Mining history

The mining history research department deals with the social, cultural, technical and economic aspects of mining, including the processing and refining of resources, from the Middle Ages to the present. Spanning different periods and using methodological and theoretical approaches, the research department for mining history takes a particular interest in the networking of mining districts, the history of knowledge and technology, the mining booms, and the development of social security systems in the mining industry.


History of mining Knowledge

This research area deals with the evolution of mining history knowledge: implicit, explicit, experience-based, scientific knowledge, knowledge embedded in materiality etc. Attention is paid here to the production, dissemination and application of this knowledge, and to its representation in different media: pictures, written texts, maps etc. A key question is whether we can identify, in the mining industry, epoch-specific cultures of knowledge with corresponding strategies and principles for the production and validation of knowledge. Closely connected with these cultures of knowledge are the ongoing processes of mechanization which have shaped the mining industry since the Middle Ages. These are studied alongside the development of knowledge in mining, within a broad framework of social, cultural and economic history, spanning different periods.

Mining and regional structural change

Large-scale mining operations have transformed the economy, society, infrastructure and culture of regions to a very considerable extent. The aim here is to investigate, across various periods, the emergence but also disappearance of regions shaped by mining, as complex processes of structural change. A particular focus, however, will be on structural changes in the Ruhr region, in close connection with the museum’s future presentation of the “commemoration of German coal-mining”. Questions about the sustainability of mining will also be examined in this research area.

Theories and methods of mining historiography

In this research area, the methodological and theoretical foundations of mining historiography are scrutinized and further developed. Here the goal is, in particular, to ensure the compatibility of mining history with the kinds of questions asked in “general history”. The methodological and theoretical considerations are closely linked with the other cross-temporal research areas. regulation. We investigate changes in processes of objectivization and subjectivization, insofar as these are related to the body of the miner. We are also interested in the formation of biopolitical dispositifs, which were manifested in the Ruhr coal-mining industry in specific combinations of body concepts, institutions, infrastructures, and social, medical and economic practices. This research is intended to create the foundation for comparative studies of other biopolitical regimes – especially in England and France.