Past Worlds and Modern Questions - Cultures Across Time and Space

The TRA Present Pasts takes an interdisciplinary approach to the research of past cultural, political, social and economic constellations embedded in a broad geographical context and historical depth. Its work focuses on the interaction of contemporary challenges and processes and comparable phenomena in the past. The knowledge about the functioning of cultures generated by such a historical-comparative approach can lead to a better understanding of the present.

The interdisciplinary approach of the TRA Present Pasts and its research fields heritage and communication seek to combine the different traditions and structures of the various cultures of research present at the University of Bonn. In particular, it seeks to effect the networking of the "minor subjects". The holdings of the university collections function as a research infrastructure, integrating the various disciplinary approaches involved in TRA 5 in historical and contemporary contexts and processes.

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© Bialek/Uni Bonn
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Unsplash

About us

Organisation, goals, team

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Markus Winkler on unsplash

Research

Research profile, topics, projects, Professorships

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
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Offers

Events, funding, newsletter

Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Fabio Bracht on unsplash

Network

Members, partners

General Assembly of the TRA Present Pasts and Networking-Event

On 12 October 2022, the annual general assembly of TRA Present Pasts took place in the auditorium of the main building.

In addition to the annual report, the elections of the speakers and the steering committee, the announcement of the TRA Present Pasts Young Research Award 2022 and a lecture by the Hertz Professor of Global Heritage Paul Basu, the TRA Present Pasts used the meeting as a networking event. Nearly 70 members gathered for a poster session with snacks and drinks.

The TRA projects 'Open Museum', 'Digitised Memory Practices in China and in International Comparison' and 'Religious Communication' as well as the university centres ZHF, BMZ, MHZ, ZVF, CCT and BoCAS, the Cluster of Excellence BCDSS, and the Dölger Institute presented their work. At the same time, the service points Research Data Service Centers and Open Access, the Research and Innovation Services (EU applications and BMBF applications), and the TransferCenter enaCom offered info points.

Our members

Our members are professors, postdoc researchers and PhD students of the Faculty of Arts, of the Faculties of Protestant and Catholic Theology, and of central scientific research institutions.

Become a member!

Become a member of the TRA Present Pasts and benefit from our network and funding opportunities!

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© Paul Basu

Hertz Professorship "Global Heritage"

We are pleased to welcome Prof. Dr. Paul Basu as Hertz Professor of TRA Present Pasts as of 01.06.2022. The internationally renowned anthropologist, curator and critical heritage specialist previously held professorships at SOAS University of London and University College London.

His research and teaching has focused on the intersections of material culture, cultural memory, and migrations of people, things and historical narratives. For the past 20 years his regional specialism has been in West Africa. He has worked extensively with museum collections and archives, often collaborating with local communities to re-engage with historical materials and knowledges sequestered in European institutions. He recently led the very successful Museum Affordances / [Re:]Entanglements project.

At the University of Bonn, Paul Basu will establish a “Global Heritage Lab”. This will provide a platform for experimenting with decolonial approaches to heritage research, exploring what lessons we can learn from the past as we confront the urgent questions of our own time and attempt to imagine more sustainable and just futures for the planet.

To the press release here.


Press releases
Ten million euros for archaeologists at the University of Bonn

The four Roman legionary fortresses in Bonn, Neuss, Xanten and Nijmegen still hold unexplored treasures of knowledge about the multifaceted life of the Romans on the Lower Rhine. The goal of a team led by archaeologist Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann from the University of Bonn is to decipher these and preserve them for future generations of researchers. The project is now receiving major support from the Academies Programme, which is jointly funded by the federal and state governments: As one of five newly funded long-term projects, it will receive around ten million euros for the next 18 years.

Colonial heritage in knowledge production

The University of Bonn has once again received excellent reinforcement. The internationally renowned anthropologist, curator and critical heritage specialist Paul Basu now occupies a so-called Hertz Professorship in the Transdisciplinary Research Area "Present Pasts". The starting point for his work is a critical engagement with the heritage of Western knowledge production, especially as it is reflected in scientific archives and collections. In doing so, he brings together different disciplines, but also the non-university public.

Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung ceremonially opened

Covid-19, climate change, populism, and not least the Ukraine war make the question of how and whether reconciliation is possible highly topical and relevant. The new Bonner Zentrum für Versöhnungsforschung (Center for Reconciliation Research) at the University of Bonn bundles research on this topic in cooperation with partner organizations. The center’s aim is to analyze reconciliation practices in an interdisciplinary and comparative way looking at different cultural, social and regional contexts. The center has now been ceremoniously opened in the University's Festsaal.

Early urbanism found in the Amazon

Several hundred settlements from the time between 500 and 1400 AD lie in the Bolivian Llanos de Mojos savannah and have fascinated archaeologists for years. Researchers from the German Archaeological Institute, the University of Bonn and the University of Exeter have now visualized the dimensions of the largest known settlement of the so-called Casarabe culture. Mapping with the laser technology LIDAR indicates that it is an early urbanism with a low population density - the only known case so far from the Amazon lowlands. The results shed new light on how globally widespread and diverse early urban life was and how earlier societies lived in the Amazon. The study appeared in the journal Nature.

Latest Events

Lecture by Alexandros Karakotis
AVZ III, Römerstraße ...
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Lecture title: Reconstructing past human behavior based on novel virtual approaches: Integrating V.E.R.A., 3D geometric morphometrics, and biomechanical ...
Lecture by Gisela Muschiol (Dies academicus)
Hauptgebäude der ...
10:15
As part of this year's Dies academicus, scientists of the Medieval Studies Center Bonn University will give exciting insights into their research and teaching ...
Lecture by Harald Wolter-von dem Knesebeck (Dies academicus)
Hauptgebäude der ...
11:15
As part of this year's Dies academicus, scientists of the Medieval Studies Center Bonn University will give exciting insights into their research and teaching ...
Lecture by Andreas Odenthal (Dies academicus)
Hauptgebäude der ...
12:15
As part of this year's Dies academicus, scientists of the Medieval Studies Center Bonn University will give exciting insights into their research and teaching ...

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Contact

Avatar Alings

Dr. Kim Alings

Strategic Development and Quality Assurance

+49 151 464 767 44

Speaker

Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Department of History

Prof. Dr. Karline Noack

Department of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology

The six TRAs: the Research Profile of the University of Bonn

Our six Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) create areas for exploration and innovation in research and teaching at the University of Bonn.

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