Greeting by Dean Professor Dr Dirk Hartmann

Dear visitors, dear visitors!

Since the 19th Century, the humanities have been part of the traditional subject canon of universities. In contrast to the concept of nature, the term 'spirit' stands for the totality of the complex manifestations of culture - the humanities can therefore be understood as specifically culture-reflective sciences. As such, they explore culture both in its present and past manifestations. On the one hand, it is a matter of investigating the past manifestations of culture as such, but on the other hand, it is also a matter of making the way our present has become understandable by referring to our past. Thirdly, in this context, the humanities have the critical task of connecting the cultural present and past to society's normative discourse of self-understanding and of comprehensively addressing the positive and negative aspects of cultural manifestations at a scientific level. In this way, the humanities participate in the cultural self-understanding process of society in all its breadth and diversity. This diversity also gives rise to their specific research profile, which is characterised by methodological plurality and a frequently individualised research practice. Today, it is important to defend this characteristic of research in the humanities against the danger of a scientistic narrowing to a monistic methodological ideal alien to the discipline, as well as against an economically dictated shortening of research topics, which would cause the central orientation function of the humanities in a plural, modern reality of life to be lost from view.

The Faculty of Humanities at the UDE is one of the largest of its kind in Germany. The humanities can be studied in almost their entire breadth and can be freely combined with one another. The latter already indicates the special nature of a humanities degree programme. Unlike programmes at other faculties, the humanities disciplines are characterised by the fact that they do not prepare students for a particular profession or a very specific field of activity. In contrast to an education that imparts specific competencies for specific professional environments, the student of the humanities acquires education in the comprehensive Humboldtian sense. Studying the humanities does not impart any occupation-specific competences, but rather the ability to deal with ever new problems, to assess them in terms of how they have developed and their potential consequences, and to be able to articulate them in an adequate, solution-oriented manner. The humanities sensitise students to recognise and deal with complex, constantly changing problems. It is precisely in these general, in the best sense unspecialised abilities that the value and appeal of a humanities degree lie. Contrary to the widespread cliché, the high degree of flexibility and the ability to quickly familiarise themselves with complex problems make graduates of a humanities degree programme attractive for the economy and its dynamically changing fields of work and problems.

Finally, studying the humanities also promotes one's own (self-)critical approach to culture in a special way. The study of the humanities is an important part of the educational path that produces autonomous, reflective and informed individuals who alone can guarantee a stable democratic and liberal constitution of their community.

I cordially invite you to inform yourself about the teaching and research activities of our faculty on the following pages.

Yours sincerely,

Dirk Hartmann

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities