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Associated Projects

Our institution encourages and supports externally funded projects. A number of affiliated researchers have succeeded in acquiring third-party funds. The research projects are funded by various sources, such as the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) or the German Research Foundation (DFG). Below you find some of the major associated projects.

Fatherly Bodies of Gandhi and Mao

Project title: No Parallels: the Fatherly Bodies of Gandhi and Mao
Coordination: Prof. Barbara Mittler, Prof. Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke University)
Cooperation: B4 "Transcultural Visuality", Pilot "Archiving Mothers and Fathers of the Nation"
Funding source: Heidelberg University (Excellence Initiative - Third pillar: Institutional Strategy), Humboldt Foundation (Anneliese Maier Research Award)
Funding period: 2014-2015, 2016-2021

The project focuses on two hyper-visible male protagonists of the twentieth century - Mohandas K. Gandhi (the "Mahatma", great soul, and "Bapu", father), and Mao Zedong ("The Great Leader", and "Chairman") - to pose a fundamental question: How have these flesh-and-blood men been transformed through the work of visual imagery into globally recognizable, transcultural "bio-icons" (Ghosh 2011). The collaboration includes the development of an open intelligent archive and an online exhibition on the making of these two "Global Heroes" but also the development of a number of teaching modules on Gandhi and Mao to be developed in intensive courses with students at Duke and at Heidelberg Universities.
-> More information

Global Religious History

Project title: Tantra and the global religious history of the 19th and 20th century
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Michael Bergunder, Julian Strube
Funding source: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Funding period: 2016 -

The project aims at reconstructing the genealogy of a philosophical Tantra that distances itself from sexual practices, within the context of contemporary debates about the relationship between science and religion.-> more information

Graduate Programme "Religious Identities"

Project title: Global religious history from a regional perspective: Historicizing and decentering religious identities in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries
Coordination: Prof. Dr. Michael Bergunder
Funding source: State Graduate Sponsorship Program (Landesgraduiertenförderung)
Funding period: since 2015

The graduate programme fosters research from different regional perspectives focussing on mutual and multipolar exchange processes between religions. -> more information

Mediterranean Imports in Early Celtic Central Europe (BEFIM)

Project title: BEFIM – Bedeutungen und Funktionen Mediterraner Importe im Früheisenzeitlichen Mitteleuropa
Coordination: PD Dr. Philipp W. Stockhammer, Dr. Cynthianne Debono Spiteri (University of Tübingen), Prof. Dirk Krausse (State Office for Heritage Protection), Thomas Hoppe (Württemberg State Museum)
Funding source: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Funding period: 2015 – 2018

BEFIM is a collaboration of researchers from Baden-Württemberg that studies Greek ceramic imports and their meaning for the early Celts.-> More information

Chinese Narrative Porcelains

Project title: Formative Decades: 17th and 18th C. Chinese Narrative Porcelains Collected and Re-manufactured by August the Strong, Dresden-Meissen
Coordination: Prof. Sarah E. Fraser
Cooperation: Department of Porcelain, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden
Funding source: Field of Focus 3, Heidelberg University
Funding period: 2015 – 2016

The project investigates the impact of Chinese iconography upon European Chinoiserie (especially "German" courts) and motifs deployed in Meissen porcelain.-> More information


Project title: Standardised Work Flows for Retro-Digitalisation: A Case Study of the Excavation Records of the Roman Fort of Heidelberg-Neuenheim
Dr. Armin Volkmann, Eric Decker
Cooperation: Kurpfälzisches Museum Heidelberg
Funding source: Field of Focus 3, Heidelberg University
Funding period: 2015 – 2016

The project develops infrastructure and workflows for retro-digitalisation and academic analysis of paper-based documents.-> More information

History of Religion and Law of Premodern Nepal

Project title: Documents on the History of Religion and Law of Premodern Nepal
Coordination: Prof. Axel Michaels
Funding source: Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities
Funding period: 2014 – 2029

