Austria has announced the recipients of its first Clusters of Excellence. Five projects were awarded funding, including EurAsian Transformations: Discovering the Cultural Heritage of Eurasia. Tijana Krstić from the Department of Medieval Studies will join colleagues from the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and the universities of Vienna and Innsbruck, on the Board of Directors for the cluster, alongside 31 researchers from across Austria (including István Perczel, Katalin Szende and Daniel Ziemann from our department) who will explore the growth and decline of empires, environmental changes, and mobility and migration affected economic developments, resulting in new constructions of identity and strategies of exclusion in societies and religions.
The chief intellectual goal of the cluster is to reorient the study of Eurasia from a global history approach based largely on sources in Western languages, to the rich textual resources from the regions, thus setting the basis for greater diversity and appreciation of cultural heritage in both research and teaching curricula. It also aims to set up a new platform for collaborative research and graduate teaching that integrates both Austrian institutions (including museums and libraries) and partner institutions, scholars, and students from countries across Europe and Asia.
The cluster has a €15 million grant allocation for the next five years to establish a research and training infrastructure for studying the rich and diverse textual, visual, and material resources created over the last 3000 years of Eurasian history. The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) said that “the dimension and scope of the research conducted in a cluster go far beyond what was previously possible within the FWF’s existing programme portfolio”.