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about thor.

THoR is a platform that aims to build bridges between the humanities, cultural and social sciences and the public, between individual research and participation, between analytical and performative or artistic sciences, as well as between the academy and other fields of knowledge, and to strengthen the position of the humanities within and beyond the university.

THoR bundles, presents, discusses, and promotes high-profile initiatives and projects at the Faculty of Humanities. Our goal is to present projects from a humanities perspective that create innovative connections between the university and the broader public.

why thor.?

thor. highlights the importance of the humanities in an age that is often dominated by STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) subjects and where the practical impact of the humanities is often overlooked. In the face of attacks on humanistic approaches, thor. sees the need to emphasize the innovative potential of these disciplines. thor. emphasizes the central role of humanistic research in societal discourses and promotes concepts such as conceptual creativity and critical science communication.

guiding questions

  • How can we make our research meaningful for ourselves and others? For example, what does it mean to be a social anthropologist, historian, sociolinguist, etc.?

  • How can we make what we do more understandable, accessible, and connectable to ourselves and others?

  • How can we contribute humanities expertise that is central to society?

  • How can we communicate the importance of humanities research?
    For example: How can we benefit ourselves and others from the results of our work?

core tasks

Showing: making the outreach projects generated at the faculty visible to the academic and non-academic public.

Discussing: to take a well-founded, critical and balanced position, to frame public debates, to invite further reflection, to make life as a researcher tangible and accessible.

Networking: To promote the exchange of knowledge within the Phil. Faculty, between faculties and universities, as well as with other knowledge cultures outside the academy and the interested public. Maintain partnerships with similar projects (“Friends & Affiliates”).

Promoting: Advising on the planning and implementation of outreach projects, assisting in the acquisition of third-party funding, support/organization of high-profile events, offering transferable skills in the field of science communication in cooperation with the GSAH.

thor .team

Mike
Toggweiler

Co-founder and editor, Social Anthropologist (Dr)

Hannah Amb├╝hl-Baur

Editor, Cultural Geographer (MSc)

Melanie Sampayo-Vidal

Editor, Social Scientist (PhD candidate)

Martin
Ritzmann

Webmaster, Linguist M.A.

thor .history

thor. started an Ideas-and-Action Lab at the interdisciplinary Walter Benjamin Kolleg (WBKolleg). The WBKolleg is part of the Faculty of the Humanities at the University of Bern. The lab leaders Dr. Ruramisai Charumbira and Dr. Mike Toggweiler launched thor. in 2018 as a politically and intellectually independent bottom-up working group to increase the visibility of research in the humanities and the social sciences and to demonstrate their continued critical importance of innovation and engagement.

After some time of silence, the Faculty of Philosophy and History of the University of Bern showed interest in thor. in 2023 and helped the project to regain its commitment through financial support. The project is now running with a larger team until 2026.

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