologie, Costa Rica Zentrum

Financing: Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project phase: Implementation

Dealing with Paradoxes in Professional Settings

This project deals with the preparation of a DFG project proposal on the subject of dealing with paradoxes in professional fields of action. Paradoxes are defined as relationships of tension that arise in social situations and contexts and which result from contradictory, simultaneous, individual, as well as collective, action requirements and goals (see Smith & Lewis, 2011). Such tension conditions exist in pedagogical contexts of action, among others. There are often contradictory demands for professional pedagogical action, for example, if teachers, on the one hand, should or would like to build a close and symmetrical relationship to the pupils on an equal basis, while at the same time assessing and evaluating the achievements of the pupils, whose academic progress must be decided, which clearly defines an asymmetrical relationship and is often perceived as a burden by teachers (see Helsper, 2002, 2016). Further significant tensions arise in the relationship between individual support and social integration (see Kunze & Solzbacher, 2016, Müller-Using, 2015). Justifications for decisions of action in the different cultural contexts and professional fields of action should be analyzed and described. The present research approach examines the coping strategies for dealing with such paradoxical tensions and takes into account dialogicity and possible scaffolding strategies, among others.

People involved: Dr. Miguel Baraona Cockerell, Dra. Jacqueline García Fallas, Dr. Mauricio Molina Delgado, Dr. Karsten Müller, PD Dr. Susanne Müller-Using, Dr. Achim Stephan, MBA Juan Carlos Rojas Vargas, Dr. Mariano Rosabal Coto, Dr. Mario Solís Umaña

Partners involved: Universidad Osnabrück, Universidad de Costa Rica, Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica

Project phase: Proposal preparation

Development of Concepts for Clinical Palliative Treatment and for Chronic Terminal Patients in Costa Rica

The circumstances of the people in terminal phases represent an increasing challenge for the nursing homes given the growing numbers of cuts in authorized stays and the increase in age of entry residents, some of who enter with serious diseases. The goal of the project is that, while using an integrated and methodical process, empirically-based proposals are going to be required for a generalized and specialized palliative care in the nursing homes in Costa Rica, as well as necessary changes to the structure and process to recognize the successful integration of a high quality culture of palliative care. The empirical data will serve as the basis to create a concept of development that contains a detailed catalog of the structural and qualified measures necessary for a continuous development, differentiated from the current care proposals.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Hartmut Remmers, Dr. Carlos Acuña Aguilar, Manuel Zimansky

Partners involved: Universidad Santa Paula

Financing: Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project phase: Completed

From Pedagogical Knowledge to Empathic Action. An International Comparison of University Teacher Education Concepts

This project aims at presenting a theoretical analysis and general ideas on the subject of empathy as a pedagogical value in (school) education processes, by which the individual profiles and needs of children can move closer to the center of professional pedagogical attention and awareness. An empirical comparison of basic teacher education at the Universität Osnabrück and the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR), as well as the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica (UNA), will provide answers as to whether and how the so-called soft skills like empathy can be conveyed at universities and be discussed within the context of teacher education. The analysis will look at whether and how future teachers are therefore made aware of the necessity of conveying the corresponding knowledge in the schools. The results can help adopt valuable know-how for the reform of teacher education in the German context and preserve the already existing knowledge.

People involved: PD Dr. Susanne Müller-Using, Prof. Dr. Ileana Vargas, Prof. Dr. Lupita Chavez

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigación en Educación (INIE), Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica: Centro de Investigación y Docencia en Educación (CIDE), Universität Osnabrück: Costa Rica Center

Project phase: Publication: Ethos und Empathie

Regional Literature of Central America

This project studies regional literatures that to this day haven't been considered much. A big part of the project is focused on the narratology of the first half of the XX century. The main goal of the project is to research the cultural diversity in relation with the formation of national identity discourses.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Werner Mackenbach, Prof. Dr. Francisco Rodriguez Cascante, Prof. Dr. Susanne Schlünder, Prof. Dr. Magdalena Vázquez Vargas

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: CIDICER, Cátedra Wilhelm y Alexánder von Humboldt en Humanidades y Ciencias Sociales; Universität Osnabrück: Institut für Romanistik / Latinistik

Financing: Universidad de Costa Rica: CIDICER (Centro de Investigaciones sobre Diversidad Cultural y Estudios Regionales), Universität Osnabrück

Project phase: Proposal presentation

Subject-Related Partnership on Values and Human Rights Education in Higher Teacher Education

The Universität Osnabrück, the Universidad de Costa Rica and the Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica collaborate with each other in this subject-related university partnership. The project objective is the research and development, as well as the later implementation, of a two-stage, transversal study on academic, systematic and explicit values and human rights education in higher teacher education, taking into account local specificities to support and enhance the quality of teaching in the participating universities. The Costa Rican universities are characterized in particular by a triad of teaching, research and social engagement, which suggests the integration of the Costa Rican strongly present topic of values and human rights education in the academic teacher education. The project, thus, contributes to the integration of explicit value and human rights education in the international public education sector, as stated and demanded for a long time by the UN General Assembly (UN Declaration on Human Rights Building and Training, 2011), human rights institutes (IIDH, GIHR) and the German Conference of Ministers of Culture.

