Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe” Sets up Four New Junior Research Groups
15 May 2013
The Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of Heidelberg University has set up four new junior research groups. The group leaders and their at least two doctoral students each investigate the topics of war crimes tribunals, the Pentecostal movement, alternative agriculture and Islam in Asia. The common concern of the different projects is to examine the exchange processes between cultures and thereby make a considerable contribution to the new research approach of transculturality. The junior research groups will receive Excellence Initiative funding for three years to start with, with the option of extension by another year and a half.
Dr. Kerstin von Lingen is heading the junior research group on war crimes tribunals. The aim of her research programme is to highlight the links between different tribunals in Europe and Asia after 1945. Consequently, she and her doctoral students are examining national war crimes tribunals in East Asia, particularly the Tokyo Trial, as well as trials in Indonesia (Netherlands), Indochina (France), China and the Soviet Union. All projects in the group also deal with the work of the United Nations War Crimes Commission in London and Chongking. Kerstin von Lingen studied history and Italian in Freiburg and Milan and received her doctorate in Tübingen with a thesis on British war crime policy after 1945 and the trial against Albert Kesselring 1947 in Venice. From 2010 to 2013 she already taught in the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies of the Heidelberg Cluster of Excellence.
The junior research group headed by Dr. Katja Rakow on the Pentecostal movement will deal with the presence and growth of this Christian movement in Singapore. She and her team are investigating the question of how the global phenomenon of Pentecostalism has established itself and developed in the multi-ethnic, multi-religious and authoritarian city state in Asia. Katja Rakow graduated in religious studies, anthropology and sociology in Berlin. In Heidelberg she did her doctorate with a thesis on the transformation of Buddhist inspired ideas and practices in a transcultural perspective.
Anthropologist Dr. Daniel Münster heads the interdisciplinary junior research group on issues around alternative agriculture. Along with his doctoral students he is focusing on how small-holder farmers in South Asia respond to the challenges of globalised agriculture by experimenting with forward-looking new technologies from Europe and developing new practices themselves. He thus intends to widen the scope of research on developing countries, which traditionally concentrates on crises and extreme poverty, by focusing on the aspects of creativity and inventiveness. Daniel Münster studied anthropology, religious studies and intercultural communication in Mexico, the USA and Munich, where he then did his doctorate with a thesis on postcolonial perspectives on village traditions in South India. He was a lecture at the University of Halle-Wittenberg before assuming this new position.
A fourth junior research group is to be established in summer 2013. It will deal with developments of Islam in Asia, thus outside the Arab world. Junior research groups offer young researchers the opportunity to direct their own independent research projects early in their career and to supervise their first doctoral students. So far eight junior research groups have been established at the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe”, with a total of about 20 doctoral students.