History of Interaction in the East Asian, Eurasian, Indian Ocean & Asia-Pacific Worlds
This research focus investigates on the variety of interactions, communication and exchange relations in the macro-region of Eurasia, East Asia, the Asia-Pacific and Indian Ocean Worlds across both land and sea routes. Major emphasis will be placed on the transfer of science and technologies, commodity and product exchange, trade, cultural aspects in their widest interpretation, religions, as well as migration and the organisation and functioning of networks.
We will analyse continental and maritime exchange and transfer of knowledge, ideas, products and people, including forms of migration. To this end, we will particularly investigate forms of interaction that have been important in both the past and the present, such as military (including geographical knowledge as portrayed in maps; weapons, horses, or provisions); medical knowledge and medicinal products, including diseases; aspects of culture (such as food, music) and religion (such as Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam); and historical naval enterprises and maritime commerce.
A milestone of our research lies in the parallel comparative analysis of both archaeological and textual evidence and a cross-cultural inter-disciplinary approach. The use of a wide range of sources from archaeological findings to texts, documents, and pictorial material, to linguistic evidence, will be a hallmark of the approach.
Appraising Risks: Patterns of Major Socio-Economic Risk and Risk Projection in the Indian Ocean World
Prof. Dr. Angela Schottenhammer is part of a multi-disciplinary, international team of scholars under the directorship of Professor Gwyn Campbell of McGill University that has been awarded a $2.5 million partnership grant funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) to investigate six periods of historical and contemporary environmental (e.g. climate change, volcanism, monsoons, cyclones, drought) and human (e.g. famine, disease, conflict, migration) crisis, in order to elucidate past-to-to-present patterns that will help inform current and future risk preparedness and socio-human responses to environmental crises and disasters.
The Indian Ocean world (IOW), a macro-region stretching from Africa to China, is a significant global socio-ecological system. Factors such as climate change, the monsoon system, El Niño Southern Oscillation, and volcanism, have profoundly affected its history. Moreover, it contains 17 of the 20 countries most at risk from global warming and associated rising sea levels, and increasing frequency and intensity of drought, famine, conflict over scarce natural resources, and human migration.
This research project applies a conceptual-analytical methodology designed to bridge the boundaries between social and natural sciences. Adopting Fernand Braudel’s view that conventional frameworks of historical analysis are inadequate as analytical tools because they largely ignore both environmental factors and natural cycles and related temporal spans, project members will interrogate, on macro and micro levels, the relationship between clusters of unfavourable environmental events and adverse historical tipping points.
Schottenhammer will lead one of eight teams in the project. Her team, which focuses on the eastern section of the Indian ocean world (IOW), includes Dr. Mathieu Torck and Wim De Winter, M.A. (both Ghent University, Belgium), Dr. Ma Guang (Shandong University, PRChina), Dr. Kimura Jun (Tokai University, Japan), Xu Zhexin (Salzburg University, Austria), Dr. Li Man (Vasco Da Gama European Institute of Diplomacy and International Relations, Belgium), Dr. Alexander Jost (European Centre for Chinese Studies, Peking University, PRChina; Salzburg University, Austria), Prof. Dr. Tansen Sen and Dr. Elke Papelitzky (both NYU Shanghai). Her team will recruit a number of PhD and postgraduate student (including habilitation) to write their thesis on issues related to the impacts in the eastern IOW of the six periods of environmental crisis and human reactions to them.