Category Archives: News

Call for Applications: L’Académie des Traces – The Academy of Traces

The Academy of Traces. Understanding, questioning and changing the past, present and future of colonial heritages is a programme aimed at young researchers, museum professionals and independent curators.
The programme will engage with the major societal challenges raised by colonial collections housed in Western museums – collections which are inextricably linked to a plurality of memories that are always sensitive and often painful.

The Academy of Traces 2024 will consist of two formats, running from January to March 2024.
1) An online seminar of 6 sessions // January to March 2024)
2) The Spring School, which will take place in Berlin // 18 to 24 March 2024, bringing together twelve participants from France, Germany, other European countries and African countries, as well as the organisational team and experts from the field.

The Traces Academy is open to Master 2, doctoral and post-doctoral students, as well as museum professionals and independent curators, resident in an African or European country.
The working language of the Academy of Traces is French.
The deadline for applications is 27 November 2023.
For more information and to apply, visit the Academy’s website:

The Academy of Traces was initiated by a dialogue between researchers and professionals working in the fields of museums, heritage and heritage education in Europe and Africa. It is an initiative of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, the Centre Marc Bloch Berlin, and the Ecole du Patrimoine Africain in Porto Novo.

Photo: (c) Anna Lisa Ramella

Object of the Month: A Private Library Moves – the Working and Research Center Private Library Christa and Gerhard Wolf

Object of the Month 11/2023

In May 2023, 6000 books from Christa and Gerhard Wolf’s flat came to Humboldt-Universität. Thanks to a donation in 2015, a unique library of authors is now open to the public. Together with the partial holdings that have been brought to the Christa and Gerhard Wolf Private Library Work and Research Centre by volunteers from the Souterrain of the Wolfs’ Pankow flat and Woserin summer house since 2016, the bookshelves from the workrooms of the author and essayist, who died on 7 February, can now be browsed in three rooms of the Institute of German Literature.
Fig. 1 Registering, detail. (Photo: Ralf Klingelhöfer)

His inspiring spirit and encouraging generosity run through the “Gerhard Wolf Room”, not only in the form of the bookshelves full of charm (the label “Volkseigentum” (People’s property) is still legible on one cupboard), his desk and the graphics of Christa Wolf’s Medea. Voices. The new “Christa Wolf Room” with the desk, books and shelves of her last study, East and West German editions of her works, a collection of reading copies with traces of use that are informative in terms of contemporary and literary history and the stock of licensed editions in more than 50 languages also became a much-used seminar, research and event venue immediately after the move.

A conceptually essential idea was to preserve the last arrangement of the books as far as possible. After all, the very location of an Anna Seghers exile edition in the immediate vicinity of Christa Wolf’s desk promises insights into a poetic relationship of tradition. Why the various Hölderlin editions ended up in Gerhard Wolf’s study can be deduced from the essay volume Ins Ungebundene gehet eine Sehnsucht. Projektionsraum Romantik (1985). A couple’s library that has grown over six decades follows its own laws.
The prerequisite for securing the arrangement of the shelves was, on the one hand, the photographic documentation of the shelves (partly in 3D) and, on the other hand, a detailed indexing of each item.

Fig. 2 Registering on 20 March 2023 (Photo: Ralf Klingelhöfer)

Thanks to enthusiastic teamwork, it is now possible to document where a book originally stood, even if the difference between the 3.50-metre room height at Pankow’s Amalienpark and the 2.70-metre room height in the workspace made a one-to-one arrangement impossible. Even during the long days of distortion in the flat, the students and researchers involved made a lot of discoveries: The Sinn und Form booklet 1/1949 contains notes by Gerhard Wolf. The young Christa Ihlenfeld dedicates Kurt Tucholsky’s Rheinsberg für Verliebte to her future husband in 1950! Love poems by Stepan Stschipatschow – who do you think that is? – bear a 1951 dedication by Gerhard Wolf to her. What an arc of life shines out between Christa Wolf’s detailed dedication text of 28 July 1957 in Walt Whitman’s book of poems Leaves of Grass and the one for her husband’s 80th birthday in a cookbook by Wolfram Siebeck! How revealing that Gerhard Wolf signed and dated his earliest poetry acquisitions. What a desire for research is triggered by a Rilke volume from Insel-Verlag with the entry “Gerhard Wolf, Bad Frankenhausen, 1947. Abitur”.

