Projects

New main research Focus

A digitally enhanced cultural anthropology of Austrian places of remembrance of national relevance

We know to some extent what Austria’s monuments and memorials, which are meant to shape the national consciousness of Austrians, look like and where they are located. However, no consensus exists on which of these sites may claim to be “national,” nor why and since when. In many cases, there has been insufficient research into the foundation and construction of these objects, and into how they make use of the past. The processes of unravelling these entangled histories will help to map and to reveal  the dynamics of past and present national meaning-making and attribution. In addition, we have very little empirically grounded knowledge about what happens at these sites today. We need to know more about how they are used, by whom, and for what. We need to understand how people think with them and whether they add something to their image of history. Are they merely welcome but replaceable sightseeing destinations or do they  carry significant cognitive or emotional weight? This last question has become eminently political in recent years, as public memorials have come under attack across the global West, a process that is perceived by some groups in society as significantly disturbing. The Austrian writer Robert Musil claimed that nothing is as invisible as a monument. This view is more doubtful than ever today. Our research and development focus will pursue this questions cooperatively in a transdisciplinary way on the basis of cultural anthropological, historical and social scientific methodologies and methods. This work might very well become of exemplary interest far beyond Austria’s borders.


Ongoing Projects

Public History Weekly. The Open Peer Review Journal (PHW)

  • PHW is an academic, collaborative, multi-lingual, open access, open peer reviewed digital journal which appears in weekly frequency with an editorship spreading across 5 continents. It’s about public history of all appearances, times, goals and agency. PHW reaches out to more than 15’000 unique clients (average per month) and is one the main platforms for disciplinary and beyond exchanges worldwide.
  • since 2013
  • Donors: University of Vienna, Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW (Muttenz/Brugg-Windisch), Pädagogische Hochschule Luzern, De Gruyter Verlag (Boston/Berlin)
  • Website: https://public-history-weekly.degruyter.com/

#GTS7000. Der Geschichtstalk

  • The German-speaking „Geschichtstalk GTS7000“ is an interactive conversational web platform, starting on 14 September 2017 which is a new type of “talkshow”. Historians who are experts on various epochs will discuss pressing topics from Public History with members of the public. We tackle topics from current public debates and probe their meaning and historical significance for the present. Who goes public with history and how? Who are the opinion-leaders of historical consciousness? We broadcast live on the Net and invite all those interested in history to participate in the discussion on Twitter, Facebook and also long term on our weblog. The feedback from our audience is a central part of the programme. We do not want to hold a purely academic discussions on scientific questions within a closed expert group. Rather, we want to discuss a range of topics that have relevance for today, from the perspective of professional historians, involving the broader public.
  • since 2014
  • Donors: Gerda Henkel Stiftung (Düsseldorf), University of Vienna (from 2021, Oct), Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW (Muttenz/Brugg-Windisch) (2017-2021)
  • Website: https://gts7000.hypotheses.org/

Diessener Klausur Mensch|Maschine|Zukunft

  • This retreat (Klausur) creates a special format for the exchange of experts on digital transformation in different fields, which takes place approximately every two years. The first two topics were the digitalisation of universities (2019) and the digitalisation of political communication (2021). The idea of this retreat: a special weekend, in special (beautiful) places, far away from all everyday concerns, a narrowly limited number of participants, a protected space without further publicity on site, but in effect with great public outreach.
  • since 2019
  • Donors: Stifterverband für die deutsche Wissenschaft (Essen), Gerda Henkel Stiftung (Düsseldorf), Artemed Kliniken (München), Pädagogische Hochschule FHNW (Muttenz/Brugg-Windisch)
  • Website: https://mensch-maschine-zukunft.ch/