Worth referring to as an introduction to historical institutions in Germany is the Institut français d’histoire en Allemagne of Frankfurt (former Mission historique française en Allemagne, Göttingen), which is one of the 28 French research centres abroad dependent on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and which serves as a first port of call for historians interested in any period from the Antiquity to the 20th Century. For contemporary history, you should also approach the Centre Marc Bloch, in Berlin.
On the German side, historical research takes place in similar structures to those in place in France, such as universities, state-funded research centres and independent associations. These various institutions provide the conditions for the foundation of the major centres of historical research described here.
German historians are grouped together in the Verband der Historiker und Historikerinnen Deutschlands (German Historians’ Society), which organises a major conference every two years, the ‘Historikertag’. The last one took place at Dresden, between 30 September and 3 October 2008: it’s programme is available online. The next session will take place at Berlin in September and October 2010.
Many of the research programmes supported by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation) should interest medievalists. In particular, the website of this institution includes a presentation of available possibilities for doctoral training and for ‘postdoc’ grants: follow the link ‘Förderung’, then ‘Koordinierte Programme’ (‘Sonderforschundsbereiche’ and ‘Graduiertenkollegs’).
The société Max-Planck which celebrated its 60th anniversary in 2008, is made up of a powerful network of institutes and libraries dedicated to both the natural and the human sciences. Amongst those which might interest the medievalist, one might usefully cite:
the Max-Planck-Institut für europäische Rechtsgeschichte at Frankfurt am Main.
the Bibliotheca Hertziana at Rome, which is dedicated to the history of art.
the Kunsthistorisches Institut at Florence, which works on a similar field to the previous institution.
The foundation Deutsche Geisteswissenschaftliche Institute im Ausland brings together the various German historical institutions abroad. Its welcome page links to the websites of these research centres.
A register of German medievalists is available, although it has unfortunately not been updated since 2005.
The German equivalent of the SHMESP (Société des Historiens Médiévistes de l’Enseignement Supérieur Public) is the Mediävistenverband; however it does not only include historians, but also medievalists of all disciplines. It organises a conference every two years. The last one took place in March 2007 at Trier, on the theme of social relations and communication in the Middle Ages.
Also worthy of attention is the Konstanz Medievalists’ Association (Konstanzer Arbeitskreis für mittelalterliche Geschichte), a scholarly society founded in 1951 by German medievalists to promote research in medieval history in a European comparative perspective. From then on, it has organised two annual conferences which take place on the island of Reichenau and which are published in the series Vorträge und Forschungen published by Thorbecke, which has now reached more than 60 titles.
Other actors of decisive importance for German-language medievalism are the Academies of Science, notably:
the Berlin-Brandenburgische Akademie der Wissenschaften,
the Akademie der Wissenschaften de Göttingen,
the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften de Leipzig,
the Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur of Mainz,
the Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften of Munich, from which the Kommission für bayerische Landesgeschichte depends,
the Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften at Vienna. This academy contains within it:
Also concerning Austria: information on research in medieval history carried out at the university of Vienna is to be found on the site of theInstitut für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung. The contents pages of works published by this institute, and in particular its journal (Mitteilungen des Instituts für Österreichische Geschichtsforschung), are available on line.
For archaeological research, consult the website of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Archäologie des Mittelalters und der Neuzeit.