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Spotlight Humanities

The platform Spotlight Humanities serves as a central point of orientation for current research projects and activities at Freie Universität Berlin. Its primary purpose is to present interdisciplinary and international events of collaborative research centers, research projects, graduate schools, and other institutions in the humanities.

In addition to its role in internal networking, Spotlight Humanities aims to inform external scholars about the wide range of activities at Freie Universität Berlin.

Ancient World

The topic Ancient World unites scholars and research projects within the wide range of the so-called “small subjects”, exploring questions of space and knowledge, the transformation of knowledge in a global historical perspective, and the relevance of time and temporality.

Digital Humanities

Digital Humanities at Freie Universität Berlin deal with text-based, philological projects as well as the materiality and mediality of objects. Additionally, computer based methods for textual analysis and new methods for the collection, evaluation, and presentation of source material in the humanities are applied.

European Relations: Greece, France, Italy

The co-operation in research and teaching between Germany and its partner countries, such as Greece, France, and Italy is consistently supported by international workshops, conferences, mutual projects on comparative research topics, etc. The Center for Modern Greece (CEMOG), the Frankreichzentrum, and the Italienzentrum actively participate in the intensive co-operations and the expansion of international networks.

Gender Relations

A main concern at Freie Universität is to support equal participation of female researchers and to integrate Gender and Diversity Studies into all disciplines of the university. The Margherita-von-Brentano-Zentrum serves as a central institution that initiates and supports (international) co-operations in order to further the development of Gender and Diversity Studies.

Society and Emotion

Researchers of various disciplines at Freie Universität deal with the connection of emotions and societies in a globally interconnected world. Here, the idea of societies as “Affective Societies” is a central concept and points out the importance of emotional dynamics in processes of social cohesion.

Global Literatures

Literary Studies at Freie Universität investigate the correlation between literature and other aesthetic media. Furthermore, it conducts research on the mutual dependence of literature and knowledge discourses and the interaction of different national literary histories in a comparative and global perspective.

Middle Ages - Renaissance - Early Modern Period

A number of international and interdisciplinary projects were developed by the wide spectrum of Medieval Studies and studies in the Early Modern Period at Freie Universität. The main research interests focus on a new characterization of cultural dynamics beyond the static oppositional terms of “new” and “old” as well as a systematic examination of the understanding and the experience of time in the so-called Premodern Era.

Politics and Society


The rhetorical dimensions of texts and rhetoric itself as a principle of cultural practice form a subject of interdisciplinary research at Freie Universität. Lecture series and summer schools aim to convey this topic to scholars, students, and a general public.

Language and Society

Linguistics at Freie Universität Berlin examines the social incorporation of language and the aspects of shifts in language both in correlation with and dependence on the transformation of social structures, while holding a constant dialogue with related disciplines.

Theater and Performance

Theater Studies, Film Studies, and Performance Studies at Freie Universität are a driving force behind the collaboration in the humanities. They conduct research particularly on the different forms of (re-)presentation worldwide, which implement performative strategies in order to effect societal and cultural change.

Transdisciplinary History of Knowledge

How is knowledge formed? How is it conveyed, solidified, and transformed? A variety of disciplines deals with these central matters, focusing on processes of knowledge transformation in the Premodern Era and discussing them in a broad and interdisciplinary exchange in the humanities.

Visual Culture

Within the field of Visual Culture researchers are faced with the task of systematically recording processes of the formation of pictorial evidence using the example of concrete and historically different case studies. Further research perspectives are the poetics of audio-visual images and the meaning of artistic objects, which drastically alter forms of human experience.