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About the DFG Graduate School 2571 Empires

The Research Training Group (graduate school) investigates the temporal structures of empires, reflections upon them, and the deliberate manipulation of the past in periods of change, imperial transition, and in post-imperial orders. Rather than suggesting grand syntheses or highly sheltered micro-analyses, projects should start from an intermediary level of investigation. More specifically, they should be directed towards the time structures, or change, of (a) imperial space, (b) imperial economies, or (c) imperial institutions and norms. They can be situated in all periods of history, in sociology, political science, and literary studies, or be interdisciplinary. Within the work of the RTG, historical or political dynamics will be brought into a dialogue with reflections on them in various media and literary productions that develop, for example, structures of expectation and constructions of time. From the results we expect a new agenda of research that does not just emphasize the spatial, but also the temporal characteristics of empires. We also expect a fruitful combination of historical, politological and sociological approaches to empires and those developed in cultural and literary studies. The projects of the RTG together are expected to demonstrate the extent to which empires develop their own temporalities, set new time horizons, depend on the reflexivity of their temporality, and that these reflections are an essential resource in periods of transition of empires, and in post-imperial orders.
The RTG offers doctoral students with research interests in transnational, imperial and global studies the opportunity to conduct innovative research of contemporary relevance and historical depth in an interdisciplinary research environment. In a structured programme, the doctoral students will receive training in disciplinary research methods, interdisciplinary communication and theoretical problem-solving. The RTG offers a combination of seminar work, work groups on interdisciplinarity, as well as opportunities for organizing conferences, workshops and work groups. The qualification programme includes for all doctoral students research periods at high-profile international research institutions. It contains forums for the discussion of diversity, good scientific practice, and for exploring professional fields outside academia. The work of the RTG is guided on a daily basis by an academic coordinator, and also includes postdocs and academic guests.

The Principal Investigators of the RTG cover a broad spectrum of historical epochs and global spaces, cultural sociology, political science, and literary studies. In addition to supervising the doctoral theses in a suitable interdisciplinary pair, they participate in the events of the Research Training Group, and are actively involved in its research programme by focussing on the long-term dimensions of imperial transformation.



Research Programme






Summer Schools





Public Events


Lectures & Panels


Other Events



Sponsored by DFG

Cornelius Beckers

PhD project: Through Pen and Paper: Ordering Knowledge and the Consolidation of Imperial Power in Early British India, c. 1750-1830

Meta Cramer

PhD project: Making social knowledge in a post-colonial world order: research and career practices of social scientists in the anglophone Caribbean

Sebastian Fahner

PhD project: Struggles between Past and Future: The Socialist Labour Movement’s Political Use of History in Spain and the Habsburg Monarchy, 1890–1914

Christian Feichtinger

PhD project: Between Times and Beyond (Thinking) Horizons: the translatio imperii as a Figure of Transmission in the Texts of Niccolò Machiavelli

Lilli Fortmeier

PhD project: Anxiety & the Empire: Temporal Tensions, Affectivity, and Cultural Production in the Romantic Age

Lucia Lakatošová

PhD project: The topoi of uprisings in the literature of the Late Roman Republic and the early Roman Empire

Elise Mazurié

PhD project: Occupying Germany, Representing France? (Ex-)Colonized soldiers in the French Army in the French Zone of Occupation (FZO) in Germany, 1945-mid-sixties

Chinwe Ogbonna

PhD project: An Investigative Study of the Effect of Imperialism on the Indigenous Cultural Leadership Institution of Igbo in Eastern Nigeria

Ricardo Rudas Meo

PhD project: (Mis)communication across the Early People’s Republic of China. Language Barriers in Early Chinese Communist State- and Nation-Building at China’s Peripheries

Daniela Schneider

PhD project: British Hong Kong’s Press Censorship 1938–1941

Simon Suttmann

PhD project: Conflicts of rank and order in imperial peripheries in the Mediterranean around 1100 in medieval historiography

Rogier van der Heijden

PhD project: Constructing the past. Imperial temporality and civic identity in Roman Sardis and Gerasa, 17 – 235 CE

Verena Zabel

PhD Project: Between Modernisation and Catastrophe. The Soviet Empire in Literature from Qazaqstan

Aaron Zidar

PhD project: Slovenes and Germans in Maribor/Marburg an der Drau. National Relations Between Imperial Decay and post-Imperial Order (1895-1945)


Andreas Bolte

PhD project: Temporal Practices and Imperial Rule in British Malaya and the Dutch East Indies, ca. 1900-1940

Johanna Rozakis-Siu

PhD project: Oceans of Empire: Transformation and Continuities in the 16th and 17th century Indian Ocean

Luca Scalzini

PhD project: `Eppure l’Africa ci è necessaria.´ The Società Geografica Italiana and its Imagined Futures of Italian Colonialism 1867-1920

Benjamin Torn

PhD project: Long-distance communication of the Roman-German kings and emperors around 1200 - messenger traffic and diplomatic contacts from Henry VI to Henry (VII)


Sponsored by DFG


Javier Francisco

Projects: Imperial Methuselah: A New Theoretical Approach on Europe’s Rule in the Americas” and „Bio-Cultural Transformations in the Atlantic World


Benedikt Fausch

Project: Imperial narratives – imperial interactions: Reordering Empires in Persia, Central Asia, and India in the 18th and early 19th centuries

Richard Legay

Project: Restitutions of cultural heritage


Prof. Dr. Ronald G. Asch

Geschichte der Frühen Neuzeit

Prof. Dr. Manuela Boatcă


Prof. Dr. Sabine Dabringhaus

East Asian History

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Dendorfer

Medieval and Provincial History

Prof. Dr. Peter Eich

Ancient History focussing on the Roman World and Historical Anthropology

Prof. Dr. Barbara Korte

English Literature

Prof. Dr. Jörn Leonhard

West European History

Prof. Dr. Andreas Mehler

Development theories and Development Policy

Prof. Dr. Dietmar Neutatz

Eastern European history

Jun.-Prof. Dr. Elisabeth Piller

Transatlantic and Northamerican History

Prof. Dr. Sitta von Reden

Ancient History focussing on the Greek world


Prof. Dr. Peter Eich


Prof. Dr. Barbara Korte

(Vice Spokesperson)

Lucia Lakatošová

(PhD representative)

Ricardo Rudas Meo

(PhD representative)


Dr. Noémi Lévy-Aksu

Scholar of the history of the Ottoman Empire

Project Coordinator at the

Hafiza Merkezi:

Truth, Justice, Memory Center in Istanbul

Mercator-Fellow at the Graduate School 2571 "Empires"

Prof. em. Dr. Dr. h. c. Jürgen Osterhammel

Professor emeritus for Modern and Contemporary History at the

University of Konstanz

Distinguished Fellow at the Freiburg Institute for Advanced Studies (FRIAS)

Senior Advisor at the Graduate School 2571 "Empires"

Prof. Dr. Maurus Reinkowski

Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the

University of Basel

Corresponding member of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

Distinguished Fellow at the Graduate School 2571 "Empires: Dynamic Change, Temporality and Post-Imperial Orders"

Student Aids


Lara Forster

Tel: +49 761 203-5450

Julia Garbe

Tel: +49 761 203-5450

Teresa Mayer

Tel: +49 761 203-5450