CIRDIS is conceived as a center of excellence at the University of Vienna, that fosters the trans-disciplinary study of the cultural history of South and Inner Asia by encouraging primary and translational research, teaching and international exchange in this area.

CIRDIS represents an extensive network which includes senior scholars, Post-Docs and graduate students at the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies, Faculty of Historical and Cultural Studies, and the Faculty of Earth Sciences, Geography and Astronomy. Building on the extraordinary strengths and capacities of the University of Vienna, CIRDIS combines these with national institutions, such as the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien, the Weltmuseum Wien and international scholars to create a dynamic, trans-disciplinary research platform that encourages new research initiatives, as well as the development of sub-disciplines not previously represented at the University of Vienna.

The major objectives of CIRDIS are:

  1. Documentation and Archiving: In accordance with our policy of long-term preservation of research data and its open access, we intend to optimise research on the methodology and systems for the archiving, application, and dissemination of online databases for audio- and visual assets.
  2. Primary Research: Through fieldwork-based research, we aim to facilitate the expansion of knowledge on the cultural history of South and Inner Asia, in particular processes of cultural transfers, the formation of traditions and the constructions of community and belonging.
  3. Interdisciplinary Cooperation, International Exchange and Theorizing: CIRDIS encourage interdisciplinary collaboration, transdisciplinary research frameworks and international collaboration, in order to stimulate new theoretical approaches, conceptual schemes and innovative ideas that move beyond conventional disciplinary outlooks.
  4. Teaching and Educational Activities: We formulate and implement new models for research-based graduate education in the University of Vienna in coordination with existing MA and PhD programmes.
  5. Translation Research and Public Initiatives: It is a great concern to communicate the work of CIRDIS and the university not only to the scientific community but also to the general public by conceiving and acquiring new initiatives in translation studies.