National and EU grants awarded to GI Affiliates in 2016
Petra Sijpesteijn (LIAS/Arabic Language and Culture) - GI Coordinator
Petra Sijpesteijn studies the Islamic empire. This world empire existed - following the death of Mohammed - for almost 300 years, and for many Muslims it still exists today. However, the Arabs apparently had little understanding of organisational matters, and no imperial tradition to speak of. Sijpestein's research focuses on the question of how this empire nonetheless managed to be so successful.
Erik Bähre (Institute for Cultural Anthropology/Development Sociology)
Erik Bähre researches the morality of life insurances. He examines the considerations people make when they sign up for insurance products, and whether these considerations have been influenced by the credit crisis of 2007. He is also interested in finding out about the impact of commercial insurances on solidarity within the family, members of associations and the state. Read more on Bähre's blog.
Dr. Miguel John Versluys (Archaeology)
Miguel John Versluys (Archaeology) has been awarded a prestigious Vici grant for: Innovating objects. The agency of global connections in the Roman world (200-30 BC). Global Interactions provided support for the development of this proposal in the form of a Breed grant awarded last year. He is also the recipient of a GI Seed Grant, Globalisation, Materiality and the Transference of Cultures that initiated the Material Agency Forum (MAF), which we continue to support.
Innovating objects. The agency of global connections in the Roman world (200-30 BC).
What happens to societies when they get caught up in the dynamics of Globalisation? How do they deal with the new networks they become part of? How do they balance the need for identity with the opportunities for innovation? These questions matter greatly to our present-day world but have been equally crucial to the development of many, if not all, societies in world history. Providing an understanding of the long-term, historical impact and agency of global connections is therefore essential.
This project will do so by studying one of the principal examples of Globalisation in history: the Roman world. Focussing on the formative phase of ca. 200-30 BC, it will investigate how "Rome" was constructed through and from its global connections.
It will approach this question from the innovative perspective of investigating objects as instigators of change. The influx of new objects leads to new practices and configurations. New material flows shrink geographies and expand imaginations. Objects, therefore, are crucial to understand how Globalisation works as a process for people.
Using a globalising and object-centered approach towards the second and first century BC Mediterranean will redefine the Roman world as a place where various (Eurasian and African) networks came together with the Mediterranean in a period that is characterised by an unprecedented acceleration of globalisation processes. In applying a bottom-up approach, the project will study the material repertoire of two widely influential Hellenistic-Roman hubs (Samosata and Alexandria) in an interdisciplinary manner and starting from Artefact Studies. It will identify and analyse the changes moulded by objects and their innovating effects, as well as consequences for other parts of Outer Eurasia.
The project works from "small places to large issues". Its objectives are:
- to conduct an interdisciplinary, in-depth study of two key archaeological sites in order to investigate how, in those hubs, new objects function as possibilities for change and innovation,
- to rewrite the formative, second-first century BC phase of the Mediterranean world and to redefine the formation of the Roman world and Roman identity against that background,
- to better understand the (historical) relations between innovation, object-possibilities and Globalisation.
The project will result in safeguarding two unique, historically important and endangered cultural heritage top-sites in present-day Turkey and Egypt for future generations; providing fresh perspectives on the formation of the Roman world; and generating new insights on Globalisation and people by studying objects as channeling change and innovation.
Dr. Gabrielle van den Berg (LIAS)
Gabrielle van den Berg has received a prestigious VICI grant for her project: Turks, texts and territory:Imperial ideology and cultural production in Central Eurasia. She has also received support from Global Interactions for two seed grant projects: Guiding Travelers and The Golden Horde. Dr. Van den Berg is also the project leader of the Central Asia project, funded by AMT.
Imperial ideology and cultural production in Central Eurasia
The eleventh century marked the emergence of the originally nomadic Turks as a new political elite in the history of Central Asia and the Middle East. Under their powerful patronage a new political culture arose in the Islamic world, inspired by an imperial rather than an exclusively Islamic outlook. This shift brought Persian into the limelight as a new cosmopolitan and imperial language across Central Asia, North India, Turkey and Iran. Until a few decades ago, the received view was that the Turks, as nomadic rulers with a military background, needed Iranian bureaucrats to effectuate their rule over sedentary societies, and hence sedentarized themselves and adopted Persian culture in a one-way acculturation process. Though this view has been challenged in recent years, the idea of a dichotomy between the nomadic, uncivilised Turk, representing the ‘sword’, and the sedentary, civilised Iranian, representing the ‘pen’, persists in academic debate. Turks, texts and territory aims to further challenge this binary view by bringing in the vast but understudied resource of cultural production, approached as an integrated phenomenon, across media, languages and genres. The spatial framework will be provided by five representative Silk Road cities, situated at present in different nation states: Kashgar, Samarkand, Ghazna, Tabriz and Konya. As capitals and nodal points of five medieval Turko-Persian empires, each of these cities represents a particular stage in the development of imperial ideology and its expression by means of literary and artistic production, as preserved in various examples of cultural heritage, cherished today as symbols of national identity. The aim of this project is to map the interaction between imperial ideology and literary and artistic production in a diachronic and synchronic perspective and to contextualize policies of heritage in the modern nation states which emerged from the premodern Turko-Persian world.
Dr. Anne-Isabelle Richard (History) has received a Veni grant for her research project ‘Eurafrica, African Perspectives, 1918-1970s’. The project will examine the relationship between Africa and Europe from an African perspective.
The relationship between Africa and Europe has been shaped in many ways. One of these is Eurafrica, which suggests that Europe and Africa are complementary continents and depend on each other. Eurafrica has always been examined from a European perspective. This project will examine what Africans thought about Eurafrica and how they used it for their own purposes. The project will focus on Senegal and Ghana as regional hubs with contrasting attitudes to Eurafrica.