Cultural Exchange: Classical studies‘, historical and ethnological perspectives


<xml> </xml> The topic "cultural exchange" is central for the field of humanities and cultural studies. This is especially true for archeological, classical and historical studies. The unit is dedicated to research on problems of cultural exchange and cultural change in different periods - from prehistory to the present. Possible topics are: The regional and interregional circulation of ideas and objects, the media of cross-cultural communication, religious movements or cultural peculiarities of certain regions and historical periods. The doctoral program provides participants the opportunity to expand their disciplinary horizons and to benefit from the experience of the other members of the unit.

The relatively wide notion of “cultural exchange” encompasses a large scope of methodical approaches towards transfers, cultural interactions and encounters as well as towards hybridisation and interculturalism referring to contacts between groups which distinguish themselves as culturally homogenous vis-à-vis an outside world. These approaches are still debated in research. It is our aim not to exclude works due to a special methodical preference, but to create within the unit a forum for the comparison of the individual approaches’ advantages and disadvantages so as to grant, within an internationally rapidly growing field, a stimulating frame of discussion for the qualification of PhD students.

Geographical mobility and its cultural consequences in the case of contact constitute the brace of the phenomena which have been studied for an extensive historical period. In view of the possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration in the humanities and the diachronic comparisons between historically older periods and current societies, cultural encounters in the area of politics, religion, knowledge, literature, language, values etc. as well as their remembrance and scientific reflexion shall be at the centre of the training and research of this unit.  Cultural constructs’ dependence on time and context as well as the contingent facticity of historical findings form the class’s mutual topics which shall be confronted with social scientifically inspired theories in the Graduate Centre.