Universiteit Leiden

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Going Eurasian. Challenging traditional areal boundaries

Thursday 26 October 2017
Van Steenis
Einsteinweg 2
2333 CC Leiden

The theme of this PhDebates session derives from the  ‘2017 Leiden Asia year’, which aims ‘to put Leiden (the city, its museums and the University) more firmly on the international map as one of the world’s leading knowledge hubs on Asia’. From this quote it becomes apparent that the focus is not just on Asia itself, but also on how Leiden can benefit from looking east, signalling a very Eurocentric mind-set. Within this PhDebates session we would like to explore how research conducted at the Faculty of Archaeology can add to this narrative or perhaps change the perspective.

Within our own Faculty, a shift can be observed from research with an ‘area studies’ approach towards a perspective that concerns much larger geographical regions and their connected character. Especially scholars studying cultural phenomena in Europe, the Mediterranean or the Near East progressively attempt to reach beyond their traditional disciplinary regions and look for connections within the wider Eurasian continent. This generally means a shift towards the east – in terms of research questions, but also in terms of our academic practice. The challenges of going beyond our traditional areas of study' are wide-ranging: how do we balance between global and local perspectives? How do we effectively make connectivity part of our studies? How do we bridge our own scholarly traditions and the traditions of the areas more unknown to us? The issues raised by taking on a global, Eurasian perspective are often context-specific, but during these PhDebates we will explore also what we have in common by ‘going Eurasian’.

Guest speaker:

  • Marike van Aerde - Going beyond Gandhara: bridging cultural and environmental studies of the ancient Silk Roads

PhD speakers:

  • Roberto Arciero - Karl Marx and the Cotton. A perspective on the early irrigation system of Central Asia
  • Weiya Li - Studying Chinese archaeology at Leiden, now, and in the future
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