Research Profile TRA 5

The aim of the TRA “Past Worlds” is to overcome the Eurocentric focus of current historiography through an interdisciplinary approach to various geographic areas and periods. It seeks to promote exchange between researchers interested in South and Central America, Africa, Asia and Europe and to challenge the subject divisions of European research disciplines. The research of TRA 5 focuses on two core areas – heritage and communication – and their diverse connections.

  • Research field Heritage
    Those involved in this research area seek to challenge the Eurocentric focus of current discourses and practices involved in heritage. Through investigation of the provenance and restitution of collections, the researchers seek to deconstruct hegemonic heritage discourses and challenge colonial power structures, and in so doing, develop a new understanding of heritage. The collections of the University of Bonn act as the confluence point for the range of negotiation processes involved with objects and the associated practices, forms of knowledge and origin contexts. As such, the collections constitute a special focal point within the project.
  • Research field Communication
    Communication over long distances is a prerequisite for the processes of globalization. Led by the concepts “communication” and “globalization”, the researchers of the TRA “Past Worlds” investigate phenomena such as social inequality and social dependence, migration and mobility and other forms of power relationships. The focus rests on pre-modern forms of communication, to enable a better understanding of their current manifestations within the framework of globalization.

Further information

Funded Projects

  • University collections as heritage: “Open Museum for Open Science for an Open Society“ (contact:  Prof. Dr. Karoline Noack)
  • Exhibition project “Long Live the Queen!” in cooperation with LVR-Landesmuseum Bonn (contact:  Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher)
  • Practices of Correction – Processes of Negotiation from a Cultural-Historical and Socio-Epistemic Perspective (contact:  Prof. Dr. Birgit Ulrike Münch and  Prof. Dr. Maria Gadebusch-Bondio)
  • Communicating Antiquities (contact:  Dr. M. Elisabeth Schwab)
  • Alltagskultur(forschung) mit und im Museum. Zur Entwicklung inhaltlicher und digitaler Schnittstellen zwischen dem „Open Museum for Open Science of an Open Society“ der Universität Bonn und dem Stadtmuseum Bonn (contact:  Prof. Dr. Ove Sutter)


1 Humboldt-Professorship:

  • Prof. Dr. Judith Pfeiffer (2016-2021)

Participating Institutions

Franz Joseph Dölger-Institut zur Erforschung der Spätantike2

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