Focus in research and teaching
Middle Ages section

Teaching in the Middle Ages section provides insights into the history of Early, High and Late Middle Ages with a special focus on the individual research interests of our teaching staff. Additionally, we train skills in related complementary historical sciences (especially paleography, codicology and archaeology), including their digital aspects.

Research interests

In our research, we currently focus on the early and late medieval history of the Holy Roman Empire, geographically corresponding to the territory of today's Germany, Eastern France, Western Poland, Austria, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, and Northern and Central Italy with a special emphasis on the following topics:

  • Cultural, urban and mobility history
  • Historical disaster and climate research (see below for more information)
  • Environmental and infrastructure history
  • Historical anthropology, ceremonial and ritual

DFG Priority Programme 2361 “On the way to the Fluvial Anthroposphere”

The Priority Programme focus on the “fluvial anthroposphere” along rivers. Floodplains represent a global hotspot of sensitive socio-environmental changes and early human forcing mechanisms. The DFG Priority Programme (SPP) “On the Way to the Fluvial Anthroposphere” will investigate the pre-industrial floodplains in Central Europe and the fluvial societies that operated there. Gerrit J. Schenk is member of the coordination committee.

For more details follow this link.

Read more about the kick-off-meeting in Leipzig, 9./10.3.23 (opens in new tab)

Historical disaster research

A major focus of Darmstadt's medieval studies is historical disaster research. It addresses the interaction of environment and society through the example of extreme events such as earthquakes, epidemics, storm surges, tsunamis, floods or volcanic eruptions.

What are the social processes before, during and after the disaster? We gain a better understanding of historical disasters and their social response.

We base our research on reports on natural extreme events: a good example is the inscription plaque on the world-famous “Old Bridge” of Florence in memory of a catastrophic flood in November 1333 (see picture in the header).