Arian Hopf

Translating Islam, Translating Religion
Conceptions of Religion and Islam in the Aligarh Movement

Religion is commonly perceived as an unequivocally defined concept. However, a historic perspective raises questions about this understanding and reveals religion as a concept that developed only in a process of negotiation with other religions. In particular, the 19th century is of special interest in this regard, as the colonial encounter intensifies tremendously in South Asia. The religions of South Asia are scrutinised, categorised and compared to Christianity by Europeans, which leads to the development of religion as abstractum. Missionary and orientalist critique as well as modern science pose to be an entirely new confrontation for the Muslims of South Asia. This book aims to analyse Muslim responses to this confrontation, which imply a translation of Islam as a religion as well as an adaption of the concept of religion itself. The Aligarh Movement is of particular interest in this regard, as it intensively engages in these debates, trying to integrate a re-interpretation of Islam in these discourses.

Felix Otter

A Course in Reading Classical Newari
Selections from the Vetālapañcaviṃśati

A Course in Reading Classical Newari is intended for all who wish to acquire a basic knowledge of this acutely understudied language. The first part of the book provides an introduction to the phonology, morphology, and syntax of Classical Newari on the basis of the literary language of the late 17th century. Part two consists of twelve annotated reading passages that have been taken from various manuscripts of the as yet unedited Newari version of one of the most popular texts of the South Asian narrative tradition, the Vetālapañcaviṃśati. Appended to the book are a key to the exercises, translations of the reading passages, an index of verb forms, and a glossary.

Alexander Follmann, Judith Müller, Gregor C. Falk (Eds.)

Aktuelle Forschungsbeiträge zu Südasien
10. Jahrestagung des AK Südasien, 24./25. Januar 2020, Freiburg

Geographien Südasiens, Vol. 12

Extended Abstracts der 10. Jahrestagung des AK Südasien, 24./25. Januar 2020 in Freiburg.

Fabienne Wallenwein

Tackling Urban Monotony
Cultural Heritage Conservation in China’s Historically and Culturally Famous Cities

With the threat and emergence of monotonous cityscapes in a rapidly urbanizing China, the pressure to preserve local characteristics has taken centre stage. Central and local governments at the beginning of the 1980s responded by prioritizing 24 cities with historical value and cultural relics. Drawing on international standards and experiences of early Chinese architects such as Liang Sicheng, the concept of “Historically and Culturally Famous Cities” begins to take shape. The study delineates three revitalized residential areas in the Jiangnan region, two of them characterized by splendid private gardens, Ming and Qing period mansions of historical figures, ceremonial archways, historic wells and trees. Strictly adhering to international conservation guidelines, the development of the Pingjiang Historic and Cultural Block in Suzhou came about in the conservation of its central road. As a pilot site for UNESCO’s Historic Urban Landscape management approach, Tongli Ancient Water Town explores its own ‘Tongli model’ for an integration of its residential and scenic areas. Contrastingly, the transformation of factory buildings and lilong architecture into a creative crucible in Tianzifang, Shanghai, is remarkable for its bottom-up approach. Based on these three areas which now serve as exemplars for integrated conservation and development, the study argues and demonstrates how “Historically and Culturally Famous Cities” developed from their initial concept into a multi-layered conservation system.

Johanna Hahn

Mythos und Moloch
Die Metropole in der modernen Hindi-Literatur (ca.1970-2010)

