university chair in biodynamic agriculture to be axed

NNA on the axing of a chair in biodynamic agriculture at the University of Kassel, Germany:

The first professorship of biodynamic agriculture in Europe at the University of Kassel in Germany has come one step closer to being axed with the decision by the council of the faculty of organic agricultural sciences to abolish the department of biodynamic agriculture and reduce the position to the level of a research assistant.

Despite the fact that several anthroposophic companies/foundations* offered to continue financing the department (it is of course in their interest, and the movement’s interest, to do so; an academic position does wonders for credibility). It is, in my opinion, a bit dishonest of them to call themselves representatives of civil society without mentioning that they are also a kind of representatives of the anthroposophic movement:

In their statement, the sponsors expressed their concern, “as representatives of civil society”, that words such as scholarship and excellence appeared to be used to denigrate positive research qualities …

However, the most important part of the article is this:

The university president, Prof. Rolf-Dieter Postlep, said: “The faculty tested in recent years whether it is possible to provide an academic basis for the subject of biodynamic agriculture and its ability to mesh with other disciplines. The opinion of the external assessors makes it clear that this would only be possible within very restricted limits in a university environment in the light of the academic standards applying there.“

Read!

[* These include ‘the Software AG Foundation, the Zukunftsstiftung Landwirtschaft foundation of the GLS Treuhand and the organic food chain Alnatura’ according to the article. At least the first three belong to the anthroposophic movement. I’m less sure about Alnatura; however, the company started by marketing its products ‘in den dm-Drogeriemärkten’, which seems to indicate there could be a connection to anthroposophy. I just don’t know more, though.]

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