Käte Hamburger International Centres

Political cultures, media philosophy, religion, law, labour and the environment all require international and comparative research perspectives. With the Käte Hamburger International Centres, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has been furnishing outstanding researchers with the freedom to conduct world-class research in the humanities since 2008.

Studierende im Hörsaal; © Adobe Stock/kasto

Adobe Stock/kasto

A total of ten International Centres at German universities offer humanities scholars and social scientists the opportunity to spend up to twelve years working together with outstanding national and international researchers on topics of their own choosing, free from the many obligations of everyday academic life. The International Centres thereby invite researchers from all over the world – so-called Fellows – for a period of up to one year.

The consequence of exchange with other knowledge cultures is that the mostly unquestioned things that people take for granted can be put to the test and new perspectives can be acquired. Moreover, comparative cultural research, as well as methods in the humanities, will be subject to further development as a result of new experimental ways of thinking. This freedom of interdisciplinary research often enables a working relationship with the Secondary Subjects on new, innovative questions, and frequently attains outstanding research results." In this way, the visible and effective priority formation, known at both international and European level, of the German humanities in the universities is promoted and the links to central topics of research abroad and to foreign institutions are strengthened. The Käte Hamburger International Centres funding line was assessed as excellent in 2017.

The BMBF is therefore continuing with this successful model. The BMBF is reacting to the rapid development of science and technology with the funding guideline for the funding of Käte Hamburger International Centres (Federal Gazette of 01.04.2019): In addition to "classical International Centres", funding under funding line II can now also be provided for those who are pursuing a transdisciplinary study in the area of cooperation between the humanities and the life sciences, the natural sciences, technology and engineering, as, for example, on issues of artificial intelligence or medical ethics. The funding of the first International Centres will be ready to start in 2020 and the funding directive will be opened on two further dates (2021, 2023).

Funded Centres

Between 2007 and 2011, an international panel of experts selected a total of ten “Käte Hamburger Centres” on the following topics:

KHK Duisburg-Essen: Centre for Global Cooperation Research

KHK Jena: Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena: Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

KHK Bonn: Law as Culture          

KHK HU Berlin: Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History    

KHK Munich: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society           

KHK Cologne: Morphomata. Genesis, Dynamics and Mediality of Cultural Figurations  

KHK Erlangen-Nuremberg: Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe

KHK Bochum: Dynamics in the History of Religions         

KHK Weimar: International Centre for Cultural Skills Research and Media Philosophy  

KHK FU Berlin: Interweaving Performance Cultures

    

KHK Duisburg-Essen: Centre for Global Cooperation Research

The Käte Hamburger Centre "Centre for Global Cooperation Research" is an interdisciplinary centre conducting research into global cooperation. It examines the challenges and opportunities of global cooperation in a culturally diverse global society defined not least by the rise of new regional and global powers. Based on exemplary problem areas the Centre asks how global governance can be organised in view of increasing political and cultural differentiation set against problems that are worldwide in scope.

Director:
Prof. Dr. Sigrid Quack, University of Duisburg-Essen

Co-Directors:
Prof. Dr. Tobias Debiel, University of Duisburg-Essen
Prof. Dr. Dirk Messner, German Development Institute, Bonn
Prof. Dr. Jan Aart Scholte, University of Gothenburg

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KHK Jena: Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena: Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century

The Käte Hamburger Centre "Eastern Europe in the Twentieth Century: Comparative Historical Experience" examines central issues of Eastern European contemporary history from a transnational perspective. The Centre explores the origins and function of political violence in Eastern Europe, asks how the state interacts with its citizens and examines the first steps towards democracy. Further key areas are societal transformations and the ideas of modernity that underlie them.

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Joachim von Puttkamer, Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dr. Michal Kopeček, Friedrich Schiller University Jena

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KHK Bonn: Law as Culture

The Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study in the Humanities "Law as Culture" aims to contribute to an understanding of law in times of increasing globalisation of normative orders. As opposed to the legal sciences, specifically legal doctrine, the Centre aims to apply the categories and methods of the humanities to render law comprehensible as a significant dimension of a globalising world.

