Comparative Approaches to Ethnicity, Region and Empire in Christianity, Islam and Buddhism (400-1600 CE) VISCOM

ISA’s long-term interdisciplinary grant project part in historical anthropology is entering completion. While the grant's contract period (2011-2019) has come to a close by the end of 2019, about 25% of main comparative and analytical project results are at various stages of elaboration and will be published before the end of 2021.

VISCOM focuses on the question of how particular communities and identities are constructed in the Middle Ages and the Early Modern Period. The project proposes a comparative approach focusing on Christian, Islamic and Buddhist examples in order to explore the interaction between religious and political 'visions of community'.

For almost a decade, several networks among ISA's staff have actively contributed to the largest interdisciplinary grant project in Austria's humanities at the time, i.e. the special research realm (SFB) "Visions of Community" (VISCOM): Investigating and comparing processes of community formation in South West Arabia, Tibetan-speaking parts of Europe, and central Europe between Late Antiquity and early modern times. The project was funded by the Austrian Science Fund, the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences. As a collaborative research endeavour between historians, philologists and socio-cultural anthropologists, VISCOM contributed decisively to ISA's interdisciplinary and European standing while promoting the careers of its junior and senior participants.

This project was carried out by the University of Vienna and the Austrian Academy of Sciences, under the direction of Walter Pohl (Institute for Middle Ages Research). Comparative research was undertaken through a cooperation of Social Anthropologists (Institute for Social Anthropology – Andre Gingrich), Tibetologists (Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia – Birgit Kellner, Vincent Eltschinger [formerly Helmut Krasser(✝)]) and specialists in the field of Austrian and Eastern European History (University of Vienna - Christina Lutter, Oliver Schmitt).

Projektleitung (South Arabia):
Andre Gingrich

Projektmitarbeiter (am ISA):
Johann Heiss, Magdalena Moorthy Kloss, Odile Kommer