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DAAD grants Christiane Brosius funding for exchange initiative

Jan 09, 2020

The DAAD granted Prof. Christiane Brosius four years of funding for the implementation of an exchange programme on the topic of “urban transformations.” The teaching initiative, in partnership with universities in Delhi and Kathmandu, will contribute to the MA Transcultural Studies and the new MA Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection at Heidelberg University.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has approved a four-year funding that will allow for an inter- and transdisciplinary exchange between German and South Asian institutions on the topic of "Urban transformation and placemaking: Fostering Learning from South Asia and Ger­many." The DAAD will fund the initiative in the framework of the program "Subject-Related Partnerships with Institutions of Higher Education in Developing Countries." In Heidelberg, the project will be located at CATS and will run within the "Shaping Asia" networking initiative coordinated of Prof. Christiane Brosius.

The teaching initiative involves a partnership between Heidelberg University, the School of Planning and Architecture (SPA) in Delhi, and Kathmandu University (KU). The partnership will jointly explore how institutions of higher education can respond to significant urban transformations in Germany and South Asia, and what can be learned from these substantial changes. The focus will be on "placemaking," that is, how people shape their urban habitats and everyday worlds in cities. Within this framework, the project will pay particular attention to urban responses to natural disasters, such as earthquakes and disruptions due to climate change, as well as man-made crises, engendered by migration, conflicts over heritage management, or ethno-cultural diversity.

Each partner will contribute a particular disciplinary expertise: Heidelberg University will focus on participatory studies of everyday life and on endan­gered heritage. The Delhi School of Planning and Architecture will target urban design and mapping methods for people-oriented 'open cities,' and questions of ownership of and belonging to the city. Kathmandu University will contribute to the field of cultural heritage, community and memory as resources for urban sustainability, and to the training of art practice and curation as a socially responsible practice.

The inter- and transdisciplinary project aims at jointly developing a model of new and interrelated curricula, located beyond national and disciplinary boundaries. The use of collaborative methods of mapping, art production, and curation, as well as ethnographic field-based inquiry, will constitute the basic approach. An open-access archive, the Digital Archive for Comparative Urbanism (DACU), will be implemented for research-based learning. The objective of the partnership will be to train young generations of students to shape socially responsible and sustainable career paths focusing on the challenges of the "Urban Age." The programme will be open to all students immatriculated in the MA Transcultural Studies, as well as students from the other Master Curricula at CATS and from the new MA Cultural Heritage and Cultural Property Protection at Heidelberg University. 

Prof. Christiane Brosius is the professor of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS). Her academic training in cultural and social anthropology, art history and art education is strongly related to media and visual cultures in South Asia as well as to the study of processes of urbanization, transcultural art production, and international migrations.


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  • A courtyard in the old city of Patan | © Christiane Brosius

  • Urban landscape in Delhi | © Christiane Brosius