The scheme is a joint initiative of the University of Tsukuba and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). It is being jointly funded by the university of Tsukuba and the DAAD.
In Japan, the scheme will be administered by the University of Tsukuba. In Germany, it will be administered by the DAAD head office in Bonn. The University of Tsukuba applicants must ensure that their collaborators at institutions of higher education of the Federal Republic of Germany submit a corresponding application to the DAAD.
The aim of this partnership is to initiate a long-term cooperation in social sciences and humanities between Tsukuba and Tubingen and to establish a transnational academic exchange platform between Germany and Japan by focusing on Central Eurasian studies from the perspective of anthropology, history and politics.
A joint initiative between Tsukuba and Tubingen seeks to promote graduate programs for master and PhD students in Humanities and Social Sciences (Anthropology and Political Sciences), training workshops and academic networks for young scholars between two lands including prospective partner institutions from Central Eurasian countries.
Though, Central Eurasian studies are a new field in education and research programs, things have changed throughout the last decade. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, there was a first step in establishing research academic networks and training programs in both countries. This partnership aims to contribute to an international institutionalization of Central Eurasian studies and in particular of Central Asian and the Caucasus studies. The Eurasian continent extending from Turkey to China including Russian East plays a significant role in the development of both Europe and Asian histories and cultures. Today, we review boundaries of traditional interest for Asia and Europe separately by promoting Eurasian studies. At the same time, we do not see Central Eurasia as a distinct geographical entity, but rather as an area with flexible boundaries that enable international and Japanese scholars to analyze dynamic interactions within Central Eurasia and in the scale of world history, culture and politics.
cooperation with scholars and students between Germany and Japan and
doing research in Central Eurasia, the Tsukuba-Tubingen partnership
initiative develops tools for a better comparative research and education
programs by: Launching a Central Asia and the Caucasus Lecture Series
at both universities Organizing international training courses and workshops
in Japan, Germany and in the region Elaboration of joint syllabus Politics
and Everyday Life in Central Eurasia Promotion of exchange of educational
material (archive of official documents and visuals) on the level of
master programs Establishing a continuous cross-pollination between
research technique, education and academic creativity Institutions participating
in this program will mutually benefit from this partnership by elaborating
a set of tools for identifying and understanding Central Eurasian paradigms
from different perspectives, in other words from the “East” and the
Associate Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Associate Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba (Former Faculty)
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Tsukuba
Professor, Head of the Department for Anthropology, University of Tubingen
Susanne Christiane Helma Fehlings
Ph.D. candidate and lecturer at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies (AOI), University of Tubingen
Louise Christine Bechtold
Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies (AOI), University of Tubingen
■October 26-November 17 2013, Tubingen, Germany
Student Reflections on the Training Program “Conceptualizing Social Order and Public Culture in Central Eurasia”
Participation in the training program “Conceptualizing Social Order and Public Culture in Central Eurasia” at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen has been one of the very educating and inspiring research opportunities I have had for the last years. During my three week stay in Germany in the framework of this training program, I have visited several Centers for Central Asian Studies in Germany and had an exchange of views and experiences on Central Asian Studies. The training program has also been very useful to me in further improving my research presentation skills as well as learning various approaches to Central Asian Studies from the presentations of graduate and postgraduate students. Moreover, the events organized in the course of the training served as hubs for all the participants, including for myself, to establish academic networking and identify common areas for a potential future collaboration.
First, we were cherished with the opportunity of meeting with students and faculty members of the Department of Caucasus Studies, Friedrich Schiller University in Jena. During this meeting I came to know the research expertise of the professors and postgraduate students of this Department as well as the areas that interest them most in Central Eurasian Studies. It was interesting to observe their views and approaches on researching the region. I had an opportunity to present my master’s thesis at this meeting and received much useful comments and views on my research method and findings. Most importantly, I was touched by the warmth and positive attitude of the Department staff and students who indeed inspired me to continue my activities in the academic world.
Second workshop on Central Asian Studies was held at the Department for Central Asian Studies at Humboldt University, Berlin. Led by Prof. Ingeborg Baldauf, the team of the Department was not only well equipped with the research experience in Central Asia, in particular in Uzbekistan, but also had an excellent command of local languages of the countries they were studying. This has been a very exemplary to me to observe and learn one’s dedication to research in a particular region. Though briefly, I presented my research interests at this meeting and was warmly encouraged by Prof. Baldauf personally to further continue my studies in this field. Moreover, I and other graduate students from Tsukuba University had a quality time to talk with the researchers and postgraduate students of the center and to exchange views on our respective research interests.
In Tubingen, where I spent most of my time, the Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Tubingen hosted several presentations and meetings on Central Asian Studies. It was during one of these academic gatherings me and my other fellows from Tsukuba University had a chance to present our research topics and findings in details. It was indeed a very educating experience, as I personally, was given so many questions and comments by the professors and students. Though on one hand, it was a bit challenging to cope with the questions and remarks of various nature and character, on the other hand it was a brilliant opportunity to learn to present my research to a new audience who had no previous knowledge of my research topic and, thus, was full of questions and comments. I believe that during this meeting I realized how important it is to know the audience and consider it while presenting one’s research topic and findings. I could notice in what areas I should still focus more in presenting my research and what parts of my research could be more sharpened. In fact, this gathering, led by Prof. Roland Hardenberg, once again convinced me that the research findings in social sciences, no matter what they are, could always be interpreted in so many different ways depending on the interpreter and his/her approach.
