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Titelkupfer, Olfert Dapper, Asia
(Source:Titelkupfer, Olfert Dapper, Asia, Oder: Ausführliche Beschreibung Des Reichs des Grossen Mogols, 1681,Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg.)

“From diversity of images to a single truth: Indian states in German Early Modern Discourse (1500-1750)” - „ Von der Vielfalt der Bilder zu der einen Wahrheit. Die Staatlichkeit Indiens in der deutschsprachigen Wahrnehmung (1500-1750)“ (provisional title)

Dr. Antje Flüchter, JRG Leader 
This study (Habilitationsprojekt) examines the knowledge about Indian state in the Early Modern Period. While in the 15th and 16th centuries the narratives about India in travelogues and compilations were very multifaceted, the images of India narrowed down during the 18th century to a homogenized static, orientalist image. The gorgeous treasure box became an underdeveloped subcontinent. How did this happen? How did the narratives change and how was knowledge reorganized?
 

Friedrichstadt and Surat: Asian Experience and European State Theory? (provisional title)

Dr. Antje Flüchter, JRG Leader  
Duke Friedrich III. of Schleswig Holstein-Gottorf (1597-1659) was very interested in Asia. His librarian Adam Olearius published many travelogues and other texts about Russia, Persia and India. Moreover, the duke tried to join in the global trade with Asia and founded Friedrichstadt as the centre for this intended trade. This court, then, brought together interest in Asia and the wish to partake in global trade and therefore  serves as a good example to analyze the interrelation between experiences of Asian and European political practices. This research shall provide us with a prime example of how the study of experiences in Asia can be linked to the development of trade and governance in Europe. It also allows us to explore limits and possibilities of cultural transfer in politics in general. To reach an overarching understanding of translingual concepts and transcultural images, research about actual historical interaction and transfer needs  to be conducted   through   comparative angles on concepts of trade and local structures in Friedrichstadt and in Asian trade towns. The  principle comparison will be with  with Surat, which stayed part of Mugal Empire during this period while other important Asian trade towns were conquered by European companies.
 

Processes of Transfer in the Military Field. Europe and the Post-Nomadic States of Mughal India and Manchu China

Barend Noordam, PhD Candidate  
This research proposal concerns the flow of military technology and concepts between Europe and Asia in the early modern period (c. 1500 – 1800) and the relationship between this flow of material and immaterial knowledge and the military culture of its recipients.  It will focus on a comparison between Mughal India and Manchu China, both dynasties sharing a (semi-) nomadic origin and associated central Asiatic nomadic military culture. Whilst Mughals and Manchus relied on mobile horse archers as their main combat unit, in Europe a process was underway which would see the rise to prominence of infantry and artillery equipped with gunpowder weapons. At the same time European states expanded their military and commercial influence in Asia and increasingly came into contact with indigenous states, creating opportunities for mutual cultural transfer in the military field.  The scientific aim of this comparative project should enable us to better understand the intricate connections between military culture and the flow of military technology and concepts in both Mughal India and Manchu China.
 

Indo-French relations during the Early Modern Period. Cultural Asymmetries in the Field of Politics and Governance

Gauri Parasher, PhD Candidate  
In the framework of the underlying assumption, that there was a transfer process from Asia that stimulated European state building in the early modern period (1500-1800), this project proposes to examine the intercultural relations between France and India, particularly during the period of 17th and 18th centuries, to examine closely how cultural transfer between the two continents resulted and was reflected in the fields of administration and governance in each country. The aim of this academic research is to examine the cultural contact that existed during the 17th and 18th centuries, creating cultural transfer and asymmetries that were part of the early modern state-building. The point of departure for this project will be the assumption that cultural transfer between France and India, in the field of state building unfolded predominantly on two planes: the ideal and the practical. For example, a hypothesis worth examining in this context is that Indo-French contact, while paving a way for practical administration of French territories in India, perhaps influenced the political philosophy of the 18th century that worked as an important catalyst of the French revolution. Thus, by examining the dynamics of cultural contact between India and France during the early modern period and the mutual influence that it exercised on both cultures in the field of politics and administration, this project could provide an important link in the master project on Asia’s role in European state building. 

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