Fr, 08.04.2022 14:00

Global Eurasia Workshop: Agents of Knowledge – Cultural Brokers

Online workshop with Sonja Brentjes (Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin) and Kurtis Schaeffer (University of Virginia)

Folios of old manuscripts in library of Thiksey Monastery. Ladakh, India; © Dmitry Rukhlenko

The online workshop “Agents of Knowledge – Cultural Brokers” with Sonja Brentjes (Berlin) and Kurtis Schaeffer (Virginia) will explore the concept of ‘cultural broker’ in different cultures and parts of the world over a long span of time. Schaeffer will discuss the idea of cultural broker in Tibetan cultural history, especially in connection with South Asia. Brentjes will problematize the concept of cultural broker with regard to Islamicate societies in the early modern period and consider its applicability to earlier periods and other cultures.

The workshop is part of the thematic platform "Global Eurasia – Comparison and Connectivity". It sets the stage for the larger conference to be held on 28 and 29 April 2022, "Diffusion of knowledge and transformations of spaces of knowledge". Cultural brokerage and its role for the dissemination of knowledge will be key topics at the conference.

 

Kurtis Schaeffer
Cultural Brokers and Other Historiographic Metaphors: Perspectives from Indo-Tibetan Cultural History

This paper explores the contours and the potential usefulness of the concept of cultural broker in the context of the long history of Indo-Tibetan Buddhism. I'll begin by sketching the two intersecting domains of thought here: "Indo-Tibetan" Buddhist history and its historiography, and the history and varied meanings of the concept of cultural broker. Then I'll offer an operative definition of cultural broker. Next I'll present one example drawn from the history of Buddhism in Tibet that we can use as a case study for using the broker concept to best effect. Finally, I'll suggest that even if the concept of cultural broker might be found to be limited in its scope and application, the very process of defining, refining, and applying this and other concepts is a key aspect of the challenge of explaining cultural change over time.


Sonja Brentjes
Were participants in cross-cultural exchange of premodern scientific knowledge cultural brokers?

The concept of cultural broker is rarely used in history of science before the 16th century. When it is used it seems to be limited to men from Catholic countries and institutions in colonial contexts. This is in so far surprising as the histories of premodern sciences are described as replete with acts of cross-cultural exchange of scientific knowledge. In order to question the applicability of the concept cultural broker to those acts I will first discuss Korinna Schönhärl’s definition of what cultural brokers do as “double allopoiesis” with regard to European travelers in Islamicate societies in the early modern period and then ask whether and if so, how her approach is translatable to earlier periods and other cultures.

Informationen

 

Termin:
8. April 2022, 14:00-17:00 Uhr


Online via Zoom

Zoom Link


Organisation:

Cristina Pecchia (IKGA)
Clemens Gantner (IMAFO)

Global Eurasia - Comparison and Connectivity