Prof. Sandra Maß

Global Family History: The Kaundinyas between Protestant Mission and European Colonialism, 1850-1945.

The study of the German-Indian-British Kaundinya family in the period between 1850 and 1945 links the history of the Protestant mission with European colonialism and contributes to the growing field of global family history. The legacy of the extensive correspondence of women, men and children from three generations allows us to reconstruct the modes of construction of a family living in trans-imperial settings, to make visible its changing ethnic affiliations and to trace its history until the time of National Socialism.

(2020-2022; supported by the DFG), edited by Sandra Maß/Johanna Mues

Clio Contaminated? History in the Anthropocene.

A new and productive buzzword is born, which is currently leading to considerable interdisciplinary debate in anthropology, archaeology, history, geography and geology: the Anthropocene. The depth and scope of what is at stake in this debate manifests itself in what looks like a complete reversal of assumptions about the importance of the human actor. While in geology mankind for the first time is represented as an epoch-making force, in historical science for the first time inanimate objects and animals are attributed with agency.
The project “Clio Contaminated?" is conceived as an interdisciplinary exploration and analysis of this puzzling new predicament. It takes the initial irritation concerning the questioning of the boundaries between the disciplines that study nature and culture as a starting point for a further inquiry concerning the future of a truly interdisciplinary historical science. It takes the irreducible polyphony of history seriously and seeks stories in which mosaics, textures and contaminations become visible. The idea of contamination refers to both the ‘surplus value’ of interdisciplinary approaches and to the analytical frame of reference. Envisioned is by no means a ‘new avant-garde' or a modified environmental history, but rather a historical science that places chains of events with different scales, poly-focal perspectives and different units of investigation (people, artefacts, nature, resources) in an overall historical context.

funded by the Volkswagenstiftung "Originalitätsverdacht" (2021-2022)