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Focusing on Diversity, Migration and a Complex Past
06 July 2012
The University of Tübingen’s new Research Center for German History and Culture in Southeastern Europe was officially opened on Friday, June 6, at the Alte Aula (Münzgasse 30) in Tübingen. Speakers at the opening included the state interior minister Reinhold Gall, a representative of the German federal government, Dr Ingeborg Berggreen-Merkel, and an expert on the history of ethnic Germans in southeastern Europe, Prof. Dr. Joachim von Puttkamer of Jena University.
Since the fall of the Iron Curtain there has been a resurgence of interest in the history and culture of ethnic Germans in southeastern Europe. The focus is on the rich cultural heritage and current life of German minorities in the region - a region with a turbulent political past whose huge diversity of languages, religions, and ethnicities are closely interwoven.
The Research Center for German History and Culture in Southeastern Europe is open to researchers from institutions both within Germany and in southeastern Europe. It is to be the hub of southeastern Europe research, pooling the many and varied activities in the field, giving new impetus to research and to ensure its continuation on a solid footing.
The Center operates on four basic principles: firstly, it is committed to researching German history and culture in southeastern Europe in an interethnic context. Secondly, an international and interdisciplinary approach must be taken. Thirdly, cultural diversity, frequent migration and complex remembrances of the region’s turbulent past take center stage. And fourthly, these areas of core research are to be investigated with a view to the region’s present-day reality and its future within Europe.
The Center is the result of an initiative by the independent Institut für donauschwäbische Geschichte Tübingen and the Institute of Eastern European History and the Ludwig Uhland Institute for Empirical Cultural Studies - the latter two being University of Tübingen institutes. Their joint efforts have ensured the Center has funding for a new junior professor in the Culture and History of Eastern Europe, focusing on interethnic relations in general and on the German minorities in southeastern Europe in particular. It also demonstrates the close and fruitful collaboration between University and non-University research institutions.