Field of Focus IIIResearch Focus

The Research Council identified four major thematic priorities in the Humanities which will be further developed through different methods.

  • Knowledge Research with a focus on questions of validity
  • Cultural Heritage
  • Transformation Processes (order/disorder/reorganization)
  • Embodiment of perception and (Linguistic interaction)
  • Friendship and Enmity

The Reasearch Council supports these priorities with funds from the University in order to network and strengthen existing research activities on the priority topics. Furthermore the goal is a structure-building effect in research and teaching as well as in the areas of promoting early career researchers and internationalization. In addition, the Digital Humanities and the regional science approach, which has long been a defining feature of Heidelberg, are strengthened across all topics.

Knowledge Research

The Humanities at the University of Heidelberg shape the knowledge research with a special focus on historical global-transcultural dimension as well as narrative aspects. Institutions of traditional knowledge production are particularly challenged in the face of growing disinformation campaigns/fake facts. In CRC 3, knowledge research is currently bundled in the Thematic Research Network “Knowledge Validity” (with the CRC initiative "Validity Cultures"), which focuses on validity resources (material, immaterial, informal, institutional, etc.) and knowledge philologies. Research at the RTG "Authority and Trust" is just as much a part of this focus as the project "The antizigan gaze", which is based at the Antiziganism Research Center and focuses on the analysis of toxic knowledge and media-historical aspects. The research focus is to be supplemented by further historical, but also systematic projects; in particular, the crisis of conventional knowledge production through fake news etc. can be addressed.

Cultural Heritage

Since the establishment of CRC 933 “Material Text Cultures” and its successor institution, the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage - HCCH, founded in 2012, Cultural Heritage has been an internationally recognized research focus. In cooperation with the flagship initiative “Transforming Cultural Heritage” and building on the activities of the groups "Foundations in the Longue Durée", “Heimat(en)” and the university collections, the concept and discourses of Cultural Heritage will continue to be developed as a research profile. Future projects will deal in particular with the concept of Cultural Heritage, its criticism and further development, but also with the significance of the digital revolution for the preservation of Cultural Heritage or with intangible Cultural Heritage and 'dark heritage'. A further focus lies on the reflection and methodological development of Digital Heritage in cooperation with the Heidelberg Center for Digital Humanities as well as on the connection to edition-theoretical and practical expertise at Heidelberg University and the University Library. The view of imaginaries of cultural futures from heritage, which is specific to humanities methods, also has its place in this profile line.

Transformation Processes (order/disorder/reorganization)

In view of major social upheavals, research into transformation processes is of great relevance. Based on the research at the Center for Apocalyptic and Postapocalyptic Studies (CAPAS), the Worldmaking Kolleg and the Thematic Research Network “Environments - Upheavals - Rethinking” in cooperation with the HCE, but also the newly established RTG "Ambivalent Enmity", the FoF 3 investigates moments of transformation and the emergence of disorder with every definition of order. All deviations within the order or the edges and the outside of the order are to be understood as disordered. Possible further projects can deal with deviations/dissolution of existing orders and (cultural) spaces as well as processes of transition and reinvention. Research on sustainability in the sense of a new order of the formerly disordered is also relevant in this focus area. This focus area can also deal with imaginaries of cultural futures.

Embodiment of perception and (Linguistic interaction)

The “Cognitive Science” group has been funded for some time as a bridge between FoF 3 and FoF 4, investigating the neuronal basis of event cognition. With the "Objects of Attraction" project (GRK initiative), an initiative has also been formed that deals with the physical representation of objects. This area is set to develop further, which is why interdisciplinary projects are being funded that focus on the physicality of expression and interaction, but also on cognition and the interaction between language and the body. Topics such as the interaction between humans and machines (AI) can also be investigated in this focus area. Projects that deal with mediality can also be funded in this research focus, insofar as they concern the interaction of people, things and environments. Bridging the gap to FoFs 1 and 2 is particularly desirable.

Friendship and Enmity

Two major new projects at Heidelberg University are exploring the tense relationship between rejection and attraction. On the one hand, this involves the discursive, but also real political dynamics that are generated by narratives about aggressors (Ladenburg Kolleg zu Geschichtsnarrativen in gesamteuropäischer Perspektive), and on the other hand on the ambivalence that is implicit in every hostile bond (GRK „Ambivalent Enmity“). Both projects are strongly interdisciplinary in nature. Research into friendship and enmity, attraction and rejection from a transregional, transtemporal and transcultural perspective is to be expanded as a new research focus at Heidelberg University in the future. Topics can also lie at the intersection of the research focus on knowledge research with a focus on questions of validity or on research into transformation processes. Bridging between the Fields of Focus and the inclusion of Area Studies is also desired here.