Current research projects of the department WKT

Under the single menu items, you find information on research clusters of the department „Knowledge – Culture – Transformation“.

The research focuses presented here shall refer to the constitutive focussing of the department that has already resulted into third-party funded research alliances, but also to the newly emerging and increasingly clustered recognition interests that derive from the dynamizing effects of the department foundation with germing potentials for future third-party funded projects.

"From knowledge of translation to translation of knowledge"
Master class with Navid Kermani successfully completed

Master class with Navid Kermani successfully completed

This year’s master class Mecklenburg-Vorpommern ended with a public presentation of Navid Kermani, titled “The occident belongs to god! Goethe and religion” on Friday, 5 May. This highlight was also the end of the seminar for advanced students which had been dedicated to the topic “Perfect beauty. On (non-)translatability of religion and culture” from December 2016 on. This year, it was Navid Kermani as outstanding thinker and author who was selected for the master class. His work was in the focus of a top-quality seminar where students got the chance to exchange with this special author. Kermani has published various novels, stories, but also Islamic science studies and essays from 2002 on. At the very latest since his impressive speaches during the ceremony of the German Bundestag on the occasion of the 65 anniversary of the German constitution (2014) and the awarding of the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade (2015) he has been known to a larger audience. In writing and saying, his reports from the Middle East and from current refugee routes are provoking and often painful investigations at the friction surfaces between Europe and its neighbours. There is no other work in contemporary German literature more suitable to investigate the close interrelation of Islamic and Christian culture than that of Navid Kermani. It was of highest importance for our seminar that Kermani stresses the enormous performance of translation this cultural contact demands”, explains Albrecht Buschmann, one of the organisers from the Interdisciplinary Faculty of the University of Rostock. “For our students from different disciplines, from philology to theology, working with Kermani’s texts and discussing them with himself was a big adventure – and certainly an unforgettable experience”, adds his colleague Martin Rösel. The master class was organized in cooperation with the University of Greifswald and enabled by a special program of the Ministry of Education, Sciene and Culture. Only advanced students or doctoral candidates were invited to participate. They got an introduction into basic questions of translation theory, paying special attention to the Islamic dimention of translation practice. Based on this, Texts of Navid Kermani himself were read, analysed and discussed. Renowned external guest lecturers were involved here: the translator and lecturer Dr. Marie-Luise Knott and Islamic scientist Dr. Michael Marx.

„Translate clearly and distinctly into German“

„Translate clearly and distinctly into German“

Workshop on reviewing the Luther bible

Workshop on reviewing the Luther bible
16. & 17.10.2013
Internationales Begegnungszentrum Rostock, Bergstraße 7a, 18057 Rostock

The bible translation of Martin Luther is one of the most important individual elements of German language and culture. In this translation, Luther has implemented the basic principle of the Reformation, i.e., that all believers should have access to the Bible in their mother tongue. In an effort to make the biblical message comprehensible in the readers' world, he has found a form of language that was pioneering in the development of the High German. In doing so, as he himself wrote, he had "looked at how real people talk", but at the same time created words for the Germans, which we still use today. For the 500th Reformation Anniversary in 2017, a further revision of the Lutheran Bible is prepared, where Prof. Dr. Martin Rösel from the Faculty of Theology is majorly involved. Together with Prof. Dr. Ursula Götz from the Institute of German Studies he will give an insight into the complex project and present some of the changes that will be made to Luther's Bible in the future.

Prior to the EKD conference “What an art and work interpreting is – The Luther bible and other German bible translations”, the University of Rostock offers a translation workshop for all colleagues involved into the Luther bible review which allows to purposefully strengthen the critical review competences related to own translation work. It was possible to win multi-award-winning translators for these tasks who are, in addition, regularly active as lecturers in translator trainings. These are:

  • Rosemarie Tietze. The German Translators Fund (DÜF) was founded upon her initiative in 1997; she had managed it over the first 12 years of its existence. She currently holds the August Wilhelm von Schlegel Guest Professorship for Poetry of Translation at the Free University of Berlin.
  • Thomas Brovot. He has been the head of the German Translator Fund (DÜF) from 2009 on and coordinates the further education work of the literature translators.
  • Andreas Tretner. Most recently, he was „Translator in Residence“ at the University of Tübingen.