Fig. 3 Name entry Gerhard Wolf 1947 in Rilke (Photo: Birgit Dahlke)

Dedications by Louis Fürnberg (1954), Edgar Hilsenrath (1978 and 1990) or Said (2001) literally ‘fell into one’s hands’ during the indexing work in March 2023. What is behind the undated double signature of Heinrich Böll and Lev Kopelev? How did Paul Eluard’s dedication to Stephan Hermlin end up in the Wolfs’ library? Emma Ulrich had already reconstructed the literary-historical context behind a unique edition by Hugo Huppert from 1940 in her bachelor’s thesis in 2018.

Fig. 4 Unique 1940 by Hugo Huppert (Photo: Birgit Dahlke)
Max Frisch’s 1975 dedication in his diary 1946-1949 provides a clue to the decades-long correspondence between Wolf and Frisch.
Fig. 5 Dedication Max Frisch 1975 (Photo: Birgit Dahlke)

Does it refer to the founding history of the small bibliophile publishing house Januspress when Oskar Pastior mentions the word “Janus” in his dedication to Gerhard Wolf in 1990, or to the title of the dedicated copy Kopfnuß Januskopf with Palindromes? The dedications in the private library raise questions that initiate research in literary histories and archives. They document German-German and supranational relationship stories that have yet to be told.

Fig. 6 Dedication Oskar Pastior 1990 (Photo: Birgit Dahlke)

PD Dr. Birgit Dahlke
Head of the Work and Research Centre
Private Library of Christa and Gerhard Wolf at the HU
Faculty of Linguistics and Literature
Institute for German Literature
Dorotheenstr. 24/ Rooms 3.509, 3.543 and 3.544
Website Private Library of Christa and Gerhard Wolf

The private library is open to the public on Tuesdays from 12 to 14 and by appointment with Alina Mohaupt (Email:

Open Humboldt Freiräume

The funding line Open Humboldt Freiräume is now hosted by the HZK. The focus of this funding line is on the idea that researchers need enough time to engage in dialogue with society and to develop projects in the field of knowledge exchange, transfer and science communication.

The funded scientists will each receive a teaching reduction to 0 SWS for the 2024 summer semester or the 2024/25 winter semester. The Berlin University Alliance provides the institute at which the scientists are employed with personnel funds to finance the replacement position.

Professors, postdocs and doctoral students at HU Berlin are eligible to apply. The applicants’ positions must have a teaching load and be fully financed by HU funds.

Application deadline is 27th October 2023, 12 a.m.

For questions please contact Kathrin Klementz (HZK).

Call for applications for the SoSe 2024 or the WS 2024/25

To the website of the Open Humboldt Freiräume funding line

Time is What you Make of it – Photo © Matthias Heyde

Curating as a cultural technique: “Family” at the Humboldt Forum

In preparation for the Master’s programme on the cultural technique of curating, Vice-Director Daniel Tyradellis will be teaching weekly in the winter semester 2023/24 in the mechanical arena in the foyer of the Humboldt Forum. Together with HU students, staff and all interested visitors, the potentials of the topic “Family – a social construct” for the Humboldt Forum will be discussed and curatorial ideas developed.

Photo: (c) Atilgan Zirek

Object of the Month: Hyperboloid of two sheets of Stoll (No 224)

Object of the Month 10/2023

Only a few insiders would immediately recognise the object of October. The model of a Hyperboloid of two sheets is located in Adlershof, more precisely in the Institute of Mathematics and belongs to the Mathematical Model Collection there. However, the connection to the university goes much deeper. The template for the model arose from the institute’s teaching and research activities. Even though the model is not complete, it demonstrates very well the basic idea of a teaching collection, which is to be seen in its use in academic as well as school teaching. That’s why the objects show signs of usage over the course of time, or sometimes even break. Although they are usually very robustly constructed for touching. But one thing after the other.

Hyperboloid - Figure 1
Specimen of the Hyperboloid of two sheets of Stoll in the mathematical model collection in Adlershof. The upper sheet is missing, indicating the frequent use of the object (Photo: Robert Pässler, TU Dresden).

The Hyperboloid of two sheets, a geometric shape in mathematics, is a second-order surface. In order to think of it as a body, one rotates a hyperbola around its main axis. This creates two separate surface pieces (in the model as a body), whereby in the case of the Berlin model the upper surface piece (the upper body) is missing. The sketch in Figure 2 from Meyer’s Großes Konversations-Lexikon of 1905 shows a Hyperboloid of two sheets with the axes, whereby the vertical axis shown in the picture is the main axis.

Hyperboloid - Figure 2
Meyer's Großes Konversations-Lexikon of 1905 shows a Hyperboloid of two sheets with imaginary axes.

The origin of this model is interesting. It was manufactured by the company Rudolf Stoll K.G. Berlin. It was located at Oderbruchstraße 8-14, i.e. in the Friedrichshain district of Berlin. The company not only took over the production, but also the distribution of the teaching models.

The teaching aids were developed at the Second Mathematical Institute of the Humboldt University in Berlin under the direction of Professor Dr. Kurt Schröder (1909-1978). He held the professorship of Applied Mathematics and was also Director of the Institute. In the first half of the 1960s, he was also Rector of the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin.

Stoll’s models can be seen in a line of development with the mathematical models produced by Brill, Schilling and Wiener since the 1880s. They appeared at a time when their use in mathematical teaching was already taking place through other media. Nevertheless, they were produced and distributed, and moreover, they were used regularly.

Hyperboloid - Figure 3
The model described in the catalogue "Lehrmodelle für Mathematik" of Rudolf Stoll K.G. Berlin No. 18 (Source: SLUB Dresden).

Only a few traces of the Stoll company can be found today. Apart from the models found in some mathematical collections of other universities (e.g. TU Dresden or University of Marburg), the catalogue “Lehrmodelle für Mathematik” (Teaching Models for Mathematics) by Rudolf Stoll K.G. Berlin No. 18, published in three languages (German, English and French), still exists. The models shown there are divided into teaching aids for elementary mathematics, for geometry and for analysis. Our model is found under the number “Modell 224/114” with the note that “a Hyperboloid of two sheets ” is shown. The weight is 2 kilograms. The dimensions are 20 x 16 x 30 cm.

In this context, it is still worth mentioning that such sales catalogues are not classic library collectors’ items. They are therefore very rare and often only preserved by chance. The price list for the Stoll catalogue cannot be found digitally. We do not know whether a copy has been preserved somewhere.

Dr. Oliver Zauzig


Mathematische Modelle am Institut für Mathematik: und

Mathematik und ihre Didaktik (Completed project for the collection):

Zweischaliges Hyperboloid (Stoll) der Mathematische Modellsammlung der HU im Digitalen Archiv mathematischer Modelle:

Mathematische Modelle auf der Projektseite Materielle Modelle:

Digitalisierter Katalog „Lehrmodelle für Mathematik“ in den Digitalen Sammlungen der SLUB Dresden:

Hyperboloīd in Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon:īd

Gesa Grimme and Sarah Elena Link discuss “Afterlives of Empire”

Gesa Grimme and Sarah Elena Link, both Coordination Centre for Scientific University Collections in Germany (HZK), discuss academic collections in general and their sometimes problematic, imperial contexts of origin. The panel discussion with art historian Jo Vickery (Princeton/Berlin) and literary scholar Birgit Neumann (Düsseldorf) will take place within the framework of the research project “Afterlives of Empire – Encounters of Art and Academia”, initiated by Gesa Stedman (HU).

Art students from Oxford and Berlin habe been invited to work at Lichthof Ost, turning the room into a temporary studio, before transforming it back into an exhibition space. The students show how their interaction with several scientific collections at HU as well as with Berlin museums, among them the sound archive, the geographical collections, and the Winckelmann collection, have led to a new understanding of some of the colonial legacies at HU and in Berlin.

The panel discussion will take place on 10 September at 6:30 pm in the Lichthof Ost of the HU main building.

