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  • Center for Theories in Historical Research

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Reinhart Koselleck is one of the best-known historians of the 20th century. His work in the fields of conceptual history (Begriffsgeschichte), theory of history, and political iconography has greatly shaped not only historical research in particular but also the humanities in general. Koselleck’s research combines the exploration of historical phenomena with a reflection on basic historical concepts and figures of thought, thus showing in the most exemplary fashion how historical research responds to its own “necessity of theory”.

Reinhart Koselleck was substantially involved in the founding of Bielefeld University. In memory of his longstanding activity, the Faculty of History, Philosophy, and Theology, together with the Rectorate of Bielefeld University, has established the Reinhart Koselleck Visiting Professorship. Excellent scholars whose work has significantly contributed to facilitating theoretical reflection on historical research are invited to reside at Bielefeld University within the framework of this professorship.

The visiting professorship will be held biannually. The holder of the Koselleck-professorship resides in Bielefeld for two months (during the semester) and is involved in the academic life of the Faculty and especially in the activities of the Center for Theory in Historical Research.

Reinhart-Koselleck-Guest-Professor 2024

In the summer semester 2024 and the winter semester 2024/25 Ewa Domańska is our guest in Bielefeld as a Koselleck-​Professor.

She is Full Professor of Human Sciences at the Faculty of History, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań, Poland; a corresponding member of the Polish Academy of Sciences (PAN); since 2002, recurring visiting professor at Stanford University (Spring Term). Her teaching and research interests include the theory and history of historiography, comparative theory of the humanities and social sciences as well as the environmental humanities, ecocide and genocide studies.

Domańska’s recent publications include:

  • Knowledge in the Shadow of Catastrophe (co-​edited with Katarzyna Bojarska, et al., Brill 2024, in print).
  • A História para além do humano [History Beyond the Human], eds. Julio Bentivoglio and Taynna Marino (Rio de Janeiro: Fundação Getulio Vargas Press, 2024, in print).
  • “Wondering About History in Times of Permanent Crisis” (Storia della Storiografia, vol. 82, no. 2, 2022: 29-37).
  • ‘Prefigurative Humanities’ (History and Theory, vol. 60, no. 4, December 2021: 141-​158).
  • With Jacek Małczyński Ewa is a guest editor of a special issue on “The Environmental History of the Holocaust” (Journal of Genocide Research, vol. 22, no. 2, 2020).

Former Reinhart-Koselleck-Guest-Professors

Photo of Ethan Kleinberg

In November/December, 2021, Ethan Kleinberg was our guest in Bielefeld as a Koselleck-Professor.


Ethan Kleinberg is the Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor of History and Letters at Wesleyan University and Editor-in-Chief of History and Theory. Kleinberg's wide-ranging scholarly work spans across the fields of history, philosophy, comparative literature and religion. In particular, Kleinberg engages with the ways that the past haunts our present and presses us toward the future, advocating for a deconstructive approach to better account for this complex temporal entanglement. His current book project extends this investigation by focusing on how what he calls “temporal anarchy”—the unrestrained mingling of past, present, and future— can lead to a different understanding  of history that is not restrained by what has been, but instead attracted to what can be thus pointing us toward critical political and ethical action. The past as future, if you will, rather than a futures past.


In the following a selection of his most important works:



  • Emmanuel Levinas’s Talmudic Turn: Philosophy and Jewish Thought (Stanford University Press, October 2021).
  • Haunting History: for a deconstructive approach to the past (Stanford University Press, 2017)
  • Generation Existential: Martin Heidegger’s Philosophy in France, 1927-61 (Cornell University Press, 2006).
  • Theses on Theory and History (Wild On Collective, 2018).
  • Presence: Philosophy, History, and Cultural Theory for the Twenty-First Century co-edited with Ranjan Ghosh (Cornell University Press, 2013).
  • “Post-Modern Theory with Historical Intent: a deconstructive approach to the past” in Philosophy of History: Twenty-First Century Perspectives ed. Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen (London: Bloomsbury, 2021).
  • “Are Historians Ontological Realists? An Exchange (on Kleinberg’s Haunting History)”, Herman Paul and Ethan Kleinberg,  Rethinking History (2018), 22:4, 546-557, DOI: 10.1080/13642529.2018.1530820
  • “Just the Facts: the Fantasy of a Historical Science,” History of the Present: a journal of critical inquiry (University of Illinois Press), Vol. 6, No. 1 (Spring 2016).
  • “Not Yet Marrano: Levinas, Derrida and the ‘ontology’ of Being-Jewish,” in Traces of God: Derrida and Religion, Edward Baring and Peter Gordon eds. (Fordham University Press, 2014).
Photo of François Hartog

In October/November, 2018, Francois Hartog was our guest in Bielefeld as a Koselleck-Professor.

He is a retired professor of École des hautes études en sciences sociales (EHESS) in Paris. Hartog was a student of Jean-Pierre Vernant. In an outstanding way his works combine the intellectual history of antiquity with issues of historiography and the theory of history. Precisely most recently his thorough analyses of the current way of understanding our time have made him one of the most discussed theoreticians of history. His idea of regimes of historicity shows a far-reaching social-political dimension while at the same time considering the roles of history and historiography. The unveiling of a phenomenon which he calls `presentism´ provides ample food for thought.

In the following a selection of his most important works:


  • Régimes d'historicité. Présentisme et expériences du temps, Paris 2003. Englisch: Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time, New York 2015.
  • Regimes of Historicity: Presentism and Experiences of Time. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.
  • De l’histoire universelle à l’histoire globale? Expériences du temps, in: Le Débat 154 (2009), S. 53–66. Deutsch: Von der Universalgeschichte zur Globalgeschichte? Zeiterfahrungen, in: trivium 9 (2011),
  • Évidence de l'histoire. Ce que voient les historiens, Paris 2005.
  • Les usages politiques du passé (hrsg. zusammen mit Jacques Revel), Paris 2001.
  • Für eine Archäologie des historischen Denkens, Jörn Rüsen (Hrsg.): Westliches Geschichtsdenken. Eine interkulturelle Debatte, Göttingen 1999, 117-126.
  • Mémoire d'Ulysse : récits sur la frontière en Grèce ancienne, Paris, 1996.
  • Memories of Odysseus: Frontier Tales from Ancient Greece. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2001.
  • Temps et histoire: "Comment écrire l'histoire de France?, in: Annales 50 (1995), 1219-1236.
  • Le xixe siècle et l'histoire. Le cas Fustel de Coulanges, Paris 1988.
  • Le Miroir d'Hérodote. Essai sur la représentation de l'autre, Paris 1980.
  • The Mirror of Herodotus: The Representation of the Other in the Writing of History. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.
  • The Invention of History: The Pre-History of a concept from Homer to Herodotus. History and Theory 39:3 (2000), 384–385.
  • Time and Heritage. Museum International 57:3 (2005), 7–18.
  • The Double Fate of the Classics. Critical Inquiry 35:4 (2009), 964–979.
  • Polybius and the First Universal History. In Peter Liddel and Andrew Fear (eds.), Historiae Mundi: Studies in Universal History. London: Bloomsbury, 2010, 30–40.
  • The Modern Régime of Historicity in Face of Two World Wars. In Chris Lorenz and Berber Bevernage (eds.), Breaking up Time: Negotiating the Borders between Past, Present and Future. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013, 124–133.


  • Croire en l'histoire. Flammarion, 2013.
  • Partir pour la Grèce. Flammarion, 2015.
  • La nation, la religion, l'avenir : Sur les traces d'Ernest Renan. Gallimard, 2017.
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