The profile line LIBERTY encompasses humanities-orientated research in areas such as the Enlightment, classicism, romanticism, idealism and Eastern and South Eastern Europe. It likewise includes contemporary history and remembrance culture as well as social, behavioural economical and jurisprudential research into the nature of social change and the consequences of social change for individuals and societies.
Jena and Weimar form a hub of "German Classicism" from the period around 1800, a movement which combined the Enlightenment and romanticism to form the foundations for our contemporary culture. The Jena-based "Laboratory of the Enlightenment" with the "Research Centre for European Romanticism" relate current issues and problems with this formation phase of modern society as part of interdisciplinary dialogue, and aim to make the classicist memorial sites in Germany into current forums of discussion for a historically-informed diagnosis of the present.
The self-enlightenment of democratic society about its past is one of the fundamental prerequisites of democracy after experiences of war, dictatorship and genocide. The Jena Center 20th Century History and the Imre Kertész Kolleg Jena, in close cooperation with the memorial sites in Buchenwald and Mittelbau-Dora, are among the most outstanding locations for research into European contemporary history and its historical cultural aspects.
Social Change is not only studied in Jena because such study is traditional. More importantly, knowledge and experience-led accomodation with social change is a substantial task facing all modern societies in the future. A research priority has therefore been developed in Jena, inspired by ideas from the past dealing with social, economic and political change, to investigate the problems, dynamics and ways of overcoming social change. This focus of research is marked by attention to patterns of problem-solving by individuals and society, demography and social transformation, to change and innovation in technology, and to changes in social economic , and legal institutions. The research focus also encompasses the forms and structure of governance, the make-up of dynamics of the knowledge, environmental and financial, as well as individual and group behaviour in the fate of insecurity.