Alia Rayyan: Practice of Fissures. Rethinking Participatory Art Practice in Jerusalem

Publication/New release

Alia Rayyan: Practice of Fissures – a trans- and interdisciplinary investigation of socially engaged art interventions in East Jerusalem in the anthology “Double bind postcolonial. Critical Perspectives on Art and Cultural Education”, edited by María do Mar Castro Varela and Leila Haghighat.

Alia Rayyan addresses in this paper questions about the adoption of socially engaged and participatory art as an emancipatory art form in public space reflecting specific local conditions. Based on her trans- and interdisciplinary investigation to translate experiences as a curator of socially engaged art interventions in East Jerusalem into a theoretical discussion, collected challenges and alternative approaches are contrasted with applied, canonised theories of participatory art practice and their terminologies. The result is a discussion that combines sociological approaches, considerations from art studies, memory studies, political history of ideas as well as postcolonial studies, without losing sight of the double bind of the author.

Double bind postcolonial. Postcolonial perspectives in the art world and in cultural education – anthology – edited by María do Mar Castro Varela and Leila Haghighat.

Cover Double bind postkolonial
Double bind postcolonial. Postcolonial perspectives in the art world and in cultural education - anthology - edited by María do Mar Castro Varela and Leila Haghighat. transcript Postcolonial Studies

The contributions to this volume illuminate the responsibility of art and art education from an explicitly postcolonial perspective. The focus is on the “double bind” that pervades the field and manifests itself in a dilemmatic position between subversion and affirmation. In doing so, discriminatory practices in the field are exposed and an (auto-)critical theory development is advanced.

With contributions by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Nikita Dhawan, Ruth Sonderegger, Hayat Erdoğan, Aicha Kaleko, Sandra Babli, Joy Kristin Kalu, Anja Quickert, Thu Hoài Tran, Sruti Bala, Sab Naq, Tasnim Baghdhadi, Alia Rayyan, Carla Bobadilla, Carmen Mörsch, Mai-Anh Boger, Nina Simon, Nicole Suzuki, Rajkamal Kahlon

Further information:

Publication of “The Resonant Museum”

On the occasion of the publication of The Resonant Museum, the Gropius Bau invites you to a reading followed by a conversation.

How can the museum become a socially relevant place? How can museums contribute to the production of knowledge about mental health?

The editors Diana Mammana and Margareta von Oswald will introduce the evening and present their curatorial work and approaches with regard to these questions. The subsequent reading gives an insight into discussions and practices around mental health between the years 2021 and 2022 in Berlin. Various people who contributed to the book will read passages from their texts. The reading will be followed by an exchange and a conversation with the audience.

The book is published in the context of the exhibition YOYI! Care, Repair, Heal, which took place at the Gropius Bau from September 2022 to January 2023. The Resonant Museum brings people from science, culture, politics and activist contexts into dialogue about mental health. The publication was produced as part of a cooperation between the Gropius Bau and Mindscapes, the international programme on mental health of the British Wellcome Trust.

The Resonant Museum: Berlin Conversations on Mental Health. Ed. by Diana Mammana & Margareta von Oswald. Contributions by Beatrice von Bismarck, Priya Basil, Diana Mammana & Margareta von Oswald, Stephanie Rosenthal, Christine Wong Yap i.a. Cologne 2023. Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König.

ISBN: 978-3-7533-0479-3

Available at Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther und Franz König.

Object of the Month: A powerfull piece: Annemirl Bauer, “Männliche Herrlichkeit Gottes” (Male Glory of God), 1988

Object of the Month 09/2023

Accusing, shocking, melancholic – the large-format painting by Annemirl Bauer is expressive. From the eyes of a centrally placed female figure, crouching on a box in prisoner’s clothing, rays emanate to both sides of the picture. On the left, a row of naked women in high-heeled shoes stand in line, the one in front holding out her armed hand. Behind her are other figures, some with oversized phalluses. The pistol points to the right side of the picture with a female figure crucified by crutches, from whose womb blood is flowing. A male army, indicated in heads at the lower right edge of the picture is described with the invocation of the Trinity. The dark, violent and sexualised scenes are only counteracted on the far right by a mother and child standing in the golden light, standing upright and calm despite all hostility.
The title “Männliche Herrlichkeit Gottes”, present in the picture through characters in the sky or on a rocket, refers to the horrors of war and violence (perpetrated by men) as well as to the roles of women – as victims, as perpetrators, as mothers.

