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).

South Asian Studies

Univ. Prof. Dr. Martin Gaenszle
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This part of the programme focuses on the modern period (Modern South Asian Studies) and invites projects in the study of local religions (oral traditions and ritual practices) as well as contemporary popular cultures (especially visual cultures) in the Himalayan region. This is an area of profound transformations, as new media (photography, movies, video, the internet) challenge and complement older forms of cultural transmission. The IK framework will allow for a special focus on changes within cultural traditions, which are taking place at an accelerated pace in the modern world. While the documentation of (often endangered) traditions is an important starting point, when analysing the data it is commonly observed that fieldwork results reflect longstanding as well as recent historical encounters and interactions. Studies of contemporary practices have the advantage that processes of cultural change can still be documented “in processu”. Therefore, it is a particular challenge to properly conceptualise the various forms of cultural transfers by making use of state-of-the-art theories and transdisciplinary perspectives.

Possible research projects will deal with the interrelationships and transfers between cultures in the hill regions, the highlands and the plains, between different political entities (in particular, Nepal, India, TAR), between the urban centres (where the objects and values of modern life are disseminated) and the rural peripheries.