Die vorliegende Studie untersucht Hindi-sprachige Stadtliteratur in der Zeit zwischen 1970 und der Gegenwart. Anhand von populären Mythen wie der „trügerischen Stadt“ (māyāvī śahar), Figuren wie dem Flaneur und Orten wie der Teebude zeigt sie, wie regionalsprachliche Narrative eine Schnittstelle zwischen globalen und nationalen Diskursen und lokalen Erfahrungswelten bilden. Hindi-Stadtliteratur eröffnet einen kritischen Diskursraum für gesellschaftliche Selbstbefragungen im modernen Indien. Einerseits stabilisiert sie Identitätsvorstellungen, andererseits bietet sie Raum für alternative Vorstellungen von einem authentischen Zusammenleben in Delhi, Mumbai, Kalkutta und anderen nordindischen Großstädten. Erstaunlicherweise orientieren sich sowohl konservative als auch (neo)marxistische Alternativen an demselben Gedanken der idealisierten indischen Nation. Gerade utopische Erzählungen und Werke, in denen es um Bürgerschaft geht, schlagen mit der Frage nach dem „Eigenen“ eine Brücke zwischen dem nationalen Einheitsideal der Gründerjahre der indischen Republik und der postkolonialen Kritik der 1980er und 1990er Jahre. Stadtliteratur in Hindi bereichert damit intellektuelle und politische Debatten durch regionalsprachliche Lesarten von Vergangenheit und Gegenwart.

Robert J. Zydenbos

A Manual of Modern Kannada

Kannada (also known as Canarese) is one among the few great living Indian literary languages that have officially been recognized as classical languages by the Government of India on account of their historical importance and literary richness. Today it is spoken by roughly 65 million people, is the sole official language of the south Indian state of Karnataka, and is recognized as one of the leading modern literary languages of India. This manual was especially written for the teaching of this Dravidian language in an academic setting, but is also suitable for private self-learning.

Sebastian Sons

Arbeitsmigration nach Saudi-Arabien und ihre Wahrnehmung in Pakistan
Akteur*innen und Strategien der öffentlichen Sichtbarmachung

Media and Cultural Studies, Vol. 1

Arbeitsmigration nach Saudi-Arabien gilt in Pakistan aus wirtschaftlichen, politischen und kulturellen Erwägungen als systemlegitimierend und alltägliches Phänomen: Das Königreich agiert auf (sicherheits-)politischer, wirtschaftlicher und kultureller Ebene als einflussreicher externer Akteur in Pakistan. Es ist außerdem das wichtigste Empfängerland pakistanischer Migranten. Aus diesen Gründen werden kritische Themen im Zusammenhang mit Migration in der pakistanischen Öffentlichkeit kaum thematisiert und stattdessen tabuisiert. In den letzten Jahren haben allerdings neue pakistanische Öffentlichkeitsakteur* innen aus Zivilgesellschaft, Medien und von internationalen Organisationen begonnen, dieses Tabu herauszufordern. Sie wollen prekäre Arbeits- und Lebensbedingungen der Migranten, strukturelle Gewalt sowie die systemische Ausbeutung innerhalb des Migrationsprozesses medial sichtbar machen. Somit tragen die neuen Öffentlichkeitsakteur*innen zu einem medialen Wandel in Pakistan bei, der bestehende Narrative und Tabus zu Migration in Frage stellt. Das Buch analysiert basierend auf umfangreichen empirischen Daten, mit welchen Medienpraktiken und -strategien limitierte öffentliche Räume in Pakistan zu Migration durch diese Akteur*innen erweitert werden

Gotelind MÜLLER, Nikolay SAMOYLOV (Eds.)

Chinese Perceptions of Russia and the West
Changes, Continuities, and Contingencies during the Twentieth Century

This book aims at investigating changes and continuities in Chinese perceptions of Russia and the West during the 20th century, paying heed to the fact that the respective ascriptions and “frontlines” were historically contingent: who and what represented “Russia“ or “the West“ at a given time and at a given place? Was “Russia“ part of “the West“, or not? And if it was, in which regard? Which factors – foreign or indigenous – led to changes in Chinese perceptions and representations and why? With such questions in mind, this book was taking shape, growing out of a German-Russian project funded by the DFG-RFBR. The German-Russian research team from Heidelberg University and St. Petersburg State University worked on exploring the topic together with colleagues from mainland China and Taiwan, concentrating on three major areas: 1. The field of socialization via a look into normative descriptions of Russia and “the West“ in Chinese school textbooks which define images of the “other/s“ from childhood on; 2. The field of literature and Chinese fictional representations of Russia and “the West“ consumed by a Chinese reading public; 3. The field of visual and material manifestations which define images of the “other/s“ in their own medial way and make them accessible also to a public far from purely discursive levels and to those who do not actively look for them.

