Mainz University honors Johannes Kabatek with the 2024 Gutenberg Research Award

Most prestigious research prize of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is awarded to Romance Studies scholar from the University of Zurich

16 April 2024

Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) has granted the 2024 Gutenberg Research Award to Professor Johannes Kabatek, a Romance Studies scholar from the University of Zurich. The Gutenberg Research Award is JGU's most eminent research prize, endowed with EUR 10,000, and conferred annually by the Gutenberg Research College (GRC), the central institution for the promotion of top-level research at Mainz University. Johannes Kabatek is Professor of Romance Philology, with a special focus on Ibero-Romance linguistics. He will receive the award on May 13, 2024, at this year's GRC award ceremony. While present in Mainz on this occasion, Kabatek will use the opportunity for exchange with colleagues and he will give a guest lecture at the JGU Department of Romance Studies.

"Johannes Kabatek is one of the most renowned Romance linguists in the German-speaking world and one of the most important representatives of his discipline. With the 2024 Gutenberg Research Award, we honor him for his remarkable academic achievements. These include ten monographs and 24 edited books as well as more than 140 academic papers and about 200 lectures given," stated Professor Mita Banerjee, Director of the GRC. "Over the years, Kabatek has also made an outstanding contribution to the promotion of early-career researchers. About one in every three of the 25 scholars who completed their doctoral and professorial dissertations under his supervision now hold professorships in countries such as Germany, Austria, Spain, Brazil, and Switzerland."

Building bridges between different academic disciplines

Johannes Kabatek was born in Stuttgart in 1965. He studied, amongst other subjects, Romance Philology and Political Science at the University of Tübingen. He obtained his doctorate in 1995 with a thesis on Language contact in Northwest Spain. "This work was groundbreaking and has since become a standard reference at international level. To this day, it continues to shape the language and cultural policies of the Iberian Peninsula," emphasized Professor David Paul Gerards of JGU's Department of Romance Studies, who nominated Johannes Kabatek for the 2024 Gutenberg Research Award. "Professor Kabatek's habilitation thesis similarly goes beyond the limits of linguistics. It is, in fact, a key piece of scholarly work for Europe's legal, intellectual, and cultural history, in which Kabatek manages to bridge the divide between different academic disciplines in a unique and impressive way," added Gerards. This linking of academic disciplines is a constant feature in Kabatek's research, as evidenced, for instance, by his work on the interfaces between linguistics and mathematics and linguistics and medicine, respectively.

From 2002 to 2013, Kabatek was Professor of Romance Linguistics at the universities of Freiburg and Tübingen; since 2013, he has held a professorship at the University of Zurich (UZH). In 2020, he became the Director of UZH's Competence Center Language & Medicine. Kabatek has received numerous awards, including the Werner Heisenberg Medal from the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and the Spanish Order of Civil Merit, the so-called Cruz de Oficial de la Orden del Mérito Civil, as well as an honorary doctorate from the University of Suceava in Romania.