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Research Design

The Cluster's thematical focus was on Asia and Europe in a global context. Having established a morphology of flows and circulations between Asia and Europe, the Cluster concentrated on exploring the specific dynamics of transcultural interactions. This was achieved through the interlinked structure of the interdisciplinary Research Groups, which fostered a comprehensive understanding of highly complex cultural processes such as: the generation and circulation of knowledge and the practices by which the former is embodied in diverse epistemic communities (RA C); its manifestations in the socio-political realm (RA A); its propagation, contestation and defence through media and publics (RA B), as well as its embeddedness in specific historical contexts; and, eventually, its narrative transformation into cultural memory (RA D).

Research Areas

The research was organised in four areas, closely connected to each other.
While each RA had a selected focus and drew on the expertise of its members in the relevant disciplines, they addressed inter-related questions. Moving on from locating asymmetries and documenting cultural flows, they strove to refine our ability to understand the inventory of transcultural interactions and develop an adequate language to capture their dynamics. In order to strengthen interconnections between different parts of the Cluster’s Research Web, the Research Areas housed a number of larger-scale Research Groups, bringing together groups of several senior and junior researchers from many different disciplines, thus profiting from the fact that Heidelberg is committed to the concept of a comprehensive University. These Research Groups strengthened interdisciplinary dialogues within one Research Area on the vertical axis, and they addressed issues raised in several Research Areas, thus strengthening horizontal dialogues between them.

Interdisciplinary Approach

The Cluster intended to develop innovative, as well as sustainable concepts of research by combining different skills and approaches. More than 250 people  worked in its frame on approximately 50 subprojects. According to the requirements of the respective research endeavours, perspectives from the following areas were aspired: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Buddhist Studies, Chinese Studies, Egyptology, Historical Studies, Indology, Islamic Studies, Japanese Studies, Media and Communication Studies, Musicology, Public Health, Political Sciences, Religious Studies, Social Sciences, Tibetan Studies, and many more.

Research Area A: Governance & Administration

Citizens Plaza Tokyo with skyscrapers

Research Area A deals with the cultural flows through which concepts, institutions and practices concerning governance and administration are transferred across cultures and are reconfigured in a continuous but non-linear historical process.

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Research Area B: Public Spheres

Research Area B deals with the production and conceptualization of various types of public spheres (from art exhibition to blog, to rock concerto to satire magazine) as constituted by flows of many different kinds (cultural, economic, political, social, artistic) in the dynamic settings of Asia and Europe in a global context.  

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Research Area C: Knowledge Systems

Hand of a person practicing Yoga in front of a blurred landscape.

Research Area C focuses on the transfer between Asia and Europe of practices concerning, institutions for, ideas about, and perceptions of health and environment.

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Research Area D: Historicities & Heritage

Part of the Great Wall of China

The Research Area "Historicities and Heritage" analyses different concepts of histories as competing interpretations of time and space.

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