Art History/Historical Image Studies, in its research and teaching, addresses the history and theory of images as well as the visual dimension of history without any time restriction (i.e. from the Middle Ages to present time). Images do not only serve to portray historic events and developments, they also intervene effectively in historical processes. Art History and Historical Image Studies therefore cannot be reduced to tasks of an auxiliary science and do not restrict themselves to single factual or iconographic aspects of images. They rather also advance to fundamental questions, e.g. how images generate meaning, how they unfold their own power and how they become part of social and cultural practices. The working field examines these questions in research and teaching.
Institutionally and by means of joint projects, the working field is embedded in the Department of History. It therefore offers the opportunity to accentuate a method of research on images that is art-historically profound and enriched by current theoretical and methodological debates in close dialogue with history, which has so far hardly been realised within the German-speaking area. At the same time, the special interest in theoretical questions is accompanied by a close cooperation with other scientific disciplines and approaches, such as media studies, literature studies and research on cultural technologies.
As an integral part of the Department of History, the working field Art History/Historical Image Studies contributes to the teaching programme of the history courses. In addition, since the winter semester 2017/18 it offers a separate BA course “Art History and Historical Image Studies”.