Leibniz Research Alliance

»Value of the Past«

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Launched in September 2021, the Leibniz Research Alliance »Value of the Past« asks what significance the past held for historical and contemporary societies.

Its members work in three research arenas: evidence regimes, spatiotemporal patterns of order and the use of the past as a public resource. Historical, cultural and social studies are all represented, as well as disciplines like biology, natural history and technical history that are working in a historically and collection-based manner. The broad consortium, led by the Leibniz Centre for Contemporary History (ZZF), comprises experts from research institutions, universities, museums, archives and memorial sites. The GWZO is one of 20 Leibniz Association institutions and numerous international cooperative partners participating as full members of the research alliance.

The GWZO contributes several different research topics to the research alliance: Department II’s »Culture and Imagination« and the young researchers’ group »A Comparative Look at East-Central Europe«.

The Leibniz Research Alliance »Value of the Past« has been approved for an initial four years. The GWZO is continuing the fruitful cooperation with the previous Leibniz Research Alliance »Historical Authenticity« (2013–2021), in which the Institute played a part since 2019.

Research Lab

»Litigation of the Past«

Proceeding from the most recent controversies around decolonisation and grappling with historical conflicts through a culture of remembrance, this lab tackles different social actors’ reassessments of history as well as their societal repercussions in democracies, dictatorships and authoritarian regimes. Prof. Dr. Arnold Bartetzky, Dr. Heike Liebau (Leibniz Centre Moderner Orient, ZMO) and Prof. Dr. Magnus Brechtken (Institute of Contemporary History, Munich, IfZ) jointly lead the lab’s coordination.

Research Lab

»Valorisation and Commodification«

This lab focuses on the economic utilisation of the past. It shines a spotlight just as much on the cultural and creative industries’ marketing of history as on the past’s role in the cultural developments of cities and regions. Dr. Corinne Geering coordinates the lab jointly with Dr. Torsten Meyer (German Mining Museum, Bochum). The lab also includes Dr. Sabine Stach, whose research concentrates on the popularisation, commodification and authentication of contemporary history in today’s tourism industry. The lab receives additional support from Kaja Schelker, with her project about the use of traditional construction techniques and sustainability discourses in modern architecture.

Research Lab

»Language, Performance and the Symbolic World«

The GWZO brings two further research topics into this lab. Dr. des Karin Reichenbach adopts a public history view to dedicate herself to popular history’s approaches to the politicised reception of the Early Middle Ages. Taking into account epistemic foundations and evidence practices, she examines the divergences of academic and non-academic knowledge production. Literature studies researcher Dr. Stephan Krause’s project investigates the type and function of processes of canonisation, paying equal attention to the canon’s power as an entity of cultural as well as literary and discourse historical significance as to the revaluations of, and alternatives to, its consistently judging mechanisms on in- and exclusion.