The Research Centre for the Humanities (BTK) conducts internationally embedded basic research that meets international standards in the following fields: philosophy, literary studies, art history, ethnography, archeology, history, and musicology. The seven institutes constituting the BTK are involved in researching and interpreting the whole of the Hungarian past, in the light of the challenges of our time. The Centre’s basic task is to explore and maintain Hungarian cultural heritage and thus to strengthen Hungarian identity.

Consequently, research groups are established and maintained both at the central and the institute levels in order to research topics fundamental to the exploration of national identity. The Centre’s mission is to introduce the unique historical Hungarian experience into international discourse, to renew communications with the members of the scientific world both inside and outside Hungary, and also to make the results of research in humanities visible to the Hungarian general public.

Institutes

The general mission of the BTK Institute of Philosophy is to cultivate Hungarian philosophy culture, to conduct research in the general history of philosophy and in the various disciplines of philosophy, to make the results of this available to the international scientific community, to publish the international results of philosophy in Hungarian for Hungarian culture both in philosophical analyses and in publications. Priority areas include science philosophy and the history of ideas in the humanities, the history of Hungarian philosophy in the European context, practical philosophy and research on epistemology and metaphysics in relation to natural sciences and research on artificial intelligence.

The BTK Institute for Literary Studies performs basic research into the literary corpus of Hungarian national cultural heritage. It systematically studies the eras, directions, genres, authors, artistic principles and institutions of Hungarian literary history, from the Renaissance to the turn of the 20th and 21st centuries. Besides texts in Hungarian, the Institute studies texts published in Latin in Hungary, and the connections to the literature of neighboring nations and Western European cultures. The Institute publishes critical editions of literary texts and performs textological processing. In addition to its research activities, the Institute has tasks in the cultural and general education of the public publishing handbooks, journals, maintaining public databases, and is an open access Internet content provider. It also conducts applied R&D activities by establishing a methodology for digital literary history, electronic textology and philology research.

The BTK Institute of Art History is one of the most important research sites of Hungarian art history, where research is conducted on the whole of Hungarian art history from the foundation of the state up to the present day. The Institute’s tasks include the systematic processing and publication of the history of Hungarian architecture, the fine and applied arts, the collection, safeguarding and exhibition of documents related to these topics. Besides their own collections, the Institute’s website offers the most important handbooks and bibliographies of Hungarian art history. The Institute manages the MTA’s Collection of Art, and Psychiatric Art Collection. The completion of the handbook of Hungarian art history is in progress, and the Institute edits the leading art history journals of Hungary (both in Hungarian and other languages).

The Institute of Ethnology is the most important ethnology research site in Hungary. The research directions include major fields in Hungarian ethnography and ethnology, folkloristics, cultural and social anthropology, while also focusing on historical, contemporary and applied ethnography problems. Ethnography plays a crucial role in determining national cultural heritage and shaping national identity. The core publications of this branch of science are complied in the Institute including the Lexicon of Ethnography, the Ethnography Atlas, Hungarian Ethnography, as well as folklore and genre catalogues). Currently, the Institute is working on the Lexicon of Folk Poetry. Through its handbooks, book series, regularly published yearbook, and its scientific events, the Institute provides a medium for the publication and discussion of the results of new research.

The BTK Institute of Archaeology conducts comprehensive, methodologically innovative research on the eight thousand years between the formation of the first food producing societies until the Early Modern Age, primarily in the Carpathian Basin. Its research in the archeology of settlements, as well as its microregional and topographic research are significant, with its tasks including the publication of monographs on the major finds, including relics of secular and religious centers, and the popularization of scientific results (Antaeus, Hereditas Archeologica Hungariae). After the turn of the millennium, the Institute became the most important research site for environmental archeology, non-destructive testing and archeogenetics. Its laboratory operated by experienced personnel trained abroad works non-stop, and the employees have extensive experience in sampling. The Institute also performs outstanding research in cooperation with numerous significant institutions both at home and abroad, including the Harvard Medical School.

The main tasks of the Institute of History include basic research into the history of the Hungarian state and society, the publication of handbooks (especially the publication of sources) and comprehensive studies, the publication and dissemination of new scientific results both in Hungary and abroad, communication with Hungarian and international partner institutions, the coordination and enhancing of the appearance of Hungarian historians on the international stage, and the shaping of Hungarian public opinion. All this is carried out using the traditional forms of information communication (conferences, books publishing, etc.) and to a great extent via the interfaces that reach the majority of society.

In the spirit of traditional Hungarian musicology originating from Zoltán Kodály and Bence Szabolcsi the Institute of Musicology integrates research into the history of music, folk music and dance, reflecting sensitively and creatively on the impulses caused by the scientific and intellectual trends of the 21st century. Its collections, of crucial significance for national culture, determine the main research directions: the history of early music, primarily the liturgical unisonous music of the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Age and the publication of sources; the history of Hungarian music between the 16th and the 21st centuries; Bartók research; the collection, archiving and publication of Hungarian folk music, and folk music in Hungary and of neighboring peoples; the research and publication of Hungarian folk dances within the field of museology of music.

Contact

Director General: Dr. Pál Fodor