Category Archives: Project

BMBF to fund a new Käte Hamburger Kolleg at the HU from 2024 onwards

“InHerit” – Heritage in Transformation

What shapes society? What constitutes identity or difference? How can we define belonging, ownership or the changing relationship between history, present and future? Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) from 2024, the Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study “Heritage in Transformation” (InHerit) revolves around these central questions of our time. InHerit will be led by art historian Eva Ehninger and HZK director Sharon Macdonald.

Together with international fellows, heritage will be analyzed as a pluralizing, ongoing activity; heritage’s influence on changing social relations will be a key focus of examination; and the transformation and expansion of heritage itself, through innovative knowledge exchange formats, will be actively pursued. The resulting new form of heritage research positions the humanities at the centre of addressing fundamental global transformation processes, leading to the reshaping of the humanities’ own epistemological frames of reference.

InHerit’s core research themes are based on these paradigm shifts:
(1) the decentring of the West or Global North;
(2) the decentring of the human, and accompanying focus on connections to, and interdependencies with, nature; and
(3) the transformation of attributions of value, especially in relation to changes in reflections on the parameters of collecting.

InHerit’s emphatically transdisciplinary, practice-oriented approach, in which the humanities are central, will tackle urgent social, cultural, political and environmental challenges, and, thus, directly address the key idea of the BMBF programme “Understanding Society – Shaping the Future.”

About the Käte Hamburger Kolleg

Globalisation, law, religion, work or the environment – with the Käte Hamburger Kolleg, the BMBF offers outstanding scholars the freedom to conduct research on a broad spectrum of social issues in the humanities since 2008. As Centres for Advanced Study, the Käte Hamburger Kollegs give scholars in the humanities and social sciences the freedom to work on topics of their choice, free from many of the obligations of everyday academic life, together with fellows from all over the world who are invited to Germany for up to twelve months.

Further information

Read the BMBF announcement about the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (BMBF, 06.02.2023)
Read the HU announcement about the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (HU, 06.02.2023)
Report on the application process for the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (HU, 06.03.2023)


Eva Ehninger (
Sharon Macdonald (

Copyright: Eva Ehninger: Liquid Blues Production/Boris Hars-Tschachotin; Sharon Macdonald: Alexander von Humboldt Stiftung/Sven Müller

„BINDING BODIES. Perspectives on Bound Feet“

Starting in 2021, the Tieranatomisches Theater will launch the three-year research and exhibition project “Binding Bodies. Perspectives on Bound Feet” in cooperation with MARKK – Museum am Rothenbaum in Hamburg and the Kunstuniversität Linz.

This is made possible by generous funding from the German Federal Cultural Foundation (project description Binding Bodies), the Stiftung Preußische Seehandlung and the Alfred Töpfer Stiftung.

From 2021 to 2023, an interdisciplinary team will conduct research at the Hermann von Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik / Tieranatomisches Theater, MARKK and the Kunstuniversität Linz in cooperation with other international scientists and artists. The project will conclude with exhibitions that will be shown at MARKK Hamburg (2022) and the Tieranatomisches Theater (2023), among others.

Numerous ethnographic and anatomical collections in Europe contain preparations, casts, X-ray images and photos of so-called “lotus feet”, the bound feet of women in China. The research and exhibition project BINDING BODIES takes these collections as the starting point for research into the discourse history of female body modifications. Already Hans Virchow (1852-1940) and his colleagues draw comparisons to lace dancing, high heels and corsets in their publications. The project attempts an “entangled history” of female body deformations between Europe and China. It examines the complex interactions of self-perceptions and perceptions of others, reconstructs exemplary object biographies and contextualises them against the background of colonial, gender, social and scientific history. Thus, the project is also part of the current controversy about the handling of ethnographic objects and especially human remains in scientific collections.

Curators: Prof. Dr. Jasmin Mersmann (project leader), Dr. Evke Rulffes, Felix Sattler
Project Management Organisation: Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Partners: Museum am Rothenbaum. Cultures and Arts of the World (MARKK), Prof. Dr Barbara Plankensteiner, Dr Susanne Knödel, Gabriel Schimmeroth

X-ray of the lotus foot of a 32-year-old woman, taken through the shoe, 1905 © Charité, Centrum für Anatomie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Photography: Barbara Herrenkind