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Transcultural Forays

Within the two funding periods of the Excellence Initiative, transculturality has firmly been established as a leading approach for state-of-the-art research in the humanities and social sciences at Heidelberg University. In a variety of research projects the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” and the University’s Field of Focus “Cultural Dynamics in Globalized Worlds” have convincingly argued that transcultural processes are constantly shaping, reconfiguring, or even destroying human societies, thus questioning the common perception of cultures as clearly delineated units.


It is now time to further test the potential of this transcultural approach in new fields. For this purpose the HCTS has initialized its new programme “Transcultural Forays”. Through this programme early career researchers are encouraged to conceptualize their own transcultural project and to submit a project application for third party funding. The current list of projects ranges from archaeological investigations into the Parthian Empire, or explorations into the ideology of modern Jihad, to studies on literary practices on ships and in ports in the 19th and early 20th centuries.


Transcultural Perspectives on the Parthian Empire: The Mountain Fortress of Rabana

Dr. Michael Brown
The Parthian Empire was the dominant power in Persia and neighbouring regions of eastern Mesopotamia for nearly half a millennium (c. 250 BC-AD 226). This project explores the archaeological site of Rabana in Iraqi-Kurdistan; a fortified Parthian settlement occupied during the early first millennium AD.

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The Transcultural Ideology of Modern Jihad: a Response to the Fragile Lifeworlds in Europe and in the Post-Revolutionary Middle East?

Dr. Eliane Ettmüller
Today’s martial Salafi ideology is the result of a transcultural fusion of different strands of thought from Asia, Northern Africa, America and Europe. This may be the reason why it is so attractive for young people from all over the world.

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The Mediterranean as a Translingual Public Sphere

Dr. Giulia Pelillo-Hestermeyer
The project “The Mediterranean as a Translingual Public Sphere” examines audiovisual products transnationally co-produced within a Mediterranean media network. It analyzes the construction of a fluid translingual public sphere in which a variety of linguistic norms and communicative strategies questions taken-for-granted boundaries between languages, cultures and public spheres.

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