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Concluding Conference “Order Into Action”

Nov 03, 2016

The conference “Order into Action. How Large-Scale Concepts of World-Order Determine Practices in the Premodern World” took place from November 10-12, 2016 at the Library of Heidelberg University. It was organized by Cluster project A 27 “World Orders” and its goal was to analyze different concept of world orders and its possible effects on individuals or groups actions.

In recent years, research on premodern systems of world order, like concepts and practices and the categories they employed, has considerably intensified: numerous enlightening studies focus on the diversity of perceptions and descriptions of “the world” in premodern Europe and Asia (c.1300-1600). These studies help to better understand, how historical actors or societies constructed and perceived the world they inhabited. However, the question if and how the large-scale concepts that constituted the basic elements of systems of world order were translated into concrete actions or practices, still remains underexplored.

In order to analyse and underline the relevance of insights into the mental representations of “the world”, it is considered as necessary and fruitful to ask, how theoretical models and the categories on which they rely influence (or even determine) concrete actions.

The conference “Order into Action” envisaged combining and discussing the perspectives of scholars in European, Arabic and Islamic as well as Asian Studies, organized in the three thematic fields of religion, political ideas and geographic models. In order to include comparative outlooks on regions and cultures that were not (or less) connected with the cultures of the premodern Eurasian ecumene, contributions also include papers on premodern societies in (sub-saharan) Africa, the Americas and Australia.

The conference was organised by the Cluster project A 27 “World Orders - World Orders in Transcultural Perspective: Pre-modern Concepts of Continents and Empire” and was coordinated by Bernd Schneidmüller, Professor for Medieval History, and Klaus Oschema, Associate Member, both at the Cluster „Asia and Europe“ and the project member Christoph Mauntel from University of Tübingen. It was held from November 10-12, 2016 at the Manuscript Reading Room. Heidelberg University Library.

Further information on the programme is available here.


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  • picture: Gossuin de Metz, L’image du monde (Paris, BnF, Ms fr. 574, fol. 42r)