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Guest Lecture by Prof. Bert Fragner

10. Jun. 2016

Prof. Bert Fragner, Research Director at Austrian Academy of Sciences, gave a guest lecture with the title "Persophonia - Transcultural Trends, Multilingualism and Changing Identities in the History of Asia". It took place on Friday, June 17 in the context of the colloquium “Between Asia and Europe. Islamic(ate) Spheres”.

Viewing “Iranian” cultural history one encounters permanently questionable or even suspect concepts like “cultural circles”, “cultural areas”, “areas of cultural influence”. Instead of abstract reasoning about such concepts, the coming into existence of the New Persian language (7th until 9th century) and its areas and domains of usage in the Iranian Plateau and in Transoxiana, Central Asia and beyond shall be examined. The practical importance of this language as a pre-modern “lingua franca” covered eventually an area from the Balkans until today´s Xinjiang and the Subcontinent until its gradual transformation into one, or more precisely three, more or less codified modern national languages: Fârsi, Dari, Tâjiki/Tojikî. In the sense of a historical “Sprachbund”-phenomenon, languages like Azerbayjani, Usbek and Urdu can still not yet deny their historical dependence on Persian models of the coming into existence of literary languages. A contradictory position will be taken to those who conceive languages as linguistic constructions being less or not influenced by the historical.

Prof. Bert Fragner passed his academic education at the universities of Vienna and Tehran. His research topics include the social, administrative and economic history of Iran and neighbouring territories (Central Asia, Caucasus, Afghanistan and the Subcontinent) as well as processes of regional and cultural identities and comparative aspects of material culture within the "Persophone Region". He is Research Director at the Austrian Academy of Sciences in Vienna.

The lecture took place on Friday, June 17, at 9 am at room 002 at Karl Jaspers Centre in Heidelberg. The lecture was held in the context of the colloquium “Between Asia and Europe. Islamic(ate) Spheres”, organized by Dr. Sophie Roche (C16 "Demographic Turn") and Prof. Daniel König (Start-Up Professorship Transcultural Studies "Humanities").


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