How did universal religions shape the construction of particular communities and identities?
In December 2014, the
Austrian Science Fund (FWF) has decided to extend the funding of
VISCOM for a second period of four years. The second project phase
starts on March 1, 2015.
The FWF Special Research Programme (SFB) Visions of Community studies the influence of Christianity, Islam and Buddhism on the conception of religious and political communities in the medieval period. The central research question revolves around the meaning of spiritual and over-arching ideas and discourses about the concept of “communities”, and how these affect the formation and legitimation of particular communities, ranging from empires, territorial polities, tribes and ethnic groups, to more localised urban and agricultural communities as well as monastic and other types of religious communal living.
VISCOM has selected its exemplary case studies in order to cover a fairly wide spectrum of social formations and types of sources: among others, it deals with Christian constructions of community in early medieval exegetical and eschatological texts; with forms of identification regarding tribal and Islamic communities in South Arabia; with spiritual texts written in post-imperial Tibetan monasteries; with the production and the uses of an inclusive collection of saints’ lives in high and late medieval Austria; or with conflicts and their legal documentation in a 15th-century Dalmatian city.
In order to shed light on the dynamics between the ideal and reality of the formation of these communities, researchers from the Academy-affiliated Institute for the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia (IKGA), the Institute for Social Anthropology (ISA) and the Institute for Medieval Studies (IMaFo) have worked together with researchers from the Institute for History and the Institute for Eastern European History of the University of Vienna for the past four years already.
The first results have, among others, been published in a special issue of the prestigious international journal History and Anthropology.
In the second phase of this project, local and regional case studies will be combined with transversal and trans-regional research themes that will be addressed in interdisciplinary working groups. Cooperation within Visions of Community will revolve around these working groups, which will focus on the themes of Comparative Methodology; Spiritual Visions of Community; Urban Communities; and Tribes and Ethnicity.
Illustration: “Viscom-Gate II” © by
Illustration: “Viscom-Gate II” © by Dagmar Giesriegl
Last Update: 07.10.15