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April 24, 2012

Philologies across the Asias: the Translation, Transmission and Transformation of Knowledge in the Early Modern World

The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi invite scholars to apply for an international Winter School to be held in Delhi from 10 -21 December, 2012 on the theme “Philologies Across the Asias: The Translation, Transmission and Transformation of Knowledge in the Early Modern World”.

The Winter School is organized in the framework of the project ZUKUNFTSPHILOLOGIE: REVISITING THE CANONS OF TEXTUAL SCHOLARSHIP and addresses postdoctoral researchers and advanced doctoral students from the field of language studies, history and cultural studies. The winter school aims to explore, from an intellectual and global history perspective, the role that textual practices, language studies and archival policies have played in the constitution of knowledge across Asia roughly since 1500.

Call for Applications:
Zukunftsphilologie Winter School 2012 in Delhi
10—21 December 2012, Delhi
(Deadline: 20 May 2012)

Within the framework of the research project Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship the Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien and the Center for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi invite scholars to apply for an international Winter School to be held in Delhi from 10—21 December, 2012 on the theme


The winter school aims to explore, from an intellectual and global history perspective, the role that textual practices, language studies and archival policies have played in the constitution of knowledge across Asia roughly since 1500.

The winter school will be steered by a group of scholars including Manan Ahmed (Zukunftsphilologie/Freie Universität Berlin), Muzaffar Alam (University of Chicago), Rajeev Bhargava (CSDS, Delhi), Whitney Cox (SOAS, London), Islam Dayeh (Zukunftsphilologie/Freie Universität Berlin), Irmela Hijiya-Kirschnereit (Friedrich Schlegel Graduate School for Literary Studies/Freie Universität Berlin), Michael Lackner (Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen), Shail Mayaram (CSDS, Delhi).

The Delhi Winter School builds on the success of Zukunftsphilologie’s first Winter School held in Cairo, December 2010 on “Textual Practices Beyond Europe: 1500-1900”. The Cairo Winter School focused mainly on the recovery and recuperation of instances of marginalized textual practices beyond Europe at a time of vast European imperial expansion, formations of national canons and in the context of the disciplinary history of Orientalism. The 2012 Delhi Winter School, Philologies Across the Asias, will further this research programme by shedding light on the mobility of texts, languages and textual practices across the cultural geographies of Asia - focusing on Arabic, Syriac, Armenian, Turkish, Sanskrit, Persian, Urdu, Chinese, Japanese, Malay, Tamil, the vernaculars across India and East Asia, among other linguistic and cultural realms.

This particular emphasis on cross-Asian philological and intellectual relations is not to undermine European encounters with Asia, but rather to consciously provincialise it, and thereby to approach it as one among many historical experiences of Asia. The fundamental question that we ask is: how could a history of Asia without Europe as its single point of reference actually look like? How was, for example, seventh and eighth century Greco-Syriac-Arabic literary culture viewed by Indo-Persian intellectuals in the early modern period? What role did Arabic script or Arabic intellectual traditions play across various locations - from the Mediterranean to the Malay world - to help bring about a sense of intellectual cosmopolitanism. Looking at any exemplary Ottoman or Chinese literary scholar in the early modern period, what can we deduce about the linguistic tools and methodologies at their disposal. What theories and notions of history, of language, and of cultural heritage determined their vision of translation and transformation from one register to another? What was at stake, in these movements across Asia? Where modern scholarship has looked at ancient or early medieval forms of politico-linguistic encounters - in the Late Antiquity of the Near East or the Renaissance of tenth century Baghdad, we have yet to grapple with the ways in which texts, materials, and methodologies of philological encounters shaped the ideas of self and community in the early modern period. The rise of vernaculars and colloquial writing from the courtly cultures and urban spaces of such places like Vijayanagar, Aceh, Seoul, Istanbul and Damascus created new scribal practices, new imaginations of cultural spread and hegemonies, and new ways of opening the world to text and vice versa.

The role of these vernaculars in facilitating modes of translation in the philological practices across Asia will be a key concern of the Winter School. Our focus will be on the historical and cultural dimension of philological practices, to underline the ways in which textual culture (formation of archives, circulation of manuscripts, consolidation of expertise), political economy (rise of regional powers and patronly courts), and cultural imagination (a valence and value to the role of knowledge and knowledge systems) informed and governed Asian worlds prior to and during European colonial encounters.

By situating such practices in the larger context of the global histories of Asia and the complex geographies and polities that formed it, a doubly necessary discursive and historiographical move is intended: to disrupt any lingering notions of a monolithic Asia fabricated by western imperial imagination, and to challenge any assumption that philological knowledge originated in Europe and traveled - via the Colonial encounter - to Asia. Asias, in the plural, therefore, refers to the countless geographical locations, landscapes and seascapes, maps, boundaries and frontiers that make up territorial Asia, and it also refers to the countless number of representations, imaginations and historiographies that continue to shape its contours and delineate its differences.

