New Directorate for Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe”

Press Release No. 288/2012
14 December 2012
Sinologist Barbara Mittler and Historian Thomas Maissen join three-member board

The Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of Heidelberg University is gaining a new directorate. Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler joined Indologist Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels on the three-member executive board on November 1st of this year, Prof. Dr. Thomas Maissen will start on 1 January 2013. Sinologist Barbara Mittler follows Prof. Dr. Rudolf G. Wagner, who will continue his association with the Cluster as a Senior Professor. Historian Thomas Maissen succeeds Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren-Oesch, who will become Director of the Center for European and International Studies at the University of Basel.

Together with Axel Michaels, Madeleine Herren-Oesch and Rudolf G. Wagner made significant contributions to the successful application in the first round of the Excellence Initiative, the development of the research network and the success of the renewal proposal this year. One focus of Prof. Herren-Oesch in the directorate of the Cluster of Excellence was the Graduate Programme for Transcultural Studies, which now has nearly 50 doctoral candidates and graduates. Among his other responsibilities, Prof. Wagner was in charge of the “Transcultural Studies” e-journal launched in 2010. Cluster members thanked them for their extraordinary commitment and they are looking forward, along with Co-director Prof. Michaels and Scientific Project Manager Dr. Alexandra Heidle-Chhatwani, to working together with the two new members of the directorate.

Barbara Mittler was already Director of the Institute of Chinese Studies of Heidelberg University and chaired the Cluster’s research area “Public Spheres”. Her research deals with propaganda issues in the People’s Republic of China, Chinese women’s magazines, as well as music in China. Thomas Maissen is a professor of modern history in the Department of History; he served as speaker of the research area “Governance & Administration”. His research interests include the history of political thought, history of mentalities, conceptions of history, and history of education.

At the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” of Heidelberg University, researchers from various disciplines examine the processes of exchange between cultures, ranging from migration and trade to the formation of concepts and institutions. With respect to global transformation processes, a central question is in which dynamics the transcultural processes between and within Asia and Europe develop. The Cluster is located at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies and has a branch office in New Delhi (India). Key international partners include the Universities of Chicago and Zurich, the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the Kyoto University. For more information on the Cluster of Excellence, see

Dr. Alexander Häntzschel
Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context”
Phone: +49 (0)6221 54-4008

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