Ongoing Lead Project

The lead project "Social-Spatial Transformations in Berlin-Brandenburg 1980 - 2000" deals with the world-historical disruption of 1989/90 in its political-social causes and consequences in Berlin-Brandenburg. more

Ongoing Third-party Funded Projects

The project explores entanglements of Afro-Asian actors during the Cold War, focusing on persons, practices and their everyday sites of interaction. Recent research has taken note of voices from Africa and Asia, yet little is known about their interconnections. Overlooking these has given us a one-sided picture of the Cold War in which the global South only appears as a theatre of bloc politics. CRAFTE proposes to fill this gap by critically engaging with the lived world(s) of Afro-Asian connections, to show how these were embedded in, but also, how they shaped the global Cold War. more

Das Forschungsprojekt untersucht die Folgen der Tätigkeiten der Treuhand-Liegenschaftsgesellschaft (TLG), einer Tochtergesellschaft der 1990 eingesetzten Treuhand-Anstalt, die für die Liquidierung und Veräußerung der zu DDR-Zeit zum „Volkseigentum“ zugehörigen Grundstücke und Immobilien zuständig war. Der Fokus liegt auf der Untersuchung der Bautypen, die in der neuen vereinten Bundesrepublik keine Verwendung mehr fanden wie Großgaststätten, Polikliniken, CENTRM-Warenhäuser und Interhotels. Diese wurden im Verlauf der 1990er umgebaut, umgenutzt, abgerissen oder stehen bis heute leer – und prägen so das Bild der Städte in Ostdeutschland. more

Cities affected by the Second World War had to redefine their urban self-image and undertake a revision of their building stock in the face of the impending or real bombing catastrophe. Maps and mapping played a special role in this. The research network "Mapping and Transforming. Interdisciplinary Access to City Maps as a Visual Medium of Urban Transformation in Central and Eastern Europe, 1939-1949" explores functions of city maps in transformation processes for selected cities in Central and Eastern Europe in interdisciplinary cooperation, from the perspective of the humanities and engineering sciences, social geography as well as computer science. The sub-project at the IRS combines heterogeneous and little-researched data sets, maps and archival material to investigate the transformation of selected cities in East Germany and communist Poland. more

“Authenticity” as the purportedly “original”, “pure”, or “true” character of persons, objects or practices has become a major public discourse, a powerful driver of heritage debates and cultural change and a key research issue in the humanities. From theatre and museums studies to heritage conservation and the historical sciences scholars dispute the ways in which authenticity indicates and triggers cultural change in modern societies. While there is a broad consensus among constructivist approaches that historical authenticity was and is always socially and culturally produced, and that there is no such thing as “the pure” or “the original” in terms of materiality, the case of built heritage seems to challenge this approach. Here strong academic and public controversies have emerged on the role and impact of materiality for authenticity. This project is the first to systematically analyse patterns of such discourses in a transnational historiographical perspective. more

Global construction companies impact our futures. Beyond the edifices and infrastructures they construct, they also fundamentally influence governmental development aid policies, or dislocate people to build a new dam, for example. Yet the role of these major global players and their persistent presence in different world regions has barely been reflected upon. Our project investigates how major German construction companies conquered markets and spaces, thereby cementing their presence in different regions of the Global South, and it will trace the footprints left behind, long after the dust of the construction sites settled. It draws on the observation that it is impossible to fully understand the complexity of the built environment in these regions without acknowledging and analysing the role of construction companies such as HOCHTIEF AG or Bilfinger Berger as actors, stakeholders, transnational legal entities and major driving forces in the processes of globalised construction business. more

Ongoing Qualification Projects

This dissertation accounts for the crucial role of port constructions for West African histories of globalisation in the era of decolonisation between the 1950s and 1970s by analysing their material-spatial dimensions. Constructing ports was at the centre of a range of projects of globalisation pursued in late-colonial and independent West Africa by governments and international companies – from the late-colonial Portuguese rulers over Angola and the extractive concessionary open-door policy in Liberia, over the developmentalist model of post-colonial nation-building in Côte d’Ivoire to the booming petrostate of Nigeria. At the same time, these port constructions were also at the centre of the projects of globalisation of the German construction companies contracted to build them. more