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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin

History


 

Historical research at the Centre is open to all themes concerning British history. In particular, students working on dissertations have been (and will be) trying to put British, transnational and international developments in relation to one another. Examples of such research include: the contribution of the UK to the establishment of a global communication network, the history of education and masculinity, the behavioural patterns of medieval migrants, and, recently, street life in British and European cities in the early 19th century.

 

That said, for the last few years history research at the Centre had one particular focus: the market economy and market society. Working on the commercial activities in England (respectively Britain) and beyond is a worthwhile task because they can be observed as early as the Middle Ages and provide not only insights into finance, trade and industry, but also into social relations. More than any other field of activity, the market directs us into the overlapping areas of economic, social and cultural history, connecting people, commodities and flows of money.

 

Further research activities can be found in the history of everyday culture and cultural industries, the latter having developed on a commercial basis at an early time in Great Britain.

 

Economic activities not only left their mark on popular culture, the reverse was also true: actors in the market economy gained valuable orientation and knowledge from specific cultural experiences. Christiane Eisenberg’s case study on The Sporting Spirit of Capitalism: Competition and the Acquisitive Mindset, 18th-21st Century – a current project supported by the Excellence Initiative – explores the mutual relationships between the two.

 

The project simultaneously bundles and deepens the knowledge of a further research focus in the Department of History: British sport and world sport. From the work completed in the last few years there is one project in particular deserving of mention: Cultural Transfer and Diffusion of Physical Education and Sport, 1918-1945 (Dr Daphné Bolz, financed from EU funds). This and other projects on sport also took up methodical questions of analysing the cultural transfers between Britain and the rest of Europe as well as the connectivity between the two poles.