Together with these three lecturers, the participants in the workshop willl – based on text passages from the ongoing Luther bible review – practice techniques how, for instance, to systematically process syntax, imagery and imaging as well as sound figures in relation to the levels of meaning of the text without losing the overview (and nerves).

Aim is to teach working methods that result not only into correct but correct and good translation solutions. Or, in the words of Luther, who one can “clearly and distinctly into German”.

The workshop is organised in cooperation with Prof. Dr. Albrecht Buschmann and Prof. Dr. Martin Rösel. The program is available as PDF for downloading here.

Albrecht Buschmann is Professor for Roman LIteratures at the University of Rostock and head of a research team on translation issues. He is the editor of the volume Translating Well. New Perspectives for Theory and Practice of Literature Translation. Berlin, Akademie-Verlag 2013 (in print).
Martin Rösel is a member of the steering committee of the EKD for reviewing the Luther bible and responsible for coordinating the review and retranslation of the apocryphs.

Additional information available at


Presentation of the work group „Translating“ during the reviewer inspection on the evaluation of the department „Knowledge – Culture - Transformation“ (Rostock, 1.2.2013)

Presentation of the work group „Translating“ during the reviewer inspection on the evaluation of the department „Knowledge – Culture - Transformation“ (Rostock, 1.2.2013)

Prof. Dr. Albrecht Buschmann: Presentation of the work group „Translating“ during the reviewer inspection on the evaluation of the department „Knowledge – Culture - Transformation“ (Rostock, 1.2.2013)

Translating has become a very much dazzling guiding concept of cultural sciences over the past 20 years. One can very well recognize that from the fact that nearly every introduction of a recent anthology, nearly every research overview of the last years correspondingly starts with the statement that translating has become a very much dazzling guiding concept of cultural sciences over the past 20 years.

As not only the translation as artefact has, in the meantime, become a research subject, but also the translation as such – under the keyword “Translation between cultures” – has developed into a new research perspective. Not only the subject area of translation research has been expanded, but also the type of questioning related to the concept of translation itself, which is why a realignment of research is indicated everywhere, a “turn”, even a „translational turn“.

Against this background, the two crucial questions for the two scientists from Rostock involved into the working team “Translating” are: What preconditions do we have for playing our role in this internationally highly competetitve field of research? And what innovative research perspective can we develop on this basis?

Networking and compressing
When considering the conditions, we consider the objects we are working about. Exactly one year ago, the first workshop of the working team Translation took place with nine speakers. There, the seven persons from Rostock obtained assurance that there are sufficient colleagues on site who work practically as well as scientifically on a historically wide range of translation issues. The works which are implemented in Rostock range from ancient via medieval times and early modern time to 19th and 20th century: Ciceros translation maxims are measured by own translation practice, medieval handwriting is interlingually translated and intermedially set to music, Jewish translator figures are investigated regarding their role as transcultural mediators, the translations of literary classics of European literary history are read as re-écritures, the Luther bible is reviewed and partially retranslated, science discourses between Europe and America, between Central and North America are reconstructed.

Thus, we can, historically seen, cover 2,000 years of translation history diachronically. Of course not complete, but in exemplary steps. Of course, only for selected languages and only for the cultural contact zones of the Mediterranean Sea and between Europe and America.

As important for a research cluster as the representative selection of research objects is the connectivity of the involved disciplines and, subsequently, the innovation capacity of actually occurring interdisciplinary recognition interests. Professors and scholars of classical philology, medieval German language and literature, modern language philology and theology are active in the working team. Whereby the institutional proximity and personal exchange with the postgraduate program “Cultural contact and science discourse” also opens the connection to music science and theological-ethnological research for us. Thanks to the department, the interdisciplinary exchange was established very fast, whether in form of joint seminars for undergraduates, in form of joint workshops for doctoral candidates or scientific conferences. Exemplary mentioned here is the conference of Rafael Arnold which took place in July 2012 on the topic „Jewish translators as protagonists of intercultural transformation” with presentations by historians, theologists, Judaists, lingualists and literary scientists. An own workshop for doctoral students was connected to this international conference funded by Thyssen.

Accordingly, the networking and compressing Prof. Stephanie Wodiankas spoke about in her presentation developed within hardly more than a year. In the meantime, three aspects of translating have derived from this, which are in the focus of our current work. First, the knowledge of translation has to be mentioned: Out of translating holy texts, ancient scripts or literary classics, we are jointly able to heuristically derivate a “Knowledge of the Translation” that should not be considered statically as archive of subsequent thrusts of knowledge, but as flexible dispositive of any kind of transcultural knowledge production. As from the translation of a Hebrew grammar into Latin as just seen in the presentation of scholar Melanie Lange.

Culture as translation
The relevant translation theory premises are confronted with a critical interdisciplinary test in concrete translation projects in the course of such studies. The work with (historical) translation cultures is precondition for such individual studies and main corrective for all statements on how culture is constituted as translation, as result of translation processes. And the perspective, the possible crystallization that shall follow after networking and compressing? What do we mean when we speak about translating knowledge?

Theoretically innovative, the working team „Translating“ works on developing a protagonist-centred methodology of translation. We do not consider the term “protagonist” as abstract name of an actant we research about, but we refer to the translating subject here with whom we are in exchange by analysing his work. Historically by making him or her talk via his or her gloss, comment, foreword, paratext and metatext. Currently, by implementing translation research not only about but also with the translator. Because it is our concern to make their specific knowledge productive for science. One examples: During our start symposium (the program available as PDF here) in January 2012, we had two critical external observers, the literature translators, Dr. Frank Heibert and Thomas Brovot, who are both also experienced lecturers and translation sciene authors. This dialoge was extremely productive, for both sides. It continues these day during the final editing of the conference proceedings which have expanded from nine to eighteen contributors in the meantime: One academic who also translates and processes a subject X is always accompanied by a professional translator in the symposium, who again is also designated as working analytically. As it turns out now, completely new working hyptheses and research perspectives derive from this beginning of a dialogue between the spheres which have never entered a systematic dialogue with each other before.

Which was particularly well visible in the workshop „From the vineyard of the lord into the mine of language”, which we from Rostock organized together with Thomas Brovot from the „Association of German-language translators of literary and scientific works“ (VdÜ) in the Literarisches Colloquium Berlin.

This brought us, the protestant theologists who are currently working on reviewing the translation of the Luther bible, together with professional translators. After two days, all translating theologists were impressed by the systematic approach of professional translators when, for instance, taking text syntactic, sound and semantic text levels apart – and recomposing them again to a text that is not only correct but does also sound well. Convinced by the event’s success, we decided to offer a second workshop of that kind in autumn 2013 prior to the major EKD conference in Rostock.

The archive of translation theory lies in the knowledge of the translating person, wrote Douglas Robinson in 1998 in a programmatic essay where he also raised the demand to open these stores of knowledge. Nowhere in the world, the translator archive is as well-filled as in Germany: There is no other country translating so much from foreign languages as the German Publishers & Booksellers Association is happy to announce year by year. And nowhere in the world, translators have so professionalized and institutionalized that systematically. Still, the specific systematic knowledge for translating that the write into each of their texts, has remained unprocessed so fara.

Making this knowledge visible is one of our projects, guided by the hypothesis that we again can draw conclusions for a more precise reconstruction of historical translators out of this.