With research units in Heidelberg and Kathmandu, the project studies a unique textual corpus available in archives of the Kathmandu Valley, which forms the basis for the still largely unexplored history of the many religious institutions and sites as well as of the jurisprudence of Nepal.-> More information

Garnet in South Asia

Project title: Garnet in South Asia: Historical and Archaeological Sources
Coordination: apl. Prof. Jörg Gengnagel
Funding source: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Funding period: 2014 – 2016

The project studies text material from the 6th to the 13th century CE and creates a systematic survey of archaeological evidence in South Asia to correlate the extraction of garnet, its treatment and finally its commercialization. It is part of the collaborative project "Weltweites Zellwerk".-> More information

China, International Organizations and Public Spheres

Project title: China, International Organizations and Public Spheres
Coordination: Prof. Susan Brownell (University of Missouri - St. Louis, Visiting Scholar at the HCTS and the Institute of Chinese Studies 2014/2015), Prof. Barbara Mittler
Cooperation: MC15 "Powers of the Press"
Funding source: Heidelberg University (Excellence Initiative - Third pillar: Institutional Strategy)
Funding period: 2014-2015

The research project aims to understand to what degree China has actually been "integrated" into the world order over the past 150 years. It will also explore the impact of Western ideas on China.-> More information

Hachiman Digital Handscrolls

Project title: Pilot Study to optimize Digital Presentations of Movable Image and Text Formats
Coordination: Prof. Melanie Trede
Cooperation: Heidelberg Research Architecture, Collaborative Research Centre 933 "Material Text Cultures", bitGilde IT Solutions UG, Berlin
Funding source: Field of Focus 3, Heidelberg University
Funding period: 2014 – 2015

The project is a pilot study to enhance digital presentations of movable image-and-text formats. The innovative open source system HyperImage is the pivotal tool employed to realize the aims of the project.-> More information

Ideas and Language of Welfare

Project title: Ideas and Language of Welfare
Coordination: PD Dr. Susan Richter
Cooperation: Heidelberg Research Architecture
Funding source: Field of Focus 3, Heidelberg University
Funding period: 2014 – 2015

This project focuses on the understanding of public welfare, i.e. the governmental care for its subjects and their substantial needs, in colonial societies from the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century.-> More information

Mobile Spaces

Project title: Mobile Spaces: Urban Everyday Practices from a Transcultural Perspective
Coordination: Prof. Christiane Brosius, Prof. Ulrike Gerhard, Prof. Beatrix Busse, Dr. Editha Marquardt (all Heidelberg University)
Funding source: Field of Focus 3, Heidelberg University
Funding period: 2014 – 2015

The project develops and promotes new angles and methods for interdisciplinary urban studies and explores in which ways experiences and understandings of cities of the 'global South' and the 'global North' can be brought together.-> More information

MOOC "Academic Essay Writing"

Project title: Creating a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Academic Writing
Coordination: Dr. Andrea Hacker, Jule Nowoitnick
Funding source: Ministry of Science, Research and Art Baden-Württemberg
Funding period: 2014

This project aims to create a MOOC on academic essay writing in English, running on the OPEN EdX platform.-> More information

Quotidian Concerns

Project title: Quotidian Concerns: Everyday Knowledge and the Rise of the Common Reader in China, 1860-1940
Coordination: Prof. Joan Judge (York University), Prof. Barbara Mittler
Cooperation: MC15 "Powers of the Press"
Funding source: Insight Programme (Canadian Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council)
Funding period: 2013-2018

The project examines the texts, institutions, and practices that created and disseminated everyday knowledge in modern China. Specifically, it studies encyclopedias for everyday life and the periodical press.-> more information

Creating the 'New Asian Woman' (HERA SINGLE)

Project title: Creating the 'New Asian Woman' – Entanglements of Urban Space, Cultural Encounters and Gendered Identities in Shanghai and Delhi (SINGLE)
Coordination: Prof. Christiane Brosius, Dr. Melissa Butcher (Birkbeck College, London), Prof. Jeroen de Kloet (University of Amsterdam)
Funding source: Humanities in the European Research Area (HERA) Joint Research Programme "Cultural Encounters"
Funding period: 2013 – 2016

