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Faculty for History, Philosphy and Theology  |  History Department

Reinhart Koselleck Figure Collection

In addition to his literary estate, historian Reinhart Koselleck (1923-2006) left a vast library and a large collection of photographs, but also a considerable number of figures and other artifacts. Following the presentation of some of these at the 2018 exhibition Reinhart Koselleck's Images of Time the Koselleck family bequeathed them to Bielefeld University in March 2021, making them accessible for research at the Chair for the Theory of History.

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A view of „Reinhart Koselleck's Images of Time“. Photo: Philipp Ottendörfer

The collection of about 130 objects, some of which Koselleck acquired himself, others he received as gifts, contains artifacts of a highly diverse nature – tin soldiers, busts and monument miniatures, and particularly figures of horses and horsemen. It deserves special consideration as a material monument and perhaps also as material food for thought when it comes to research on the political iconology to which the historian had progressively devoted himself since the late 1970s. This applies particularly to the figure of the horse, which became a key medium of thought for Koselleck and a research topic, first in the form of equestrian monuments, later in a broader world-historical dimension, as an “unexchangeable animal” in the field of cult, the military, agriculture and trade. Many of these objects, not least the miniature models of political leaders acquired in souvenir shops, illustrate the historian’s unique understanding of the wide variety of media that embodies “political sensuality”. Beyond serving as intellectual and biographical testimony, the collection seeks to open up interdisciplinary approaches to a historical mediality beyond the written word by questioning the objects from several perspectives in line with their epistemic function as history things.

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A view of „Reinhart Koselleck's Images of Time“.
Photo: Philipp Ottendörfer

More information on the Reinhart Koselleck Figure Collection here: Lisa Regazzoni (ed.), Im Zwischenraum der Dinge. Eine Annäherung an die Figurensammlung Reinhart Kosellecks. Bielefeld: BiUP, 2023.

Project management: Prof. Dr. Lisa Regazzoni
Research associate from 2022-02-01 until 2022-02-04: Dr. Jan Eike Dunkhase