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Current Projects

  • Prof Benedikt Stuchtey

    The book project “The History of Adoption in the 19th and 20th Century” aims to explore the social history of adoption from the perspective of childhood and family history. In the work, adoption is approached in its national and global context, as a mirror of the transforming national images of the family to the practices of adopting from abroad as part of the wider processes of globalisation. It addresses a wide range of questions to cover the variety of issues involved. What forms of legal development took place, and what socio-political or parliamentary debates were held? What institutional frameworks emerged over time and how did the professionalisation of the adoption process occur?  When, and under what political conditions, was adoption considered a socially relevant topic? How did family policy deal with it and how did the competition between church- or state-run welfare institutions influence the control and care of adoption processes? What role did adoption, or the question of secret adoption, play in society? Just as diverse family structures existed, so too did the competing social and cultural models of adoption, both of which were influenced by national traditions and transnational influences.

    The research project aims to examine the tensions between private and state interest groups, within the professionalisation and institutionalisation of adoption, as well as encourage the standardisation of adoption within the wider fields of family and childhood history. To do this, a wide range of social-historical questions regarding the children, the birth and adoptive parents, as well as the church and state actors are addressed. Questions concerning the identity of the child, the normalisation of adoptive parenting, or the expectations placed on the family as the nucleus of the society are posed. Perspectives beyond the intimate space of those involved are also addressed by consideration of the legislatures, social workers, adoption agencies, or welfare services, among others, involved. Finally, the project will adopt a global historical perspective and include examples from both European and non-European childhood and familial history.

    An overview of the project can be found here: “Solidarity With Children? Towards a History of Adoption”, in German Historical Institute Bulletin, Vol. XXXV, No. 2, Nov. 2013, 43-56.

  • Dr. Andrea Wiesgeshoff

    Of Pathogens and Humans. A History of the Policies on Epidemics in the British and American Empires (c. 1800-1920)

    This research project focuses on the various reactions to threats posed by epidemics within the American and British Empires during the long nineteenth century. It explores ideas and practices guiding “policies on epidemics”. Against the backdrop of increasing inter- and transnational interdependence, this project examines epidemics as transborder, indeed global phenomena. Posing the question to which extent contemporaries framed these public health crises as a product of growing integration and how their perceptions translated into tangible practices, it concentrates on islands as transimperial nodes. Hawai‘i serve as case study from the American context, while Mauritius provides the example from the British Empire. As hubs of intra- and transimperial exchanges, these spaces were particularly susceptible to epidemic incursions; thus, frequently setting the stage for intense debates and interventions surrounding epidemic threats. The project analyzes the local dynamics as well as the intra- and interimperial links of these discourses and practices, thereby investigating interpretations of the global as well as attempts of coping with growing interdependence in terms of policies on epidemics.

  • SFB/TRR 138 Subproject C08 "Security and Empire"

    The sub-project investigates the connection between transformations of imperial and colonial orders and processes of securitisation in the history of the British Empire in the long 19th century. Perceptions of and dealing with insecurity were basic elements of this history. Using the example of the Anglo-French Caribbean with Jamaica and Saint-Domingue as well as the US-American zone of influence in the Pacific and British India, a special focus is placed on the significance of intra- and trans-imperial interactions. Questions about notions and the handling of (in)security thus make it possible to examine functional mechanisms of imperial orders as well as stabilising and centrifugal forces from a new perspective, contributing to a deeper understanding of the shaping and transformation of rule in colonial spaces of the British Empire.

    More information: SFB/138 Subproject C08

  • Postcolonial Hierarchies Network

    "The network "Postcolonial Hierarchies in Peace and Conflict" is a collaborative project of the Arnold Bergstraesser Institute (Freiburg), the Center for Conflict Studies at the Philipps University Marburg, the University of Bayreuth, and the University of Erfurt. It is an interdisciplinary research initiative funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
    The network investigates how historically formed postcolonial hierarchies manifest themselves in contemporary conflict dynamics and what implications this has for sustainable conflict transformation in the future. To do so, the network brings together historical perspectives on the contexts of conflict formation (in particular those shaped by colonialism) with postcolonial research perspectives as well as with methodologies and theories of peace and conflict research."

    More information: Postcolonial Hierarchies

  • Dr. Alex Lamprou

    More information coming soon.