Institute Institute of History

Research at IHIST

Our interdisciplinary research domains are: History and Space; Materiality and Culture; Migration, Memory, Identity; Power and Legitimation.
The historical areas forming today’s Luxembourg and Greater Region, the crossroads of Europe, constitute a stimulating case study for transnational historical investigation in the “longue durée”.

Crossing perspectives

History in the “longue durée”

1) History and Space: Exploring spatial changes in time
Spaces are historically constructed and continuously rearticulated.  Digital Historical cartography and other methods explore political, economic, social and cultural phenomena and question notions of center and periphery.
2) Materiality and Culture: Digging up unsuspected links
Monuments and other cultural artefacts are examined with regard to their historical and social contexts as well as their material quality. Spatial and sensory aspects are of key relevance when investigating cultural transfers, innovations and reinterpretations.

3) Migration, memory, identity: Engaging history
Historical and anthropological investigations address migration (including deportation and exile), cross-border practices and perceptions, political participation as well as expressions of belonging over time.
4) Power and Legitimation: Decoding the mechanisms of power
Power is explored as complex process of achieving legitimation and recognition. Resulting structures undergo constant renegotiation, framed by social norms and cultural expectations. The analysis entails an exploration of the dynamics of authority, resistance and empowerment.

Some of our projects

You will find below information about some of our ongoing research projects.

For other ongoing projects, and for completed projects, see: history.uni.lu

  • Start date

    1 January 2016

  • Duration in months

    72

  • Funding

    Ville de Luxembourg, University of Luxembourg

  • Project Team

    Steve Kass; Sebastian Pauli; Michel Pauly; Martin Uhrmacher

  • Partners

    Ville de Luxembourg ; Lëtzebuerg City Museum ; Archives nationales de Luxembourg ; Administration du cadastre et de la topographie (Luxembourg) ; Commission luxembourgeoise pour la coopération avec l’UNESCO ; Archives Municipales (Ville de Luxembourg)

  • Abstract

    Luxatlas is a digital and interactive historical town atlas of Luxembourg, based on open-source technology. It is published on the website “Luxatlas.lu” since 2019 and has since then been continuously expanded in terms of content and technically developed further. The atlas shows the urban development of the town since the mid-16th century in the form of digital and interactive maps, historical images and photos, and explanatory texts. Multiple, freely selectable map layers can be combined with each other when using the atlas; a total of 64 maps are available for this purpose. The digitised and georeferenced maps have been extensively rectified, in part by means of thousands of digital pinpoints (GCPs), so that they can be superimposed on each other in a precisely fitting manner. Story maps were developed for individual thematic focal points, which guide users virtually through the historical urban space in a guided or freely selectable sequence.
    Luxatlas.lu documents historical processes of change diachronically for research purposes, for people interested in history (public history) and for municipal departments (supporting preparations for urban development projects). But the pure visualisation of research results is not the main focus of the project. The town atlas itself serves as an important tool for the acquisition of new knowledge. It is only by means of cartographic representations that comparisons can be made of various historical development processes in Luxembourg City. The superimposition of different cartographic time layers enables users to visualise and analyse specific questions individually. The town atlas therefore offers a basis for further research on urban development.

  • Start date

    1 January 2021

  • Duration in months

    36

  • Funding

    DFG – FNR

  • Project Team

    Michel Margue; Timothy Salemme; Sergio Torres; Scott Kutting; Boghos Youseef

  • Partners

    RWTH Aachen University

  • Abstract

    INTERLOR is an international project co-funded in Germany by the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and in Luxembourg by the FNR (Fonds National de la Recherche). It is jointly executed by the Chair of Medieval Studies at the RWTH Aachen University and the Institute for History at the University of Luxembourg.

    Objectives: The aim of the project is to provide an extensive inquiry of the relations between the papacy and Lotharingia (i.e. the region between Utrecht and southern Lorraine) from the middle of the 11th to the beginning of the 13th century. It focuses on forms of reciprocal communication and their impact on regional development in different aspects. For example, the use and form of script, cathedral cities, religious orders, or structures of secular government are taken into consideration. In this way, the institutional, power and identity changes resulting from interactions with the papacy on a regional level can be described more accurately, which allows us to sharpen the profile of Lotharingia as a zone of contact between the German Empire and France. In contrast to traditional tracks of research which concentrated almost on the relations between the papacy and the peripheries of Europe, now a region of its very centre is addressed. Consequently, the project may open new prospects on the way the papacy tried to establish its absolute claim to leadership in the Latin church.

