The Department of History


The Department of History of the Ruhr-Universität is one of the largest in Germany. On average, 2,500 students are enrolled in the subject of history. They are currently led by 14 professorships, 6 junior professorships and a large number of other lecturers. In spite of the large number of students, the Department has always attached great importance to intensive supervision. A considerable share of the funds is invested in a course that is almost as old as the institute itself: The Integrated Proseminar, a four-hour course in which first-year students are carefully familiarized with the methods of historical studies over a period of two semesters. In addition to the B.A. for all history students, the Master (in history alone or in combination with a second subject) and the Master of Education, the Institute offers a growing number of specific programs: The Master in Public History, the Integrated Study Program Bochum-Tours and MATILDA (European Masters in Women's and Gender History) are designed by the Department of History alone. Moreover, the Department is involved in the Master's programmes Medieval and Renaissance Studies (MARS), History, Philosophy and Culture of Science (HPS+), Gender Studies, Religious Studies and the Master's program "Osteuropäische Studien mit Praxisbezug".


Historical research always has to navigate the tension between wide-ranging chronological perspectives and current interests that determine the questions we ask and our choice of objects. Ever since its creation, the Department of History has successfully met this challenge: It became home to pioneering work on social utopias in different periods and our members were amongst the first to study the changes and transformations of industrial cultures from the perspectives of social and economic history as well as the history of technology.
Our current research increasingly broadens its perspectives by including global perspectives and focusing on phenomena of transculturality and interconnectivity. As part of the Faculty of History, the core areas of our research include a strong accent on the analysis of the material basis of cultural and historical developments ("Resources") as well as on social and cultural phenomena in configurations that transcend political and/or cultural borders ("Supra fines", Mediterranean studies). In all these fields, the analysis of crises and transformations (as core elements of historical change) occupies a vital position, not least with regard to the social function of history as a field of knowledge that provides orientation for the present (Public history and memory).
One of the particular strengths of our Department lies in the presence of exemplary regional perspectives (Ottoman Empire, Eastern Europe, North America), which we consistently combine with respect to globalized issues in diachronic approaches that transcend the delimitations between different periods. Approaches that are strongly grounded in theoretical reflection combine with spatial-cultural competences and specialisations, thus creating a characteristic profile that enables the Department of History to cooperate closely with our neighbouring departments and faculties at the RUB (Social Sciences, Philologies, East Asian Studies and others) as well as with further research institutions that are associated with the Faculty of Historical Sciences (Institute for Social Movements, Centre for Religious Studies - CERES, Deutsches Bergbau-Museum (German Mining Museum)).

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Perspectives on the Department's history

Wolfgang Helbich: 25 Jahre Geschichtswissenschaft in Bochum   Booklet produced for the Congress of German Historians in Bochum 1990 in Bochum.

Lutz Budrass: Ein Lehrstuhl für die Geschichte der Zukunft   in: Kwiatkowski, Iris; Oberweis, Michael (Hg.): Recht, Religion, Gesellschaft und Kultur im Wandel der Geschichte. Ferculum de cibis spiritualibus. Festschrift für Dieter Scheler, Hamburg 2008, pp. 483 - 508.