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Research Areas

The CRC 1167 is structured around four major research areas or Spannungsfelder, each representing central configurations of ʻpower and dominationʼ, thus ensuring a comprehensive, comparison-oriented approach to the overall theme. In the course of the project work, these research areas and their mutual interaction have also established a safe environment, we call 'Interdisciplinary Transcultural Work Groups' (ITWs), in order to express both their transcultural focus and their character as experimental work forums. The individual topics and connections are illustrated in the following diagram:

Overview Research Areas


Each of our research areas or Spannungsfelder is determined by two concepts, each of which spans a certain field of essential questions around the topic of power and domination. Central to our research is the approach that the 'and' links the two concepts to each other and has a meaning that connects rather than separates them.

In short: We understand the two concepts that define the respective Spannungsfeld as scalar and not as polar opposites.

Such an understanding of the Spannungsfelder takes into account correlations and causalities as well as the sliding transitions between the pairs of terms. This is indispensable if we are to break down the classical opposition between 'modernity' and 'premodernity' on the one hand, and leave behind eurocentric ways of thinking in research on the other.

Each of the 20 scientific sub-projects of the CRC 1167 is assigned to two Spannungsfeldern. The following four diachronically arranged fields of work are involved:

A: Conflict and Consent

(Coordination: Prof. Dr. Konrad Vössing)

B: Personality and Transpersonality

(Coordination: Prof. Dr. Matthias Becher)

C: Centre and Periphery

(Coordination: Prof. Dr. Jan Bemmann)

D: Criticism and Idealisation

(Coordination: Prof. Dr. Elke Brüggen)

The sub-projects allocated to a given Spannungsfeld meet together on a regular basis to discuss central issues, present the results of their work to date and develop joint projects. In addition, during the first funding phase, each Spannungsfeld has hosted a large, international and interdisciplinary conference at the University of Bonn, the results of which are published in the CRC‘s own series of publications "Macht und Herrschaft".

Because each sub-project belongs to two large research areas (Spannungsfelder), the individual research are strongly interlinked and a context for close discussion is established. In our joint research, this also means that we can identify further, cross-project research interests, which can be both at the centre of the Spannungsfelder and between them.

In order to pursue these questions and to enable an interdisciplinary, transcultural comparison, a safe environment is necessary in which the various approaches can be discussed, developed, tested, rejected or sharpened in a collaborative effort/process. In these smaller groups, young researchers in particular can make an excellent contribution and practise taking initiative, taking responsibility, developing new ideas and enriching the discussion, from which the entire research network benefits considerably.

We have given these spaces the name 'Interdisciplinary Transcultural Work Groups' (ITWs) to express both their transcultural focus and their character as experimental work forums. The individual working groups are as follows:


Autocracies – Legitimisation and Participation



Critique of the Sovereign/Advisors

Historical Semantics


Material Aspects of Power and Domination

The Visual Representation of Rulership

Women and Rulership


In contrast to the Spannungsfelder, the ITWs are flexible in their connections and working methods, and always have the aim of feeding back into the research areas in which or between which they are located. To this end, the ITWs organise workshops and publish anthologies, and they integrate researchers from outside the CRC into the centre’s working groups.

In order to group and combine the results from Spannungsfeldern and ITWs, general meetings are held at the beginning and end of each semester. During the first funding phase of the CRC, we also held two retreats: from July 19 to 21, 2018 at the dbb-Forum Siebengebirge and from July 4 to 6, 2019 at the Physikzentrum Bad Honnef. These occasions were used to inform all members about the results of the work and discuss ideas across the entire network. For example, reports from the ITWs were presented and working groups were formed to secure results, discuss and further develop Spannungsfelder and to discuss gender dimensions of power and domination, a topic that spans the entire research association.

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