Donnerstag, 06. Juli 2017, 09:30 - 17:45 iCal

Cultures of Knowledge in Mutual Encounter

Scholars between India and Europe from Early Modernity to the Present

Seminarraum 1 des Instituts für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
Universitätscampus, Spitalgasse 2, Hof 2.7, 1090 Wien

Tagung, Konferenz, Kongress, Symposium

Weitere Termine

Freitag, 07. Juli 2017, 10:00 - 17:45

Backdrop, aims and relevance

In December 1926, the historian of Indian philosophy and Indian philosopher Surendranath Dasgupta (1887–1952) delivered a series of public lectures on “Ways to Philosophy in India and Europe” at the University of Vienna. Furthermore, at the invitation of the Association of Friends of Asian Art and Culture in Vienna the well-known scholar from Bengal presented a lecture accompanied by slides on “The Spirit of Indian Art” in the lecture hall of the ethnological collection of Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este, the heir to the Habsburg throne assassinated in 1914, in the Neue Hofburg (new castle). At this time, the first volume of Dasgupta’s comprehensive and influential “History of Indian Philosophy,” based on the Sanskrit sources, had already been published by Cambridge University Press, to be concluded in 1955 with the posthumously published fifth volume.

The association “Sammlung De Nobili – Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Indologie und Religions-forschung” (“De Nobili Research Library – Association for Indology and the Study of Religions”) at the Department of South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the University of Vienna, founded in 1989, is devoted to research on the encounter between the Indian and European intellectual worlds, the dissemination of the results of research on this broad topic through publications and the organization of pertinent functions, and the promotion of this encounter in the present. Even before the inception of the association, its founder, Gerhard Oberhammer, established a special research library called “Sammlung De Nobili” (“De Nobili Research Library”) in close cooperation with the Austrian cardinal Franz König who generously supported the acquisition of its first holdings. The association continues to build up this library which is nowadays maintained by the branch library for South Asian, Tibetan and Buddhist Studies of the Vienna University Library. Considering that Dasgupta had been in lively dialogue with renowned European philosophers, Indologists and scholars of religion ever since his doctoral studies with the British philosopher John McTaggart at Trinity College, Cambridge, the association has taken the ninetieth anniversary of Dasgupta’s visit to Vienna as the occasion for an international symposium on “Cultures of Knowledge in Mutual Encounter: Scholars between India and Europe from Early Modernity to the Present.”

The nine international speakers, many of them coming from the Indian–Nepalese cultural sphere or having their roots there, will throw new light on Dasgupta’s scholarly personality and his relation to European scholars, especially Mircea Eliade, author of “Yoga, Immortality and Freedom,” and will further elaborate on general and specific aspects of the cooperation and relation between Indian, i.e., South Asian, scholars and scholars in the European intellectual tradition from early modernity to the present by reference to other prominent exponents of the two cultures of knowledge. Two of these exponents are the Jesuit missionary in South India, Roberto de Nobili (1577–1656), the Italian name giver of the association and its library who brought together the two cultures of knowledge in a very special way in his own person, and the German Indologist Georg Bühler (1837–1898), who was Professor for Ancient Indian Philology and Antiquities at the University of Vienna from 1880 onwards after he had worked for many years for the British government in India. Inter alia through the closely related topics of translation, language acquisition and scholarly practice in the colonial context of nineteenth-century India and the psychological analysis of key concepts of the two worlds of knowledge, the lectures will present a broad-ranging image of the mutual interaction and enrichment of the two cultures of knowledge. Especially in a period of cultural confrontation and conflicts, they will highlight examples and possibilities of peaceful intellectual encounter and the mutual expansion of horizons under the banner of openness to the Other.

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Verein "Sammlung De Nobili – Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Indologie und Religionsforschung" und Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde

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Judith Starecek
Institut für Südasien-, Tibet- und Buddhismuskunde
4277 43502