Research interests

Our research covers a wide range of historical periods, geographies and themes with a special focus on the projects listed below. Being part of a Technical University we take an interdisciplinary approach to research and work closely with other departments inside the university.

Read more about our research projects and publications

Research in the fields of environmental and urban history often cannot be easily separated, they are complementary and reciprocally influence each other, e. g. research on the history of urban infrastructures such as electricity and water supply, research on the urban planning of cities and their sustainable development or research related to the representation and “materiality” of city and nature.

Learn more

Disasters are still a young field of research. In this special domain we study the interaction between environment and society using the example of extreme events such as earthquakes, epidemics, floods or volcanic eruptions. This involves not only investigating the event itself, but also the various social dynamics before, during and after the disaster.

Learn more

Flood plains have been a global hotspot of sensitive socio-ecological changes and pivotal to cultural, social and economic developments since early times. Three fluvial landscapes are being studied in the section of Medieval Studies with DFG funding.

The interdisciplinary Research Training Group conducts research into critical infrastructures (CI) in cities: the functioning of cities is highly dependent on technical systems e.g. the provision of water and electricity, waste management, communication and transport, which are regarded as the ‘nervous system’ of modern cities. Breakdowns and malfunctions can be troublesome and even lead to dramatic crises that can be life-threatening to city dwellers.

Read more about the increasing vulnerability of modern (urban) societies.

A core research interest of the department of History of Technology is the historical anthropology of technology. The historicity and plurality of being human in a technological culture is the main premise in this research area. How did human-machine relations change over time?

Learn more

The project A Global History of Technology (GLOBAL-HOT) investigates the fate of technologies that circulated in various parts of the world from 1850 to 2000. Its researchers also investigate the persistent use of indigenous technologies along with globalized ones, as well as the emergence of hybrid solutions. Our goal is to increase our understanding of the relationships between the development and use of technologies in Europe and North America on the one hand and the so-called Global South on the other.

Financial Support: European Research Council (Project No. 742631)