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Research Centres of the Faculty of Arts

Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies

The interdisciplinary and comparative Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) will implement a comprehensive and lasting research network which focuses on the agency of individuals as well as groups within asymmetrical structures of dependency generated by social orders. Different forms of dependencies, which can be situated on a continuum ranging from slavery to freedom, have existed throughout human history around the entire world. It was only in the Western hemisphere (in the form of Atlantic slavery) that a coherent type of slavery legally sanctioned by the state emerged as the basis for a number of empires, a type of slavery that simultaneously shaped the economies of the emerging nations of the "West" – including its colonies. The topic of Atlantic Slavery has given rise to a particularly thriving research field in the USA. Since the 1960s, a vast field of research has developed around Atlantic slavery in the US, as well as in other historiographies (such as Brazil). These activities have had an immense impact on contemporary slavery research. Nevertheless, in other major regions of the world (such as the Arab world, China, India, Central Asia, Siberia, the region around the Indian Ocean and the Pacific and pre-Columbian America), various forms of slavery have existed with unique legal rules. Although these forms of slavery partly still exist today, they have never existed in the compact way that is characteristic of slavery in the Western hemisphere; therefore, they were easily hidden by being embedded within local cultural or religious codes. The global field of dependency/slavery research requires an expansion towards the Eastern hemisphere, Africa and pre-Columbian America. This will not only significantly broaden the international debate, but will also make it possible to record the specific developments within these regions for the first time. In addition to closing major research gaps of the field, the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS) will also provide new information that can help to stimulate the international scientific debate on the topic of dependency and slavery.

Bonn Centre for Medieval Studies (BMZ)

The Bonn Centre for Medieval Studies unites representatives of seven different departments. Its aim is the interdisciplinary study of the Middle Ages with emphases on: (1) Editing, reception, commenting: The compilation and interpretation of medieval written sources. (2) Social order, communication and domination: Social and cultural change. (3) Accumulation and dissemination of knowledge (cultural memory). (4) The Middle Ages in regional and intercultural comparison. Projects concerning medieval history, medieval languages, medieval literature, art und philosophy in the Middle Ages, history of law, theology i.a. are carried out.

Center for Global Studies (CGS)

Political, social, and cultural ramifications of economic and technological globalization as well as the connected phenomenon of global power shifts in the 21st century are at the heart of the research conducted at the Centre for Global Studies (CGS). Thus, research at the CGS focusses on the various manifestations of globality of societies in all world regions. By taking perspectives of political science, sociology, and cultural studies, the different varieties of globality in Asia, Europe, the Americas, Africa, and Australia-Oceania are examined in an interdisciplinary manner. The research Centre aims in particular at a systematic reflection, meaningful analysis, and cross-cultural comparison of the historical disparities, asymmetries, and contradictions characterizing different regions and cultural spheres in times of increasing globality.

Centre for the Classical Tradition (CCT)

The Centre for the Classical Tradition (CCT) is a research Centre devoted to the study of classical antiquity and its reception up to the present age. Its activities focus on all facets of European languages and literatures as well religion, politics, art, philosophy, and science that are directly or indirectly related to Greco-Roman civilization. It operates with the notion of ‘Classical Tradition’ not in the sense of a canonical legacy that is reverently handed down from one generation to another but rather a dynamic interaction, marked by understandings and misunderstandings, between the classical and post-classical worlds. Classical antiquity itself is not a monolithic epoch, and processes of reception, adaptation, transformation, and appropriation started in the ancient Mediterranean world itself. These phenomena are as much part of the CCT’s interests as the variegated modes of preservation, perception, imitation, and re-creation of the classics in subsequent eras. At the heart of the CCT’s projects and initiatives lies the assumption that Greco-Roman, both pagan and early Christian, culture has been a factor of central significance in the nature and development of European civilization and continues to inform our present age in a large and fascinating variety of ways. 

Centre for the Cultures of Ageing (ZAK)

The tradition of ageing research at the University of Bonn is ranging from the post-war period to the present days. It is closely associated way with the names Hans Thomae and Ursula Lehr. In particular, Georg Rudinger and his colleagues have continued their pioneering achievements in gerontology by (co-)working on a number of research projects, some of which may be mentioned here: (1) Bonn Longitudinal Study of Ageing (BOLSA), (2) Cross European Longitudinal Study of Ageing (EXCELSA), (3) Interdisciplinary Long-term Study of Adulthood (ILSE), (4) Images of Age an Ageing and Social Structure (BIAS), (5) Age and Technology (ALTEC). Given the existing institutions in Bonn with their tradition of research on ageing and their proven scientific expertise, it makes sense to link and to bundle corresponding research projects on age and ageing processes.

Centre for Historical Foundations of the Present (ZHGG)

The Centre serves collaboration in interdisciplinary research on the historical foundations of the present, foremost in the 18th and 19th century. At the Institute of History, under participation of the Institute of Political Science and Sociology, and the Institute of Public Law, the following research areas are examined: (1) Change in the monopoly of state power and the relationship between states, (2) Change of the traditional economic and social systems, (3) Change in public opinion, political parties and parliamentary decision-making, (4) Impact of change on the peaceful co-existence of countries and peoples.

Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaft/Cultural Studies (ZfKW)

The Zentrum für Kulturwissenschaft/Cultural Studies brings together experts from various disciplines – among them, literary studies, media studies, anthropology, sociology, political science history, and geography – to create institutional links between the departments involved and foster original cultural studies research and teaching at the University of Bonn. The Centre’s work is not limited by any particular theoretical school or programmatic approach. Instead, it engages in a truly interdisciplinary endeavor which aims to create a productive dialog between scholars working with different conceptions of culture.

Bonn Centre for Transcultural Narratology

A focus of the Bonn Centre for Transcultural Narratology, officially established by the Rectorate in 2010, is the elaboration and analysis of narrative structures in "non-occidental", generally 'pre-modern' texts. These "non-occidental" texts, i.e. texts that are for the most part not written in one of the major European languages, are not examined for their factuality, their philological subtleties or their significant historical statements, but rather to raise questions as to what the narrative techniques of the sources look like and what we can extract from the texts through their narrative structures with regards to the "mental (emotional and cognitive, unconscious and conscious) operations through which the experience of time is processed in the medium of memory to orientations of life practice" (cf. Rüsen 2008). The scope of materials we study ranges from Chinese, Japanese, Mongolian, Egyptian and Tibetan to Sanskrit, Aramaic, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Hittite and oral texts. In addition, alter/native texts from the major European languages are considered.

Centres with Involvement of the Faculty of Arts

Centre for European Integration Studies (ZEI)

The Centre for European Integration Studies is an interdisciplinary research and post-graduate education institute of the University of Bonn. Founded in 1995 through a decision of the University Senate under the Bonn-Berlin Law, the Centre provides future oriented research on unresolved questions of European integration and the global role of Europe. The Centre’s academic focus on “Governance and Regulation in the EU” bridges academia and practice with a focus on political and legal questions. „Governance and Regulation in the EU” brings together key aspects whose critical interplay shapes the EU, its impact on citizens’ lives and its role globally. Research, consultancy work and post-graduate education mutually reinforce each other at the Centre. Since 1998, the Centre has offered a one year “Master in European Studies – Governance and Regulation” in English. Until now, students from 123 countries have successfully studied at the Centre.

Centre for Evaluation and Methods  (ZEM)

The Centre for Evaluation and Methods at the University of Bonn is directed by Prof. Dr. André Beauducel (Head of Psychological Methods, Assessment, and Evaluation; Department of Psychology, Faculty of Arts) and was founded by Prof. Georg Rudinger in 1999. Our key research areas are evaluation as well as media, social and market research. Five academic researchers work at the Centre. We conduct research on behalf of private enterprises as well as government and university bodies. The statistics unit analyses survey data, including data from external surveys, and processes it into a clear and comprehensible form. The Centre is responsible for implementing and continuously maintaining and improving the university evaluation at the University of Bonn. The quality of academic teaching as well as the structure of study programs are evaluated by means of paper-pencil and online questionnaires. The Centre is also responsible for maintaining and improving the university’s Online-Self-Assessment (OSA). The OSA yields feedback on the aptitude and abilities of those who want to study at the University of Bonn. It also provides information about the profile of the academic teaching in the respective subjects.

Centre for Religion and Society  (ZERG)

The Centre for Religion and Society was founded on July 12th, 2005 at the University of Bonn as an institution combining the excellence in teaching and research of various faculties. It focusses on the relation of “Religion and Society” and, in this context, regularly organizes seminars, lectures, and symposia and helps to initiate research projects. Thus, ZERG unites the research interests of around 30 members (Professors and Lecturers from the Faculties of Protestant and Catholic Theology, Arts, and Law and Political Science, and from the Old Catholic Seminary).

Centre for Development Research (ZEF)

The Centre for Development Research is an institute of the University of Bonn. It started its research activities in 1997. The Centre’s researchers aim to find science-based solutions to development-related issues. ZEF’s research departments on Economic and Technological Change, Political and Cultural Change, and Ecology and Natural Resources Management conduct inter- and trans-disciplinary research in, for and with emerging economies and on global issues with its collaborating research partners around the world. ZEF educates doctoral students from all over the world in its Doctoral Studies Program. The Centre is guided by an International Advisory Board.

International Centre for Philosophy NRW

In line with contemporary developments and with a global orientation we support intercultural and interdisciplinary exchange in the field of philosophy and neighbouring disciplines. In addition to guest lectures, symposiums and visiting professorships, this includes an international course of studies as well as an international doctoral college and exchange programmes for undergraduates and doctoral students.

Interdisciplinary Latin America Centre (ILZ)

Since its foundation in 2004, the ILZ has been promoting scientific dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration between scientists and institutes at the University of Bonn. In addition, the ILZ maintains collaborations and projects with universities with a regional scientific focus, especially in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia NRW. The interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach of the ILZ is accompanied by the development of innovative methodological and conceptual approaches that go beyond the portfolio of single-discipline approaches. The translation services of the ILZ allow natural, social and humanistic perspectives to think together and thus to investigate the interactions between man, technology and nature.

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