  • Start date

    1 January 2018

  • Duration in months

    72

  • Funding

    FNR; DFG

  • Project Team

    Sonja Kmec; Julia Wack; Sonja Malzner

  • Partners

    Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH); Lehrstuhl für europäische Zeitgeschichte and Lehrstuhls für Kultur- und Mediengeschichte of the Universität des Saarlandes; Bereich Interkulturelle Wirtschaftskommunikation at the Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

  • Abstract

    The project “Popular Culture Transnational – Europe in the Long 1960s” explores popular culture as a tool for change in social and political conditions. It brings together a host of archival-based transmedia studies that focus on aspects of popular culture in two or more societies in terms of comparison, transfer, and interlinking histories. In 2021 a second (4 year) phase started highlighting economic and industrial interlinkages of popular culture.

    IHIST (with Sonja Kmec as PI) participates with two studies: Julia Wack investigates in her PhD amateur film club practices and Sonja Malzner examines how the Indian Ocean is marketed as site of longing in the context of decolonisation.

  • Start date

    1 March 2022

  • Duration in months

    36

  • Funding

    University of Luxembourg

  • Project Team

    Andrea Binsfeld; Stéphane Bordas; Juan Aguilar; Pratik Suchde; Natascha Kuhlmann

  • Partners

    University of Mosul (Iraq); ICONEM

  • Abstract

    The Nebi Yunus Mausoleum in Mosul, Iraq was almost entirely destroyed on 24th July 2014 by the so-called Islamic State (IS). No one should venerate a human being was the reason for razing the medieval-period Muslim place of worship which, in the 1st millenium AD, used to be a Christian church. The IS then found, under the building, the remains of an Assyrian palace which they looted systematically. Within months, 2,700 years of unique Iraqi cultural heritage were irrevocably damaged. Extensive 3D scanning as well as virtual 3D reconstruction have been done to recover as much and as accurate as possible lost architectural information on the palace and the mausoleum. We set out to demonstrate how recent advances in modelling and simulation can support the virtual visualisation of three-dimensional structures. Keeping in mind the relatively short time frame of this project, our team will first focus on devising new smart adaptive point clouds to simulate the mechanics of archaeological sites with a controlled degree of accuracy and to exercise this idea on the actual site of Mosul. In a collaboration between the University of Mosul and the University of Luxembourg, a geotechnical investigation of the ground, on which the palace and the mausoleum were built, will be conducted. This kind of research will give valuable information on the stiffness of the ground and the deformations the palace had suffered due to the mass of the old Nebi Yunus Mausoleum. In an interdisciplinary approach of Archaeology, History, Art History, Data and Computational Sciences, Geophysics and Geology, a soil-structure computer simulation can be realised to help preserve and reconstruct the cultural heritage of and under the new Nebi Yunus Mausoleum.

  • Start date

    1 September 2016

  • Duration in months

    72

  • Funding

    MECDD; University of Luxembourg

  • Project Team

    Rachel Reckinger; Diane Kapgen; Ariane Fragnon; Cyrille Delvaux; Maria Helena Korjonen; Anna Pax; Sophie Margue; Sylvie Nicolay-Hoffmann

  • Partners

    Ministry of Environment, Climate and Sustainable Development (MECDD), Luxembourg

  • Abstract

    Current debates on food sovereignty, biodiversity degradation, limits to growth, inequity, the search for more sustainable ways of production, consumption and governance – as well as policy coherence tackling them in a context of food democracy –, require a dedicated response from the social sciences. Analysing existing sustainability strategies in our food system is key, in particular by understanding transition processes, identifying barriers and making recommendations to overcome them – and thus help enable political, economic, environmental and social consolidation of a just food system.
    For this, we propose a systemic analysis of Luxembourg’s transnational food system – envisioned as a dynamic multi-scalar and multi-sited foodscape.
    By using qualitative methods, we deal with everyday constraints within sustainable food practices, social and environmental justice, gender and identification issues as well as food citizenship and policy gaps.
    The individual work packages focus on individual and collective social practices that have favourable or unfavourable impacts on food transitions, with particular attention for the social inequalities and everyday-cultural subjectivations in the political, socio-cultural, economic and environmental domain. A practice-theoretical approach is particularly effective in shedding light on the conscious choices, negotiating positions and reasonings of system members within their respective socio-cultural embeddings.