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 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 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

In Germany, Celtic Studies as a major subject in the BA programme and as an MA programme can be studied only at Marburg University (website in German only) with the focus on the medieval languages. However, the course of studies is composed of different disciplines; only part of the modules are exclusively dedicated to Celtic Studies.

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 addition, it is possible to obtain a “certificate in Celtology” at Mannheim University. This requires the attendance of two seminars, Keltologie I and II, and a final exam.

In Trier, there is currently the only occasion in the Euro region (Rhineland-Palatinate, Saarland, Luxemburg, Lorraine, Wallonie) to attend Celtic courses on a broader scale. The extent amounts to 4–6 weekly lecture hours, quite comparable to the amount of studies in Bonn and Marburg. The emphasis in Trier is on the interdisciplinary research of Indo-European studies, philology, history and archaeology and also on the ancient Celtic languages. At the moment, however, only individual courses can be attended, the "additional certificate" (see there) has expired in September 2016.

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: 6 August 2020

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