Official Opening of Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies
29 April 2014
Inauguration Ceremony with Minister of Science Bauer and future President of Leibniz Association Kleiner
An inauguration ceremony marked the official opening of the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS). This central research institution at Heidelberg University is dedicated to foster a cross-disciplinary dialogue on transcultural interactions. Founded last year, the centre is based on the research and teaching structures established over recent years by the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”. Baden-Württemberg Minister of Science, Theresia Bauer, and future President of the Leibniz Association, Prof. Dr. Matthias Kleiner, attended the opening ceremony on 28 April 2014. The keynote lecture was given by Prof. Dr. Avishai Margalit of Princeton University.
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, noted that the HCTS is the largest Asia centre of its kind in Europe, pointing out that it is the embodiment of the Excellence Initiative in reality. In Minister Bauer's view, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies is a shining example of how the efforts and measures of the Excellence Initiative have permanently strengthened Heidelberg University and will continue to unfold their impact in the future, even beyond 2017. She lauded the concept, topic, methods and the strategic importance of the HCTS in her remarks before the sizable audience. The centre’s executive director, Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels, emphasised that the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies will expand and institutionalise the experience gained in the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”.
Building on the infrastructure of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”, the HCTS aims to form networks with researchers of world renown to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue on the dynamics of global transcultural processes. The centre has five permanent fellows appointed to professorships at the cluster in recent years, including the first professorship of Global Art History in Germany. The HCTS offers a master’s and doctoral programme in transcultural studies and awards temporary fellowships for senior as well as junior researchers from all fields, but in particular the humanities and the social sciences. Furthermore, the centre organises public lectures, seminars and workshops, to which the eight recently appointed visiting scholars will contribute.
In his talk during the inauguration ceremony in the Great Hall of the Old University Prof. Kleiner spoke on “The ‘Trans’ in the Sciences”. After a short introduction by Prof. Dr. Joseph Maran of the HCTS board of directors, Prof. Margalit held the keynote lecture “Proportionality: Justice in War, between Tribalism and Nationalism”. The Duo SeidenStrasse from Essen provided musical accompaniment, blending Chinese sounds and European percussion styles.