Research Centre

The research centres of the Faculty of Arts are a key component to promote interdisciplinary researches.

Research Focus

Except individual research projects the research centres of the Faculty of Arts are a key conponent to promote interdisciplinary research. Institutes and especially research centres consititute our essential research networks and further develop an interdisciplinary research identity with these networks.

Since many years the Faculty of Arts has commited itself to a strategy in order to expand the joint research projects. The faculty supports initiatives which not only lead to research projects, but also identify interdisciplinary joint research focuses which the faculty aims to finance in the future.

Apart from numerous outsatnding individual researchers and research centres, there are also interdisciplinary subjects, which may be considered the cornerstones of research and contribute to a high reputation due to the past and present activities. The research of ethics of science, which is an excellent research area, but has not beecome the common research focus of the faculty, is being conducted by the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences (DRZE) and Institute for Science and Ethics (IWE), both of which work closely together with the Faculty of Methematics and Nature Sciences as well as the Faculty of Medicine.


Research Centres of the Faculty of Arts


Cluster of Excellence: "Beyond Slavery and Freedom"


Research Centres, in which the Faculty of Arts participates

Research Centres, 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 Medieaval Studies 

The Bonn Centre for Medieaval Studies, in which representatives from seven institutes work closely together, strives for the interdisciplinary research in medieaval studies. The major research focuses include: (1) edition, reception, annotation: development and intepretation of medieaval written documents. (2) social structures, communication and reign: social and cultural transformation. (3) formation and transmission of knowledge (cultural memory). (4) regional and intercultural comparison during medieaval times. Currently the centre carries out various research projects on medieaval histories, medieaval languages, medieaval literature, medieaval art and philosophy, the legal histories, theology, etc.

Bonn Center for Transcultural Narratology

One major research focus of the Bonn Center for Transcultural Narratology, which was established in the summer of 2010 by the University of Bonn, is placed on elaboration and analysis of the narrative structures of the non-western premodern texts. The selected non-western texts, or texts which were not composed in major European languages, will not be studied by means of detailed analyses of their facticity, philological sophistication or historical statements. Instead, our researchers insvestigate how the narrative techiniques of the sources look like; what we can, by means of the narrative strctures of the texts, learn about the mental (emotional and cognitive, subconscious and conscious) operations, through which the experience of time will be processed into orientation of life practice via the medium of memory. The large range of research materials encompass written texts in Chinese, Japanese, Mogolian. Egyptian, Tibetan, Sanskrit, Aramanic, Hebrew, Arabic, Persian, Hittite, or even oral texts. Although most of texts available for research are not from Europe, several ancient and native texts which were written in major European lanaguages will also be taken into consideration.

Power and Domination. Bonn Centre for Premodern Orders and their Forms of Communication

The Centre "Power and Domination" is committed to the reseach on premodern ruling orders. A particular focus is placed on both relationship networks of the ruling classes and their forms of communication. Our transcultural and transhistorical approaches shed new insights into the premodern societies.

The centre has developed from a special research group 1167 "Power and Domination - Premodern Configurations in a transcultural Perspective",  an initiative which was financed by German Research Foundation between 2016 and 2021. Since 2021 this research group has been transformed into a research centre.

The research centre is affiliated to the Faculty of Arts of the University of Bonn and is an intergral part of the research sector in Bonn which investigates the premodern ruling orders and forms of communication.

Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies

The Center for Advanced Security, Strategic and Integration Studies (CASSIS) is a new interdisciplinary research centre at the University of Bonn in the field of strategic foreign, European and security studies. CASSIS aims at developing, evaluating and publicly discussing European strategies in response to current challenges in the field of foreign and security policy. It is anchored in the Faculty of Philosophy and brings together proven university units, The Center for European Integration Studies (ZEI) and the Center for International Security and Governance (CISG) in a perspective-oriented manner.

Thus, CASSIS merges existing strengths on security policy issues with those on transatlantic partnership, European integration, and German foreign policy, and helps shape strategic discourse in Germany on crucial issues by focusing on common strategic challenges.

Part of the CASSIS is the Henry Kissinger Professorship for Security and Strategic Studies, which has been funded by the German government (BMVg and Federal Foreign Office) since 2014 and is dedicated to researching and teaching issues of international security in the sense of strategic studies and how they relate to transatlantic relations. Another of the professorship's central tasks is the practice-oriented systematisation and further development of security policy research potentials of various disciplines within and outside the University of Bonn. Examples are return of geopolitics, conflicts between states, competing global sytems of orders (cyber and energy security), terrorism, human security (health and food security).

