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.

© 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 profile, topics, projects, Professorships

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


Events, funding, newsletter

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


Members, partners

Our members are professors, postdoc researchers and PhD students of all Faculties and of central scientific research institutions.

Benefit from our network and funding opportunities!

Our transdisciplinary Professorships in the Global Heritage Lab

The Global Heritage Lab emerges as a central hub for heritage and museum-related research and operates as a transdisciplinary laboratory hosted by the TRA Present Pasts.

© Gregor Hübl/Uni Bonn

Critical Museum and Heritage Studies Jun.-Prof. Dr. Julia Binter

Julia Binter joins the Global Heritage Lab. Her transcultural research opens new collaborations to the natural sciences and theologies.

Labadi (bearbeitet).jpg
© TRA Present Pasts

Humboldt-Fellow Prof. Dr. Sophia Labadi

Sophia Labadi is Professor of Heritage at the University of Kent and is extending the GHL for one year with a Humboldt Fellowship.


TRAnsDigital Workshop: Digitalization of the Humanities and Social Sciences

On 26 April 2024, the TRA-spanning workshop was dedicated to the question of the potentials and challenges associated with the digitalisation of research in the humanities and social sciences (including economics). In addition to the exchange of knowledge and best practice experiences in workshop sessions on various cross-disciplinary fields of application, the event offered the opportunity to make interesting contacts across disciplines and TRAs.

Job advertisement: Doctoral Research Fellow (Wissenschaftliche*r Mitarbeiter*in) TV-L EG 13, 65%,

at the Argelander Professorship for Critical Museum and Heritage Studies

The Argelander Professorship for Critical Museum and Heritage Studies, chaired by Jun.-Prof. Dr. Julia Binter, is looking for a

Doctoral Research Fellow (Wissenschaftliche*r Mitarbeiter*in) TV-L EG 13, 65%,

for at least three years, who would like to conduct research on critical museum and heritage studies in an
international team.
The Argelander Professorship in Critical Museum and Heritage Studies engages in transdisciplinary and
transcultural heritage research, including the testing of decolonial methodologies. It seeks to plurify the
formation of knowledge across museums and heritage. Aufklapp-Text

Notice Board

Have an event overview with our digital 'notice board'.

© TRA Present Pasts
Press releases
Immersing Ourselves in New Worlds: Where Theology Meets Cognitive Research

What happens when we look at a late antique image? In what order does our gaze wander over the individual elements? Where does it linger? What bodily reactions do such images or early Christian narratives trigger in us? Attempts to answer questions like this are going well beyond merely interpreting early Christian works. A research project embarked on by the University of Bonn together with the University of St Andrews is now bringing Ancient Studies and Cognitive Science together. One key theme is immersion, a concept usually associated more with the world of gaming. 

A Transdisciplinary Win

A team of University of Bonn researchers wins a funding competition conducted by the Life and Health transdisciplinary research area.

Was Human Height in the Neolithic Period Influenced by Cultural Factors?

Body size differences between females and males in northern Europe during the early Neolithic period (6,000 to 8,000 years ago) may reflect cultural factors in play. The findings of an international research project led by the University of Pennsylvania (USA) suggest that differences in stature during that period cannot be explained solely by genetics and diet. Eva Rosenstock of the University of Bonn is involved in the study, the results of which have now been published in the journal Nature Human Behaviour. 

Experience Digs Virtually

How do you explore an excavation site without being there in person? The Classical Archaeology team and the Bonn Center for Digital Humanities at the University of Bonn want to use new digital tools such as 3D technologies and virtual reality in their research and teaching. Their researchers are collaborating with the Universities of Amsterdam and Oslo and the Open University of the Netherlands in an international project entitled “Virtual Worlds in Teaching Archaeology.” The European Union is co-financing the project to the tune of some €400,000 over the next three years.


Avatar Alings

Dr. Kim Alings

Strategic Development and Quality Assurance


Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Department of History

Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack

Department of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology

Discover more

The six Transdisciplinary Research Areas

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

Research Profile

Top-Level Research. The University of Bonn has stood for top-level research for over 200 years.

Research Funding

The Research and Innovation Services of the University of Bonn support you in all questions concerning your third-party funded projects.

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