Research foci and perspectives
How do social agents and structures meet the challenges of an uncertain future and how do they handle contingency through their actions? Since 2013, the historical dimension of these highly topical questions has been the subject of the GRADUIERTENKOLLEG 1919 „Precaution, prevision, prediction: managing contingency” at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The novelty of its approach is a shift in its level of analysis away from beliefs about the future towards a focus on social agents` effective actions, as well as the structural opportunities (and constraints?) for such actions to be realised. By comparing different cultures and different epochs, the aim is thus to explore the plurality of social horizons of possibility. In order to achieve this, our research project focuses on areas of human practice in which contingency posed and still poses a special challenge, differentiating diverse forms of contingent events.
In this way our research project modifies and refines theoretical considerations that assume a new kind of relationship to contingency as a characteristic feature of modernity, hence making a significant contribution to the contemporary research discourse in the field of the history of the perception of the future. Through its innovative theoretical approach and cross-cultural research design, the research group is able to offer its doctoral students a methodologically and theoretically advanced level of qualification. The specially tailored programme and structured supervision ensure that students are successfully guided towards a choice of relevant research themes and aims and also that they successfully complete their degree and are well prepared for their future careers.
Ancient History has as its object of research the historical development of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Its period of study ranges from the beginnings of Greek culture in the Mycenaean civilization (14th to 12th centuries B.C.) to the collapse of Roman rule in Western Europe at the end of the 5th century A.D. and to a climax of Byzantine rule under Emperor Justinian in the 6th century.
Research focuses on European history from the early to the late Middle Ages, examining in particular political, constitutional, and cultural history issues, religious lifestyles and memorial practices, perceptions and conceptions of time dimensions, and gender history topics. The focus is also on aspects of power and rule of female elites in European comparison, marriage-political alliance systems and the resulting spaces of communication and behavior, as well as gender-specific attributions and power constellations in contexts of violence and war in a synchronic and diachronic perspective.
Research and teaching of the professorship have their temporal focus on the history of the 12th to 16th centuries. The focus of interest is on historical processes that begin in the late Middle Ages, continue into the early modern period, and are genetically and parabolically related to our contemporary lifeworlds and experiences. In this way, the professorship transcends established epochal boundaries in both teaching and research. Geographically, research and teaching focus on the Mediterranean as a zone of transcultural interconnectedness through long-distance trade, expansion, and migration. In doing so, it focuses above all on Italy of the late Middle Ages as a space in which the nodes of transcultural networking condensed in an exceptional way.
Much of what people in Europe have taken for granted, or at least considered desirable, since the second half of the 20th century was first thought of or done in the three centuries between 1500 and 1800: travel around the world, enjoyment of exotic things, a boundless thirst for exploration, questioning of formerly sacred traditions. In contrast, other attitudes, behaviors, and conditions that are just as typical of the early modern era seem strange, even repulsive to us: censorship, torture, capital punishment, religious wars, witch hunts, blatant inequality and lack of freedom, even slavery. The various research projects of the department "History of the Early Modern Period" take up this contradictoriness and reflect the peculiar ambivalence of a "Janus-faced" epoch.
The research project is dedicated to "left authoritarianism" in the student movement in Turkey between 1960 and 1990. It uses an actor-centered approach to investigate the authoritarian habitus, regardless of which of the numerous left ideological directions the actors followed. It looks for the social, regional, and religious backgrounds of the left authoritarianism that developed especially since 1969, analyzes its forms of expression and effects, and the question of how it manifested itself in the social relations within the groups, in order to be able to determine the tension between traditional attitudes and "revolutionary" actions.
Research focuses lie in the area of a culturally historically expanded political and social history since the late 18th century. Current research projects deal with the cultural and experiential history of war, with sport in the Nazi era, with the shaping of industrial work processes in the interwar period, and with ambiguity and social order using the example of transsexuality in a contemporary historical perspective.
Research focuses on European social, economic, legal and cultural history since the 18th century. The current research projects lie at the intersection of social and scientific history and deal with questions of knowledge production, its organization, its legal version and spatial visualizations.
Extra-European history treats people living outside or originating from Europe as historical actors in their own right, which it studies in the context of intercultural encounters, urban, gender, missionary, trade, and generally cultural and social history.
The central research perspectives of the chair lie in the history of the Rhine-Meuse region, a cross-border cultural area that today includes areas of the Netherlands and Belgium as well as the German Lower Rhine, since the late Middle Ages. In particular, cultural transfer and the handling of plurality in various spheres of life (multilingualism, multiconfessionalism, etc.) are in focus.
The didactics of history is the science of historical learning. It is a sub-discipline of the science of history, from which it draws its epistemological foundations. Research in history didactics addresses the questions of what is learned about and through history (empirical task), what can be learned (theoretical task) and what should be learned (normative task). The research projects of the department are related to these tasks with different accentuation.
The research area "Global Mobility from the 18th to the 20th Century" looks at cross-border movements - of people, things, ideas - and connections, but also at their interruption, diversion or termination. The focus is mostly on the - often conflictual - interactions between Europe and other world regions. A regional focus of the research area is on Mediterranean and Atlantic history. Thematic foci are the comparative history of colonial rule and its collapse, the history of migration and refugees, the history of public and private spaces, and questions of public memory in the past and present.