Institutional series of workshops run by Heidelberg’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS)
Under the aegis of the European Alliance of Asian Studies (C Brosius)
Maritime connectivity is often conceived as a network of many shipping routes, each linking two harbours. But in reality, these networks were generally not bipolar but circular: Before the invention of the steamship, maritime navigation was hardly practiced as a simple return journey between two harbours, but rather as a circuit. This was due to winds and currents or to nautical reasons, but also had to do with the laws of offer and demand: triangular trade typically exported commodities to places where they were needed without necessarily importing goods from the same place; rather, chains of circulation were established in order to rectify trade imbalances and draw profit from regional demand. This specific practice is not only relevant for economic history, but necessarily also had consequences in the fields of culture and politics etc. Focusing it from a transcultural perspective is a promising undertaking. In this workshop, we would therefore like to study and compare the significance of nautical circulation for maritime societies, past and present. The seas to be studied range from Eastern Asia over the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Seas to the Mediterranean.
This workshop is part of the Engaging Translations and Circulations Across Asia and Europe workshop series during ICAS 11, which is organised by Heidelberg’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS).
Engaging Translations and Circulations Across Asia and Europe
How can we trace the circulation and translation of texts, images, sounds, and objects across national and regional boundaries, and how can we make sense of the involved agents’ actions and itineraries, without adhering to methodological nationalism or disciplinary reifications of essences? ICAS 2019 offers an ideal platform to discuss the conceptual and methodological challenges arising from such questions for critical Asia Studies.
To advance these discussions, scholars working at or affiliated with Heidelberg’s Centre for Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS) are convening a series of hands-on workshops on three consecutive days. The workshops are designed for junior scholars studying processes of circulation and translation within and between Asia and Europe who may benefit from discussing the concepts and methods they deploy with other researchers but potentially also with artists, curators, collectors, filmmakers, novelists or bloggers who share their interests. The format is interactive rather than presentation-based. Framed by brief introductions by the conveners, each of the four thematic sessions will be built around a selection of primary materials/data proposed by the participants that lend themselves to multiscalar and pluri-disciplinary explorations. Participants will be asked to prepare five-minute input statements on the conceptual and methodological issues raised by their own sources and comment on the projects of one of their peers. Each of the 3-4 pairs of statements will be followed by open discussion. Materials plus secondary readings will be pre-circulated. Applicants are encouraged to participate in more than one workshop to enhance resonances between the fora.