Research Perspectives

Broader context: Having entered the Global Age, the Classical Studies too have focused on the globality of their respective disciplines. Our research will be focused on supraspatial connectivity and high mobility which entangle the ancient worlds (1500 BC – 1500 AD) across great distances and a variety of geographical areas – at times from Spain to China. In order to research such “Entangled Antiquities”, a geographical examination of these supraspatial entities across Afro-Eurasia is indispensable. However, the process of specialization in the Classical Studies into archaeological, philological, and historical fields has hindered such an approach. This fragmentation of our disciplines into geographically and chronologically delineated “advanced civilizations” has produced accompanying views and ideas such as a “clash of civilization” or an “Iron Curtain” between East and West, South and North.

Goals and Hypotheses: Such culturalistic and geopolitical premises of a Eurocentric view on historical and contemporary processes need to be questioned in light of their historical validity and a balanced future worldview. For this purpose, the doctoral college “Entangled Antiquities” will be examining geographically and culturally distant regions of the Afro-Eurasian World. Although each of these regions may have been part of a distinct cultural sphere, all of them have simultaneously been integrated into common cosmpolitical modes of organization and protoglobalized interaction via transcontinental entanglements or even imperial entities.

Methodology: These transcontinental entanglements and forms of empire-building will not be exclusively investigated via a top-down-view of transregionally operating agents. Appropriation, transformation, and rejection of cosmopolitical products and accomplishments will also be scrutinized in local settlement communities. Even ancient global promises like urbanity and modernity will receive focus from a bottom-up-view, i.e. from the viewpoint of local communities in the context of their own history, based on their local modes of interaction. Simultaneously, the view on the local places a special emphasis on pre-global settings and traditional forms of localism which are seemingly congealed to “established traditions” as a response to globalization and modernization and as a means of stopping “de-localization”, a process of detachment from a life connected to one’s ancestors and forebears.

Innovative aspects: The focus on the local, i.e. an examination of protoglobal phases of Afro-Eurasia via a bottom-up-view provides the eminently promising perspective of the doctoral college “Entangled Antiquities”, as this particular view has been severely disregarded and neglected in contemporaneous research of globalization phenomena. Local resistance and pushback to transregional processes of globalization have already played a significant role in the ancient worlds of Afro-Eurasia and are mirrored in today’s revival of the nation state, embedded in its historical context of globalization.

Appeal for applicants: The “Zentrum für Alte Kulturen” (Center for Ancient Civilizations) in Innsbruck with its representation of the various disciplines as well as its transdisciplinary approaches and methods constitutes an ideal place of research for the topic of “Entangled Antiquities”. The research program has been established based on different types of methodology and theoretical approaches that still remain connected to their practical application. Thereby, the doctoral college provides an excellent pioneering and transdisciplinary training program for PhD students relevant to modern times.

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