The Institute for the Study of Culture Heidelberg

was founded in 1997 by young scholars in Heidelberg. It aims of facilitating and promoting collaboration and intellectual and interdisciplinary exchange outside the university setting. The think tank fosters both interdisciplinary debate, and ambitious intellectual work in the field of cultural studies.

Thinking, science and research, self-organization

The Institute for the Study of Culture Heidelberg offers an intellectual space to jointly develop one's own thinking against the background of individual educational backgrounds, scientific careers and academic specializations. By speaking of "the study of culture" we express our claim to scientificity and demanding systematic engagement with our topics.  We think of our intellectual work as interdisciplinary cultural and scientific reflection, and we understand ourselves as researchers who deal with culture in the broadest sense, with what is the reality of (everyday) life, what life world means to us, and what constitutes the way we all live. To this end, we create contexts for conversation, discussion and thought that can, but by no means must, give impetus to our own scholarly work.

Independence and civil political enlightenment

The primary goals of the Institute are far-reaching independence and civil-political enlightenment. Therefore, our think tank keeps its distance from ideologies such as populism, nationalism, fake science or scientism, to name just a few examples. We see the institute life, our intellectual work and examination of self-selected topics as our claim and expression of seriousness, attentive objectivity, problem awareness and reflected judgment. We keep critical distance to real politics and and power games. We are not an ideological group, but we stand up for pluralism, democracy, peace and tolerance, without wanting to let these degenerate to mere pleasing vocabulary. It is our conviction that every person has the possibility and capacity to contribute to the Institute's profile and to participate in the Institute's life. The Institute thrives on respectful interaction, fairness and mutual support. We are interested in what others think and do.

Latitude for ...

Our point of reference is science, understood as rational epistemic practice, which also takes place in non-academic spaces of thought and places of reflection. We enable sustained work on topics that increasingly occupy us as members and for which we have no institutional framework elsewhere. The Institute for the Study of Culture Heidelberg is commited to a situational universalism of thinking. The continuous intellectual work for our think tank, the time and energy it requires, is as a luxury to us which we consciously accept and which we want to afford independently of exploitation constraints. The Institute is an endeavor that has been going on successfully for meanwhile over more then a quarter of a century. And, despite all seriousness, we, as network and think tank, always pursue intellectual debate with a pleasure in knowledge.

Free zone from ...

Science is our point of reference, but we do not understand it as certain forms of contemporary scientific bustle, academic specialism, or the zealous emulation of intellectual fashions. Rather, we intend the work of the Institute for the Study of Culture Heidelberg to free up space and enable independence from the pressures of external funding, the formation of schools, eventization, or cultural management and the associated constraints of organization and distinction. Therefore, the Institute is as a network in the best sense of the word. Independent of free riding and careerism, the Institute for the Study of Culture Heidelberg is supported by our common interest in intellectual work off the beaten track. Our interaction with each other shall be free of academic distinction. Our institute is a scope for development, thirst for knowledge, and creativity that allows us to distance ourselves from individual privileges, and to aim at enlightenment in terms of civil politics.