Several professorships of the faculty of philosophy at the University of Bonn are in danger of being cancelled due to extensive cost-cutting measures in 2015. One of these is the chair for regional history of the Rhineland (Rheinische Landesgeschichte – one of the most traditional professorships in Bonn and a unique characteristic of our university.
To nickel and dime these structures to death means to severely weaken the profile of the department of history in Bonn. Not to mention that it would be in stark contradiction to the self-presentation of the Rhenish (!) Friedrich-Wilhelms-University Bonn.
We therefore demand the preservation of the professorship for the regional history of the Rhineland and a clear commitment to its continuation.
The last years already have shown a continual degradation of research and teaching. The teaching of Regional history of the Rhineland has already been severly affected:
- in 2012 the last position of an Akademischer Oberrat (senior assistant professor) was reduced to a half-time Akademischer Mitarbeiter (academic assistant) leading to a grave diminishment of the range of courses. (On top of that the last Wissenschaftliche Hilfskraft (research assistant) will leave the department in early 2015.)
- For the now postponed applications for the professorship the job was already reduced in status and salary (from a W3 to a W2), which means not only a massive reduction of the financial possibilities but also the cancelling of the academic assistant position. This would lead to a further decline of the teaching possibilities and the education of academic trainees.
In the course of the last century the regional history of the Rhineland has positively influenced the historical sciences. Generations of distinguished historians have been educated at this department (former institute) since 1920. Numerous graduates are prominently active at prestigious institutions. The department is in permanent exchange with communities and other government bodies and thereby includes and incorporates academic research in the region and beyond.
Students, PhD candidates and external researchers find the perfect preconditions through a close networking with archives, museums and libraries. This is in line with the official goal of the university to create optimal conditions for excellent research (www.uni-bonn.de/die-universitaet). Bonn as the center of the regional history of the Rhineland conveys competences which can't be substituted.
The widely renowned publications „Rheinische Vierteljahrsblätter“ (historical journal) and „Rheinisches Archiv“ (publication series) would have to be canceled in case of the closing of the department. The close link to the public via the „Verein für geschichtliche Landeskunde der Rheinlande“ (society for the historical studies of the Rhineland) with more than 1000 members would be severed.
No other institution in the Rhineland would be able to replace the discontinued historical studies of the Rhineland in Bonn. Its loss would lead to negative consequences which aren't fathomable. Don't let this happen!
In the name of all signers.
Bonn, 13 Jan 2015 (aktiv bis 12 Apr 2015)