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HERA Funding for Joachim Kurtz

28. Jul. 2016

Joachim Kurtz, Professor for “Intellectual History” at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), will lead the joint research project “East Asian Uses of the European Past: Tracing Braided Chronotypes”, which is funded by HERA with 1.2 million euros. It is a collaborative project by researchers at the Universities of Heidelberg, Zurich, Madrid and the London School of Economics.

The birth of philosophy in ancient Greece, the fall of the Roman Empire, the Renaissance, the Reformation, the Scientific and Industrial Revolutions, the Enlightenment, the Holocaust: such emblematic historical moments have long been regarded as building blocks of a quintessentially European past. But how “European” is this past if many in the non-European world have claimed competing representations of it as their own? And how “European” is this story if many in the European world, in turn, have appropriated non-European claims in order to bolster their own sense of identity and exceptionality?

Prof. Kurtz new HERA project argues that, far from being Europe’s exclusive property, the pasts constructed through such emblematic historical moments were shaped in global circulations. The significance these moments acquired in different times and localities must be understood as the result of situated co-productions. These co-productions transgress continental boundaries and affect perceptions of historical time both in the non-European world and in Europe itself. The project will substantiate this hypothesis with a series of case studies analysing East Asian uses of “European” pasts from the onset of intensified contact around 1600 to the present.

HERA – Humanities in the European Research Area - is a partnership between 24 Humanities Research Councils across Europe and the European Commission. It's aim is to firmly establish the Humanities in the European Research Area and in the European Commission Framework Programmes.

The newly funded project is part of HERA Joint Research Programme "Uses of the Past", which encourages innovative, multi-disciplinary, humanities-led collaborative ventures that combine multiple perspectives in order to address the challenging European questions of today. The projects within this program work with the pressing societal questions of identity, integration, political legitimacy, creativity and cultural dynamics across Europe. In order to do so, they develop new, more complex understandings of how the individuals and societies reflect upon and use the past.

Prof. Joachim Kurtz joined the Cluster as HCTS Professor for "Intellectual History" in Summer 2009. His research focuses on cultural and intellectual exchanges between China, Japan and Europe, with special emphasis on practices of argumentation, logic, political theory, rhetoric, translation studies, and historical semantics.

The project is a joint venture by Prof. Joachim Kurtz (Heidelberg), Prof. Taciana Fisac (Madrid), Prof. Leigh Jenco (London) and Prof. Martin Dusinberre (Zurich).

Read the press release here or on the website of Heidelberg University.


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