Dekan: Prof. Dr. Dirk Hartmann

Every year, the Faculty of Humanities selects one of its many research topics to present in the UDE Research Report. It started this practice in 2014 in order to reflect the full spectrum of its research over time. The present report focuses on projects which approach their subjects from a cultural-studies perspective. While the Faculty maintains a selection of key topics, its scholarly activities also reflect the sheer variety of research interests and approaches with which the humanities seek to understand culture(s). Research in the humanities covers the entire bandwidth of cultural practices, phenomena and artifacts that teach us about history, define the present and shape the future. It ranges from the establishment of broad theoretical foundations to the focused study of highly specialised topics


Professor Rolf Parr (German Studies/Literary Studies), Professor Peer Trilcke (University of Potsdam), Dr Gabriele Radecke (Literature Archives, Akademie der Künste, Berlin) and PD Dr Julia Bertschik (FU Berlin) are working together to fill a gap in scholarship on Theodor Fontane. There is currently no comprehensive publication dedicated to the full breadth of research into Fontane’s multifaceted oeuvre, including texts from his literary estate. The planned compendium will incorporate all of his literary works and texts and the most important pieces of correspondence, discussed in dedicated groups of articles which take into account and depict the cultural contexts, environments and social relations that shaped Fontane’s life and work. His artistic output and endeavours will be examined from the perspective of the culture, mentality, collective imagination and intellectual history of the nineteenth century and placed in the context of its cultural traditions. By applying concepts from cultural studies, the publication project ‘Theodor Fontane. Ein Handbuch’ effectively overcomes the usual problems inherent to compendiums on individual authors. (Funding: Fritz Thyssen Foundation, 2018–2022)

Professor Dietmar Osthus’s (Romance Philology/Linguistics) project on Gilles Ménage, the first major French etymologist in the budding Age of Rationalism, is also funded by the Fritz Thyssen Foundation. It is a comprehensive study into the metalinguistic concepts, methods and research interests of this pioneer of French etymology. For a long time, Romance philologists rejected all approaches that predate the comparative method in historical linguistics as academically immature. That view, however, distorts our understanding of historical linguistic scholarship. The project addresses a key issue in the history of etymological research in the francophone world and beyond.