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Research Design

The Cluster's thematical focus is on Asia and Europe in a global context. Having established a morphology of flows and circulations between Asia and Europe until now, the Cluster will concentrate on exploring the specific dynamics of transcultural interactions. This is only possible within the interlinked structure as created by the Research Groups, which will enable us to come to a comprehensive understanding of highly complex processes and aspects such as: the generation and circulation of knowledge and the practices by which it is embodied between 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

Our research is organised in four areas. These are closely connected both in research and in their institutional environment.
While each RA will continue to have a different focus and draw on the expertise of its members in different disciplines, they will all address related questions: moving on from locating asymmetries and documenting cultural flows, they will strive 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 will, next to individual projects, house 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 will either strengthen interdisciplinary dialogues within one Research Area on the vertical axis, or they will address issues raised in several Research Areas, thus strengthening horizontal dialogues between them.

Interdisciplinary Approach

The Cluster intends to develop innovative, as well as sustainable concepts of research by combining different skills and approaches. More than 250 people are working on approximately 50 subprojects. According to the requirements of the respective research endeavours, perspectives from following areas are aspired: Anthropology, Archaeology, Art History, Buddhist Studies, Chinese Studies, Egyptology, Historical Studies, Indology, Islam 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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