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Identity and Heritage

During the past two centuries, the cultural heritage has been used in theory and practice as a medium to socially homogenize society. Mostly, aiming to generate and/or foster a certain unity of state, territory, ethnicity or culture. However, taking worldwide migration movements and the convergence in-between nations into consideration, new trends in heritage and preservation theory are stepping back from claiming the unity of cultural heritage, ethnicity and culture. Instead, they suggest the use of other social patterns for cultural heritage, still characterizing it as a unity, but in a more complex and unlocked dimension, open to movement and change in relation to each other.

For the research cluster it is important to understand identity and heritage as cultural concepts which are referring to each other. Also, to think of them as dependent variables and to explore the consequences of that - not only in theory, but in empiric case studies. Therefore, five separate projects have been defined:

  1. Theory of the social esteem of monuments, old and new value terms and their semantic sphere, trans-national concepts,
  2. The European heritage. Europe, an identity community? The Europeans - a community of heirs? International heritage concepts and their interpretation,
  3. Foreign heritage – foreignness experiences. Places of affiliation and places of memory for migrants in Berlin,
  4. Loss of heritage experiences and claims for heritage replacements - the social side of heritage reconstruction, as well as,
  5. Architecture and urban design of modern times as heritage - the problem of time and experience nearness, quarrel value, heritage value, increase in value.

Cluster Objectives

  • Preparations and preliminary works for a successful application for an interdisciplinary, international "DFG" postgraduate's lecture "Identity & Heritage" 
  • Establishment of a "DFG" research group "Keep thinking - heritage! Modern Age. Recording, assessment and preservation of the architectural heritage of the post-war epoch (1945-1975) (Project no. 5)

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Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper

Sprecherin / Speaker

Prof. Dr. Gabi Dolff-Bonekämper
Fachgebiet Denkmalpflege
sec. B3
Hardenbergstrasse 40a
D-10623 Berlin
+49 (0)30 314-280 77
+49 (0)30 314-281 46


Stellvertreterin / Deputy

Prof. Dr. Kerstin Wittmann-Englert
Fachgebiet Kunstgeschichte
sec. A56
Strasse des 17. Juni 152
D-10623 Berlin
+49 (0)30 314-212 97
+49 (0)30 314-238 44