Department members who are active in the working team:

  • Prof. Dr. Rafael Arnold (Roman studies)
  • Prof. Dr. Albrecht Buschmann (Roman studies)
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Rösel (Theology)
  • Prof. Dr. Franz-Josef Holznagel (German language and literature)
  • Prof. Dr. Christiane Reitz (Klassische Philologie)
  • Prof. Dr. Gesa Mackenthun (American language and literature)

Dissertation topics of involved scholars:

  • Lisa Kranig: The poetry of Ulrich von Winterstetten. Edition and annotation. Translation and interpretation
  • Lisa Medrow: Disputing orientalists – Debates on opportunities of a modern Islamic science in the environment of Carl Heinrich Becker, Snouck Hurgronje and Ignaz Goldziher
  • Melanie Lange: The Hebrew grammer of Elia Levitas Sebastian Münster’s translation os a testimonial of intercultural and interreligious dialogue by means of a copy from Rostock’s university library stock
  • Ralf Modlich: The Mexican revolution novel a schallenge of literary science in East and West. A case study on the work of the Rostockean Latin America specialist Adalbert Dessau



Postgraduate program „Power of interpretation. Religion and belief systems in power of interpretation conflicts“

Postgraduate program „Power of interpretation. Religion and belief systems in power of interpretation conflicts“

Everybody would like to have it, many fight for it, some have it, but is has remained largely unexplored so far what it actually is: Power of interpretation. This operationally common concept shall be conceptually and methodically prepared and materially processed in case studies.

How does power of interpretation arise, „work“ and disappear, exemplary in the context of religion and belief systems? Significant power of interpretation constellations and conflicts shall be used to investigate the genesis and validity of power of interpretation in history and present times to clarify: What kind of or dimension of power is power of interpretation? What power do interpretations (of religions or its representatives, institutions, office holders or ‘charismatic persons’, discourses or dispositives etc.) have or develop? When and why are they accepted or no longer accepted?

Normally, the power of interpretation has already been accepted and is not doubted where being followed (e.g. Jesus, scripture, basic law). How it evolved and why it is followed is either not addressed (latent) or becomes explicit, amongst others in narratives like myth or texts of the bible. To understand this, one has to investigate the liminal exceptional case of a power of interpretation (order) genesis retrospectively. The normal case becomes problematic in accelerated and pluralized societies (crisis of churches, of scripture principle, of morality etc.). The conflict case becomes manifest in power of interpretation conflicts (such as rule or order conflicts): An interpretations claim for acceptance and validity becomes explicit and needs to be justified as soon as different interpretations fight over power.

Thus, interferences of semantics (of interpretation) and structure shall be analysed (orders, dispositives) in exemplary projects. The social relevance of the project derives from differentiating the understanding of cultural power of interpretation conflicts that can become benefitial for understanding and processing them. This hermeneutic competence needs to be critical also to be able to determine the limits of interpretation power / claims (as of the concept power of interpretation).

All information are available here:

"Contested Knowledge in the Atlantic World, c. 1600-1900"
„Contested Knowledge in the Western Hemisphere (1500-1900)“

„Contested Knowledge in the Western Hemisphere (1500-1900)“


18. to 19. September 2013
Rostock University of Music and Theatre,
Beim St.-Katharinenstift 8, 18055 Rostock
Chapter house

The aim of the workshop is to gather experts on the subject and to prepare a trans-regional project for third-party funding.

You can download the programme as PDF here.





„Contested Knowledge in the Atlantic World, c. 1600-1900“

„Contested Knowledge in the Atlantic World, c. 1600-1900“

The Project

The project takes a trans-disciplinary approach and brings together scientists from the disciplines of North American studies (Alexandra Ganser, Erlangen, Gesa Mackenthun, Rostock) and history sciences (Susanne Lachenicht, Bayreuth, Dagmar Freist, Oldenburg, Claudia Schnurmann, Hamburg, Astrid Windus, Hamburg, Sünne Juterczenka, HU Berlin). The preliminary project management is based in Rostock.

The project is closely related to the understanding of the different interactions between knowledge generation and dissemination and cultural exchange within the framework of the DFG Research Training Group "Cultural Encounters and the Discourses of Scholarship", whereby the topics are located geographically in the broadest sense in the "Atlantic" region (including the "hinterland" regions, especially in Europe and the Americas).

The individual topics deal with questions about the situatedness of knowledge in a cultural ambience determined by colonialism and enlightenment. They examine, e.g., the unequal distribution and representation of knowledge between cultures; the appropriation of knowledge of indigenous cultures by European institutions; processes of networking, scarcity and the exclusion of knowledge; they attempt to reconstruct 'lost' (for example, indigenous or 'unthinkable' [Bourdieu]) knowledge, as well as epistemological conflicts between competing knowledge information, incorporating methods and insights from ethnography, archaeology, regional studies and the postcolonial analysis of colonial discourses.

