Reading between the lines: Since 2009 the Dahlem Humanities Center has been one of the Focus Areas of Freie Universität Berlin.
Image Credit: Bernd Wannenmacher
Humanities research at Freie Universität has a breadth and diversity unparalleled in Germany. The central hub of the many departments and activities is the Dahlem Humanities Center, which creates interdisciplinary networks and promotes the emergence of new research initiatives.
The Dahlem Humanities Center offers a platform for dialogue for the over 600 researchers working in the different fields and institutes of the humanities at Freie Universität as well as for researchers at the other humanities institutions in the Berlin-Brandenburg region. With idea competitions and fellowships the Dahlem Humanities Center, a Focus Area at Freie Universität Berlin, provides incentives to develop new individual and collaborative research projects as well as advice and seed money for promising new projects. Cooperation with non-university research organizations, cultural institutions, and the humanities centers at leading universities around the world promise to generate important new impulses for humanities research in Berlin.
Research in the Humanities
From forms of society in the ancient world to the linguistic diversity of modern Europe, the fields of research in the humanities are numerous, multi-faceted, and characterized by an investigative approach that seeks to understand what people thought about, what “spirit” prevailed in a particular period, and how this was reflected in their daily lives, art, and culture. The humanities help keep memories of past centuries alive and available for continued reflection. Equally concerned with the present, the humanities also explore and reflect on changes in culture and society and current global issues, making a vital contribution to modern society and societies of the future.
The trends, tendencies, and theories that determine the directions taken by research are analyzed at DHC and presented at a variety of events. DHC makes current topics and research findings in the humanities a subject of public debate.
The Hegel Lecture is dedicated to the central principle expounded in the philosophy of Georg Friedrich Wilhelm Hegel: freedom. It is held once a year by an outstanding scholar of the humanities and is directed at an academic and non-academic audience. Among recent speakers were the American philosopher and gender researcher Judith Butler or the Slovenian philosopher, psychoanalyst, and cultural critic Slavoj Žižek.
In the Dahlem Humanities Center Lectures prominent humanists, writers, intellectuals, and artists give a wider academic and non-academic audience an impression of specific research projects.
The concept laboratories aim to identify the current status of relevant transdisciplinary research themes. Each year, 10 researchers from around the world meet with experts from Freie Universität for a three-day think tank to discuss ideas for innovative research projects.
A panel on "Trends and Tendencies" focuses on current theories and methods in the humanities, whereby the international dicussants aim to identify the emergence of new research paradigms and the directions these could take in order to make prognoses about future tendencies in theory development.
Annual workshops are held to create a discussion forum for representatives of the various disciplines contributing to DHC and experts and practitioners from non-university institutions in Berlin. During these workshops DHC scholars engage in intensive dialogue with representatives from the spheres of art, media, business, and politics.
Five interdisciplinary Focus Areas have been identified and established at Freie Universität so far.