Carmen Brandt, Hans Harder (Eds.)

Wege durchs Labyrinth
Festschrift zu Ehren von Rahul Peter Das

Wege durchs Labyrinth ist eine Festschrift zu Ehren von Professor Dr. Rahul Peter Das. Sie enthält deutsch- und englischsprachige Beiträge von Kollegen und Kolleginnen, Schülern und Schülerinnen sowie Weggefährten von Professor Das. Die hier versammelten Aufsätze bilden verschiedene thematische Schwerpunkte ab, die auch Professor Das in seinem umfangreichen wissenschaftlichen Oeuvre bearbeitet hat. Dazu gehören Sanskrit-Studien, historische Sprachwissenschaft, Texteditionen in neuindoarischen Sprachen, Soziolinguistik, südasiatische Religionsgeschichte, bengalische und Hindi-Literatur, Wissenschaftsgeschichte der Indologie/Südasienstudien sowie auch Tamilistik. Einige der Beiträge knüpfen direkt an Rahul Peter Das' Werk oder bestimmte Schriften an, während die Gesamtheit der Aufsätze seine verschiedenen Forschungsinteressen und unterschiedlichen methodischen Ansätze widerspiegeln.

Beitragende zu dieser Festschrift sind Carmen Brandt, Renata Czekalska, Ines Fornell, Eli Franco, Ratul Ghosh, Olav Hackstein, Hans Harder, Martin Kämpchen, Klaus Karttunen, Makoto Kitada, Frank J. Korom, Agnieszka Kuczkiewicz-Fras, Halina Marlewicz, Ulrike Niklas, Tatiana Oranskaia, Felix Otter, Adapa Satyanarayana, Britta Schulze-Thulin, Sabine Franziska Strich, Heinz Werner Wessler und Benjamin Zachariah.

Danuta Stasik (Ed.)

The Rāmāyaṇa Narratives in Indian Literature and Arts

The Rāmāyaṇa tradition is well known for an inexhaustible variety of forms and narrative structures transmitted by different media. Oral–Written–Performed examines selected textual, oral, visual and performing forms in which the Rāma story has functioned in Indian literature and arts. It also investigates the techniques that transform the Rāmāyaṇa narratives. The volume addresses the question how narratives become vehicles for literary conventions and ideologies expressive of diverse sectarian concerns, or cultural values. It is an excellent companion to earlier publications on the Rāmāyaṇa tradition and indispensable reading for students of South Asian literature, arts and religion.

Judith Müller, Juliane Dame, Carsten Butsch (Eds.)

Aktuelle Forschungsbeiträge zu Südasien
9. Jahrestagung des AK Südasien, 25./26. Januar 2019, Heidelberg

Geographien Südasiens, Vol. 11

Extended abstracts der 9. Jahrestagung des AK Südasien, 25./26. Januar 2019 in Heidelberg.

Ulrich Unger

Grammatik des Klassischen Chinesisch

Reinhard Emmerich (Ed.)

The Grammar of Classical Chinese, which until now was only partially distributed among the author’s friends and students, has now been published as a whole. Initially created as nine volumes, written roughly between 1980 and 2000, the grammar was digitally revised and merged into one edition. Its subject, Classical Chinese, is defined by Unger as the language of the 5th to the 3rd century BCE, the final period of Old Chinese and the actual age of formation of Chinese culture. Unger’s working method was to extract the relevant grammatical categories from the language itself. As the most comprehensive Western language description of the Classical Language to date, it shall serve as a reference work among both experts and advanced students, who aim to gain a deeper understanding of Classical Chinese.


