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 processes of medialization, histories of kinship and gender, the history of knowledge, and digital humanities methods.

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

Cross-Cutting Research Theme

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 destabilized colonial state power.

Related Projects:

The Political Economy of Government Redistribution in Britain 1870–1955 (Jenny Pleinen)

Empire, Heritage, and the Decolonization Debate (Mirjam Brusius)

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

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 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.

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 (Jane Freeland/Christina von Hodenberg)