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Intellectual History

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Xu Bing: "Word" from the cycle 'Square Words - New English Calligraphy'. © Xu Bing
Xu Bing: "Word" from the cycle 'Square Words - New English Calligraphy'. © Xu Bing

Intellectual historians, no less than their precursors in Geistesgeschichte or the history of ideas, are often reviled for their narrow focus on “what intellectuals say and do.” Some studies in the history of philosophy or science certainly display a tendency to examine ideas and their proponents in isolation from cultural, social or political concerns. But most scholars working in the field have long moved beyond such myopic approaches and begun to address more general questions about the production and circulation of knowledge. In recent decades, their efforts have coalesced in new and more inclusive areas of inquiry such as Wissensgeschichte or historical epistemology.


The Cluster’s chair of intellectual history is designed to add a transcultural dimension to these emerging fields. Shifting the focus to transcultural issues does not simply mean to trace the influence of ideas from one culture in another. Rather it challenges us to probe how concepts, theories and the practices they inform are reconfigured in global flows. To this end, it is not only essential to learn more about processes of translation, diffusion and appropriation but also to gain a deeper understanding how meanings are generated and transformed within and between different languages, cultures, regions and milieus.


Intellectual history so conceived is by nature an interdisciplinary pursuit. Scholars working at the chair draw on many areas of the humanities and social sciences, including philology, history, philosophy, the sociology and anthropology of knowledge, as well as more specialized fields such as discourse analysis, semiotics, historical semantics, and the history of the book. In collaboration with colleagues in the Cluster and beyond our studies hope to contribute to a more credibly global intellectual history that reflects the actual dynamics and complexity of knowledge production in transcultural perspective.

  

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Joachim Kurtz

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Job Vacancy, Postdoctoral Researcher in in Modern Chinese Intellectual History

Below please find the details for the position

www.asia-europe.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php