The Department of History and Cultural Studies

Welcome to the new website of the Department of History and Cultural Studies. Here, you will find a portrait of the department with information on the profile, an organigram and a summary of the disciplines and institutes as well as a summary of the administration and services of the department, such as the Dean’s office, department administration, and committees and boards.

The Department of History and Cultural Studies covers a wide range of different eras, from antiquity to the modern period, and a vast physical area, stretching from Europe and the Middle East to Asia and the Americas. The Department of History and Cultural Studies offers a research profile found nowhere else in Germany.

Students at the Friedrich Meinecke Institute of History can learn about the subject in all the periods from ancient Greece to contemporary history. The Department of Art History is one of the largest in Germany. The subject is taught with an emphasis on a cross-regional perspective, with specializations in art from East Asia, South Asia, or Africa. The classical studies include the disciplines of Egyptology, ancient Near Eastern Studies, Archaeology, Prehistoric Archaeology, and Near Eastern Archaeology. The East Asian, Middle Eastern, and North African regions are all studied from interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspectives in the fields of Iranian Studies, Islamic Studies, Japanese Studies, Korean Studies, Semitic Studies, and Arabic Studies, as well as Sinology and Turkic Studies.

The Institute of Jewish Studies is the first institute for Jewish Studies to be set up at a university in Germany. The discipline of Catholic Theology sees itself as a scientific reflection on the Christian faith. Religion as an academic discipline is a historical-philological and sociological field of cultural studies, and its emphasis at Freie Universität Berlin is on European tradition since ancient Greece. The Institute of Comparative Ethics took up its work on January 1, 2006. Its research and teaching deal with rules, norms, and values that people follow to guide their thinking and actions.

The research undertaken by the highly specialized disciplines in the Department of History and Cultural Studies is supported by different units. Deserving mention here are two Focus Areas of Freie Universität: the Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC) and the Center for Area Studies (CAS). DHC is the central hub of the many departments and activities in humanities research at Freie Universität, while CAS links together the area-specific expertise in the humanities and social sciences that is present at Freie Universität.

The two graduate schools that won funding in the German national Excellence Initiative, Berlin Graduate School Muslim Cultures and Societies and the Graduate School of East Asian Studies, as well as the Excellence Cluster Topoi are just a few examples of the outstanding academic achievements of the Department of History and Cultural Studies. Members of the department are involved in several Interdisciplinary Centers that provide platforms for dealing with a particular interdisciplinary research topic.