How did universal religions shape the construction of particular communities and identities?
VISCOM proposes a comparative approach focusing on Christian, Islamic and Buddhist examples in the course of the Middle Ages in order to explore the interaction between religious and political visions of community. All three religions were used to legitimize imperial rule, but they also encouraged other forms of community, be they local, regional, civic, or ethnic. Here, interesting differences become visible: for instance, ethnicity played a different role in the three cultural zones.
Was that due to the respective impact of religion, or, in some cases, rather to their lack of impact? How did concepts, perceptions or cultural memories frame the emergence of new communities, and how were they in turn influenced by religious discourses?
How did different forms of
community (for instance, regional or ethnic groups and empires) interact?
These problems are situated between the fields of history and social
anthropology, of European and Asian studies, between religious and political
history, between research on discourse and on practice, and therefore have
not been addressed sufficiently so far.
Illustration: “Viscom-Gate II” © by Dagmar Giesriegl
Last Update: 30.04.13