Flagship-InitiativeTransforming Cultural Heritage

With the goal of placing cultural heritage at the center of research, teaching, and transfer in an innovative form, the flagship initiative "Transforming Cultural Heritage" aims to bring together Heidelberg University's diverse disciplinary and region-specific competencies in researching and practically dealing with cultural heritage. As a central measure within the framework of the Excellence Strategy, the Flagship Initiative networks research in the humanities and social sciences at Ruperto Carola in the field of Heritage Studies and, in doing so, strengthens the link between the university's Fields of Focus III "Cultural Dynamics in Globalized Worlds" and IV "Self-Regulation and Regulation: Individuals and Societies".

The topic of 'Cultural Heritage', which is at the center of the research activities of the Flagship, includes questions of high social relevance, which, in addition to the protection and preservation of cultural heritage, also encompass aspects of cultural and social diversity, political dimensions of (democratic) decision-making mechanisms and characteristics of civil societies. Other key issues include mobility and migration, questions of legal definition of ownership, provenance and repatriation, and the intertwining of cultural heritage with economic aspects of tourism and (illegal) trade. The consequences of climate change, natural disasters, armed conflicts and societal crises for cultural heritage are also explored within the Flagship initiative. By critically examining concepts such as 'authenticity' and 'integrity', ideological instrumentalization, and actors articulating claims of ownership over cultural heritage, the Flagship aims to make significant contributions to a highly relevant field of research.

With a new professorship for „Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection“ as well as an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary master's program, a focus for the study of cultural heritage is also being created at the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage (HCCH). Significant impulses for the cross-disciplinary and cross-institutional formation of focal points are also being provided by the regional science institutions at Ruperto Carola, such as the Center for Asian Studies and Transcultural Studies (CATS), the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA), and the Heidelberg Center for Ibero-American Studies (HCIAS).The Flagship Initiative is committed to the transfer of knowledge to non-university settings such as museums and schools, as well as to the general public.