Formerly known as the Chair of Economic and Social History, the Chair has been an active player in the teaching and research activities at RWTH Aachen’s School of Business and Economics since 1969. In 2012, when the University widened the scope of the Chair to additionally encompass the history of technology, the name of the Chair was amended to reflect its new role. The current fields of work include financial and credit services, mobility and infrastructures, resources and energy as well as the history of innovation and business history. In order to create a systematic foundation of knowledge that enables its students to recognize current contexts, to question and evaluate them, the Chair’s concept is to foster critical analysis and an understanding of the relationships between past, present, and future. The Chair is supported in its endeavors by a team of 17 academic staff members and student assistants.
Explicitly interdisciplinary-oriented, the Chair’s approach towards teaching and research exploits in equal measure the disciplines of history and economics and their neighboring disciplines (the “mixed method approach”). A combination of institutional and behavioral theory approaches, supported by empirical social and economic research (“History Lab”), enables researchers to identify and explain, inter alia, (dis)continuities. Particular attention is given to the contextualization of socio-technical phenomena in their regional and transnational environments (“cultural embeddedness”). In the field of business, the Chair’s research is directly reflected in the change and innovation management of firms, in the development of business models, and in investment planning.
The potentials that the Chair’s systematically critical present- and future-centric research on economic and technological topics holds for diagnosis of contemporary times are reflected in a variety of projects. These include collaborations with firms and institutions as well as research projects conducted, for instance within the framework of Germany’s “Excellence Initiative” or on behalf of the German Research Foundation (DFG).