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Asien-Orient-Institut UFSP Asien und Europa (2006–2017)


Dear Readers,

It is our honor and great pleasure to take over the URPP Asia and Europe as academic directors. We wish to start our term by thanking our predecessors in office, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rudolph (January 2006 – December 2007), Prof. Dr. Andrea Büchler and Prof. Dr. Christoph Uehlinger (January 2008 – July 2010), Prof. Dr. Andrea Riemenschnitter (August 2010 – December 2012) as well as Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Behr and Prof. Dr. Angelika Malinar (January 2013 – December 2014). They have all contributed to the development and maturing of the URPP Asia and Europe and it is thanks to their efforts and commitment in cooperation with all other participating professors that we take over a dynamic organization that is fully up and running. This is the basis on which we will be able to do our job in the coming years, and we very much hope that we will be able to successfully steer the URPP for all its members and associates through a fruitful and inspiring final spurt until 2017.

The URPP Asia and Europe looks back on a very active and successful year 2014. Our annual events schedule included two public lecture series on cultural materiality and on current political affairs and civil society in Japan. It also included eight workshops and conferences telling about the broad thematic range of research at the URPP Asia and Europe, from social movements and civil society to inter-subjectivity and eco-theory to “Concepts of Concept.” Two international conferences deserve special mention. The “23rd European Conference on South Asian Studies” (ECSAS) in July 2014 attracted more than 500 scholars and comprised more than 50 panels and 400 presented papers. This conference was realized in cooperation with the Department of Geography and the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Indian Studies. We have to thank the two convenors and URPP members Prof. Dr. Ulrike Müller-Böker and Prof. Dr. Angelika Malinar as well as their supporting team. The second event, the yearly URPP conference “Asia and Europe in Translation: Interdisciplinary Perspectives,” in November 2014, included more than 20 papers and hosted participants from all over the world. It was conceptualized and organized by Prof. Dr. Hans B. Thomsen and his team. Of course, such a program could only be realized thanks to successfully attracting third-party funding. Furthermore, we congratulate many of our members for effectively raising funding for their research projects, especially Dr. Dagmar Wujastyk for her successful application for an ERC Starting Grant. Regarding our doctoral program, we congratulate Patrick Brozzo, Laura Coppens, Justyna Jaguścik, Pia Hollenbach, Rohit Jain, Rita Krajnc, and Matthäus Rest who have successfully defended their PhD theses since 2014. And we congratulate Prof. Dr. Almut Höfert for her successful habilitation review in April 2014.

In a slightly sad mood, we say good-bye to several colleagues who left the URPP Asia and Europe during 2014. Prof. Dr. Sven Trakulhun and now Prof. Dr. Ralph Weber have, as senior researchers at the URPP, contributed greatly to its development (for further information and acknowledgment see pp. 22–23 of this bulletin). We thank them both for their crucial and tireless contributions and endless stimulating inputs and count on future fruitful cooperation with them. Fortunately, the number of the participating professors is still increasing. We are happy to welcome Prof. Dr. Annuska Derks, Prof. Dr. Francine Giese, Prof. Dr. Johannes Quack, and Prof. Dr. Rafael Walthert as new members of the URPP Asia and Europe.

All good things sooner or later come to an end. As mentioned, the URPP is entering its final phase until 2017. It will be our main task to retain the added value that the URPP Asia and Europe has contributed to the University of Zurich. It has substantially contributed to the cohesion among our disciplines focusing on Asia as well as to the idea and research of transdisciplinary research between philologies, humanities, social sciences and law at the University of Zurich. One result has been the new founding of the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies. Reflections on the benefits and difficulties of transdisciplinary research has led to heightened sensitivity and an increasing interest in dialogue and cooperation and we will take efforts to exploit all possibilities to generate new institutionalized forms of transdisciplinary cooperation in postgraduate education and research. For the coming years, we count ourselves, as well as the URPP, lucky to be able to rely on our well-proven professional staff, with the support of whom we will continue tried and tested, as well as new, strategies of communication, of research-support and academic dialogue, and of submitting proposals for future cooperation and potential projects.

Prof. Dr. David Chiavacci and Prof. Dr. Mareile Flitsch

(Asia & Europe Bulletin, 4/2015, p. 3)