Center for Global Studies

The focus of the Center for Global Studies is placed primarily on political, social and cultural impact which has been exerted by the economic and technological globalisation. In addition, the complex phenomenon of global power shifts in the 21st century, which emerge from the globalisation process, will also be taken into account. Therefore, our researchers investigate various manifestations of globality in different regions around the world. From interdisciplinary approaches combining political sciences, sociology and culture studies, the diverse manifestations and formations of globality in Asia, Europe, America and Australia-Oceania will be explored. In particular, the historical disparity, asymmetries and inconsistencies, which characterise the process of growing globality in different regions and cultural areas, will be systematically reflected, meaningfully interpreted and cross-culturally compared.

Centre Ernst Robert Curtius

The Centre Ernst Robert Curtius (CERC) is a research centre with focus on "European Cultures from German and French Perspectives." The CERC follows the legacy of the most influential Romance scholar Ernst Robert Curtius, who used to work as literature critic, philologist and cultural studies specialist in Bonn. The research projects in CERC are undertaken with the fundamental assumption that at the beginning of the 21st century the German-French relation can no longer be comprehended as an exclusive bilateral phenomenon. Rather, consensus has been reached that the relation betwen two nations must be imbedded within an European framwork, which is majorly defined by Europe's relation to and interaction with the globalised world. By testing a series of European discourses and constructions, our researchers hope to theoretically rethink of Europe and its world-wide networks from mutual perspectives, and consequently provide impetus for relevant social discourses and practical advancements. A further central concern for CERC is to promote young scientists and researchers by adapting the research focus of CERC for the further development of international study programmes and research networks of the University of Bonn.

Centre for Mind Research

The Centre for Mind Research (CMR) aims to carry out interdisciplinary joint reseach projects on philosophical, psychological, psychiatric and normative issues. It prioritises research on persons, consciousness, self-consciouness, personal identity, cognition as well as the normative challenges which accompany the above mentioned study areas. The CMR strives for the expansion of research activities in thematically relevant sectors, for instance, cognitive sciences, artificial intelligence and informatics. And the joint research activities take place not only with discipline-related individual projects, but also interdisciplinary projects. The CMR also contributes to the training of young scientists.

Centre for the Classical Tradition

The research centre of CCT inverstigates the ancient history of Greece and Rome and their reception till the present time. Accordingly, it focuses on all aspects of European languages, literature, history and art, which go back directly or indirectly to the ancient Greek and Latin history. The concept of Classical Tradition is considered as foundations, on which significant achievements of European cultures based. In the CCT, the research focus is placed not only on the classical elements, but also on the reception and further development of the ancient heritages from medieval times to early modern periods and modern eras. The influence of ancient Greek-Latin and early Christian cultures on European intellectual history is still evident and active in many areas of science and daily lives of the 21st century.

Centre for Cultural Studies

The Centre for Cultural Studies is comprised of researchers from six institutes of the Faculty of Arts. Among different locations,  it has managed to establish interconnections among institutions. Based on these interconnections, it aims to connect and promote various interests in teaching and research. In doing so, the concept of culture, which has been chosen as the basis of research, is not defined by a specific programmatical orientation of cultural studies. Rather, the centre is understood as an interdisciplinary mission, which creates productive dialogues among different approaches determined by respective disciplines.

Centre for Historical Foundations of the Present

The Centre for Historical Foundations of the Present serves for the joint and interdisciplinary research on the historical foundations of the 18th and 19th centuries. With the participation of Institute of Political Sciences and Sociology and Institute of Public Law, the following research fields have been taken into account: (1) the transformation of the state monopoly on the use of force as well as the circumstances of the relationship among states, (2) transformation of the traditional ecomonical and social systems, (3) shift of public attitudes, shift of parties' policy-forming and the parlamentary decision-making process, (4) and the consequential influence on the peaceful togetherness and coexistence of peoples.

Centres with the Participation of the Faculty of Arts

Interdisciplinary Latin America Centre (ILZ)

Since its foundation in 2004, the Interdisciplinary Latin America Centre has promoted the scientific dialogue and the interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists and institutions of the University of Bonn. Furthermore, the centre maintains cooperation and runs projects with universities with a regional research focus in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia. In fact, the interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary research projects of the ILZ are accompanied by the advancement of innovative and conceptual approaches, which go beyond the portfolio of disciplinary approaches. The translation output of the ILZ permits intellectual combination of natural, social and humanistic perspectives and the investigation of the interaction between human and technology and nature.

International Centre for Philosophy NRW (IZPH)16

The International Centre for Philosophy NRW was founded in 2008. Its supporting pillars are three university institutions with international reputation, which work together under one roof: Institute of Philosophy, Institute of Science and Ethics and the German Reference Centre for Ethics in the Life Sciences. Our objective is to be better connected with international partners in teaching and research in the subject of philosophy. In particular, the internationally renowned scholars should be able to carry out research within a longer period of time in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia.

