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Research Centre „Transcultural Studies / Gotha Perthes Collection“ starts work on the Gotha Research Campus

From 1 January 2021, the University of Erfurt's Gotha Research Campus will be enriched by a central research institution: in the new year, the Research Centre "Transcultural Studies / Gotha Perthes Collection" (Forschungskolleg Transkulturelle Studien / Sammlung Perthes) will begin its work there.

As a central research institution, the new Research Centre will connect the Gotha Perthes Collection, which is curated by the Gotha Research Library, more closely with the research activities on the Erfurt campus and profile the collection as a university collection for the national and international scientific community. The aim is to intensify research on the Gotha Perthes Collection and increase its visibility as a national cultural asset that deserves great attention. Starting from the Perthes Collection, the researchers also want to include other (Gotha) collections from the late 18th to the 20th century in their work. One focus will be research on the cartography of the seas, which has already begun in a joint project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).

"We are interested in transcultural studies that relate global historical approaches to approaches from historical knowledge research, literature and media studies, but also political science. In doing so, it is a great concern of ours to 'take the collection out into the world' and of course we hope that the world will also come to Gotha – especially within the framework of the Gotha scholarship programmes."  (Professor Iris Schröder)


A second important area will be historical research on Africa. "In the past, we have learned a lot of new things by reading the maps together with our Ethiopian partners, which in the case of Ethiopia are available in Gotha in a particularly high density," explains Professor Iris Schröder, who will lead the Research Centre as director for the next five years. "We would like to continue and expand this cooperation and win colleagues from Tanzania or Cameroon for the joint work. West Africa and Southeast Africa are also on the agenda – whereby we see this work as a contribution to the history of 'colonialism in Thuringia', because the publishing house Justus Perthes Gotha was also closely involved in the colonial project. And last but not least, we hope to be able to start another major project in the spring: the digitisation of the entire map collection on Africa and Asia, a good 35,000 maps in total. All in all, it is a great concern of ours to take the collection 'out into the world' and of course we hope that the world will also come to Gotha – especially within the framework of the Gotha scholarship programmes."

Read also the interview in the research blog „WortMelder“.

Further Information / Contact:
Professor Iris Schröder
E-Mail: iris.schroeder@uni-erfurt.de