Alumni Fellow

Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

Alumni Fellows

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel: +49 (0)203 379-5230
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: schwelling@spam


Dr. Birgit Schwelling has joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Fellow. She conducted her research in Research Unit 2 “Global Cultural Conflicts and Transcultural Cooperation” from October 2013 to September 2014.

Research Project at the Centre

The Global Regime of Transitional Justice

This project investigates the role of international non-governmental organizations in processes of coping with human rights violations and mass atrocities, now commonly referred to as transitional justice. While civil society actors, both individuals and groups, did engage in initiatives dedicated to coping with past atrocities at least since the beginning of the 20th century, the emergence of a global expert culture engaged in transitional justice is a rather recent phenomenon. It is perhaps no exaggeration to claim that by now a global regime of transitional justice has been established, setting an international standard for dealing with human rights violations around the globe. This project asks for the potential for the globalization of norms of transitional justice and for the possibility that political communities can restructure themselves by importing tools provided by this global expert culture. It investigates the adaptability of these tools in local settings and the tensions and conflicts that arise when global norms meet local contexts in transnational cooperation.

Research Interests

  • Political Cultures (focus 20th century)
  • Cultures and Politics of Remembrance (focus 20th century)
  • Transitional Justice
  • Cultural and Societal Dimensions of European Integration

Current Projects

  • The Global Regime of Transitional Justice
  • Constructing Europe from Below. Transnational Civil Society and its Impact on European Integration
  • Homogeneity, Conflict, Similarity: Categories for Examining the European Space of Remembrance <Homogenität, Konflikt, Ähnlichkeit: Kategorien der Vermessung des europäischen Erinnerungsraums>


10/2012-09/2013 University of Konstanz, Germany
Department of Cultural Sociology
Visiting Professor
10/2009-09/2012 University of Konstanz, Germany
Research Group "History + Memory"
04/2010-09/2010 Justus Liebig University Gießen, Germany
International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture (GCSC)
Senior Teaching Fellow
09/2008 University College London
Visiting Fellow
04/2000-11/2008 European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Germany
Faculty of Cultural Studies and Office of President
Assistant Professor

Selected Publications

Schwelling, Birgit (ed.) (2012): Reconciliation, Civil Society, and the Politics of Memory. Transnational Initiatives in the 20th and 21st Century, Bielefeld

Schwelling, Birgit (2012): "Hilf Dir selbst". Selbsthilfe-Initiativen von ehemaligen Kriegsgefangenen im Siedlungsbau der Bundesrepublik in den 1950er und 60er Jahren <"Help yourself". Self-help initiatives of former prisoners of war in the housing development of the Federal Republic in the 1950s and 60s>, in: Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift 71, 1, 57-75

Schwelling, Birgit (2012): "Vergangenheitsbewältigung" - aktuelle Entwicklungen und Perspektiven <"Dealing with the Past" - recent developments and prospects>, in: Vorgänge. Zeitschrift für Bürgerrechte und Gesellschaftspolitik 51, 2, 33-40

Schwelling, Birgit (2012): Transnational Civil Society's Contribution to Reconciliation: An Introduction, in: Birgit Schwelling (ed.): Reconciliation, Civil Society, and the Politics of Memory, Bielefeld, 7-21

Schwelling, Birgit (2012): "Verlorene Jahre"? Die sowjetische Kriegsgefangenschaft in den Erinnerungen des Verbandes der Heimkehrer <"Lost Years"? The Soviet war captivity in the memories of the Association of returnees>, in: Elke Scherstjanoi (Hrsg.): Russlandheimkehrer. Die sowjetische Kriegsgefangenschaft im Gedächtnis der Deutschen, München, 55-69

Schwelling, Birgit (2010): Erinnerung als Medium der kulturellen Integration Europas? <Memory as a medium of cultural integration in Europe?>, in: Johannes Wienand / Christiane Wienand (Hrsg.): Die kulturelle Integration Europas, Wiesbaden, 212-234

Schwelling, Birgit (2010): Heimkehr - Erinnerung - Integration. Der Verband der Heimkehrer, die ehemaligen Kriegsgefangenen und die westdeutsche Nachkriegsgesellschaft <Homecoming - Remembrance - Integration. The association of returnees, the former prisoners of war and postwar West German society>, Paderborn

Schwelling, Birgit (2008): Gedenken im Nachkrieg. Die Friedland-Gedächtnisstätte <Remembrance in postwar. The Friedland Memorial site>, in: Zeithistorische Forschungen / Studies in Contemporary History 5, 2, 189-210

Schwelling, Birgit (2008): Politische Erinnerung. Eine akteurs- und handlungsbezogene Perspektive auf den Zusammenhang von Gedächtnis, Erinnerung und Politik <Political memory. An actor-and action-oriented perspective on the relationship between memory, remembrance and politics>, in: Horst-Alfred Heinrich / Michael Kohlstruck (Hrsg.): Geschichtspolitik und sozialwissenschaftliche Theorie, Stuttgart, 99-121

Schwelling, Birgit (2006): Demokratische politische Identität. Deutschland, Polen und Frankreich im Vergleich <Democratic political identity. Germany, Poland and France compared>, Wiesbaden (Hrsg. mit Gesine Schwan, Jerzy Holzer und Marie-Claire Lavabre)

Schwelling, Birgit (2005): Kulturwissenschaftliche Traditionslinien in der Politikwissenschaft. Eric Voegelin revisited, in: Zeitschrift für Politik 52, 1, 3-24

Schwelling, Birgit (ed.) (2004): Politikwissenschaft als Kulturwissenschaft. Theorien, Methoden, Problemstellungen <Political science as cultural science. Theories, methods, problems>, Wiesbaden

Teaching Responsibilities

  • since 2000, about 50 courses and seminars at German and British Universities (undergraduate, graduate and doctoral level)

Expertise and Consulting Work

Reviewer for:

  • Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
  • Volkswagen Foundation
  • Austrian Science Fund (Fond zur Förderung der wissenschaftlichen Forschung (FWF))
  • peer reviews for several journals on a regular basis

Editor of:

  • Journal Series "Erinnerungskulturen/Memory Cultures" at transcript Publishing House (with Aleida Assmann)
  • Yearbook for Politics and History <Jahrbuch für Politik und Geschichte> (with Claudia Fröhlich and Harald Schmid)

Seminars and Conferences

  • over 45 presentations and conferences in Europe, Canada and the US
  • organiser of ten conferences and workshops


  • German Political Science Association (Deutsche Vereinigung für Politische Wissenschaft)
  • German Association of University Professors and Lecturers (Deutscher Hochschulverband)


  • Scholarship holder of Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes
  • Fellow at Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies, University Erfurt
  • Erasmus Teaching Staff Mobility Grant (DAAD) for University College London
  • Senior Teaching Fellowship at International Graduate Center for the Study of Culture (GCSC), Justus Liebig University Gießen

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Prof. Dr Enrique Saravia

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Dr habil. Birgit Schwelling

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