The Research Unit »Knowledge« is dedicated to the transformations of modern Jewish historical experiences as expressed in concepts, texts, and narratives. The migration of Jews – whether forced or voluntary – also led to a migration of their knowledge, which was subsequently adapted to new group constellations, spaces, and languages. In this context, the relationships between individual and collective, belonging and difference, as well as tradition and modernity were all subject to an ongoing process of negotiation, as is reflected in the three focal points of this research unit.
The focal point »Knowledge Transformation« examines stocks of knowledge and tradition under the conditions of spatial and social mobility. The focus here lies on the one hand on the history of individual scholars and their self-conceptions and on the other hand on the transfer of entire fields of knowledge and research branches.
The focal point »Literatures and Textuality« examines Jewish authors from Central and Eastern Europe, analyzing modern Yiddish- and Hebrew-language poetry and prose as well as journalism, printing, and publishing through exemplary case studies.
The focal point »Other Knowledge« is dedicated to specific Jewish experiences that are inherent to certain research areas and differ from the canon of knowledge of majority society. Through the field of language criticism, encompassing such thinkers as Victor Klemperer, H. G. Adler, Nachman Blumenthal, and Joseph Wulf, this focal point highlights the rupture caused by the Holocaust.