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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Department of Cultural History and Theory

Department of Cultural History and Theory

Cultural History and Theory at Humboldt University of Berlin focuses on the historical and material-oriented analysis of European cultures from antiquity to the present. It starts from the premise that cultures are constituted through knowledge as well as through practices of knowledge, whereby the processes of consolidation and change span over long periods of time. Within this scope, the perspective of Cultural History and Theory draws attention to patterns of perception and evaluation, to symbolic orders, media and cultural techniques, as well as techniques of the body, orders of gender, myths and religious cults and the arts. Cultural History and Theory in Berlin is understood primarily as a theoretical discipline with a focus on culture, which draws on a specific German-speaking tradition exemplified by thinkers such as Freud, Simmel, Weber, Cassirer, Warburg and Benjamin. At the same time, it integrates the impulses of poststructuralism, gender research and media theory. Focus areas of research and teaching deal with historical anthropology, history and theory of cultural techniques, cultural history and theory of aesthetics and history of knowledge. As an interdisciplinary field it is open to the innovations of cultural studies, yet can be differentiated from this tradition by its stronger emphasis on the historical dimensions of cultures.