German Historical Institute London

17 Bloomsbury Square
London WC1A 2NJ
United Kingdom

Phone: Tel. +44-(0)20-7309 2050



Cross-Cutting Research Themes


Our research fellows study British, German, and global history, often with an emphasis on transnational, transregional, and comparative approaches, global entanglements, and legacies of empire. Cross-cutting themes include intellectual history, processes of medialization, histories of gender and society, and digital humanities methods.

Drawing by Charles Doyley (1813), showing a European learning from an Indian teacher

Cross-Cutting Research Theme

Intellectual History

Our research focuses on the history of ideas in its widest sense: it analyses conceptual transformations across time and follows the implementation and dissemination of ideas in specific historical and cultural contexts. The British Isles and Germany are at the centre of our research, making questions of transnational transfers of ideas especially pertinent – also beyond our core geographical area, following European, global, and (post-)imperial connections. We take an interest in the methodological implications of writing intellectual history across linguistic, national, and cultural boundaries and serve as a meeting point for discussing methods in intellectual history emanating from both British and German traditions. We explore actors, practices, and institutions of intellectual engagement, and ask how ideas and concepts could shape the perception of the world, stimulate scientific as well as public discourses, and strengthen social cohesion. As such, ideas are not understood as mere representations of non-verbal “facts”, but as impacting socio-cultural settings and as pivotal modes of people’s ongoing self-reflection.

Related Projects:

Nomadism as a Discursive Figure of (Post)Modernity (Sina Steglich)

Intellectual Lives and Gender in Exile (Emily Steinhauer)

Language Invention in the Age of Global English (Pascale Siegrist)

Sociological Objectivity as a Way of Life (Ole Münch)

Black and white photograph of Asylum seeker in Gauting (Bavaria, Germany) watching television. By Andreas Bohnenstengel [CC BY-SA 3.0 de]

Cross-Cutting Research Theme

History of Medialization

We understand ‘medialization’ to refer to the way in which spaces of communication become increasingly dense and interlinked, the expansion of medial ensembles, and the increasing pressure for other social sectors to conform to the conditions imposed by the media. Our research asks how medialization changes social, economic, scientific, scholarly, everyday, and political practices. How do medialization processes change the spaces and practices of knowledge, the negotiation of identities, the representation of interests, and the exercise of power in popular and elite cultures? We consider textual and oral as well as visual and audio-visual media – in short, all media that 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.

Related Projects:

International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment (Jane Freeland/Christina von Hodenberg)

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

Censoring, Defacing, and Erasing Visual Matters in the European City (Marcus Meer)

Black and white image of a group of students during the student revolution, 1967/68, West Berlin (Stiftung Haus der Geschichte, Ludwig Binder, [CC BY-SA 2.0])

Cross-Cutting Research Theme

Histories of Gender and Society

Gender, as a multi-relational, intersectional category, has always been a powerful indicator of social place, but also a social binding agent. How are men and women assigned a social place and ascribed power, individually or in groups? How are social hierarchies, inequalities, differences or support networks created by the production of gendered, intersectional 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 involves a dialogue with new methods and theories from other disciplines such as gender studies and social sciences. The projects draw on a variety of methods, including social data analysis, corpus linguistics, and concepts such as intersectionality and inequality.


Related Projects:

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

Heavenly Hierarchies and Profane Prestige: Imagining and Shaping Social Order in Post-Roman England and the Frankish World (c. 400–850) (Stephan Bruhn)

International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment (Christina von Hodenberg)

Intellectual Lives and Gender in Exile (Emily Steinhauer)