Austria’s position as a major center of expertise on cultural history of South and Inner Asia has been established through the acquisition of third-party funding (e.g. through the FWF, Gerda Henkel Stiftung, .. ) for research projects and academic networks. The wider Himalayan region, a unique world region and high mountain environment which has been the site of long-distance exchanges over many centuries, is also currently a contested area that continues to experience ongoing geopolitical and social conflicts and clashes. By combining historical, philological (language-focused), cultural, and social studies, our primary and field-work research will make full use of the high-level expertise located in Vienna in order to enhance our comprehension of the complex processes of identity formation, boundary-maintenance, the transmission of cultural traditions and the constructions of community and belonging through time and space throughout this region.