Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster „Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration“

Leibniz Prize for Prof. Jürgen Osterhammel

3. December 2009

Most important German research award for historian in Konstanz

The historian Prof. Jürgen Osterhammel, Chair of Modern and Contemporary History at the University of Konstanz, was awarded today the 2010 Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize by the German Research Foundation (DFG). He is one of ten scientists/scholars who have currently been awarded this most important German research award, making him the sixth Leibniz Prize holder at the University of Konstanz. This honor includes an award of 2.5 million EUR that is available to the scientist or scholar to pursue his or her research agenda over the next seven years. The award will be formally presented on 15 March 2010 in Berlin.

This year, Osterhammel’s book "Die Verwandlung der Welt. Eine Geschichte des 19. Jahrhunderts [The Transformation of the World: A History of the 19th Century]” has attracted not only a great deal of interest within the discipline but has also received enthusiastic reviews in the national press. This monumental work is even specifically mentioned in the final assessment of the German Research Foundation. That rationale states that Osterhammel has decisively contributed to opening up German historical scholarship to topics and issues in global history. Through a series of groundbreaking works on European and non-European history, the Konstanz-based historian is one of the most acknowledged representatives internationally of a new way of looking at history that comprehends modern globalization in all its political, economic, and cultural aspects. In the process, Osterhammel has particularly revealed the significance of relations between Europe and East Asia in the development of modern global society. In his work, he succeeds time and again in masterfully combining social, political and structural history with the history of ideas, science, and culture.

University President Prof. Ulrich Rüdiger was delighted for the important acknowledgement of his Konstanz colleague:

“At the latest since the publication of his epochal work, “The Transformation of the World,” Jürgen Osterhammel has been one of our strongest candidates for further honors. Our University of Excellence is proud of this exceptional historian and is pleased along with the Department of History and Sociology for this further success after having been awarded the Center of Excellence ‘Cultural Foundations of Integration.’ I congratulate Mr Osterhammel on this well-deserved recognition of his outstanding scholarly work."

After studying in Marburg, Hamburg, Kassel, and London, Jürgen Osterhammel finished his doctorate in Kassel. He completed his habilitation in Freiburg after serving at the German Historical Institute in London. After being a professor at the University of Hagen and in Geneva, Osterhammel has held the chair in modern and contemporary history in Konstanz since 1999.

In addition to Jürgen Osterhammel, five other scholars at the University of Konstanz have been awarded the Leibniz Prize: philosopher Prof. Jürgen Mittelstraß (1989), physicist Prof. Jürgen Mlynek (1992), biologist Prof. Regine Hengge-Aronis (1998), linguist Prof. Aditi Lahiri (2000), and literary scholar Prof. Albrecht Koschorke (2003).

The Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prizes have been conferred annually by the DFG for excellence in research since 1986. Since then, a total of 280 Leibniz Prizes have been awarded.