A.Bauer Männliche Herrlichkeit Gottes
Annemirl Bauer, Männliche Herrlichkeit Gottes, oil/ carpet, 208 x 246 cm, 1988

Since 2018, the painting has been hanging in the Humboldt University as one of the few works by Annemirl Bauer still present in public. The valiant paintress, herself under surveillance by the Stasi, expelled from the GDR artists’ association (VBK) and subsequently banned from working, repeatedly explored feminist themes. The “Male Glory of God” can also be linked very specifically to the conscription law for women in the GDR, the “Women for Peace” (Frauen für den Frieden), but also to the feminist Ingrid Strobl, who was imprisoned in the Federal Republic.

In 1982, a new law on military service was passed that would also have called on women to serve in national defence in the event of mobilisation. Against this, 150 women protested in a joint plea to Erich Honecker: “We women want to break the cycle of violence and withdraw our participation from all forms of violence as a means of conflict resolution. […] We women understand the readiness for military service as a threatening gesture which opposes the striving for moral and military disarmament and allows the voice of human reason to be drowned in military obedience.” (Petition to the Chairman of the Council of State, Erich Honecker, 12 October 1982)
This pacifist criticism was followed by a wave of interrogations by the state security, intimidation and arrests – for example, of the politically active paintress and main signatory Bärbel Bohley, who, like Annemirl Bauer, was organised in the Association of Visual Artists of the GDR (VBK), from whose district executive committee she was expelled in 1983.

Ingrid Strobl, in turn, an Austrian journalist who was editor of the magazine Emma in Cologne from 1979 to 1986, was taken into remand or solitary confinement as a terrorism suspect in 1987. She had been filmed buying an alarm clock that had been prepared by the BKA (Federal Criminal Police Office) and identified in the remains of a bomb in the 1986 attack on the Lufthansa administration building. The attack against Lufthansa, perpetrated by the organisation “Revolutionary Cells” (Revolutionäre Zellen), also had a feminist background and targeted sex tourism (“state racism, sexism and the patriarchy”, as the Revolutionary Cells themselves stated, cf. Ingrid Strobl: Vermessene Zeit. Der Wecker, der Knast und ich, Hamburg 2020). Strobl received public solidarity after her arrest.
Even without knowledge of this historical background, Annemirl Bauer’s work has an effect through its offensive pictorial language, which also plays with religious motif quotations.
Despite all the criticism – especially against the rejection of Annemirl Bauer’s repeated calls for travel “with return” – the artist was not a dissident and did not want to leave the GDR. Changing the social and political structures, that was her struggle throughout her life, which she lost through her early death shortly before the fall of the Wall in the summer of 1989.
Since 2010, a square named after her in Friedrichshain at Ostkreuz station has commemorated the pugnacious artist.

Author: Christina Kuhli

Three historical shellac records find their way back from the Nasjionalbiblioteket Oslo to the Berlin Lautarchiv

Particularly significant is the fact that these three records were previously considered lost in Berlin; no digital copies existed until now. In Oslo, digital copies were made and also transferred to the Lautarchiv. The shellac records had been lent to the Norwegian Iranologist Georg Morgenstierne (1892-1978) by the founder of the Lautarchiv Wilhelm Doegen (1877-1967) or by the Göttingen Iranologist Friedrich Carl Andreas (1846-1930). Through Morgenstierne’s estate, they made their way into the Norwegian Nasjionalbiblioteket.

On the records, the voices of Ábdil Kadír Khan, Beidullah Khan and Shahdad Khan (Afghan and Baluchi) can be heard.

The shellac records were brought to Berlin with official permission from the Norwegian Ministry and a written statement from the Nasjionalbibliotekek.

In particular, the Lautarchiv would like to thank Johanne Ostad, Bente Granrud and Włodek Witek from the Oslo Nasjionalbiblioteket.