Dear visitors,

please note that the Doctoral College (Initiativkolleg): “Cultural Transfers and Cross-Contacts in the Himalayan Borderlands” has ended and our website will no longer be updated.

For information on our ongoing research, events and activities please refer to the website of our Center for Interdisciplinary Research and Documentation of Inner and South Asian Cultural History (CIRDIS).


Univ. Prof. Dr. Klaus-Dieter Mathes
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Ao. Univ. Prof. Dr. Helmut Tauscher
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In the field of Tibetan and Buddhist Studies, IK candidates will mainly work with primary sources (i.e., Tibetan and/or Sanskrit texts), and investigate, for example, doctrinal differences between Tibetan schools against the background of Indian Buddhism.This approach will not only contribute considerably to the IK framework of language transfers and translations but also allow studies of the reception in Tibet and the Himalayas of Indian religious concepts and models of interpretation. Mastery of classical Tibetan and a basic knowledge of Sanskrit are required.

IK candidates working in the area of ethnohistory in the Tibetan speaking areas of Northern Nepal will not only profit from the excellent contacts Mathes has to local scholars and religious masters in Kathmandu and the Himalayas, but will also be trained in making use of the huge collection of manuscripts and rare documents gathered in Northern Nepal. The combination of traditionally Tibetological methods with those of social anthropology and art history harbours a huge potential of synergy which can be best tapped within the framework of the planned IK. The successful candidate will have a good command of classical and modern Tibetan.

Within the frame of the general topics "Language and textual transfers" – "Genesis and development of Tibetan Buddhist literature" (Tibetan and Buddhist Studies), a further focus will be the study of

  • proto-canonical Tibetan Buddhist religious texts and text collections,
  • the genesis of Tibetan Buddhist "Kanjurs",
  • their development and inter-relation.

These studies may use various methodological approaches (historical, philological, linguistic, philosophical, etc.), and they may focus on entire collections of texts, sections thereof, or on individual texts.

However, although the main emphasis here is on the broader field of "Kanjur research", doctoral projects within this general frame are not restricted to it, and any project concerned with problems of textual transmission of Tibetan literature (religious, philosophical, historical, scientific) is equally welcome.