Field of Focus 3 „Cultural Dynamics in Globalized Worlds,“ addresses the complexity and challenges of an increasingly dynamic world in three main fields of research: transcultural studies, area studies, and cultural heritage studies. It fosters collaborative research activities within the humanities at Heidelberg University, organized in three faculties, the Faculty of Philosophy, the Faculty of Modern Languages, and the Faculty of Theology – and those of a number of embedded research institutions and of cooperation partners both inside and outside of the city of Heidelberg.
Research Profile: The Research activities of Field of Focus 3 center on the construction and the dynamic of cultural spaces. The focus of the research contributes to a deeper understanding of pressing challenges such as the construction of cultural identities and the role of cultural heritages. Additionally, it attempts to analyze and better understand social and religious conflicts through methods of transcultural studies. These conflicts challenge individual and societal identities, which often are triggered by, or even a result of, increasing mobility, migration, and historic entanglements. Exploring correlated ruptures and radical changes of the present and contextualize them in light of the past is one of the key issues for the humanities in Heidelberg. In addition to the established domains of transculturality, area studies, and studies of cultural heritage, the humanities at Heidelberg University have also developed distinguished expertise in the principles of text editing and digital humanities.
The humanities’ research profile is supported by a number of embedded institutions. One institution is the Heidelberg Center for Cultural Heritage (HCCH [#als LINK hinter HCCH: https://www.uni-heidelberg.de/hcch/index_en.html] ), which supports the management of cultural resources and preservation of cultural heritage by serving as a platform for critical discussion and knowledge transfer. It also supports exchanges between the numerous collections of Heidelberg University. Another institution is the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), which develops methods for exploring the dynamics of cultural processes and in this way significantly supports interdisciplinary dialogue. Area Studies at Heidelberg University focuses on three different parts of the Americas: Southern and Eastern Asia at the Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS); North America at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies (HCA); and Iberian America at the newly founded Center for Ibero-America Studies (HCIAS). Paradigmatic exploration of processes of social integration and cohesion as well as on cultural-linguistic aspects provides ideal conditions with such integrated and involved research institutions (cf. European Center for modern languages – EZS, Ibero-America Center – IAZ and the Heidelberg University Language and Cognition Lab – HULC). For the further development of editorial standards and projects in the field of Digital Humanities, are the University Library – especially through its publishing house heiUP – and the Interdisciplinary Center for Scientific Computing (IWR) of upmost importance.
Field of Focus 3 also benefits from a network of regional and transregional/international cooperation partners, especially the Hochschule für Jüdische Studien Heidelberg, the Heidelberg Academy of Humanities and Sciences (Heidelberger Akademie der Wissenschaften (https://www.hadw-bw.de/), and the Institute for German Language in Mannheim (IDS Institut für Deutsche Sprache) co-founded with the Leibniz-ScienceCampus LiMo (Empirical Linguistics and Computational Language Modeling). Moreover, there are several collaborations with relevant regional and international museums.
Knowledge Transfer to students and the wider public is realized through the promotion of research-based programs in traditional and innovative subjects such as the Master of Transcultural Studies (MATS) or the Master in Medieval Studies. The research-based teaching of the humanities at Heidelberg University provides ideal preparation for future teachers, cultural workers, and decision-makers. Additionally, two research associations – the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” and the Collaborative Research Centre SFB 933 “Material Text Cultures” – have been a great support at the level of strategic science communication. Each association presents their research to the public with lecture series, round tables, guided tours of special collections, video clips, and Social Media.
The role of the Research Council of Field of Focus 3 is to coordinate interdisciplinary research, to identify new areas of research, and to support promising research projects through start-up financing. In this way, Field of Focus 3 can further develop the specific profile of the humanities at Heidelberg University, give fresh impetus through relating emerging fields, and support projects that involve cooperation with other the other Fields of Focus of the University. At the most basic level, it supports young researchers and gender equality within the Field of Focus 3 and its numerous institutions.