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Markus Viehbeck publishes volume with heiUP

16. Jan. 2018

Dr. Markus Viehbeck, Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of Heidelberg, recently edited the book “Transcultural Encounters in the Himalayan Borderlands”. It was published as the third volume of the open access book series "Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality” with Heidelberg University’s publishing branch heiUP.

The publication reflects current trends in the field of Transcultural Studies and offers new insights into transformative cultural processes. With the Eastern Himalayan town of Kalimpong as a paradigmatic case, the study provides an in-depth analysis of the entanglement of different regions and cultures in borderlands. Settled in-between Nepal, Bhutan and China, as well as the formerly independent kingdom of Sikkim, and Tibet, the hill station of Kalimpong reflects the interplay of individuals of different backgrounds. Furthermore, the town witnessed the reciprocal relationship between local religions and Christianization, between traditional habits and the global flux of information in the colonial and early post-colonial era.

Based on Mary Louise Pratt’s notion of “contact zone”, the book elaborates a nuanced analytical perspective to investigate cultural encounters, as editor Markus Viehbeck explains: “For us, the concept of contact zone and its related terminology was important to point to the culturally productive forces in the encounters of individuals from different backgrounds and their shifting power relations. But it was also crucial to re-read Pratt’s ideas in a more transcultural light – to understand contact not as a one-time event between clearly delineated groups, but as a continuous process, in which the contours of individual or group identities are constantly redrawn.”

As Assistant Professor of Buddhist Studies, Markus Viehbeck focuses on Tibetan intellectual history, Buddhist philosophy, and the history and religion of Himalayan borderlands. As part of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” he investigates Tibet’s relations with other cultural contexts, with a particular focus on the Eastern Himalayas.

"Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality” is the Cluster’s Open Access book series in the humanities and social sciences and was funded by a grant of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - DFG).

HeiUP is the newly founded publishing branch and offers on its online platform Open Access to high-quality scientific works. As open book resource, the series "Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality” provides both an interactive HTML version as well as PDF documents to download. The former comes with a two-dimensional display and enables the reader to view complementary content such as tables, images and references.



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