Directorate:
Prof. Dr jur. Werner Gephart, University of Bonn
Prof. Dr. jur. Nina Dethloff, University of Bonn
Prof. Dr. Clemens Albrecht, University of Bonn

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KHK HU Berlin: Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History

The Käte Hamburger Centre "Work and Human Life Cycle in Global History" conducts basic research into the history of work. It explores the relationship between work and life history in the varying historic constellations since the rise of capitalism, and investigates how the relationship between work and social justice was shaped between the generations. The aim of the researchers is to comparatively examine the interactive relationship between work and life history.

Director:
Prof. Dr. Andreas Eckert, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

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KHK Munich: Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society

The activities of the Rachel Carson Center are designed to strengthen the role of the humanities in environmental matters and to increase their previously marginal presence in public debate. The Center collaborates with Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Deutsches Museum in Munich and brings together researchers exploring the relationship between nature and culture based on a historic and genetic perspective across disciplines and in various temporal and geographic contexts.

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Christof Mauch, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich

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KHK Cologne: Morphomata. Genesis, Dynamics and Mediality of Cultural Figurations

At the Käte Hamburger Morphomata International Center for Advanced Studies  up to ten fellows a year work with researchers from Cologne mainly on the analysis of cultural change. Based on specific cultural items – symbols, figures, works of art – they explore the various stylings of the figurative and develop joint and separate understandings of the cultural creation of meani

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Dietrich Boschung, University of Cologne
Prof. Dr. Günter Blamberger, University of Cologne

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KHK Erlangen-Nuremberg: Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe

The Centre "Fate, Freedom, and Prognostication”. Strategies for Coping with the Future in East Asia and Europe" examines notions of individual and collective fate in the lifestyles and world views of traditional, modern and contemporary China/East Asia. Its findings on the relationship between attitudes to fate and prognostication are intended to permit answers to questions pertaining to the place of freedom in various cultures.

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Michael Lackner, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Prof. Dr. Klaus Herbers, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg
Prof. Dr. Thomas Fröhlich, University of Erlangen-Nuremberg

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KHK Bochum: Dynamics in the History of Religions

The Käte Hamburger Centre "Dynamics in the History of Religions" explores the origins and development of the major religious traditions through their encounters and confrontations with each other. It focuses mainly on dynamics of the origin and spread of religions, the mutual permeation of religious traditions and their compression within the complex structures of the so-called world religions in Europe and Asia. The aim of this research is to develop a typology of religious contacts and a theory of religious transfer.

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Alexandra Cuffel, Ruhr-Universität Bochum
Prof. Dr. Kianoosh Rezania, Ruhr-Universität Bochum

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KHK Weimar: International Centre for Cultural Skills Research and Media Philosophy

The Internationales Kolleg für Kulturtechnikforschung und Medienphilosophie (IKKM) of the Bauhaus University Weimar explores the relationships between people and objects in the technified media culture of the 20th and 21st centuries. The starting point of the Centre's research is the assumption that devices and artefacts can no longer be understood as mere tools of cultural activity, perception, comprehension, communication etc., but intervene with a power of their own in cultural and reflective processes.

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Lorenz Engell, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Siegert, Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

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KHK FU Berlin: Interweaving Performance Cultures

This Käte Hamburger Centre opens up and explores a new field of research: the interrelationships between performance cultures in the context of history and present-day globalisation. Such interrelationships, which go back as far as the late 19th century, are today particularly apparent in international ensemble casts, in collaborative productions between artists from various cultures or in the globally popular international theatre festivals that bring together artistic work from a range of cultures.

Directors:
Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c.Erika Fischer-Lichte, Freie Universität Berlin
Prof. Dr. Gabriele Brandstetter, Freie Universität Berlin
Dr. Christel Weiler
Prof. Dr. Matthias Warstat

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