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MC5 Global Concepts

Towards a Global History of Concepts

Koordination: Joachim Kurtz, Dhruv Raina, Rudolf G. Wagner, Monica Juneja, Pablo Blitstein


This research group – directed by Monica Juneja (Art History), Rudolf G. Wagner (Sinology), Joachim Kurtz and Dhruv Raina (Intellectual History/History of Science), with the scientific coordination of Pablo Blitstein (Global History/Chinese History) – sets out to reflect the globality of concepts which, mainly Euro-American in origin, have been adapted around the globe in a large number of languages and by sizeable and culturally diverse communities. As a result, native keywords, metaphors and practices have been enriched, but also replaced, by representations of globalized notions that have become the ineluctable currency of international exchange and debate. The projects of this group – rooted in different disciplines and regional contexts – all trace the formation of shared concepts through combining diachronic studies of conceptual migration with synchronic analyses of the transcultural entanglements of key concepts and semantic fields. At the same time, they take into consideration the full range of articulation of meanings in word, metaphor, image and practice. In doing so the research group seeks to develop new ways to document and analyze the complex interplay of meanings and media in order to gain insights that could be made productive for a historical epistemology of global concept formation.