HeidelbergCement. On the Durability of an Early Mixture
The over thirty-year lifespan of the interdisciplinary working group Poetik und Hermeneutik—it was formed at the University of Giessen in 1963 and disbanded in 1994—is the longest such collaborative effort in German academia; its name and leading members are still well-known today. Given the typically short duration of university-based projects and ever-changing trends in the humanities, what kept Poetik und Hermeneutik together for a generation? What role did friendships play? After all, quite a few of the group’s members had met while students at the University of Heidelberg, where they participated in groups such as Semper Apertus. How do friendships in academia relate to everyday forms of collegiality in collaborative work, networks and other close-knit groups? How are these forms distinguishable from each other?
Petra Boden is a literary scholar with a PhD from the Humboldt University of Berlin on German literary scholarship in the Weimar Republic and the Third Reich. She was on the research staff at the Central Institute for the History of Literature at the Academy of Sciences of the German Democratic Republic and has served in various projects funded by the German Research Foundation on the history of humanities disciplines, mostly recently at the German Literature Archive in Marbach as part of a project on the Poetik und Hermeneutik group. Her publications include So viel Wende war nie: Zur Geschichte des Projekts “Ästhetische Grundbegriffe” (2014) and the co-edited volumes Poetik und Hermeneutik im Rückblick (2016), Populäres Wissen im medialen Wandel seit 1850 (2009), Modernisierung ohne Moderne: Das Zentralinstitut für Literaturgeschichte an der Akademie der Wissenschaften der DDR (1969–1991) (2004), and Geisteswissenschaften und Gesellschaft (2003).