In addition, subprojects are devoted to the development of previously unpublished, unexplored or unnoticed corpora (for example Jesuit relation from Canada, maritime correspondences in the Atlantic region, female transatlantic translators, popular magazines and illustrations, and their representation of geographical discoveries and scientific discoveries from overseas).

The projects are oriented in the broadest sense to the methods and findings of Science and Empire Studies, Black Atlantic Studies, Colonial Discourse Studies and New Historicism. Within the profile, the project can be attributed to the modules "Knowledge and Interculturality", "Knowledge and Mediality" as well as "Knowledge and Power".

Concrete steps include a symposium planned with international experts (June 2013). In addition, a package application is envisaged for a trans-regional network (for example, a research group or material such as the DFG).

On the work of Prof. Dr. Gesa Mackenthun:

"Myths of Antiquity, Myths of Modern Age "
"Myths of Antiquity, Myths of Modern Age "

"Myths of Antiquity, Myths of Modern Age "

The Project

Who are we, where do we come from? Myths, like today, give answers to fundamental questions such as these; they are "stories that are told to orient themselves about themselves and the world," as the cultural scientist Jan Assmann explains. A particular form of myths are those that tell of origins, the so-called aitia. We all know the heroine of such a foundation story: The beautiful Phoenician, whom the godfather Zeus, transformed into a bull, carried over the sea. In Crete, for the first time, she entered the continent, which has since been named - Europe. Modernity not only updates traditional myths as a "knowledge base," but also produces its own myths of origin, telling the reasoning of modern patriotism (Jeanne d'Arc), a new social self-understanding (68's revolution) or its own (flaneur) - and make it more tangible.

In the Department "Knowledge - Culture - Transformation", it has been possible to generate relevant interdisciplinary research potentials for the connection of the origin, cultural scientific myth conceptualisation and media representation, and to network them synergetically. Historically differentiating perspectives are linked to theoretical epistemic interests. On the one hand, original myths are investigated as knowledge forms with regard to their histoire, whose transformations are to be placed before the background of cultural and media contexts. On the other hand, the discursive orientation about the cultural status of the origin myths belongs to the knowledge which is constitutive of their functioning and which itself is subject to transformation.

The research project, approved by the DFG (German Research Foundation) for a three-year term, submitted by Prof. Dr. Stephanie Wodianka and her research associate Juliane Ebert is aiming to elaborate and test a mythological concept, which is a cultural-scientific approach creating a bridge between popular myths on the one hand and ancient myths that have be canonized long time ago on the other hand. In modernity, everything can become a myth - but not everything turns into a myth in modernity. It is essential to ask how modern myths can be defined, how they are 'created' and what role do the old and new media play. The project is based on a myth concept which accentuates the myth as a mode of remembrance (cf. Roland Barthes): Myths are neither limited in content nor in time (antiquity), but perceptually and aesthetically limited. The mythical is a way of perception and memory that is primarily characterized through the apparent evidence, its high potential for identification and meaning, as well as the experience of significance beyond time and normative validity.

Publications of the research project include an "Encyclopaedia of modern myths", which will be published by Metzler Verlag in 2014 and provides the origins, transformations and interpretations of over 150 'new myths'. The research context of the department has led to the successful acquisition of competent Lemma contributions among the members and their research networks, thus increasing the amount of intersecting sets. With regard to the mediality of the mythical and its narrative degree of unfolding, co-operation perspectives with computer science (Prof. Dr. Heidrun Schumann) have also developed, which are to be used for the question of mythical complexity reduction and evidence construction through visualization, and also serve as a starting point for the dissertation projects of the fellows Hanno Depner and Emel Cetin.

Above all, however, the cooperation of this DFG funded myth project with the Rostock aitia research led by Prof. Dr. Christiane Reitz initiated synergy effects, which in particular address questions about the "transformable immutability" of mythical or mythological forms of origin. The narrative of stories about causes belongs to the narrative literature from the beginning. The founding of the city, religious custom and cult, descent of a people or a family, names, techniques are traced back to their authors and origins. This narrative tradition characterizes the ancient literature, the ancient art, and has been evident both in history and in the present.

