Welcome to the Department of History

About Us

The Department of History at KIT has two main focuses in research and teaching: The cultural history of technology and the environment on one hand, and political and general history on the other. We offer our teaching in the study program "European Culture and History of Ideas" at the KIT Faculty of Humanities as well as in other subjects from the humanities and the technical sciences.
In the cultural history of technology, one focus is the history of mobility. Other topics include the history of technical knowledge and the engineering profession. Special interest is attached to practice-oriented communication of knowledge in the history of technology. In political history the focus is on the history of Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries. Other research topics currently being pursued include university history and the history of the family unit. Furthermore, we serve as a contact and cooperate on historical topics at KIT as well as in the city Karlsruhe and its environs, especially for the media.

As a branch of the Institute of Technology Futures, we contribute research results of technology and environmental history to the social debates on future issues. We define Technology Futures as the ways in which societies communicate about the future uses of technology - whether linguistically, with images, or by emotive persuasion. The historical perspective can thus uncover long-term continuities or ruptures in communication about future technological developments.
On our homepage you will find information about research projects, activities in teaching and studying, staff - and the Department's own history.


Playmobilfiguren stellen eine junge Familie mit Vater, Mutter und Baby in einer Bibliothek dar.
Positions on the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act

A recent statement by the Gesellschaft für Technikgeschichte e.V. (Society for the History of Technology) states that the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act has not contributed to a lasting improvement in precarious working conditions in academia over the last 20 years. It warns that the regulations in practice, especially in recognized "small subjects" such as the history of technology, are paradoxically increasingly tantamount to a professional ban for many academics. Details of the different assessments can be found here:
- Information from the BMBF on the Academic Fixed-Term Contract Act
- Comments from the German Association of Historians
- Comments from the Society for the History of Technology (PDF)

Plakat zum KIT CampustagKIT
Information day for prospective students

Would you like to know what the EUKLID degree program is all about and what studying history and philosophy looks like? Then you've come to the right place! Building 30.91, Room 012, 11:00-11:30 h with Silke Zimmer-Merkle. Why not also listen to the event on the elective subject Technology Assessment, which takes place directly afterwards: "Sex Robots, Intimacy, and Ethics: A Case from the Field of Technology Assessment". Ethical sex work with robots - is it possible? In the taster lecture, the elective subject Technology Assessment will give a small taste of the diverse topics of TA research. The lecture language is English, 11:35-12:25 h with Bettina-Johanna Krings and Giovanni Frigo.

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Post auf Instagram: Vorstellung unserer Tutorin Alissa SchneiderKIT
Follow us on Instagram

You can find us on Instagram @kitgeschichte. Among other things, we post news from the Department of History, introduce the members of our team in teaching and the administration and point out important events and dates.

Symbolbild für Interview: Mikrofon im Tonstudiospoiu23 / Pixabay
Interview with Rolf-Ulrich Kunze on the topic of the Year of Science: Democracy: yesterday, today, tomorrow

In May 2024, the Grundgesetz will be 75 years old! To mark the anniversary, the Federal Ministry of Education and Research has decided to focus on freedom and democracy as the theme of the Year of Science 2024. But how has democracy developed in Germany? Contemporary historian and professor Rolf-Ulrich Kunze spoke to Campusradio about the long and complicated path to democracy in Germany.

Bilder zu den Podcasts "Karlsruher Underdogs" und "Mystery Places"Ralf H. Schneider/ Midjourney
History Podcasts at Campusradio

In the Karlsruhe Underdogs podcast, EUKLID students Nicolas Novak and Martin Ullmann present an (unknown) historical biography from Karlsruhe's city history every month. The approximately one-hour episodes are published by Campusradio Karlsruhe. The women's rights activist Kunigunde Fischer and the railroad pioneer Emil Kessler have already been presented. Puzzle fans can also try out Novak's Mystery Places, the monthly historical quiz game from Campusradio.

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Symbolbild für Interview: Mikrofon im Tonstudiospoiu23 / Pixabay
Podcast on Karl Steinbuch: "Anti-democrat and computer pioneer" with Anton Guhl

Born in 1917, communications engineer Karl Steinbuch is considered one of the few German visionaries in computer science. In 1958, he became a professor at the Technical University of Karlsruhe, now the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. However, when the reform movement at universities spread to Karlsruhe in 1968, Steinbuch showed increasingly clear sympathies for right-wing extremist ideologies. His biographical involvement in National Socialism became public: he had joined the SS at the age of 16. As a member of the Wehrmacht, he was involved in war crimes. KIT historian Anton Guhl has now dedicated the first detailed study to Karl Steinbuch.

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Logo Girls' DayGirls' Day
Girls' Day at KIT

Girls' Day at KIT offers schoolgirls insights into occupational fields that are unfortunately still too rarely chosen by girls and women: That is, the scientific professions. Renate Dürr will explore with you how something good and powerful can come out of aspiration (=ideal) and the science "doers" (=real), especially in the scientific fields of physics and computer science. The workshop will take place on April 25, 2024, for further information see the following link.

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Buntstifte in vielen verschiedenen Farben, aufeinander gestapeltK. Bergmann / Pixabay
New Seminars in Summer Term online

In the coming summer semester, there will again be numerous new seminars and lectures in the EUKLID program. These can be accessed at Campus Management, on the page Courses of the Department of History as well as via ILIAS .

Infos der Fachschaft GeistSoz am KITFachschaft GeistSoz
Orientation at the start of your studies

During the orientation phase one week before the start of the semester, the GeistSoz student council will provide you with all the important information about commencing your studies.