Maya Burger, Nadia Cattoni (Eds.)

Early Modern India
Literatures and Images, Texts and Languages

This book presents recent scholarly research on one of the most important literary and historical periods of the Early Modern era from a wide range of approaches and perspectives. It contains a selection of contributions presented at the 12th International Conference on Early Modern Literatures of North India which provide fresh and new material as well as innovative methods to approach it.
The organizing principle of the volume lies in its exploration of the links between a multiplicity of languages (Indian vernaculars, Persian, Sanskrit), of media (texts, paintings, images) and of traditions (Hindu, Jain, Sikh, Muslim). The role of the Persian language and the importance of the translations from Sanskrit into Persian are discussed in light of the translational turn. The relations between various yogic traditions, especially of Nath origin, from Kabir and other sampradayas, are reconsidered.

Carsten Butsch, Alexander Follmann, Judith Müller (Eds.)

Aktuelle Forschungsbeiträge zu Südasien
8. Jahrestagung des AK Südasien, 19./20. Januar 2018, Köln

Geographien Südasiens, Vol. 10

Extended abstracts der 8. Jahrestagung des AK Südasien, 19./20. Januar 2018 in Köln.

Andrei Dörre, Stefan Schütte (Eds.)

Potentials and Challenges for Development in Naryn, Kyrgyzstan

Berlin Geographical Papers, Vol. 48

After gaining independence in 1991, Kyrgyzstan experienced fundamental transformations of the political system, the economy and the sociocultural sphere. These transformations had various immediate impacts on the people’s daily life in terms of income generation, the provision with food and consumer goods, the management and use of locally available natural resources, as well as the availability of reliable social services, including health and education. Questions related to national belonging and religious identity represent another fundamental challenge of the post-Soviet era, requiring the search for new answers. Against this background, the student project focused on three thematic clusters including ten subprojects: I) ‘Economy: markets, trade, and agriculture’; II) ‘Connections and relations: rural-urban nexuses’; and III) ‘Culture and society: religion and identity’. The studies were conducted in close cooperation with the Naryn State University named after S. Naamatov located in Naryn Town, the administrative centre of Naryn Oblast’. Ten groups of up to three Kyrgyz and German students addressed specific issues through case study approaches applied in selected rural and urban settings of the province. The scope of the individual subprojects encompassed issues like the car trade and public transport system in Naryn Town, the bazaar economy of the city, trade and value chains of milk and other animal products, the management and utilisation of pastures and irrigation water, challenges related to drinking water supply, small-scale gold mining, endogenous development potentials, and the representation of national identity in the study region. This report includes a selection of the manifold results gained by the Kyrgyz-German student group, and presents six case studies addressing diverse topics

Marina-Elena Heyink

Where is Jawaharlal Nehru University? Tracking Changes in India's Higher Education Development

Berlin Geographical Papers, Vol. 49

In recent years, the phenomenon of nationalism has evoked much attention when negotiating the institutional design of India’s universities. Justifiably rejecting the political project of naturalizing or essentializing the concepts of nation and nationhood, critical public and scientific discourse, however, often reduces nationalism to its symbolic or idealistic dimension. On the contrary, material structures of public institutional spaces have received little geographical attention when approaching national ideals, aspirations, conflicts, and controversies. This is despite the fact that constructed environments and spatial designs form a substantial link between the nation state of India and its public higher education in institutions. Arguing that space makes a difference, the paper in hand raises nationalism as a problem of simultaneous positioning. By tracking India’s higher education development through the example of Jawaharlal Nehru University campus space, I will not only focus on nationalism as a matter of symbol and categories of consciousness but also on the material dimensions of institutional design, namely building distribution, constructional aesthetics, and spatial accessibility. Thus, this work offers perspectives that extend beyond the idealization or demonization of the various notions of the Indian nation.

