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Christiane Brosius convenes Workshop in Bielefeld

Feb 26, 2018

On February 6 and 7, Prof. Christiane Brosius, HCTS Professor for Visual and Media Anthropology, convened the workshop “Shaping Asia/s. Connectivities, Comparisons, Collaborrations” with Prof. Joanna Pfaff-Czarnecka. The workshop was organized by and took place at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University.

Several members of the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS)  either chaired panels or contributed input statements to the workshop. The following colleagues from the HCTS and the University of Heidelberg attended the workshop: Prof. Christiane Brosius, Prof. Barbara Mittler and Prof. Monica Juneja, Prof. Ute Hüsken, Prof. Anja Senz, and Dr. Daniel Münster.

The workshop “Shaping Asia/s. Connectivities, Comparisons, Collaborrations”, brought together researchers from Asia and Germany. It aimed at integrating various perspectives on Asia to make cultural connections and transcultural exchange processes tangible and visible. Until the beginning of this millennium, scholars and practitioners have only rarely engaged in apprehending “Asian” cultures and societies through the lens of their commonalities and connectivities. Only few attempts existed to pursue trans-regional research within Asia. “L’Asie n’existe pas”, Asia does not exist, has emerged as a Leitmotif highlighting Asian self-understandings. This Leitmotif includes practices of distinction based on cultural, ethnic or political as well as regional, national, local difference that was mirrored in scholarly work in Asia and beyond.

Recent initiatives highlighting inter-Asian connectivities and frictions have yet to become sufficiently visible and to contribute to a vision of a ‘pluralized Asia’. The workshop “Shaping Asia/s. Connectivities, Comparisons, Collaborrations” built on the critique of methodological regionalism and nationalism as well as localism and culturalism. It likewise took under consideration that these continue to be influenced by academic politics and funding all around the globe.

The workshop aimed at being the beginning of a comprehensive research collaboration between scholars from the Humanities and Social Sciences, all working on Asia. It was financed by the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University. The goal was to encourage interested researchers working on Asia in Germany to engage with and contribute to the notion of 'Shaping Asia' from their respective position - and in conversation with colleagues in Asia.

For more information, see the workshop program.


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  • Participants of the Conference © Alexandra Polina

  • The Center for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at Bielefeld University