BMBF Initiative

"Freedom for Humanities Research"

further information

Käte Hamburger Kolleg

International Research Collegia in the Humanities (“Käte Hamburger Kolleg”) are funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) since 2007. The collegia make significant contributions to basic research and bring about structural changes in the German research environment. The BMBF initiatives strive to ensure international visibility of German milestone research projects in the humanities, the study of civilisation and the social sciences. Each Käte Hamburger Kolleg receives the annual financial support up to EUR 2 million. This generous financial endowment enables the supported institutes to recruit outstanding fellows from Germany and abroad. Regular colloquia, workshops, master classes and annual international conferences ensure public visibility and constant exchange of knowledge.

Brochure: "Käte Hamburger Kollegs - Internationale Spitzenforschung in den Geisteswissenschaften" (German)

Käte Hamburger

Why were the ‘International Research Collegia in the Humanities’ named after Käte Hamburger?

Käte Hamburger (1896-1992) is a significant German philologist, philosopher and literary theorist. She was the first woman to complete a post-doctorate degree in German Literary Studies. Her paper “The Logic of Literature” became a standard of narratology and received international acclaim. Käte Hamburger’s work is characterised by a great diversity of methods and themes. Her studies on Goethe, Jean Paul, Novalis, Rahel Varnhagen, Rilke, Tolstoy, Ibsen and Thomas Mann significantly influenced the literary studies of the post-war period.

Käte Hamburger always went beyond the limit of her subject. Her work interconnected topics across disciplines: philosophical and aesthetic issues, the relationship between literature and ethics, contemporary theatre and the new medium of film.       
As a committed humanist and proponent of enlightenment, she countered the dehumanisation of Western culture and the political deception of the “Germany's Destiny” with reasoned, historically well-founded and highly sophisticated analyses.