The closely tied interactions of some of the major CIRDIS initiatives detailed below demonstrate the dynamic process of interdisciplinary studies and cross-faculty cooperation fostered by the platform:


The National Research Network (NFN) Cultural History of the Western Himalaya from the 8th Century, S 98 Austrian Science Fund (2007-2013) was an interdisciplinary programme for primary research in the Western Himalaya (Speaker: Univ. Prof. Dr. Deborah Klimburg-Salter) consisted of six sub-projects: Art History, Tibetan Manuscripts, Tibetan Inscriptions, Philosophy, Pre-Islamic Numismatic History and Cartography project “Cultural History Information System” (CHIS).

Graduate School (Initiativkolleg)

The Graduate School (Initiativkolleg) Cultural Transfers and Cross-Contacts in the Himalayan Borderlands, 2011-2014 (Speaker: Univ. Prof. Dr. Martin Gaenszle) brought together the expertise of the various disciplines of CIRDIS members in order to support and supervise doctoral projects that examine many diverse aspects of cultural transfer in the broader Himalayan region, including the transfer of goods, images, rituals, texts, ideas and norms.

Cultural Heritage Preservation

Besides the study of cultural traditions, special emphasis was also given to Cultural Heritage Preservation, in particular the preservation of endangered monuments, and the training of experts in this field, as was done in the Nako Research and Preservation Project (NRPP, 2002-2009) in order to raise among the local population the awareness of their own cultural heritage. In addition to the initiative two major workshops with international participants and conservation specialists have been organized: ´Buddhistisches Kulturerbe´ in June 2009 and the ´Cultural Heritage Preservation Workshop´ together with the CTRC, Beijing in April 2011, which have demonstrated the importance of the practical application of theoretical knowledge gained through interdisciplinary collaboration.

Joint research with Chinese Institutions on Tibet

Joint research initiatives on Tibet are landmarks in an emerging process of scientific exchange between Western and Chinese institutions. The initiatives comprised two joint conferences in Bejing (2007) and Vienna (2011), resulting in two bilingual publications.

Historiographies East-West

Divergences in interpreting history in the Western and Asian spheres have raised questions of new methodologies and new theoretical perspectives. These issues were dealt with in several round table discussions and distinguished guest lectures, dealing with themes such as cultural transfers in the colonial context, the concept of “object agency”, and the role of modern art in India.