Technology and the Making of Europe

Imagined Europeans

Imagined Europeans: Scientific Construction of the Homo Europaeus

Project leader: Kiran Patel

The project Imagined Europeans: Scientific Construction of the Homo Europaeus addresses the question how Europeans devised Europe and who devised the Europeans. Since when does the Homo Europaeus - as an ideal type, as an average person, as a general representative - populate the minds of those who consider themselves to be the inhabitants of a constructed Europe? Which cultural techniques are employed to assemble the physical and psychological substance of the European, his appearance and his character?

This German research project aspires to identify the conceptions of the European that are commonly held in everyday life, in industrial research and in governmental policy-making. The focus is on those concepts that are formulated and employed by scientific research communities, because generally held concepts not only influence scientific research but are re-formulated in the process. Subsequently, these re-formulated concepts are applied as proven facts in further areas of research, in engineering, in matters of education and public health.

The project is executed by researchers of the Humboldt-University in Berlin, Department of Modern History and Department of European Ethnology, the University of Leipzig, Center for Higher Education, and the Deutsches Museum, Research Institute. The German Federal Ministry of Research and Education (Bundesministerium für Bildung and Forschung) is sponsoring the project.


Main Publications

  • spezial issue: Wissensgeschichte als Gesellschaftsgeschichte, in: Geschichte und Gesellschaft 34,4 (2008).
  • Lorraine Bluche, Veronika Lipphardt und Kiran Klaus Patel (eds.): Der Europäer - ein Konstrukt. Wissensbestände, Diskurse, Praktiken. Göttingen: Wallstein 2009.
  • Frauke Stuhl, Julia Franke und Kiran Klaus Patel (eds.): Die Erfindung des Europäers. Begleitbuch zur gleichnamigen Ausstellung. Berlin 2009.
  • Matthias Middell (ed.): Imagining Europeans. Leipzig: Universitätsverlag, forthcoming.
  • Susanne Bauer, Stefan Beck, Christine Bischof, Stephan Haufe und Leonore Scholze- Irrlitz (eds.): Wie der Europäer is(s)t. Standards für Nahrung und Körper. Bielefeld: transcript 2010.


The project ended in 2011; activities are discontinued - or have found new forms.