Institute of Modern History

Completed Research Projects

Research Training Group 1662

From 2011 until 2020, the DFG Research Training Group 1662/1 “Religious Knowledge in Pre-Modern Europe (800-1800): Transfers and Transformations – Ways to Modern Knowledge Society” explored the interplay of knowledge and religion in pre-modern Europe. The research group aimed to establish the interdisciplinary use of “religious knowledge” as an analytical concept and described in a new way how the so-called western knowledge society could develop in Europe with its self-attributions of tolerance, secularity, rationality and the differentiation between science and education, law and politics, religion, art, and literature. Click here for accessing the website of the Research Training Group 1662.
Prof. Dr. Renate Dürr and former PhD student Dr. Irina Saladin (née Pawlowsky) from the Institute of Modern History are currently part of the group. Former members include Dr. Anne Mariss and Dr. Susanne Kofler.


Collaborative Research Center 923, Sub-Project A03 Riots in Regions of Heavy Industry in the 20th Century

Project A03 examines threats to order in British and German mining regions at the beginning and end of the 20th century. It investigates waves of violent protests in the 1920s and 1980s through the lens of a comparative analysis of the effects that different dynamics of action had at regional, supra-regional/national, and transnational levels to determine under what circumstances, in which ways, and to what effect otherwise “normal” means of protest in mining regions developed into threats to social order.

Project Leaders:
Prof. Dr. Anselm Doering-Manteuffel
Dr. Jörg Neuheiser

Research Staff:
Arne Hordt
Sara Sophie Stern, M. A.

Collaborative Research Center 923, Sub-Project B04 Sand and Dust Storms as Threats to Social Order in Industrial Societies: The Soviet Union/Russia, China and Australia since the 1940s

As a severe type of wind erosion, sand and dust storms are natural processes that occur in many dry regions around the world, especially during and after severe droughts. These storms put a halt to daily life and cause accidents; they can destroy harvests and even unleash fatal famines in turn. In a dramatic way, sand and dust storms reveal the vulnerability of social order in industrial societies. They fuel the fear that modern civilization will be forced to retreat and surrender affected regions in order to avoid being buried under sand and dust.

The three individual studies in Project B04 focus on periods in time in which devastating sand and dust storms in the Soviet Union/Russia, China, and Australia received great public attention, triggered communicative processes, and led to the adoption of preventive measures. They examine how societies dealt with these storm catastrophes, shedding light on how these strategies were linked to cultural traditions, political structures and environmental realities. At the same time, they look at how the global circulation of knowledge, ideas, and experts, as well as forms of global cooperation, occurred even at the height of the Cold War.

A more detailed description of the project (in German) is available as a PDF download..

Project Leaders:
Prof. Dr. Ewald Frie
Prof. Dr. Klaus Gestwa

Research Staff:
Dr. Susanne Stein
Sabine Sauter

Collaborative Research Center 923, Sub-Project D03 The Nobility and the Middle Classes: Impoverished Nobles between Competing Social Orders, 1700 - 1900

Project D03 analyses the competition over social order between the nobility and the bourgeoisie by looking at the phenomenon of “impoverished nobles”. The project consists of three separate studies that examine the lower nobility in the Eastern Elbe region of Prussia and those in Southwest Germany in different historical periods within a comparative perspective. The key focal point for the overall project is the phase from 1800–1830. Two of the three individual projects are situated before and after this period, namely from 1720-1760 (with a concentration on the Southwest) and 1880-1914.

The project seeks to define the chronological and temporal boundaries for comparison in a new way, thereby contextualizing the historical break around 1800 and suggesting new perspectives on the significance of this transitional period.

Project Leaders:
Prof. Dr. Franz Brendle
Prof. Dr. Ewald Frie

Research Staff:
Chelion Begass, M.A.
Jacek Klimek, M. A.
Johanna Singer

German Research Foundation (DFG) Project: The Speeches of University Rectors in the German-Speaking Realm in the 19th and 20th Centuries

The project was conducted on behalf of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences under the leadership of Prof. Langewiesche. In cooperation with Prof. Dr. Rainer C. Schwinges (University of Bern), a bibliography of the speeches of university rectors was compiled and published on the Internet. Digital versions of the speeches by Swiss rectors are also available on-line. Several book-length projects on topics related to the university rector speeches are scheduled for completion.

Rektoratsreden im 19. und 20. Jahrhundert – Online-Bibliographie.

Project: The Nazi and Post-War Era in Southwest Germany

In cooperation with Klaus Schönhoven, Professor of Contemporary History at the University of Mannheim, and funded by the Stiftung Volkswagenwerk, this project on National Socialism and the post-war period in Southwest Germany ran for several years and sponsored numerous theses and dissertations. The dissertations were published as part of the series Nationalsozialismus und Nachkriegszeit in Südwestdeutschland (Oldenbourg Verlag Munich), edited by Dieter Langewiesche and Klaus Schönhoven.

Project: Social History and Mentalities in the First World War

This larger project on the social history and history of mentalities in the First World War was funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the State of Baden-Württemberg. Historians from the universities of Freiburg and Stuttgart collaborated on this four-year project. Over the course of this project, 43 undergraduate theses and Master’s Degree theses were written in Tübingen, Freiburg and Stuttgart (22 by women). All of the undergraduate theses relied on original research. Many of them have been published in an abridged format in different academic journals and in a book that summarized the key findings of the project: Kriegserfahrungen. Studien zur Sozial- und Mentalitätsgeschichte des Ersten Weltkriegs (Schriften der Bibliothek für Zeitgeschichte, NF 5), Essen 1997 (edited by Gerhard Hirschfeld, Gerd Krumeich, Dieter Langewiesche, and Hans-Peter Ullmann).

Collaborative Research Center 437: War Experiences

The Collaborative Research Center 437 in Tübingen, funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) from 1 January 1999 to 31 December 2008, combined two strands of current scholarly debate. On the one hand, it tapped into the re-emerging focus on the history of war in the social and cultural sciences that has developed over the last two decades and since the beginning of the 1990s in particular. On the other hand, it explored ways to turn sociological concepts of experience into an analytical category for cultural studies.

Click here to go to the homepage of CRC 437.

“Virtual History” and Historical Images of 20th Century Wars in Computer Games (sponsored by the Fritz Thyssen Stiftung für Wissenschaftsförderung)

Computer games are a part of popular mass culture and the social scope of their content is enormous. Although the majority adopt fictional formats, there is also a group of well-established computer games in a variety of genres on the market that rely on images of historical events as a basis for their content and conceptualization. Depictions of military conflicts and wars are the most prevalent in terms of quantity. The producers of these games generally market their products offensively with the promise that they can offer a comprehensive and realistic simulation of the historical events and scenarios in question.