200-year anniversary of the Battle of Leipzig , re-enactment on 20 October 2013 in Leipzig, © D. Hüchtker

Subject area

Knowledge Production and Truth Regimes Between the Public Sphere and Expert Discourse

Current debates about a »post-truth« era reflect a growing distrust of academic expert knowledge. Meanwhile, approaches to knowledge rooted in personal experience and emotions are enjoying great popularity. This subject area investigates knowledge production and paths to apprehension in societies of the past and present, examining the era-specific contexts of plausibility, factuality and legitimacy. What role do emotions, imaginations, genealogies, materiality and medial inner logic play in the creation of epistemic authority? How do editorial, popular and academic practices of interpretation correspond or compete? The projects specifically deals with different creations and authentications of historical narratives, with performative historical practices as well as with the visualisation of ethnic-national groups.

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Research topics

Figurations of Truth Telling

The project compares literary and cinematic reflections on the transformation after 1989 in Eastern Europe and Germany. The focus is on stagings of truth and the tendency to radicalize discourses up to new forms of dissidence.

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History as Ancestor Worship

As the number of approaches to history expand, conceptions of the past from the right-wing fringes are increasingly finding their way into mainstream, public historical culture. This project investigates how ethnicist and racist ancestor worship in popular and sub-cultural historical practices can carry far-right ideas into the heart of society.

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Holocaust Memory in Ukraine after February 24, 2022

The project is devoted to the memorialization of the Holocaust in Ukraine. Based on approaches of oral history and digital history, it aims to document sites of memory and to trace the changes that Russia’s war against Ukraine has inflicted on the culture of remembrance oft he Second World War.

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Images of German-Polish-Jewish Relationships


This Polish-German cooperative project explores the iconography of Polish-German-Jewish relationships in the first decades of the »visual age«, that is, from the 1890s to the 1930s. Visual mass media became central to world perception in this phase, while German-Polish-Jewish relationships grew increasingly adversarial.

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Institutionalized Memory and its Limits

The »German Resettlers from Bucovina« became a »Buchenland German Community« only after the end of the Second World War. The project examines the meaningful and identity-forming practices of the »Landsmannschaft der Buchenlanddeutschen« and, drawing on a large scale Oral History project, explores the limitations of community formation

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Oral History of the Soviet Deportations from the Western Part of Ukraine, 1944-1955

The project deals with male and female testimonies about the deportations after the Soviet occupation of the western part of Ukraine in 1944. It analyzes and compares different experiences of being arrested, imprisoned, deported, and living in special settlements and/or Gulag prisons, as well as their lives after the immediate experience of violence.

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Tracing Communism

Historical guided city tours relate history in a spatially bound, oral and interactive way. Taking the presentation of state socialism in commercial communism tours as its example, this project examines the popularisation, commodification and authentication of contemporary history in today’s tourism industry.

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»Slavic archaeology« in the Polish People’s Republic and the GDR

The project examines »Slavic archaeology« in socialist Poland and East Germany. Based on the biographies of Witold Hensel and Joachim Herrmann it examines the political and ideological penetration of this research field in a comparative and transnational perspective.

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