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Article on Transcultural Historiography

May 04, 2016

The academic journal "History and Theory" published an article entitled "Nepalese History in a European Experience: A Case Study in Transcultural Historiography". It was collaboratively written by scholars from Heidelberg, Basel and Zurich mainly affiliated with the Cluster "Asia and Europe": Axel Michaels, Manik Bajracharya, Niels Gutschow, Madeleine Herren, Bernd Schneidmüller, Gerald Schwedler, and Astrid Zotter.

The article is the outcome of a workshop by a group of German, Nepalese, and Swiss historians, Indologists, and an architectural historian, that took place in 2013 in Nepal. It aims at developing a new approach to the understanding of South Asian historiography, especially the Nepalese chronicles from the nineteenth century. It argues that, in the past, the analysis of South Asian historiography has been preoccupied by arguments based on an understanding of history that highlights facts and events. A transcultural and multidisciplinary approach, however, would overcome the common dichotomies of factuality and fictionality, history and myth, or evidence and truth. Recognizing the specificity of South Asian historiography, the article develops an approach to bridge asymmetries and entanglements in the academic use of the past in a way that also opens up a new perspective on Western historiography. By analyzing the religious, spatial, literary, and historical, and contemporary or context-related aspects of a nineteenth-century chronicle and by using “fieldwork” as a methodological tool for studying historiography, it is proposed to understand the framing of time and the making of sequences and historical periods as an open process that results in the constant and synchronic creation of chronological spaces.

The article "Nepalese History in a European Experience: A Case Study in Transcultural Historiography" was published in "History and Theory", volume 55, no. 2, in May 2016. Its authors are scholars from Heidelberg, Basel and Zurich University: Prof. Axel Michaels (Co-Director of the Cluster "Asia and Europe"), Dr. Manik Bajracharya (South Asia Institute Heidelberg), Prof. Niels Gutschow (Cluster project D4 "Aspects of Authenticity"), Prof. Madeleine Herren (former Director of the Cluster and current Director of the Institute for European Global Studies in Basel), Prof. Bernd Schneidmüller (Cluster project A27 "World Orders"), PD Dr. Gerald Schwedler (University of Zurich), and Dr. Astrid Zotter (South Asia Institute Heidelberg).

"History and Theory" is one of the leading journals in exploring history. It publishes articles, review essays, and summaries of books principally in the areas of critical philosophy of history; speculative philosophy of history; historiography; history of historiography; historical methodology; critical theory; time and culture; and history and related disciplines. 

Read or download the full article at "History and Theory"


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  • Cover of "History and Theory"