The project analyses the new cultural geographies of gendered urban space in Delhi and Shanghai, focusing on 'single' women across the life-course.-> More information

Junior Research Group "Digital Humanities"

Project title: Junior Research Group Digital Humanities
Coordination: Dr. Armin Volkmann
Cooperation: Interdisciplinary Institute for Scientific Computing Heidelberg (IWR), Heidelberg Research Architecture
Funding source: Field of Focus 3, Heidelberg University
Funding period: 2013 – 2016

The Junior Research Group "Digital Humanities" examines possibilities in the use of digital methods in archaeology and evaluates opportunities and risks associated with big research datasets.-> More information

Search and Retrieval of Indic Texts (SARIT)

Project title: Search and Retrieval of Indic Texts (SARIT): Enriching Digital Text Collections in Indology
Coordination: Prof. Birgit Kellner, Prof. Sheldon Pollock (Columbia University)
Funding source: National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), USA, and the German Research Foundation (DFG): Bilateral Digital Humanities Programme
Funding period: 2013 – 2016

The project develops and disseminates standards for Sanskrit texts, based on the widely-adopted Text Encoding Initiative (TEI).-> More information


Project title: Erkenntnistheoretische Systeme in der Klassischen Indischen Philosophie: Prajñākaragupta (ca. 750-810) zur Anzahl der Erkenntnismittel (pramāṇa)
Coordination: Prof. Birgit Kellner
Funding source: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Funding period: 2012-2016

The project studies a passage from a text written around 800 CE, the Pramāṇavārttikālaṅkāra by Prajñākaragupta. The examination of this text is a starting point for an inquiry into the internal dynamics and external circumstances of the formation of a core theory of Buddhist epistemology.-> More information

Chinese Periodicals

Project title: Early Chinese Periodicals Online (ECPO) - Creating a Prototype for an Intelligent Archive
Coordination: Dr. Yu Chien-ming, Dr. Lien Ling-ling (both Institute of Modern History, Academia Sinica, Taiwan), Dr. Hu Hsiao-chen, Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler
Cooperation: MC15 "Powers of the Press"
Funding source: Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation
Funding period: 2012-2015

The goal of this project is to develop an interdisciplinary approach to the early twentieth-century Chinese periodical press. Integral to the project is the creation of a prototype for an archive (Early Chinese Periodicals Online, ECPO) that will facilitate the research.
-> More information


Project title: Erstellung eines Digitalisierungskonzeptes: Erfassung japanischer Querrollen in deutschen Sammlungen (DIJAQ)
Coordinators: Prof. Dr. Melanie Trede, Eric Decker
Cooperation: Heidelberg Research Architecture, Heidelberg University Library, Kompetenzzentrum Forschungsdaten
Funding source: German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)
Funding period: 11 / 2016 – 7 / 2017

The project develops a concept for the digitization of Japanese handscrolls in German collections. The concept focuses on the virtual representation of 266 richly illuminated handscrolls made of paper or silk between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries in Japan. The challenges of the envisioned digitization project are the extraordinary physical dimensions of the scrolls (up to 20m in length) and the development and implementation of a joint digitization process with five partner museums and libraries in Germany, who own the scrolls. The future goal is to provide scholars, students and the interested public access to digital representations of the scrolls and to facilitate research of this unique and understudied material.
Project Homepage: http://www.zo.uni-heidelberg.de/iko/dijaq

A comparable website was developed by the coordinators and a number of collaborators for the “Hachiman Digital Handscrolls project” (HDH), http://www.zo.uni-heidelberg.de/iko/hdh/.

Images (from left to right):

1. Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum Mainz: Garnet Jewelry
2. Nepalese royal document
3. Hachiman Digital Handscrolls Project: Picture of a handscroll
4. Jeroen de Kloet: Mobile Media, Gender and the City in China