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Research Area C: Knowledge Systems

Research Area C has broadened its vision from its focus on health and the environment in the Cluster's first funding period to a wider interest in multiple forms of knowledge production. Nearly all of the projects in Research Area C are concerned with the relationship between knowledge and practice, and many of them make overt reference to recent studies on science and technology as well as on historical epistemology. Existing scholarship in these fields has mainly focused on the ways in which cultural values, everyday practices, forms of subjectivity and patterns of argumentation in the West have been transformed by philosophical, scientific and technological developments over the past few centuries. Although much of the material discussed in these studies is relevant to Asia or has an implicit transcultural dimension, it has rarely taken an explicitly transcultural approach, or focused specifically on Asia or on the ancient or prehistoric worlds. The projects in Research Area C are working toward filling this lacuna.

One of the most exciting (and challenging) claims of recent studies in science, health and environment is that new forms of practice and ways of knowing give rise to new ontological 'objects' that did not previously exist. Although diverse in their thematic outlook, the projects in Research Area C are united by their insistence that the epistemological dimension of such developments cannot be separated from the ontological one, and that knowledge cannot be separated from practice.

Our new projects explore the relation between epistemology and ontology in four focal areas: (1) Knowledge and Health; (2) Knowledge and Environment; (3) Knowledge and Reasoning; and (4) Materiality and Innovation. Disciplines involved include anthropology, archeology, Assyriology, Buddhist studies, East Asian studies, environmental studies, geography, the history of science and medicine, intellectual history, logic, mathematics, pre- and protohistory, psychiatry, religious studies, Russian studies, and sociology. 

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Research Area Coordinator

Laila Abu-Er-Rub

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  • Seeking Student Assistant for Project C16

    The project ”The demographic turn at the junction of cultures” at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of the University of Heidelberg is seeking to fill one position as student assistant:   one student assistant at BA/MA level for 40–50 hours/month...