Celtic Studies

Celtic Studies (or Celtology) is the study of the cultures of Celtic-speaking societies in all their manifestations, whether linguistic, historical or material, as well as the cultures of formerly Celtic-speaking communities that have preserved "Celtic" cultural traditions.

The Celtic cultures have had a major influence on Europe for over two millennia. The regions where Celtic languages are still spoken today and where Celtic traditions are maintained or revived, all belonged to the European Union until 31.1.2020 with the exception of the Isle of Man, which is an autonomous possession of the British Crown. Irish has been one of the official languages of the EU since 2007.

Britain's withdrawal from the EU, the so-called "Brexit", means a split in the Celtic regions. Scotland, Northern Ireland and parts of Wales (Gwynedd, Ceredigion, Cardiff, Vale of Glamorgan) have voted by majority against leaving in 2016.

Despite the great importance of Celtic cultures for the history, identity and integration of Europe, Celtic Studies, with the exception of archaeology, is hardly represented at educational and research institutions in the EU outside the Celtic regions themselves.

Since the closure of Celtic Studies at the Humboldt University Berlin in 1997, there is currently only one chair in Germany dedicated to this subject in Marburg, where courses of study up to doctoral level are offered (see below).

Studying Celtic

At Marburg University (website in German, information on BA programmes available in English) Celtic Studies can be chosen as a major in the BA programmes Historical Linguistics, Literature and Cultural Studies and European Literatures. Marburg is the only university in Germany to offer a Master's and doctoral programme in Celtic Studies. The focus is on the medieval languages.

As a minor subject in the BA programme, Celtic Studies can also be pursued at Bonn University (website in German only). The focus there lies on the modern languages.

The extent of courses amounts to c. 4–5 weekly lecture hours in both cases (major and minor subject).

In Trier, there is currently the only opportunity in the Saar-Lor-Lux Euroregion to continuously attend Celtic studies courses on some scale. The offer currently comprises 4 to 6 semester hours per week. The focus in Trier is on interdisciplinary research of Indo-European studies, philology, history and archaeology as well as on ancient Celtic languages.

The two-hour seminar Introduction to Celtic Studies in the winter and summer semesters is part of the module "Historische Kulturräume / Regionen der Globalgeschichte" in the subject History.

Events in Celtic Studies have gained much popularity in Trier for many years now. Workshops receive considerable support far beyond the borders of the discipline, the region and the academic community.

Last update: 18 July 2021