Max Planck Society Senate closes two departments at the Institute for History

The Institute, in Göttingen, now moves forward in a new direction

March 27, 2006

The highest body in the Max Planck Society, the Senate, confirmed on March 24 in Ludwigshafen, Germany that the "medieval" and "modern" departments would close at the Max Planck Institute of History in Göttingen. This follows the recommendations of the Society’s Humanities Section.

The Max Planck Institute for History in Göttingen will now carry on with a new direction and name. Its area of research will be "social integration in culturally heterogeneous societies", combined with comparative religious history. Various questions in this field have long been under discussion by Society committees.

The Institute’s scientific research has enjoyed an excellent reputation for years. Unfortunately, Max Planck was not able to find internationally renowned scientists to replace Otto Gerhard Oexle and Hartmut Lehmann, the Institute’s directors, who reached emeritus status in 2004. The Max Planck Society’s leadership could not, therefore, find a way to keep up the departments’ current line of research. Given these conditions, discussion commenced in February this year, in the Humanities Section, about phasing out both departments.

This decision does not mean, however, that Max Planck is turning away from the discipline of historical study. The two art historical Institutes in Rome, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, and the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History in Frankfurt, will also continue their work in important historical disciplines.

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