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Modern India in German Archives, 1706-1989 (MIDA)

Project Participants:

- Prof. Dr. Ravi Ahuja (Principal Investigator), Universität Göttingen, Centre for Modern Indian Studies (CeMIS)
- Dr. Heike Liebau, Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient (ZMO) Berlin
- Prof. Dr. Michael Mann, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften (IAAW)

- Funding: German Research Council (DFG)

- Duration: Nov. 2014 to Oct. 2026 (first funding period: Nov. 2014 to Oct. 2017)

Project Summary

The richness and the potential of the holdings of German archives on modern Indian history has been appreciated insufficiently so far. To the international community of historians of India, these resources can open up new research perspectives that have remained obstructed by an excessive fixation on British colonial archives. At the same time, innovative research questions can be generated for purposes of transnational historical comparison and for the historical analysis of "globalization" processes through an exploration of the modern history of German-Indian entanglements.

Moreover, the resulting twofold widening of research perspectives creates new chances for a more intensive communication and cooperation between Indian and German traditions of historical inquiry - traditions that have taken cognizance of each other, so far, only to a very limited extent. Through the following initiatives the long-term project "Modern India in German Archives" ("Das Moderne Indien in deutschen Archiven", MIDA) aims to produce the necessary conditions for this substantial endeavour.

MIDA will:

  • systematically collect in a single database catalogue and keyword information on holdings of German archives on modern India and the history of German-Indian entanglements, from the establishment of the Danish-Halle Mission in South India (1706) up to the end of the political division of Germany (1989/90);

  • make available this database to the international academic community on a long-term basis as a "growing" and open digital resource for the purpose of locating specific archival material;

  • provide the international academic community as well as a wider public with long-term access to a digital archive guide, which will be derived from the database and successively expanded in order to present an overview of the full thematic range of relevant collections;

  • demonstrate the potential of German archival resources for India-related studies in exemplary pilot research projects and a corresponding publication series. This will encourage a) a more intense utilization of these archival holdings particularly by German and Indian historians and b) the shaping of the necessary multilinguistic and inter-regional qualification profiles;

  • contribute to a sustained realization of the goal that was formulated on a bilateral workshop of the DFG and the Indian Council for Historical Research (ICHR) in November 2012, namely the intensification of German-Indian research co-operation in the Human Sciences. The German-Indian "tandem structure" according to which the pilot projects have been designed will serve as a key instrument to achieve this aim.

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