Prof. Dr. Reitz investigates with her research assistant Dr. Anke Walter the narrative strategies by means of which aitia are told - an international meeting (July 2012) with members of the department has highlighted the interdisciplinary potential of this research interest and the impetus for an application for DFG assistance (submission of the application planned for the end of 2013): Can common patterns, texts, pictures, scientific and literature contexts be used to determine how original stories are used and designed? Do these common patterns form a narrative system of their own, different from other narratives? What recognition patterns do the aitia narratives offer, in scientific, in fictional, in pictorial contexts, to their intended recipient?

These questions are also important for the profiling of "myths of modernity" in order to make established differences and similarities meaningful for the conceptualisation of the myth term and to focus on certain canonization and compensation strategies of 'new myths'. Both projects meet with the question of whether the mythical has a beginning - or which aesthetic forms mark its beginnings.



On the DFG project "Cultural-scientific conceptualisation of 'new' myths: phenomena, internal structures and the process of canonization of the mythical in modernity":

On the work of Prof. Dr. Christiane Reitz:

„Translating Myth“

„Translating Myth“

5.-7. September 2013
Colchester, UK

Registration is now (July 2013) open for „Translating Myth“, an international conference organized by the Centre for Myth Studies at the University of Essex, to be held at Firstsite, the home of contemporary visual arts in Colchester.

Plenary Speakers:

  • David Hawkes (Arizona State University), „I think Hell’s a Fable“: Literalism and the Death of the Soul
  • Miriam Leonard (University College London), Tragedy, Myth and the Intrusion of History: Carl Schmitt’s Hamlet or Hecuba
  • Harish Trivedi (University of Delhi), Indian Myth: Postcolonial Translation

Distinguished Bean Trust Lecturer:

  • Sheila Spector (Independent Scholar), The Evolution of Blake’s Myth: Urizen’s Multiple Identities

Also featured is a thrillingly expansive selection of papers on different aspects of translation in and of myths from around the world - Greece, Rome, and beyond.

Registration details and the provisional programme are available at
Reduced „Early Bird“ registration rates apply until 1. August.

For further information, please email mythicessex.acuk.

„BildIng – Bildungsziel Ingenieurin“

„BildIng – Bildungsziel Ingenieurin“

As one of the world's leading industrial nations, Germany is struggling with an imminent lack of young academics, particularly in the demand for young women in natural sciences and engineering. The planned study is based on this finding. Within the framework of an interdisciplinary cooperation between educational science and electrical engineering at the University of Rostock, the aim is to examine how the orientations of pupils to university studies develop in the course of educational biographies and how they can be influenced pedagogically in favour of engineering and science subjects.

The overall project comprises three main aspects: firstly, a quantitative empirical study in the form of a standardized survey on the orientation of pupils to university studies in different grades at Gymnasiums [upper secondary education]. Secondly, a biographical study on the development of engineering and science studies in young women. Thirdly, a nationwide structure analysis of gender-sensitive pedagogical and didactic concepts, methods and forms of offer for the career orientation in the field of electrical and information technology (student labs for technology sciences).

The aim of the research project is to develop an overall concept for a pedagogical support concept, which provides university-specific guidance for girls and young women, approaches the gender-sensitive quality of the subject-specific school teaching, and enables a renewed cooperation between schools, companies and universities. In a subsequent trial year, the pedagogical overall concept will be tested in a model project in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and evaluated by means of scientific monitoring.

The planned study closes a significant gap in relevant empirical education research on this subject. Comparable interdisciplinary analyses, in which the development and promotion of specific study orientations are addressed from a qualitative, quantitative and pedagogical-didactical perspective, are not available in Germany so far.

The "Female Engineer as an Educational Goal" project will be funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research from 2011 to 2014 as part of the "Strategies for the implementation of equal opportunities for women in education and research" on the topic "Women at the top".

All information can be found here: