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Bielefeld Graduate School

in History and Sociology

Logo der Einrichtung
Logo der Einrichtung


The interdisciplinary cooperation of the Faculties of History and Sociology can look back on more than 40 years of successful collaboration at the University of Bielefeld, and thus constitutes the most important element of the BGHS.

Interdisciplinary Concept

Under the roof of the BGHS are offered the international doctoral programmes in sociology and history, which are characterized by its interdisciplinary approach (cf. the electronic course catalogue (eKVV)).
In addition, interdisciplinary doctoral student groups are in charge of the organisation and conduct of the Annual Seminar, various workshops and conferences as well as the Interdisciplinary Colloquium.

The School is pleased to offer in its rooms office space to about 50 of its young researchers, which promotes the cross-fertilization of ideas and information, creative work and innovative research.

Interdisciplinary Exchange of Ideas

The BGHS offers an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, which promotes not just research across disciplinary boundaries but stimulates doctoral researchers to reflect critically on the categorial decisions, theoretical premises and methods of their disciplines when confronted with those of a different discipline. The School welcomes students not only from history and sociology but explicitly invites junior researchers from other disciplines whose research shows a promising focus on historical or sociological issues. The ideal place for this exchange is the Research Classes, which specialize in a broad range of themes.

Another series of events that promote the intersdisciplinary exchange is the Interdisciplinary Dialogue - discussions with doctoral researchers of the BGHS, members of the Faculty of Sociology and the Department of History and guests.

Interdisciplinary Areas of Research

The BGHS unites a broad range of research interests and projects and is open to the most varied themes. Below is a list of suitable areas for doctoral research projects at the Faculty of Sociology and the Department of History at the Faculty of History, Philosophy and Theology of Bielefeld University. When you are looking for a supervisor, please feel free to contact the professors who work in the respective area.

Interdisciplinary Specialisations

Despite the general openness of the School to a wide range of themes in history and sociology, certain thematic foci tend to keep emerging, of which two are described below.

Work in a Globalising World

  • This theme is concerned both with the various forms that work can take in a globalising world and the structures that accompany them. The starting point of this focus was the Fifth Annual Seminar of the BGHS on the theme of "Work in a Globalising World: Gender, Mobility, Markets"", which took place in April 2013, and has since been developed in various ways and directions. Some of the work will appear in the Spring 2015 issue of InterDisciplines. Journal of History and Sociology.
    Work on this research area was continued by Ursula Mense-Petermann and Thomas Welskopp in February 2015 in a working group at the ZiF (Centre for Interdisciplinary Research) on the theme of "In Search of the Global Labour Market - Market Makers, Mobility Regimes, and Regulations". Further research initiatives on the theme are under way.


  • Together with the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) in Essen, the BGHS set up a Junior Research Group on the theme of "ClimateWorlds: A global ethnography project". From 2010 to 2012, five younger researchers pursued research in various regions of the world like the Cape Verde Islands, the Hudson Bay, Tokyo, the San Francisco Bay and the West Frisian Islands. Their common theme was the local perceptions and interpretations of climate change as well as the question of what specific practices had formed to deal with, e.g., rising sea levels. For more information on this project click here.

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