"InHerit" – Heritage in Transformation

What shapes society? What constitutes identity or difference? How can we define belonging, ownership or the changing relationship between history, present and future?

Funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) at the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) from 2024, the Käte Hamburger Centre for Advanced Study “Heritage in Transformation” (InHerit) revolves around these central questions of our time. InHerit will be led by art historian Eva Ehninger and social anthropologist Sharon Macdonald.

Together with international fellows, heritage will be analyzed as a pluralizing, ongoing activity; heritage’s influence on changing social relations will be a key focus of examination; and the transformation and expansion of heritage itself, through innovative knowledge exchange formats, will be actively pursued. The resulting new form of heritage research positions the humanities at the centre of addressing fundamental global transformation processes, leading to the reshaping of the humanities’ own epistemological frames of reference.

InHerit’s core research themes are based on these paradigm shifts:

(1) the decentring of the West or Global North;

(2) the decentring of the human, and accompanying focus on connections to, and interdependencies with, nature; and

(3) the transformation of attributions of value, especially in relation to changes in reflections on the parameters of collecting.

InHerit’s emphatically transdisciplinary, practice-oriented approach will tackle urgent social, cultural, political and environmental challenges, and, thus, directly address the key idea of the BMBF programme “Understanding Society – Shaping the Future.”


About the Käte Hamburger Kolleg

Globalisation, law, religion, work or the environment – with the Käte Hamburger Kolleg, the BMBF offers outstanding scholars the freedom to conduct research on a broad spectrum of social issues in the humanities since 2008. As Centres for Advanced Study, the Käte Hamburger Kollegs give scholars in the humanities and social sciences the freedom to work on topics of their choice, free from many of the obligations of everyday academic life, together with fellows from all over the world who are invited to Germany for up to twelve months.


Further information

Read the BMBF announcement about the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (in German)

Read the HU announcement about the Käte Hamburger Kolleg (in German)

Eva Ehninger and Sharon Macdonald report on the Heritage in Transformation application process (in German)



Eva Ehninger (eva.ehninger@hu-berlin.de)

Sharon Macdonald (sharon.macdonald@hu-berlin.de)