The Hettner Lectures, funded by the Klaus Tschira Foundation, were an annual lecture series, devoted to research frontiers in the borderlands between geography, economics, the social sciences, and the humanities. It aimed to further the exchange of methodological and theoretical developments across disciplinary and national boundaries, and to transmit the relevance of geographical thought to a wider audience.
During a ten-day stay, the invited guest-speakers would present two public lectures, one of which transmitted via teleteaching on the internet. In addition, several seminars would give graduate students and young researchers the opportunity to meet and converse with an internationally acclaimed scholar. Such an experience at an early stage in the academic career opens up new perspectives for research and encourages critical reflections on current theoretical debates and geographical practice.
The Hettner-Lecture was named after Alfred Hettner (1859–1941), Professor of Geography at the University of Heidelberg from 1899-1928, and founding editor of the
Geographische Zeitschrift, who strongly influenced the development of the discipline in Germany for many years. The first Hettner Lecture took place from 23rd to 27th June 1997 with Professor Dr. Derek Gregory from the Department of Geography, University of British Columbia (Vancouver/Canada).