Heidelberg Centre of Transcultural Studies at Heidelberg University (HCTS)
Founded in April 2013, the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) is a central institute of Heidelberg University (Germany), situated at the Karl Jaspers Centre. It is home to outstanding international scholars and who also share a variety of disciplines to engage in an interdisciplinary dialogue with a focus on the dynamics of global transcultural processes. A critical rethinking of area studies is a relevant aspect of the research and research-based teaching activities at HCTS.
The HCTS is committed to topics that cut across conventional disciplinary and political borders, and not only fosters creative, original, speculative thinking, but also advances knowledge of how we address society’s challenges in an increasingly globalized world. At the HCTS, five professorships expand the transcultural approach: Buddhist Studies, Cultural Economic History, Global Art History, Intellectual History and Visual and Media Anthropology. Collaborations with international academic and non-academic partners are an important foundation that facilitates the dynamic learning habitat present at the institute.
The Master’s and Graduate Programmes in Transcultural Studies (MATS, GPTS) offer a structured, interdisciplinary curriculum, simultaneously enabling individual research projects. The four-semester Master in Transcultural Studies, taught in English, and started in 2010, is the most successful international Master at Heidelberg University and is characterized by its research-based teaching and its genuinely inter- and transdisciplinarity. Students from the MATS will form the core group of the DAAD initiative, as well as students from the Master of South Asia Studies, Anthropology and the new Master in Cultural Heritage Studies. Major attention in the teaching profile is already placed on cities, migration, art production and circulation as well as social change. Much emphasis is placed on research-based learning and on the themes of Migration, Urban Transformation and Art/Architecture.
As a productive ‘think-space’, the HCTS serves as a site for developing new research methods and is a place to test innovative approaches to transcultural studies. The HCTS also fosters the development of new, potentially large-scale research projects. By inviting fellows to conduct part of their research at the HCTS, it also aims at establishing an international community of scholars dedicated to enhance transcultural studies even further.
The HCTS is a member of the new Centre of Asian and Transcultural Studies (CATS), opened in 2019, the largest ensemble of Asia-researching disciplines at a university in Europe, currently assembling more than 50 full professors, teaching around 3500 students. CATS, with its hybrid Asia-Library (500,000 Books and multimedia learning tools, as well as a digital lab) will be the largest Asia-based research institution in continental Europe (https://www.cats.uni-heidelberg.de/). CATS offers new types and forms of interaction and dialogue between and beyond Asia and Europe, where they are not taken as territorially bounded units but rather as heterogeneous, interwoven structures constantly subject to historical change and to changes in ‘reading’ and ‘making’ history.