German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2050
Fax: +44 (0)20 - 7309 2055 / 7404 5573


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The fellows of the German Historical Institute London pursue a wide range of research topics on British, German, Colonial and Global History as well as on Anglo-German relations, from the Middle Ages to the present day. There are some fields of research on which the Institute places particular emphasis and concentrates its activities in arranging conferences and acquiring outside funding. These areas of particular expertise of the present staff are mirrored in the research clusters listed below. Since late 2018, additional cross-cutting themes such as processes of medialization and histories of kinship and gender have newly emerged in our discussions, in addition to the existing cross-cutting theme of the history of knowledge.

The institute’s Digital Humanities Strategy emphasises research projects which involve the historical analysis of social science-generated or state-created mass datasets, using digital tools and methods such as, for example, statistical software, text mining or geo referencing.

Cross-cutting Research Themes

Processes of Medialization

We understand ‘medialization’ to refer to the way in which spaces of communication become increasingly dense and interlinked, but also to the expansion of medial ensembles, and the increasing pressure for other social sectors to conform to the conditions imposed by the media. This theme addresses the following central questions: how do processes of medialization change social and economic, scientific and scholarly, everyday and political practices? How does medialization change the spaces and practices of knowledge, the negotiation of identities, the representation of interests, and the exercise of power in popular culture and the cultures of experts? In focussing on medialization processes, we aim to consider textual and oral as well as visual and audiovisual media which serve as means of transmitting messages to a public. We aim to explore the ways in which various media intersect, and include the global, transregional, and local dimensions of the process.

Histories of Kinship and Gender

The categories of kinship and gender are powerful indicators of social place, but also social binding agents. How are individuals and groups assigned a social place? How are social hierarchies and differences, or support networks, created by the production of kinship and gender identities? Attention will be paid to the role of experts and knowledge, to practices ‘from below’, and the negotiation and strengthening of norms by situative performances. This will involve a dialogue with new methods and theories from other disciplines such as ethnography and gender studies. Both gender and kinship are here understood as multi-relational, in the sense of intersectionality.

History of Knowledge

Our research investigates knowledge in foreign policy-making with a focus on the strategies of knowledge production and the formation of global knowledge networks. We also explore the structural, hierarchical and temporal dimensions of ignorance: What did governments not know, and how were areas of ignorance identified and managed? Furthermore, we engage with the field of ‘science and empire’ and the analytical category of ‘colonial knowledge’. We depart from the long-held approach of postcolonial studies to ‘colonial knowledge’ as a hegemonic tool of empire-building. Instead, we understand the production of knowledge in colonial settings as an unsettled and fractious process that often challenged and destabilised colonial state power.

Research Clusters

History of Politics and the Political

Webs of Information: Scribal News and News Cultures around 1700  (Michael Schaich)

‘The Vigilant and the Negligent’: British Coastal Administrations in the Eighteenth Century  (Hannes Ziegler)

Homesick for Yesterday: A History of the Nostalgia Wave  (Tobias Becker)

Staging Britain in a Changing World: Knowledge and Practices of British State Visits, 1910-1980  (Falko Schnicke)

British Envoys to Germany  and  British Envoys to the Kaiserreich   (Markus Mößlang)

History as a Political Category of ICAS Metamorphosis of the Political (M.S Merian International Centre of Advanced Studies)

Colonial and Global History

Objects without Status between Middle Eastern Excavation Sites and Europe’s Museums (Mirjam Brusius)

Preserving India’s Past: Law, Bureaucracy and Historical Conservation in Colonial India 1904-1925 (Indra Sengupta)

Selling History: Tourist Guides, Bazaar Histories, and the Politics of the Past (Indra Sengupta; subproject in module History as a Political Category of ICAS MP)

Merchandise of Power: Arms Trade and Control between Europe and East Africa, 1850-1919 (Felix Brahm)

India Centre  (GHIL)

History of Social Structures, Practices and Experiences

The Dominicans and the University of Oxford, 1221-1538 (Cornelia Linde)

Ageing and ‘Doing Gender‘ in the Era of Value Change (Christina von Hodenberg)

Pauper Letters and Petitions for Poor Relief in Germany and Great Britain, 1770 – 1914 (Andreas Gestrich and Steven King)

Medialization and Empowerment (International Standing Working Group)

Education and the Urban (India Centre Research Group)

Further Projects

The Mythographic Sermon in Late Medieval England: Classicism, Discourse, and Clerical Identity, 1330-1450  (Bernhard Hollick)

Collaborative Projects

Prize Papers: Cataloguing – Digitisation – Presentation (University of Oldenburg in cooperation with The National Archives, Kew, and the GHIL)

M.S Merian International Centre of Advanced Studies ‘Metamorphoses of the Political’ (ICAS:MP)

Collaboration with the Academy of Science and Literature, Mainz

Source Editions

British Envoys to Germany  and  British Envoys to the Kaiserreich  (Markus Mößlang)

Pauper Letters and Petitions for Poor Relief in Germany and Great Britain, 1770–1914  (Andreas Gestrich and Steven King; Daniela Heinisch)

Online-Edition – Wilhem Schimper: Betrachtung der Vegetation während eines Spaziergangs vom Märäb=Thal, über die Ebene Hāmĕdó, die Adoa=Gebirge hinweg nach Urāhut in der Provinz Agāmĕ, auf einem Terrain von 4000 bis 11000 Fuss absoluter Höhe, Theil des Reiches Tigré (Andreas Gestrich and Dorothea McEwan)