Describing the Max Weber Programme as an enriching experience would be an understatement. It has been so much more.
As a historian, I learned to analyse evidence carefully and use the arguments from other disciplines in the social sciences.
Before the year at the Villa la Fonte, I would never have imagined chairing a workshop on game theory and the sixteenth-century art market. Nevertheless, the interesting Max Weber Lectures, the animated discussions with the Fellows in economics and a crash course in game theory for social scientists enabled me to do so successfully.
Equally, I became skilled in adopting comparative and transnational approaches in my own research. Since then, this methodological framework has become the keystone of my postdoctoral research on sixteenth-century noblemen and their cross-border strategies between France and the Netherlands.
So as a scholar, there is the era 'before' the MWP, and the one 'after'. Still, the most rewarding part of the MWP experience consisted of making friends in one of the most beautiful places in Tuscany. The year may have passed too quickly, but fortunately those contacts stay. My (research) community has now opened up to New York, Montreal, Hong Kong, Zürich, Vienna, Amsterdam and Berlin...
Violet Soen, Max Weber Fellow 2008-2009, HEC