“Ambivalent Enmity” is a postgraduate research and training program at Heidelberg University and the Heidelberg University of Jewish Studies. It is financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.

Ambivalent Enmity aims to reveal the ambivalences of enmity and develop adequate tools to analyze their construction, representation, enactment, and experience. Our goal is to contribute to a theory-guided understanding of the dynamics of antagonism. Our researchers conduct empirical case studies situated in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East from the Middle Ages to the present.

Ambivalent Enmity starts from the hypothesis that enmity must be understood as a processual, relational, and deeply ambivalent category. Existing research in fields such as peace and conflict studies, international law, sociology, and anthropology often conceives of enmity as a conflict between self-contained actors. Our studies will complement this understanding by combining expertise in regional studies with approaches from the social sciences as well as history, linguistics, literary studies, philosophy, psychology, and the history of art.

Ambivalent Enmity’s methodological approach extends the scope of enmity studies in three respects:

  1. by integrating concepts and methodologies from the humanities and social sciences;
  2. by focusing on transcultural linkages shaping enmity within and between Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; and
  3. by encouraging case studies in a time frame ranging from the Middle Ages to today.