History of the Faculty
The Faculty of Social Sciences at Goethe University Frankfurt follows in a long tradition of social science research and teaching. The University of Frankfurt, established as a civic foundation and officially recognized by the state in 1914 (and since 2008 a foundation university under public law), was the first university in Germany to have a “fifth faculty”, i.e. a faculty of economics and social sciences.
The enlightened founders expected from their university not only that it educate leaders for the business community, but also that it investigate the “social question”. Sociology thus became established very early on in Frankfurt: In 1919, Franz Oppenheimer was called to the first chair for sociology in Germany. Distinguished social scientists and philosophers worked together in an interdisciplinary manner at the Institute for Social Research (IfS – Institut für Sozialforschung) (founded in 1924) and at the University and in the following years made a significant contribution to critical and strongly republican social science research and teaching.
After the Second World War, the University of Frankfurt was able to follow on in this tradition, which became well-known internationally as the “Frankfurt School”. At the same time, Political Science was established as a university subject. The Faculty of Social Sciences with the disciplines of Sociology, Political Science and Social Psychology (including teacher training at various levels) was established in 1971 on the basis of five previously independent institutes at different faculties. In 1987, the first social science chair in Germany for women’s and gender research was established.