What is the humanities department

The formation of the humanities

Julian Hamann

Essay / book project

On the subject

Who or what are the humanities? What is your story derived from, what is your future like? The discursive education of the humanities takes place in answering these and other questions. Through permanent, sometimes conflicting, interrelated self-understanding, humanities scholars construct constructions of what the humanities are and what they are not, from what their identity is historically derived and what it should be based on in the future, what they achieve and what they cannot achieve or what form their relationship to society as well as to other disciplinary groups such as the natural and social sciences. For (scientific) sociology this field of research is largely uncharted territory. The project reconstructs the process of discursive education in the “humanities” based on the humanities discourse on “education” from the beginning of the 19th century to the present day. With a combination of discourse and field analysis, it can be shown how the transformation of humanities educational concepts takes place, how this change is related to the far-reaching changes in the field context and what the identity core of the humanities, which has remained stable for more than 200 years despite these changes is.


  • Hamann, Julian, 2015: “The humanities and their educational discourse. To map a neglected area of ​​the sociology of science ”, in: Zeitschrift für Soziologie 44 (3): pp. 180-196.
  • Hamann, Julian, 2014: The Education of the Humanities. On the genesis of a social construction between discourse and field. Constance: UVK.
  • Hamann, Julian, 2012: “The humanities educational discourse of the Prussian university reform. An attempt at a sociological field and discourse analysis ”, in: Bernhard, Stefan and Schmidt-Wellenburg, Christian (Hg): Field analysis as a research program, Vol. 1: The programmatic core. Wiesbaden: VS, pp. 345-380.
  • Hamann, Julian, 2011: "Education" in German human sciences: The discursive transformation of a concept ", in: History of the Human Sciences 24 (5): pp. 48-72.
  • Hamann, Julian, 2011: “Phases and forms of opening. Texts and contexts of the humanities educational discourse ”, in: Angermüller, Johannes, Maeße, Jens and Standke, Jan (eds): Moving (Con) Texts. Production and dissemination of ideas in the global knowledge economy. Berlin: Peter Lang, pp. 18-43.
  • Hamann, Julian, 2009: The price of success. The 'crisis of the humanities' from a field theoretical perspective. Bamberg: University of Bamberg Press.