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Funding for new project by Susan Richter

May 19, 2014

A new project by PD Dr. Susan Richter is funded by Heidelberg University’s Field of Focus 3 “Cultural Dynamics in Globalised Worlds.” Starting in May, the project will focus on the understanding of public welfare in colonial societies from the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century.

The pilot project “Ideas and Language of Welfare“ aims to clarify the development of a political-technical language about welfare by colonial governments and find out to what extent colonialist governments were willing or forced to integrate the multiculturality of society in their concepts of welfare. Therefore, early modern perceptions of welfare and their legal implementations are reviewed not only as a governmental, but also as a cultural category. The project analyses both the content of official communication, as well as their construction, cultural imprint, break from routine and idiomatic amplification.

In the framework of this project, an international and interdisciplinary network of acclaimed scholars and early-stage researchers will be built up, in order to continuously exchange ideas and pursue the question of transcultural welfare perceptions in the upcoming years. The involved historians aim to focus on the issue by applying the historical semantic approach. In the course of research, a data base will be devised, which will cover transcultural concepts of welfare from a semantic-statistical perspective, highlighting the linguistic diversity, transformation and influences of the respective concepts.

The new project is funded by the Field of Focus 3 “Cultural Dynamics in Globalised Worlds” of Heidelberg University for the time of one year. One of the aims of the Field of Focus is to further collaboration between different departments and disciplines. Digital Humanities, and especially the Heidelberg Research Architecture (HRA), are an essential component of these efforts.

The project “Idea and Language of Welfare“ is coordinated by PD Dr. Susan Richter, who is professor of the Chair of Early Modern Times at the Department of History of Heidelberg University. Susan Richter is Deputy Speaker of Research Area A and former Junior Research Group Leader at the Cluster. During her research, Susan Richter will be assisted by Cluster member Michael Roth and Urte Weeber.


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  • Jacob van Meurs, Yarning House for Single Women in Batavia (Jakarta), 1682, Atlas of Mutual Heritage