The Winter School will engage in a transregional and historical perspective that transcends current national, colonial, religious and ethnic boundaries, real and imagined. This will be carried out by bringing together the expertise of scholars of various textual cultures to explore the ways in which Asia can be properly seen as a variegated, complex, and entangled whole. The Winter School aims to explore the early modern interconnections and entanglements of the Asias through an investigation of the philologies that connected them and also brought them apart.

Delhi from the eleventh century provided a nodal point linking histories and cultures across Asias - from China Sea to the Red Sea - via the polities that called it their Capital. The movement of intellectuals after the Mongol disruption linking the Western Asian world echoed in the linking of Cairo and Istanbul and Delhi during the early modern period. Similarly, the movement of Chinese, Tibetan and Sanskritic texts across northern Asia benefited greatly from the political lines stretching across Delhi. We hope that the choice of Delhi will enrich and continue the conversation we started at Cairo.

Conditions of Application and Procedure
The International Winter School is open to postdoctoral researchers (within 7 years of completion) and advanced doctoral students from the field of language studies, history and cultural studies, whose philological work promotes an inter-Asian perspective. Particular preference will be given to applicants whose proposals exemplify a conscious dovetailing of comparativist methodology and historiographical reflection. Before submitting an application, interested applicants are strongly advised to visit the Zukunftsphilologie website (www.zukunftsphilologie.de) for a description of the project and a list of previous events, including a report of the Cairo Winter School.

Participants receive a stipend covering travel and accommodation. They will be expected to give at least one presentation of their research, actively participate in discussion groups and seminars, and assist in chairing sessions. In order to create common intellectual ground and to ensure fruitful conversations, participants will receive a collection of preparatory essential readings in the form of an online reader, which they will be required to read carefully prior to their arrival in Delhi. These readings will be discussed extensively during the Winter School. Unlike similar events where the burden is on a team of tutors, the ultimate success of the Delhi Winter School however depends to a great extent on the engagement and contribution of all its participating members.

The researchers' work should be clearly relevant to the themes of the Winter School. The working language is English. The application should likewise be in English and consist of

— A research expose of no more than 5 pages, which includes an outline of your project, and states clearly why you think this Winter School is pertinent to your research, with a brief summary thereof (max. 200 words)
—‘relevant readings’, Please provide citation of one or two academic articles or works you find relevant to the overall themes and objectives of the winter school and would propose discussing at the Winter School
—Curriculum vitae plus a short biography (max. 150 words)
—The names of two university faculty members who can serve as referees (no letters of recommendation required)
— While we do not require official proof of English fluency, applicants whose native tongue is not English will be expected to have a strong command of the language

Send by e-mail as one pdf file or in one word document.

The application should be submitted in English and should be received by May 20, 2012 addressed to zukunftsphilologie@trafo-berlin.de.

Zukunftsphilologie aspires to support research in marginalized and undocumented textual practices and literary cultures with the aim of integrating texts and scholarly traditions from Asia, Africa, and the Middle East as well as from Europe itself. The project takes as its point of departure the increasingly growing concern with the global significance of philology and the potential of philology to challenge exclusivist notions of the self and the canon. Zukunftsphilologie endeavours to promote and emphasise primary textual scholarship beyond the classical humanistic canon by a critical recuperation of philology. In an age of advanced communication, intellectual specialisation and unprecedented migration of knowledge and people, the discipline of philology assumes new relevance. The project draws on the recent calls for a return to philology as particularly emphasised by Sheldon Pollock in his essay “Future Philology? The Fate of A Soft Science in a Hard World” and the late Edward Said's essay “The Return to Philology”.
More information: www.zukunftsphilologie.de

The Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS or Centre) is a premier institute of India in the social sciences and humanities. The Centre provides a unique institutional space which seeks to nurture intellectual interests and interdisciplinary modes of enquiry outside the entrenched boundaries of academic disciplines. Since its inception in 1963 the Centre has been known for its skepticism towards any one conception of modernity and received models of development and progress and has sought ways to make creative use of local traditions in the making of multiple and alternative modernities, much before these ideas become fashionable in intellectual discourse. The CSDS has always promoted conversations between and within cultures. It has tried to delink cultural resources from violent expressions of political identities and promoted the idea that dissent is crucial for creative conversation between cultures and societies. The CSDS has carved out a space for itself in the field of democratic politics and its futures, politics of culture and knowledge, contextually relevant political theory, media and urban experiences, critical discourse on science and technology and violence, ethnic diversity.
More information: www.csds.in

The Forum Transregionale Studien is a Berlin-based research platform designed to promote research that connects systematic and region-specific questions in a perspective that addresses entanglements and interactions beyond national, cultural or regional frames. The Forum works in tandem with already existing institutions and networks engaged in transregional studies and is supported by an association of directors of universities, research institutes and networks mainly based in Berlin. The Forum Transregionale Studien is funded by the Land of Berlin.
More information: www.forum-transregionale-studien.de

c/o Forum Transregionale Studien
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Wallotstrasse 19
14193 Berlin

Posted by katemw at April 24, 2012 08:40 AM


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