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Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences - Institute of Asian and African Studies

Das moderne Indien in deutschen Archiven, 1706-1989 (MIDA)


A long-term project financed by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) under guidance of Prof. Dr. Ravi Ahuja (University Göttingen, Centre for Modern Indian Studies), PD Dr. Heike Liebau (Zentrum Moderner Orient Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Michael Mann (Institut für Asien- und Afrikawissenschaften, HU Berlin)


The richness of holdings in German archives on the history of the modern India has so far been insufficiently recognised and its inherent scientific and academic potential has as well been disregarded. On the one hand, their study can open international, historical research on India new perspectives that has so far been cluttered up by an exaggerated fixation on the British colonial archives. On the other hand, this access of unused sources allows the reconstruction of a German-Indian entangled history since the 18th century. Both usages enable researchers to formulate new innovative comparative global historical questions. This doubled widening of the academic perspective will as well create new chances for the intensification of communication and cooperation between historical-academic traditions in India and Germany that so far have rarely perceived one another. The project "Modern India in German Archives/Modernes Indien in Deutschen Archiven (MIDA)" will create the requirements for new successful researches by

  • systematically register and catchphrase the holdings of German Archives on the modern India and on the German-Indian entangled history, from the establishment of the Danish-Halleschen Mission in South India (1706) till the end of the German binational system (1989/90) in a to-be-created database with public access
  • handing an online-database to the international research and interest community as a growing and open digital ressource for coordinated and directed research
  • On the basis of the systematic registration of all holdings, gradually create a digital, expendable archival guide that will enable the international research as well as a wider interested public to gain an overview on the most relevant holdings in all their thematic wideness
  • demonstrating through a series of piloting research projects and an resulting emerging publication series the potential of German archival ressources to a) enhance the research by German and Indian historians and b) create the then required multilingual and interregional qualification profiles.
  • intensifying the German-Indian research cooperation in the human sciences through directed measures like the "Tandem-structure" of piloting projects which has been announced as a goal by the Deutsche Forschungsgesellschaft and the Indian Council for Historical Research