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Winners of the history competition

Tobias Markowitsch, seconded teacher at the Department of History, was successful with his students from the Bismarck-Gymnasium Karlsruhe in the Federal President's History Competition 2023 (video of the award ceremony).

Microphone in sound studiospoiu23 / Pixabay
Podcast: "Germany's difficult path to democracy"

... is the title of the current feature by Stefan Fuchs (ZAK) and Rolf-Ulrich Kunze on the occasion of the Science Year 2024 and the 75th anniversary of the German Constitution in the Campus Report of March 26. In the podcast "Gloomy prospects for the 20s of the 21st century "  the KIT contemporary historian gives an assessment of the prospects for 2024.

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Foto vom Eingang zum Ulmer Konzentrationslager Oberer Kuhberg mit Teilnehmern der ExkursionM. Eckenfels / CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0
Excursion to the Oberer Kuhberg concentration camp memorial (Ulm)

On February 10, Andrea Acle-Kreysing and Désirée Schauz and their seminar participants visited the Oberer Kuhberg concentration camp memorial in Ulm, one of the early concentration camps. Between 1933 and 1935, National Socialists detained opposition activists, primarily from the ranks of the Social Democrats and the KPD, in the cold and damp rooms of the former Ulm fortress. In her welcoming address director Nicola Wenge gave an overview of the history of the Ulm memorial and its diverse tasks. Angel Ruiz Kontara gave a guided tour of the historical site and the permanent exhibition. Using the example of a prisoner biography, the participants were given an insight into the memorial's source and research work. A tour of the special exhibition "'Man wird ja wohl noch sagen dürfen...': Zum Umgang mit menschenverachtender und demokratiefeindlicher Sprache" also provided an opportunity to discuss the relevance of the memorial's political education work to current events. The excursion was funded by the GeistSoz student council.

Online event: Potentials of historic school buildings

The round table with representatives from the fields of architecture, architectural history and urban and regional planning will develop perspectives for the refurbishment and extension of historic school buildings in line with conservation requirements. The focus is on two Dortmund school buildings from the decades around 1900, the preservation of which is desirable from both a conservation and ecological perspective. Wolfgang Sonne, TU Dortmund: The cultural-historical dimension using the example of the Kreuzschule monument in Dortmund (1913); Eva Reber, BDA: The conceptual dimension using the example of the study on the extension of Dortmund's Mörike elementary school (1891); Marcus Patrias, BDA: The structural dimension - "Durability in change" - school construction in an almost closed system; Thomas Eltner, TU Dortmund: The social dimension in the interplay of participating institutions, social challenges and political objectives; Moderation: Stefan Poser, Department of History(stefan.poser@kit.edu).



Finalistinnen bei der Preisverleihung des Maria Gräfin von Linden Preises in Stuttgart im Dezember 2023VBWW
Maria Gräfin von Linden Prize: Finalist Nicole Hesse honored

In November, the Association of Baden-Württemberg Women Scientists awarded this year's Maria Gräfin von Linden Prize in the categories of life sciences and humanities/social sciences at the Heidelberg Center for American Studies. Nicole Hesse (3rd from right in photo) was honored as one of four finalists in the humanities/social sciences for her research on wind energy use and its significance for current debates. Every two years, the event is dedicated to raising the profile of female research and excellence in Baden-Württemberg.


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Ausschnitt aus dem Programm des Workshops "Krisenhaftes Europa, Utopie Lateinamerika" in Berlin von 11.-13.01.2024HU Berlin
Workshop on positions of Jewish writing between Europe and Latin America

From January 11 to 13, an international workshop took place in Berlin, "Krise Europa, Utopie Lateinamerika. Positions of Jewish Writing between the "Old" and "New" World". The workshop was co-organized by Andrea Acle-Kreysing, who gave a lecture on the first German anti-fascist organization in Mexico and its fight against racism and anti-Semitism.

Foto von Heinz Pollmann: Fischer auf Fischkutter beim Ausnehmen von FischenBR / Heinz Pollmann
Podcast: MENSCH UND MEER - History of deep-sea fishing

Technical innovations such as the steamship, the use of trawls and cooling with ice led to a new dimension in German deep-sea fishing as early as the 1880s. Ole Sparenberg gives an insight into the origins and problems of industrial fishing on the high seas in the BR podcast series "Alles Geschichte - History von Radiowissen". You can listen to the report via the following link.

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Teaser Jahrestag Wannsee-KonferenzGHWK
Conference: Strengthening democracy in Wannsee

To mark the 82nd anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, the memorial is organizing a panel discussion on the question of what options are available today to counter anti-democratic structures. At the conference on January 21, 2024, Désirée Schauz will join a panel of experts to discuss the topic "From the Weimar Republic to National Socialism: The Failure of the Social Elites".

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Foto (v.l.): Friedrich Steinle, Gisela Hürlimann, Franziska Eggimann, Marcus PopplowF. Eggimann
Conference on quality and safety

The 43rd History of Technology Conference of the Eisenbibliothek in Schaffhausen/CH was dedicated to the topic "Good, durable, safe. Demands on the quality and safety of technology in history". Marcus Popplow, member of the scientific advisory board (photo) and conference board, and Nicole Hesse represented the KIT Department of History. The latter spoke on issues of safety and efficiency in the use of wind energy. The conference papers are published by the journal Ferrum.

Buch-Cover der Neuerscheinung Zu Gast im AutomatenWaxmann
New publication: On the rise and fall of automat restaurants

Alwin J. Cubasch's volume illuminates the rise and fall of vending machine restaurants in turn-of-the-century Berlin, shedding light on the scope and limits of technological design motivated during high modernism. The book is published in the series Studien zur Geschichte von Technik, Arbeit und Umwelt, edited by Marcus Popplow and Torsten Meyer.