Our Research

The overarching research interest are the forms of communication of Macht (power) and Herrschaft (domination, rule) and the configurations of order that manifest themselves within these categories. We approach these in individual projects and various working groups. Our guiding questions concern the research areas (Spannungsfelder) of 'conflict and consensus', 'personality and transpersonality', 'center and periphery', 'critique and idealization'.

Thanks to the great diversity of subjects in Bonn, research on power and domination can be undertaken spatially and temporally, transculturally and historically as well as comparatively. To understand the shaping of power and domination, the network of relationships between the highest ruler and elites is as crucial as the effects of their internal structure  on the stability of (premodern) rulers. We are looking for answers on highly relevant questions of today:

What is the significance of elites in forming and establishing forms and spaces of order and rule? We understand forms of communication as an expression of the negotiation processes of power and domination. Focussing on the actors of these dynamics we look into the interaction between the supreme rulers and other persons or groups of persons and how they exercise autogenous power and rule. Additionally we study supra-temporal, transpersonal structures and spatial or gender-specific dimensions and their relevance to exercise and presentificate power and domination. So how did discourse and communication about power and domination function?

The diversity of scholars researching at the center, the exchange among them and the bundling of competences gives us the chance to critically discuss concepts and theories developed mostly within the disciplines more widely in order to form new approaches for future research.


Our individual projects form the basis of our joint research activities. Experienced principal investigators  that are experts in their research fields lead the projects. A total of 24 projects are currently researching the phenomena of power and domination.

© Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte
© Lisa Opp│Abteilung für Mittelalterliche Geschichte

Working groups

Our working groups come together in discipline-related and interdisciplinary teams under a common agenda. There are currently 9 working groups. This is where the transcultural approach of our work is lived.

PhD and Habilitation Projects

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