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.
© Volker Lannert/ Universität Bonn
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© Abt. Vor- & Frühgeschichtl. Archäologie
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© BASA Museum
Eine Wissenschaftlerin und ein Wissenschaftler arbeiten hinter einer Glasfassade und mischen Chemikalien mit Großgeräten.
© SFB 1167


Termin: 14.-15.01.2022

Ort: Aufgrund der aktuellen Situation wird die Tagung online durchgeführt.

In außergewöhnlichen Situationen nutzen und nutzten Menschen die Fluidität von Dingbedeutungen, um Sinn und Handlungsorientierung zu gewinnen. Die Abschlusstagung des interdisziplinären BMBF-Verbundprojekts „Sinnüberschuss und Sinnreduktion von, durch und mit Objekten. Materialität von Kulturtechniken zur Bewältigung des Außergewöhnlichen“ (SiSi) beleuchtet diese Prozesse anhand von Beispielen aus unterschiedlichen gesellschaftlichen und kulturellen Kontexten.

In Beiträgen aus Medizingeschichte, Altamerikanistik/ Ethnologie, Ägyptologie, Kulturgeschichte und Mad Studies kommen jeweils Interaktionen und Verflechtungen von Körpern, Objekten und Texten in den Blick. Die unterschiedlichen disziplinären Herangehensweisen bei der Umsetzung des material turns stehen dabei ebenso zur Diskussion wie die Frage nach übergreifenden empirischen Erkenntnissen bezüglich des Verhältnisses von Dinglichkeit und Handlungsmacht in Krisen bzw. außergewöhnlichen Situationen.

Die Tagung findet virtuell, in Deutsch und Englisch statt. Alle Uhrzeiten CET.

Anmeldungen sind unter bis zum 10.01.2022 möglich.

© WDR Presselounge
Matthias Becher talks about Chlodwig I. at WDRZeitzeichen (german)
© E. Gardei
© E. Gardei

Early-Career Researches-Award 2022

One of the main goals of TRA 5 is to promote and identify excellent young researchers. For this reason, TRA Present Pasts is offering a prize for outstanding dissertations submitted after 1 January 2020. Nominations are open to all members of the University of Bonn whose dissertations pursue an innovative inter/transdisciplinary approach and whose topics fall into at least one of the main profile areas of TRA Present Pasts - Heritage and/or Communication. The highest prize will be awarded with a sum of 2000,- €. Multiple awards are possible.

Press realeases
With the wiki into the early Middle Ages

"Repertorium Saracenorum". With this impressive name, historians at the University of Bonn now present the result of a project that took years to complete: an online wiki, created from more than 70 Latin-Christian works and 622 individual reports from the 7th to 11th centuries - digitally collected, categorized and scientifically processed. In cooperation with the Cologne Center for eHumanities (CCeH) at the University of Cologne, a novel compilation of sources dedicated to the so-called Saracens has been created. These are medieval populations of Muslim faith. The platform, called "Saracen Wiki" for short, is intended to benefit researchers, students and the interested public. The resulting new research questions and findings have relevance for present times, for example in researching communication and globalization processes or the history of Christian-Muslim relations. The website is now online and open to the public.*

Researchers study endangered cultural heritage

In Africa and in the Amazon rainforest, people have adapted to their environment over centuries and adjust their livelihoods accordingly. This coexistence with nature has created valuable cultural landscapes that are also listed by UNESCO. In two scientific projects, researchers from the University of Bonn are now working with local institutions to investigate how these landscapes can be better protected. The Volkswagen Foundation is funding these projects with several million euros.

Dealing with slavery past

How does one deal with the past, especially with the issues of slavery and colonization and their legacies? The tensions that this question can trigger among different groups of actors became visible last year in the global "Black Lives Matter" movement resulting in the toppling of statues and monuments. A workshop hosted by the Bonn Center for Dependency and Slavery Studies Cluster of Excellence at the University of Bonn will approach the topic from an interdisciplinary and European perspective from June 30 to July 2. During the conference, not only international scholars but also museum experts and activists will talk.

Rulers and elites in the past

How do elites emerge? Do they exercise power independently or only 'by order'? How is domination transmitted and perpetuated? These and many other questions will be transculturally addressed by researchers from June 17 to 19 during the digital conference "Rulers and Elites between Symbiosis and Antagonism. Communicating in Premodern Hegemonic Structures". All those interested are invited to attend. The free event will be held via the Zoom conference system.

Become a Member of the TRA Present Pasts and Benefit from aOur Network and Funding Opportunities!


Avatar Alings

Dr. Kim Alings

Strategic Development and Quality Assurance

+49 151 464 767 44


Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher

Department of History

Prof. Dr. Karline Noack14

Department of Archaeology and Cultural Anthropology

The other TRAs of the University of Bonn

Get an interesting insight into the other Transdisciplinary Research Areas (TRAs) of the University of Bonn here.

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

TRA Mathematics, Modelling and Simulation of Complex Systems

TRA Building Blocks of Matter and Fundamental Interactions

TRA Life and Health

TRA Individuals, Institutions and Societies

TRA Innovation and Technology for Sustainable Futures

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