People involved: M.A. Consuelo Arguedas Quesada, Dr. Miguel Baraona Cockerell, Dra. Lupita Chaves Salas, Dra. Jacqueline Garcia Fallas, Dra. Alejandrina Mata Segreda, M.H. Jaime Mora Arias, PD Dr. Susanne Müller-Using, Dra. Lucía Rincón Soto, Dr. Roberto Rojas Benavides, Dr. José Solano Alpízar, M.A. Stephanie Washburn

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigación en Educación (INIE), Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica: Centro de Investigación y Docencia en Educación (CIDE), Centro de Estudios Generales (CEG), Universität Osnabrück: Costa Rica Center, Forschungsstelle Werte-Bildung, Center for Teacher Education (Zentrum für Lehrerbildung), Instituto Interamericano de Derechos Humanos (IIDH), German Institute for Human Rights (GIHR), Novamerica

Financing: The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)

Project phase: Implementation

Completed Projects

International Comparative Study on Content and Organization of Secondary Teacher Education at Universities

This project is being conducted by the Center for Teacher Education as well as the Costa Rica Center of the Universität Osnabrück on the one hand, and the “Instituto de Investigación en Educación” (INIE) at the Universidad de Costa Rica on the other. It aims at the international comparison of concepts and curricula of secondary teacher training at universities. Besides Costa Rica and Germany, other countries like Finland, Cuba and Korea take part in the project.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Lupita Chavez, Prof. Dr. Jacqueline García, Prof. Dr. Ingrid Kunze, PD Dr. Susanne Müller-Using, Dr. phil. Yoshiro Nakamura

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigación en Educación (INIE) Universität Osnabrück: Costa Rica Center, Institute of Education (Institut für Erziehungswissenschaft), Center for Teacher Education (Zentrum für Lehrerbildung)

Project phase: Completed

Research paper: Cómo forman al profesorado en educación secundaria en Alemania

Costa Rican and Central American Rents per Capita in a Historical Comparison

This project is developed in collaboration with the Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Económicas. The goal is to analize a set of data over the rents per capita in Central America. There are two main issues: (i) in the long term, do the rents per capita in Central America converge? and (ii) have the cojunctural cicles been assimilating themselves during the last decades? To answer these questions new analysis methods of chronological series are applied. The set of data not only contains the rents per capita from Costa Rica but also the ones from Panama, Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala, Mexico and, as reference value, from the USA during the period from 1920 to 2013.

People involved: Prof. Dr. Max Soto (UCR), Prof. José Cordero (UCR), Prof. Frank Westermann, Ph.D. (UOS) und Katharina Mersmann (UOS)

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica: Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias Economicas (IICE) Universität Osnabrück: Costa Rica Zentrum (CRZ), Institut für Empirische Wirtschaftsforschung (School 9).

Financing: Universität Osnabrück, Sievert Stiftung für Wissenschaft und Kultur

Project phase: Completed

Research paper: On Common Cycles between Costa Rica and other Central American Countries: Evidence from Historical Data

When Languages Bring Continents Together. Linguistics Excursion to Costa Rica

In the second half of March 2018, Andrea Pešková and Trudel Meisenburg will conduct a research excursion to Costa Rica with students as part of the masters course El español de Costa Rica. This will give students the unique opportunity to gain experience in linguistics field research, to improve their language skills and to get to know the country and its people better. The main objective of the excursion is to create an (audio) corpus of spoken CR-Spanish. This data should be made available for teaching and research, as well as for the project Fonología del Español Contemporáneo (Pustka / Gabriel / Meisenburg 2016) and the Atlas interactivo de la entonación del español (Prieto / Roseano 2009-2013). In addition, meetings and exchanges with students and scientists are planned. The trip thus serves to consolidate and expand the existing cooperation of the Department of Linguistics and Literature with the Universidad de Costa Rica (San José) and builds on an exchange initiated in the fall of 2017: Adrián Vergana Heidke from the Universidad de Costa Rica paid a visit to the Institut für Romanistik / Latinistik Studies and gave a lecture on the Spanish spoken in Costa Rica.

Andrea Pešková, in turn, organized a three-day workshop on the intonation of Spanish in November 2017 at the invitation of the Universidad de Costa Rica in San José.

People involved: Dr. Andrea Pešková, Prof. Dr. Trudel Meisenburg and master students of the Institut für Romanistik/Latinistik

Partners involved: Universidad de Costa Rica (San José); Universität Osnabrück: Costa Rica Center (CRC) and Institut für Romanistik/Latinistik

Financing: Universität Osnabrück; Costa Rica Center (CRC), Department Sprach- und Literaturwissenschaft and Institut für Romanistik/Latinistik

Project phase: Completed