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Visiting fellows at the HCTS during the summer semester

27. Jun. 2019

In the summer semester 2019, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies has been and is hosting eight international visiting fellows and guest professors: Atul Bhalla, Prof. Manuela Ciotti, Prof. Arunava Dasgupta, Prof. Robert Hellyer, Prof. Jun Fujii, Dr. Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer, Prof. Perry Link, Prof. Klaus-Diether Mathes, and Prof. Druv Rhaina.

Atul Bhalla is a conceptual artist working with environmental issues, particularly on water, for more than two decades. His work invites the audience to engage directly with urban and metropolitan spaces, and in particular water resources, in his city New Delhi, and those he visits during the course of international exhibitions and residencies.  He is being hosted by the professorships of Global Art History and Visual and Media Anthropology and convenes a workshop for students of the class Collecting, Mapping, Archiving and Exhibiting in which they will be encouraged to engage with the river Neckar and ‘immerse’ themselves into sites of history, memory and knowledge. He also gives a class on public art and urban space for the seminar Urban Matters, in which he will use myths as a lens through which to push and transform understandings of rivers and cities. Atul Bhalla is at the HCTS as an Erasmus Teaching Fellow from June 8 to July 7.

Dr. Manuela Ciotti, associate professor at the School of Culture and Society, Aarhus University, Denmark, was present at the HCTS from June 17 to 26. As a visiting lecturer invited by the professorship of Global Art History, she gave a guest lecture about “Staging the contemporary in the Global South: The art-architecture-archeology-heritage complex at the Kochi-Muziris Biennale (KMB)”. The talk was of the lecture "Narrating Worldliness II: The Global Contemporary", held by Prof. Monica Juneja in the summer term 2019. Ciotti is currently working on a project titled "Modern and contemporary Indian art and the global: Culture, capital, and the development of post-colonial taste" in the context of a fellowship awarded by Indiana University. It is a large-scale project on global presences of contemporary art from India which centers on major contemporary art-related events.

From June 5 to 15, Prof. Arunava Dasgupta was at the HCTS as an Erasmus+ fellow with the professorship of Visual and Media Anthropolgy. He is an architect and urban designer currently engaged as head of the Department of Urban Design at the School of Planning and Architecture in New Delhi. As a founding member and former secretary of the Institute of Urban Designers – India (IUDI), he has been actively promoting the idea of holistic urban design, while creating alternative development frameworks using community participation as a central tool for local area design. He was hosted by the professorship of Visual and Media Anthropology and taught a class and organized a workshop in close cooperation for the seminar Collecting, Mapping, Archiving and Exhibiting, in which he will share his knowledge and critiques of mapping the city. He tought a class on the “brittle Indian city” for the course Urban Matters by Prof. Christiane Brosius. Prof. Dasgupta’s visit was made possible through a Mobility scholarship by the  Erasmus+ programme SWAGATA.

Dr. Robert Hellyer is Associate Professor of History at Wake Forest University and a specialist in the history of the Edo and Meiji periods and staying at the HCTS by invitation from the professorship of Cultural Economic History until the beginning of August. Together with Prof. Harald Fuess he will conduct research on Japan’s modern transition in a global context. Prof. Fuess and Dr. Hellyer also organized a multi-year research project involving historians in North America, Europe, and Japan that is exploring within global history the Meiji Restoration, Japan’s modern revolution, in advance of the 150-year anniversary in 2018. His upcoming monography will investigate Japan’s tea trade in the nineteenth century. At the HCTS he also gave the keynote address for the International Conference: "Transcultural Connections: Migration in Asia, Europe and the Americas" on June 21.

Prof. Jun Fujii will stay the HCTS for a full year as a Humbold Fellow. Hosted by Prof. Michael Radich, professor for Buddhist Studies, his stay is made possible by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Prof. Fujii Jun is associate professor for Buddhist Studies at Komazawa University in Tokyo. His research explores Japanese Buddhism, in particular the thinking of the Buddhist monk Kūkai, about which he wrote one of the most important publications.

By the invitation of the professorship of Cultural Economic History, Dr. Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer from the Department of Anthropology at Yale University will stay at the HCTS until the beginning of August. In her research she is focusing on contemporary Japanese society and culture and transnational migration. Specifically, she looks at the role of schools, family, workplaces, and religious institutions in shaping identity and transmigrant lifeways across national borders. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her doctoral dissertation titled “National Worlds, Transnational Lives: Nikkei-Brazilian Migrants in and of Japan and Brazil.” During her saty at the HCTS, she is teaching a block seminar about the global Japanese diaspora with MATS students and will give the keynote address for the International Conference: "Transcultural Connections: Migration in Asia, Europe and the Americas", organized by the professorship of Cultural Economic History.

Prof. Perry Link, professor emeritus of East Asian Studies at Princeton University, is spending a year at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies as an associate fellow. During the winter semester, he already offered a series of interactive lectures - Evening Chats" - on his readings of Chinese intellectual fervours and the possibilities of thinking across borders; colleagues and students were invited to take an active part. Furthermore, his project during his stay in Heidelberg is to finish a biography of Liu Xiaobo, the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize winner who died in July 2017 while serving an eleven-year prison sentence for "suspicion of subverting the state."

Prof. Klaus-Dieter Mathes, professor for Tibetology and Buddhist Studies at the University of Vienna, stayed at the HCTS in June. His research focuses on the philosophy of Mahayana Buddhism in India and Tibet, as well as the Indian Mahamudra and its Tibetan perception. During his visit, he gave a talk about “Mahāmudrā und Madhyamaka in den Werken Maitrīpas” on June 4 and was the speaker at the three day course “Vasubandhu's Madhyāntavibhāgabhāṣya” that took place on June 3, 5 and 7. Both events were organized by the professorship of Buddhist Studies, which also invited Prof. Mathes.

Prof. Dhruv Raina
is professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi and was invited to the HCTS by the professorship of Intellectual History. His research has focused on the politics and cultures of scientific knowledge in South Asia, as well as the history and historiography of mathematics. His more recent work addresses the contemporary concerns of the emergence of inter- and transdisciplinarity, with a special focus on fields across the natural and social sciences. He has been a Fellow of the Institute of  Advanced Study, Berlin; the first incumbent of the Heinrich Zimmer Professorship of Intellectual History and Indian Philosophy at Heidelberg University and Visiting Faculty at the Universites of Paris and Cambridge. In 2018 he was Elected Fellow of the Indian National Science Academy. At the HCTS he already gave a guest lecture on “The Circulation of Mathematical Ideas between India and Europe in the Nineteenth Century: A Transcultural History.” Also, he is teaching the seminar "Philosophical Encounters between Asia and Europe" with Prof. Joachim Kurtz druing his stay.


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  • Atul Balla

  • Dr. Manuela Ciotti

  • Prof. Arunava Dasgupta

  • Dr. Robert Hellyer

  • Dr. Sarah LeBaron von Baeyer

  • Prof. Perry Link

  • Prof. Klaus-Dieter Mathes

  • Prof. Dhruv Raina