Crossroads Research Centre – a centre for advanced research in the Asian world and beyond

Director: Prof. Dr. Angela Schottenhammer

The Crossroads Research Centre investigates the variety of interactions, communication and exchange relations across Asia, the Asia-Pacific (including relations with North, Meso and South America), Eurasia (i.e. the traditional continental Silk Roads) and the Indian Ocean world via both land and sea routes, with a main focus on China’s exchange relations. Major emphasis will be placed on the transfer of science and technologies, commodity and product exchange, trade, cultural aspects in their widest interpretation, religions, as well as human movement and migration and the organization and functioning of networks.

We analyze continental and maritime exchange and transfer of knowledge, ideas, products and people, including forms of migration. To this end, we will particularly investigate forms of interaction that have been important in both the past and the present, such as interrelation between diplomacy, trade and commerce and between official politics and illegal trade (including piracy); scientific (e.g. geographical knowledge as portrayed in maps, medical knowledge and medicinal products, including diseases; botanical knowledge etc.) and military interaction (including historical naval enterprises, weapons, horses, or provisions); aspects of culture (such as food, music) and religion (such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam).

A milestone of this research philosophy is, first, the necessity to combine overland/continental and maritime developments and to carry out comparative investigations along both routes, rather than treat them apart. In addition, we lay great emphasis on combining an analysis of textual with archaeological evidence, especially tombs, tomb inscriptions, grave objects and murals as well as shipwrecks and their cargoes. Third, we intend to combine Past & Present, demonstrating the contemporary pertinence of historical developments and phenomena. The use of a wide range of sources from archaeological findings to texts, documents, and pictorial material, to linguistic evidence, will be a hallmark of the approach.

The centre closely cooperates with the Indian Ocean World Centre (IOWC), McGill University, the China National Maritime Museum 中国航海博物馆, Prof. Dr. Hou Yangfang, Fudan University, Department of History of the Chinese Academic of Social Sciences (CASS), as well as other renowned scholars world-wide.

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