The Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies (IAOS)—founded in 2013—is the center of research and teaching on Asia and the Orient at the University of Zurich (UZH). It aims to position itself nationally and internationally as one of the leading institutions in the field. By bringing together the disciplines of Indian Studies, Islamic Studies, Japanese Studies, Chinese Studies and Gender Studies within one institutional structure, the University of Zurich’s strategic focus on Asian and Oriental studies has become more prominent within the University, the international academic landscape and amongst the general public in Switzerland.
At the four departments of the AOI, research is carried out on the languages, literatures, religions and philosophies, the history, society, politics and economics of China, India, the Islamic world and Japan in the past and present. Our research employs methods and theories from cultural studies as well as from the social sciences. All research is based on expertise in the original languages, which allows the philological study of original texts, fieldwork studies in contemporary contexts, as well as direct access to and participation in academic debates taking place in Asia and the Orient. Teaching focuses on the acquisition of language skills at an academic level including historical forms of languages as well as on comprehensive area-specific knowledge in culture, economics, history, literature, philosophy, politics, religion and society (BA-level). This is supplemented with training in theoretical approaches and research methods (MA-level). Gender Studies in Zurich has a decidedly extra-European focus and, as a systematic discipline, helps to establish transversal connections between the key areas of research in the Institute’s departments.
The IAOS closely collaborates with other departments at the University of Zurich, with the University Research Priority Programs "Asia and Europe" and "Language and Space" as well as with partners in Asia, Europe, the Middle East and Switzerland.
Since July 2015, the IAOS has been located in adjacent buildings at the center of the University of Zurich in Rämistr. 59 (RAA) and Zürichbergstr. 4 (ZUB).