Is Nepal a nation state

11/16/2017 10:56

Violence in history, cultural preservation in Nepal and Iran before and after the revolution

Dr. Sybille Wüstemann Office
Gerda Henkel Foundation

Gerda Henkel Foundation supports 45 new projects and provides 3.4 million euros

The Gerda Henkel Foundation supports 45 research projects worldwide. The spectrum ranges from investigations into the history of violence to the restoration of historically important palaces in Mustang, Nepal. Eleven scientific projects are supported as part of the special program "Islam, the modern nation state and transnational movements", including three projects on the history of Iran. At their autumn meeting, the foundation committees provided funding totaling 3.4 million euros.

Funding examples I: Violence in history
In 2013 and 2014, Dr. Nicolaus Seefeld (Bonn) in the Mexican state of Campeche the mass grave of Uxul with the remains of 27 individuals. The find from the time of the Mayan culture of the Classical period (250-900 AD) met with great interest in research and the public. The laying down and the traces of physical violence indicate that the buried are victims of ritual violence. With a research grant from the Gerda Henkel Foundation, Nicolaus Seefeld will compare the findings on the grave of Uxul with those of other mass graves. He wants to systematize the function of ritual violence in classical Mayan society.

Historian PD Dr. Gregor Rohmann (Göttingen). Between 1389 and 1466 the "vitality brothers" appear in sources. Research saw it as pirates who initially fought for the dukes of Mecklenburg in the war against Denmark from 1390/91. They then became "pirates" and in some cases the opponents of some Hanseatic cities. Gregor Rohmann questions this representation. If one takes a closer look at the contemporary perception of violence, according to his approach, a different concept of the vitality brothers emerges.

Funding example II: Cultural heritage in Mustang
Lo Manthang, the capital of the former Kingdom of Mustang in today's Nepal, has been on the so-called tentative world heritage list of UNESCO since 2008. In terms of cultural history, the palaces of the kings of Mustang represent an important building group and impressive examples of the construction method in the 15th century. Not least because of the earthquake in 2015, some palace complexes in the region are severely damaged. Aim of a research project headed by Prof. Dr. Ulrike Wulf-Rheidt (German Archaeological Institute Berlin) and Dr. It is Susanne von der Heide (HimalAsia Foundation Kathmandu, Nepal) to document and repair three particularly endangered palaces, the palaces in Gemi, Dhagmar and Thingkar. The Gerda Henkel Foundation supports the project as part of the "Patrimonies" funding priority, in which the foundation is committed to the preservation of cultural heritage, especially in crisis regions. After the earthquake in 2015, together with the Federal Foreign Office, it announced a Nepal initiative for measures that have since supplemented humanitarian aid for the population and rebuilt important structures.

Funding examples III: Iran before and after the revolution
State Islam in pre-revolutionary Iran is the subject of a research project headed by the Iranist Dr. Bianca Devos (Marburg). The focus is on the reign of Mohammad Reza Shah (1941-1979). His western and anti-religious stance shaped the image of Iran from those years until today, not least under the impression of the revolution of 1979. But is this picture correct? The aim of the project is to examine the Shah's religious policy in detail and to evaluate archival material that has not yet been published.

Dr. Simon Wolfgang Fuchs (Freiburg). He explores the question of how the revolution was discussed in the Muslim world in the weeks, months and years after the events. While these have been well researched for Iran itself, the perspectives of Shiite actors, Sunni thinkers and politicians in the Middle East and South Asia, but also of left-wing groups, have so far received little attention. The project starts here in order to gain important conclusions as to why the revolution was spatially confined to Iran.

Dr. Sahar Aurore Saeidnia (Paris) exits. It is based on the observation that charity is becoming increasingly widespread worldwide, regardless of democratic or authoritarian, religious or secular contexts. As part of her research, the sociologist will look at charity practice in Iran between 1906 and 2016. She pays particular attention to the question of how religion and politics are intertwined in everyday life. The study compares the political center of Tehran and the holy (provincial) city of Qom.

Press office of the Gerda Henkel Foundation
Dr. Sybille Wüstemann
Tel. +49 211 93 65 24 19
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Criteria of this press release:
Art / design, history / archeology, religion, social studies
transregional, national
Research projects