Centre for European Integration Research (ZEI) 17

The Centre for European Integration Research is an interdisciplinary institute for research and further training at the University of Bonn. According to the Berlin-Bonn-Regulation, the ZEI was founded in 1995 by a resolution of the university senate. It conducts future-oriented research on unsolved questions with regard to the European integration and Europe's role in the wider world. Its academic focus, which is placed on EU's governance and regulations, builds a bridge between science and praxis. ZEI's emphasis of politics and law in teaching and research, combines the two major aspects of EU's governance and regulation, and their critical interaction which characterises the EU, EU's influence of the citizens' lives and EU's role in the global arena. Research, counselling and potgraduate further training complement each other mutually in the activities at ZEI. Since 1998, the ZEI has offered the internationally recognised Master's programme "Master of European Studies - Governance and Regulation".

Centre for Evaluation and Methods 18

The Centre for Evaluation and Methods, which is currently led by Prof. Dr. André Beauducel (Department of Methodology, Psychological Assessment, and Evaluation, Institute of Psychology) was founded in 1999 by Prof. Dr. Georg Rudinger and stands for scientific methods in teaching, research and service. The ZEM is a central institution which is under the responsibility of the rector of the University of Bonn and performs as evaluations and quality ensurance measures at the University of Bonn, for instance,  evaluation for higher education institution. Furthermore, the ZEM also takes the responsibility for the expansion of the online self-assessment offers.

Centre for Religion and Society

The Centre for Religion and Society was founded on July 12th 2005 at the University of Bonn. It is an interdisciplinary institution which aimes to combine existing research excellence, but also to conduct further research on religion and society. Nowadays the ZERG brings together more than 30 memebers from all related faculties: Protestant Theology, Catholic Theology, Medicine, Philosophy, Law and Economy as well as the old Catholic seminar.

Centre for Development Research

The Centre for Development Research is an international and interdiscilinary research institution which was founded in 1995 and launched its scientific work at the end of 1997. The ZEF has a focus on three major areas: economic development und technological transformation, ecology and natural ressource management, political and cultural transformation.

Centre for Historical Peace Research21

The Centre for Historical Peace Research, which was founded in 2013, commits itself to the diverse research projects with regard to peace and security in history. The ZHF is led by the professor of History of Early Modern Period and History of Rhineland at the University of Bonn, and supported by a scientific advisory board. In addition, it has been equipped with a specific library with collections on war and peace (with a focus on the early modern period), unique microfilm holdings on Peace of Westphalia (1648), which are from more than 150 European archives and libraries,  and a collection of contemporary press releases about the Westphalian Peace Congress.

Bonn Center for Reconciliation Studies

The Bonn Center for Reconciliation Studies addresses the outstanding social significance of reconciliation. Reconciliation is a central topic in peace and conflict research, which enables interdisciplinary approaches to the entire range of humanities and social sciences. Through an interdisciplinary approach, the centre fulfils a central requirement articulated by the Science Council in its recommendations for the development of peace and conflict research in 2019. It called on federal states to ‘intensify, expand and institutionally consolidate cooperation at locations where a larger number of scientists in university and non-university institutions deal with questions of peace and conflict research’ (Science Council 2019, p. 57). Against this background, the centre conducts interdisciplinary research on cultures of reconciliation. The Bonn Center for Reconciliation Studies strives to develop a theoretically and methodologically sophisticated approach to reconciliation.

For several years, interdisciplinary reconciliation research has been particularly important at the University of Bonn. The centre coordinates all activities in the field of reconciliation research. Various university institutions, such as the Centre for Historical Peace Research (Zentrum für historische Friedensforschung, ZhF), the Research Centre for Provenance Research, Art and Cultural Property Protection Law (Die Forschungsstelle Provenienzforschung, Kunst- und Kulturgutschutzrecht) and the cluster Beyond Slavery and Freedom: Asymmetrical Dependencies in Pre-Modern Societies, are networked at the centre. In addition, intensive cooperation with the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities of North Rhine-Westphalia, Essen (Kommunikationswissenschaftliches Institut Essen) and non-university centres in Bonn, the German Institute of Development and Sustainability (IDOS) and the Bonn International Centre for Conflict Studies (BICC) is promoted. Other international cooperation partners include the DAAD centres in Israel and Japan and the Democracia y Derechos Humanos research institute at the PUCP of the University of Lima.

The centre is funded by four faculties: Faculty of Protestant Theology, Faculty of Catholic Theology, Faculty of Law and Economics and Faculty of Arts. Organizationally, the centre is anchored in the Faculty of Arts. The Bonn Center for Reconciliation Studies significantly contributes to the University of Bonn’s profile development and thus has links to the transdisciplinary research areas (TRAs) of 'Individuals and Societies' and 'Present Pasts', with which it works closely.

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