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Working Group 13 Early Modern Era: Governance, Communication, Transfer (2005–2015)

The Working Group Early Modern Era: Governance, Communication, Transfer was comprised of junior scholars from various academic disciplines who dealt with topics of history, art history, literary history and music history of the early modern era (1500–1800).

A central theme had evolved from the concepts of "governance" and "execution of governance." Keeping in tune with recent research discussions surrounding this topic, the focus of this group was on communication and transfer processes that played a significant role both in the execution of governance in the pre-modern era and in the wider context of cultural developments (catch phrase: cultural transfer), processes that should provide a link to additional themes for discussion in the future as well.

Beginning with the thesis that governance is based on complex social relationships, that governance relationships reflect dynamic and communicative processes (multi-polar concept), the aspect of communication took on a more decisive role:

  • By which material (art, pamphlets, the presence of public officials and offices) and immaterial (ceremonial, rhetoric, storage and availability of knowledge) means is governance communicated?
  • Who applies these means for whom?
  • To whom should governance be conveyed?
  • Which role do artists and authors play in this communication process and which effect does it have on the work they produce?
  • To which transformation is the form of communication of governance subject due to a cultural transfer and changing times?

The starting point and basic motivation for the exchange of ideas here were the members' research projects, which could be discussed in the group. This could take place in the form of presentations on selected topics, interpretation of problematic texts or definitions of key concepts.

The Working Group had been in existence since the founding of the Graduate Center for Humanities and Social Sciences in July 2005 and had already successfully carried out its own activities. There were initially regular meetings where group members' own research and general questions about current research were discussed, and in the winter semesters of 2008/09 and 2009/10 (PDF) the group organized lecture series. Here well-known speakers were available as partners for discussion, placing their diverse research into focus with the help of the key concepts of "governance, communication, and transfer."

On July 9 and 10, 2010, the Working Group organized a two-day conference on the theme of "Communication of Social Mobility," a topic that is always recognized in lecture series as a research desideratum (conference schedule (PDF)).

The Working Group saw itself as an open forum and network for current research related to governance and communication, constituted by the active impulses of its members. Members and any junior scholar interested in membership could use this platform as an infrastructure for their research interests as they relate to the topics of the forum. This applied both in regard to discussion partners with similar research topics and also as an experienced organizational team for research activities beyond the sphere of the Working Group.

Anyone interested was cordially invited. There was also a virtual scholarly exchange that took place in a Google news group of the same name.