10th Anniversary of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften
The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften celebrates its anniversary ̶ and begins its second decade with new programmes

The Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften is celebrating its anniversary – ten years ago on October 10, 2006 the Goethe University Frankfurt and the Werner Reimers Foundation of Bad Homburg signed the cooperation agreement that established the Institute on the Foundation’s premises. In the early years, during which the Institute was known at the University as the Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, pioneering work was done by the founding director Spiris Simitris, the former Data Protection Commissioner for the state of Hessen, by Wolfgang Assmann, the former Executive Director of the Foundation and by Ingrid Rudolph, Managing Director of the Institute. Since then the baton has been passed to Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Director of the Institute since 2012, Iris Helene Koban, its current Managing Director, and Albrecht Graf von Kalnein, Executive Director of the Werner Reimers Foundation.

The Executive of the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Institute: (from l. to r.): Alexander W. Hetjes, Mayor of Bad Homburg; Matthias Lutz-Bachmann, Director of the Institute; Birgitta Wolff, President of Goethe University Frankfurt; Ulrich Krebs, District Chief Executive of the Hochtaunus District Authority; Albrecht Graf von Kalnein, Executive Director of the Werner Reimers Foundation; Iris Helene Koban, Managing Director of the Institute. Photo: Stefanie Wetzel

The first years of the Institute were devoted primarily to the establishment of the Fellows Programme. At the invitation of some of the University’s large research centers (e.g. the Cluster of Excellence »The Formation of Normative Orders«, the Centre for Advanced Studies »Justitia Amplificata« and the research training group »Theology as an Academic Discipline«), more than 100 scholars from all around the world and from many academic disciplines have visited the Institute in Bad Homburg. Productively close but still removed from the University, these guests find at the Institute a constructive environment as well as the freedom necessary to advance their own research projects. However, though participation in seminars and conferences, they remain involved in University research and have personal contact with the University’s students, teachers and researchers. Matthias Lutz-Bachmann has confirmed that this very successful Fellows Programme will be expanded in the coming years.

Over the course of its development, the Institute has created a space in which new research projects can be developed and carried out. For example, the »History Programme« was established in 2014 at the Forschungskolleg Humanwissenschaften in order to investigate current problems from an historical distance. Each academic year focusses on a different theme ̶ in 2015/16 the focus was on the divergent development of capitalism in East and West and in the current academic year, the programme is examining the interweaving of politics and religion beginning in the Reformation in the 16th century. 2017 will mark the beginning of the »Goethe Fellowship Programme«, in which scholars from the University will have the opportunity to develop and implement exceptional interdisciplinary and international projects at the Institute over a period of 2 – 4 years.

The Institute builds bridges between scholarship and the public by means of a variety of events. The lecture series »EuropaDialoge/Dialogues d’Europe«, in which experts from academia and the cultural and economic sectors discuss their views of Europe, was established in 2014. And there is a new lecture series »The Institute Introduces…« during which a different University scholar presents his or her most recent publication at each lecture. This series began on November 22, 2016 with the anthropologist Susanne Schröter and the presentation of her new book »Gott näher als der eigenen Halsschlagader. Fromme Muslime in Deutschland« (Campus 2016)..

The Institute’s infrastructure is funded by the University (two thirds) and the Werner Reimers Foundation (one third). However, further funding is necessary in order to carry out the Institute’s programmes. These receive financing through external funding projects at the University, from private donations and through funds raised by the Institute through the rental of its conference and apartment facilities.

At the press conference for the 10th anniversary of the Institute, Birgitta Wolff, President of the University, emphasized the importance of the Institute to University research, which is one of the reasons for the University’s support of the new »Goethe Fellowship Programme« ̶ »With the Goethe Fellowship Programme, Goethe University is creating space for our scholars to tackle and implement exceptional projects«.

(FKH - 12.10.2016)