About the Faculty
As part of the University’s intellectual landscape, the Faculty of Humanities covers those subjects concerned with the ways we express and reflect upon human life—languages and communication media, literature and the arts, images and sounds, symbolic systems, beliefs, ideas, truth claims, social acts and motivation, societal structures and processes, and sovereignty past and present. The object of study in all of these areas is human culture’s symbolic forms in their entirety, without which our world would be devoid of meaning.
The Humanities and its guiding ideas
Change is both a historical fact and guiding principle of the subjects taught in the Faculty. All subjects take a critical yet compassionate, theoretical and historical, descriptive and analytical, local yet comparative approach to forms of meaning and values in human culture. They are themselves part of this culture and equally an object of reflection. They aim to provide practical orientation based on expertise and reasoned judgment.
Scholars in individual, clearly defined disciplines engage in interdisciplinary discourse about methods. This kind of discourse not only broadens your perspective of your own discipline; it also contributes to scientifically sound discussion of cultural norms, meaning, and beliefs. In the Faculty of Humanities, we research and teach under the banner of reason and truth, fostering a culture of learned, public debate about these very ideas.
Unity of research and teaching
In the Faculty of Humanities, research and teaching go hand in hand. A firm foundation in both capacities enables graduates to take up professions in cultural fields requiring academic skills and methods and to do so independently and with acumen. The Faculty encourages the practical use of its research findings.
Research and teaching in the Faculty focus on issues relevant to its urban context: Hamburg as a large city in all of its social reality; as a major center of media and culture; as an internationally connected port city; and as a city-state steeped in tradition.
Genesis of the Faculty
Legal reforms led to the formation of the Faculty in 2005, which brought together the Departments of Protestant Theology (01); Language, Literature and Media Studies (07), Philosophy and History (08), Cultural History and Contemporary Culture (09), and Oriental Studies (10). It is organized federally and formed on the basis of collegial trust and understanding. The Faculty will continue to embrace the University’s mission, which promotes cooperation between all members and bodies, transparency, democratic participation, and conflict resolution.
Until the university reforms of 1969, Departments 07–10 were part of the Philosophy Faculty, which reconnected with the founding principles of 1919 when the University reopened its doors in 1945. It was at this time, as well, that the Protestant Theology Faculty, founded in 1954, became the Department of Protestant Theology within the Faculty of Humanities.