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

In cooperation with the Federal Statistical Office, the IRS is testing a new approach to historical research on public authorities: in the "GeStat" project, ideas and concepts relating to the politics of the past as well as methodological, personnel and organisational developments at the Federal Statistical Office since the late 1980s are being investigated, taking the incision of the census boycott as a starting point. more

The project “Geodata as Social Data for Historical Longitudinal Analyses?” explores the use of drones and deep mapping in contemporary historical research. It examines processes of socio-spatial change by looking at transformations of cultural landscapes in Berlin’s hinterland. Historical maps and plans from the Scientific Collections of the IRS and other regional archives provide points of reference by showing the state of the landscape in the past. The project uses drone overflights to record the current state of the spaces. Issues of land use, property rights and restrictions on access lie at the centre of interest. In turn, the project investigates social relations and their changes that manifest themselves in space. Its aim is to explore to what extent historical social changes can be understood via spatial data. more

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

The joint German-Flemish-Ivorian project CTRAAF examines the genealogies, materialisations and legacies of various forms of transport architecture in West Africa from the 1950s to the 1980s. At this time, a large wave of infrastructure projects was being promoted throughout West Africa. Transport infrastructures were nation building projects. CTRAAF examines ideas and realisations of transport architecture in this context, as well as the agency and power of political actors shaping it.<br/><br/>Le projet commun germano-flamand-ivoirien CTRAAF examine les généalogies, les matérialisations et les héritages de diverses formes d'architecture des transports en Afrique de l'Ouest entre les années 1950 et 1980. À cette époque, une grande vague de projets d'infrastructure a été promue dans toute l'Afrique de l'Ouest. Les infrastructures de transport étaient des projets de construction nationale. Le CTRAAF examine les idées et les réalisations de l'architecture des transports dans ce contexte, ainsi que l'agence et le pouvoir des acteurs politiques qui la façonnent. 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. 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