Raphael Pinheiro Machado Rehm

Small scale variability in soil hydraulic properties in a headwater catchment of the Indian Western Ghats

Geographien Südasiens, Vol. 9

The Indian West Ghats are located in the monsoon climate with rainfalls up to over 3000 mm a year. Since the mountain chain is the source of almost all major Indian rivers, the characteristics of the headwater catchment areas are of great importance for the water balance of the entire Indian sub-continent. However, due to its proximity to the agglomeration areas of Mumbai and Pune, the previously rural Pune district in Maharashtra is facing strong demographic and economic growth and is thus increasingly affected by land use change. While these changes can be recognized from satellite data, changes in soil properties are rare avilable. Water affect a variety of physical, chemical and biological processes and by that almost every aspect of soil development and soil behavior. Conversely, the characteristics of soils for hydrological variables, such as the storage and provision of plant-available water, are crucial. In order to understand changes in the hydrology of a region, detailed knowledge of the effects of land use change on soil properties is required. This work should help to understand the characteristic of tropical soil formations in the northern Western Ghats and to show possible effects of different land uses on soil quality with a special focus on hydraulic properties.

Rafael Klöber, Manju Ludwig (Eds.)

HerStory. Historical Scholarship between South Asia and Europe
Festschrift in Honour of Gita Dharampal-Frick

This Festschrift in honour of Professor Dr. Gita Dharampal-Frick assembles a number of innovative contributions by friends, colleagues, and former students to the multiple research areas in the field of history of South Asia that Gita Dharampal-Frick has enriched over the last decades. The essays included in this volume address a broad number of topics and periods, ranging from transcultural encounters between South Asia and Europe, reassessments of colonial discourses and their legacies, novel approaches to the maritime history of the Indian Ocean, and to perspectives on M.K. Gandhi.

Christof Zotter

Asketen auf Zeit
Das brahmanische Initiationsritual der Bāhun und Chetrī im Kathmandu-Tal

After its integration into the series of life-cycle rituals (saṃskāra) in the first millennium BC, the Brahmanical initiation (upanayana) underwent continual revision and reinterpretation. Today it is performed during a ritual complex called vratabandha, in which it is conducted together with three other saṃskāras, the whole set being embedded in a preliminary and framing ritual.

For the present volume, a combination of textual studies and fieldwork was employed to examine the principles by which a particular Vedic school (the White Yajurveda) and a concrete context (the vratabandha of Nepalese Bāhuns and Chetrīs) combines and adapts elements of different types of ritual (saṃskāra, pūjā, homa, etc.) in order to accommodate itself to changing times and circumstances.

The detailed formal analysis provides a key to interpreting the meaning of the whole complex of acts that constitute a vratabandha, in which the initiate temporarily becomes an ascetic in order to be initiated into his future householder role as a ritual practitioner.   

Markus Schleiter

Die Birhor - Ethnographie und die Folgen
Ein indischer "Stamm" im Spiegel kolonialer und postkolonialer Beschreibungen

Die Birhor sind eine indische ‚Stammesgruppe’. Bekannt sind die Birhor als Spezialisten für Seilherstellung, Affenjagd, Heilkräuter und andere Waldprodukte. In diesem Buch untersucht der Autor die ethnographischen Darstellungen dieser Gruppe über Ansätze der Postcolonial Studies und zeigt dabei Widersprüche, aber auch erstaunliche Gemeinsamkeiten von den ersten kolonialen Berichten seit 1865 bis hin zu den neuesten Ethnographien. Anhand einer eigenen einjährigen „Teilnehmenden Beobachtung“ in deren Siedlungen deckt der Autor auf, dass diese Beschreibungen der Birhor – unter anderem als „unschuldige“ und „fröhliche“ „Jäger und Sammler“ – erhebliche ambivalente Konsequenzen für diese selbst haben. Diese Auswirkungen stehen in engem Zusammenhang mit der staatlichen Entwicklungsarbeit Indiens und umfassen Todesfälle durch Malaria.