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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Prussian History

Research Profile

The history of Prussia represents a remarkable era of European and world history. Unit curriculum and research efforts address central issues and influential periods of the Prussian Empire during the 16- 20th centuries. We examine questions of political-cultural history – exemplified by court and palatial research – as well as questions concerning the history of society and state. Additional questions explore how this controversial yet fascinating military power was able to develop into such an unusual
and globally competitive “cultural state” in the 19th century – a phenomenon which still influences the image and attractiveness of Berlin and Brandenburg today.


Historiographic reflection and scientific critique of Prussian related research represent  another focus of our work. Today more scholars are interested in the transnational aspects of Prussian History – most notably references to Central and Eastern Europe – than ever before. As Prussia was set to become a nation in the late 19th century, it failed. Its emergence as a supranational entity is increasingly relevant to dialogues on 21st century European history. An abundance of primary source material housed by archives across Berlin and Brandenburg allows the Prussian History unit to uniquely meld research and teaching efforts. The Professorship for Prussian History also offers the opportunity for close cooperation with the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW).