Ambivalent Enmity” is the topic of a new Research Training Group (RTG) at Heidelberg University based in the humanities and social sciences. It will focus on “Dynamics of Antagonism in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East”. The application for Research Training Group 2840, a collaboration with the Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies, was accepted in the latest approval round of the German Research Foundation (DFG). The DFG allocates funding worth approximately 6,5 million euros for five years to this group for training early-career researchers. The spokesperson is Prof. Dr Tanja Penter from Ruperto Carola’s Department of History.

“Instead of understanding enmity as a necessary evil or the essence of all politics, we emphasise its transcultural, processual and ambivalent dimension. In our Research Training Group, we want to train a new generation of scholars equipped to capture such ambivalences in the genealogy, performance, and practice of enmity – both, in the past as well as the present,” underlines Tanja Penter, whose professorship and research field at Ruperto Carola is in Eastern European History. Co-spokespersons of the RTG “Ambivalent Enmity: Dynamics of Antagonism in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East” are Prof. Dr Joachim Kurtz from Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr Johannes Becke from the Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies and Prof. Dr Svenja Taubner from Heidelberg University Hospital.

The Research Training Group links history and political science with psychology, art history, linguistics, literary studies and philosophy, extending also to South Asia and East Asia Studies, Islamic Studies, Jewish Studies and Israel Studies. Starting from the expertise of area studies, the RTG’s research will concentrate on three macro-regions and their interrelations: these are Europe, Asia and the Middle East. “Exploring the ambivalences of enmity in and between these macro-regions will contribute to expanding the knowledge of enmity research beyond the European perspective,” Prof. Penter underlines. Forming the basis for this is Heidelberg expertise in transcultural studies – a field of research that systematically examines the interlocking relations between countries, regions, cultures and religions.

In the Research Training Group “Ambivalent Enmity”, the researchers at Heidelberg University will work closely with colleagues from the Heidelberg Center for Jewish Studies. The research programme provides for forming two cohorts, each with twelve doctoral students. Furthermore, five additional trainees will be financed from other third-party funds. Two positions are also planned for post-doctoral fellows.


Author: Dr. Bernard Mulholland

Dr. Bernard Mulholland is a Byzantinist, archaeologist, historian and Patristics scholar with a Ph.D. in history (QUB, 2012). Bernard's publications include: Fiction: Bernard Mulholland, Nazareth Quest (2022). Non-fiction: Bernard Mulholland, The man from MENSA - 1 of 600: Mensa research (2016). ---, The man from MENSA - 1 of the 600: Politics 1990-1995 (2016). ---, Ratio analysis of financial KPI in the Higher Education sector: a case study (2018). ---, Early Byzantine Ireland: a survey of the archaeological evidence (2021). ---, Navan Fort, Ireland: archaeological and palaeoecological analysis (2021). ---, The Early Byzantine Christian Church (Oxford, 2014). ---, 'Identification of Early Byzantine Constantinopolitan, Syrian, and Roman church plans in the Levant and some possible consequences', Patristic Studies in the twenty-first century: proceedings of an international conference to mark the 50th anniversary of the International Association of Patristic Studies, ed. Brouria Bitton-Ashkelony, Theodore de Bruyn and Carol Harrison (Turnhout, 2015), 597-633. Mulholland, B. (2021). 'Can archaeology inform the climate change debate?' Academia Letters, Article4385.

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