The Collaborative Research Centre “Transformations of Antiquity” unites eleven disciplines from the social sciences and humanities at the Humboldt University of Berlin as well as one each at the Free University of Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science. Ca. 60 scholars, representing five faculties altogether, work in 16 projects.

The work of the Collaborative Research Centre seeks to overcome the highly compartmentalized way studies in antiquity and its reception have been conducted in the past. Its programmatic aim is to map the interdisciplinary contexts in which the productive appropriations and transformations of the ancient sciences and arts are embedded. We examine the slow emergence of the system of sciences and the cultural self-construction that define the European societies, a process that extends from the Middle Ages into modernity. We lay the theoretical foundations of this interdisciplinary contextualization and present its results in selected examples.
We focus on

1. the constitutive functions of antiquity in the emergence of the European scientific society and its disciplines;
2. the role of antiquity in the genesis of medieval, modern, and modernist cultural identities and self-constructions; and
3. the artistic and literary forms and the roles of translation and media in this transformation.
The central theoretical concept of transformation (see also “SFB 644 in brief” on this homepage) enables us to conceive references to antiquity not as the unilateral “reception” of an invariant object. Instead, we analyze them as the interrelations of mutually dependent constructions of self and other.