Another notable event organized in the framework of the training was the public lecture by Prof. Timur Dadabaev who was visiting University of Tubingen along with two other scholars of the Special Program for Central Asian Countries, University of Tsukuba. His presentation on “Power, Everyday Life Experiences, and Public Memory in Post-Soviet Central Asia” not only introduced Central Asian region for the audience of the University of Tubingen, but also raised much interesting discussion among the participants on the research topic and methods. I personally was observing and learning how Prof. Dadabaev could effectively and clearly present his research findings and how well he could deal with various questions of the audience.
When it comes to communicating with students of Tubingen University, a number of informal meetings over lunch and dinners were useful in sharing ideas and exchanging views with students on their research approaches and field trip experiences in Central Asia. Interesting as it sounds, for some students of the University of Tubingen I and my fellows represented Japan, but not necessarily the respective countries of Central Asia where we were from.
To sum up, I believe I was very privileged to be given this opportunity to participate in the research training program in Germany which helped me to further improve my research skills, to learn various approaches to Central Asian Studies and to develop networking opportunities in respective universities in Germany. This training program was also a chance to experience Germany as a new country and to observe how academics in German universities viewed and studied Central Asia. Above all, owing to this visit I could see the broader picture of Central Asian studies in different parts of the world. Therefore, I am more than ever assured that by educating students both from Central Asia and Japan, Special Program for Central Asian Countries is laying a solid foundation for a potential future researchers and scholars of Central Asian Studies in Japan and in Central Asia.
The Training Program on ‘Conceptualizing Social Order and Public Culture in Central Eurasia’ at Eberhard Karls University of Tübingen, Germany was taking place from October 28th till November 15th, 2013. In general, the whole program brought positive impression and was useful in several aspects.
Presentations made by MA and PhD students of the University of Tubingen showed that students they can use interdisciplinary approach and are free in choosing the subject of their research and appropriate theory. The methods that were used during field works are generally interviews and observations. In informal talks their works were further discussed and SPCEA students tried to give some advice and ideas for future research in the Central Asian countries. There was also one point that came out after listening to presentations: it was difficult for students from Germany to be not biased to certain “Western” values and judge the reality without application of the background experience, but it was visible that many of them tried to also look at the issues from perspective of local people in order to avoid total subjectivity.
Presentations made by SPCEA students also received positive remarks and students were asked numerous questions regarding their studies. It was important to show what approaches and methods we are using in studying Central Asia or Japan and what the results are. In case of my presentation, the feedback from professors and students of the University of Tubingen helped to generate several ideas on my further research on multiculturalism in Tajikistan or other Central Asian countries. Discussion also brought up several key points that I need to focus and what methods can be used in order to achieve the results. In total, there was relative impact from the side of German students and professors to further improve research skills and apply them in practice.
Presentation of the professors on Comparative research project also brought several essential ideas on research strategies. Within their project they are planning to use archeological findings and combine with data received by cultural anthropologies in order to study interconnection between resources and culture. Having the interdisciplinary approach, they claim that it would be possible to have more objective and wide understanding of any particular issue or phenomenon.
In addition to training activities in Tubingen, we also had opportunity to meet professors of the Department of Caucausian Studies at the Friedrikh Schiller University in Jena. We presented our researches and received some critical questions and comments from professors that also were useful in improving our studies in general and research skills in particular.
However, not all expectations were realized in terms of the program, or better to say, it was realized not to the extent that was expected at the beginning. The training program is aimed at raising awareness and knowledge in methods of research in anthropology‚ political sciences and history‚ concentrated on the bottom-up research approach that are common for Central Eurasian‚ Caucasian and Central Asian Countries, but during the program quite limited amount of information on the mentioned kind of research and approaches were received. Considering the fact that majority of students of University of Tubingen were busy and their schedule was not matching with schedule of SPCEA students, there were not so many opportunities to exchange ideas and experience. Nevertheless, taking into consideration the fact that this program is on initial level, it can be said that the first steps are already made and they are quite successful.
At last, I would like to express one suggestion concerning further cooperation between University of Tsukuba and University of Tubingen. It would be useful to have small joint research program resulted in joint publication of two universities in future. In the process of making such research on certain issue both sides can exchange more actively their ideas and views on research methods, more deliberately consider applicable theories and probably discuss the reasons of choosing one or another theory. As departments are majoring in different subjects, the research would have an interdisciplinary approach where again each side would employ specific methods and theories, hence, it would be visible in what ways they are considering the same issue or object. Speculating the outcome, I can assume that there is no distinctive approach of German and Japanese universities that can be marked as Western and Eastern approaches in researching of Central Eurasia, methods and theories developed by the Western scholars would still dominate in researches of either sides.
Under the partnership program between Tsukuba and Tubingen universities, five students specializing on the Central Asia at the University of Tsukuba have been provided an opportunity to visit the Germany from October 26th till November, 16. The partnership program, which aims to strengthen the research skills and elaborate the methods on the Central Eurasian Studies, has been useful for researchers to communicate with other specialists on the field and to critically re-consider the just-completed master thesis. Moreover, we had an opportunity to visit the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena and the Humboldt University in Berlin, which also have departments on Central Asian and Caucasus studies. Giving the presentations on our research projects at these universities, we also became aware of the different academic interests pursued by the researchers there. What was interesting to open up is that the Department of Cultural and Social Anthropology of the Tubingen University highly motivates doing research “on the field” for both undergraduate and graduate students, by which they become academically trained to do fieldwork research, even being bachelor. And usually students proceed for their master’s degree with expanding their previous research focus on the Central Asia region. Another thing to note, the interdisciplinary approach is highly appreciated for researchers, meaning that students are free to combine and integrate various methods and to bring out the research done from multiple perspectives. For example, students are free to apply both the survey, questionnaire, the ethnographic observation and to do discourse analysis of historical documents, media texts, thus crossing and bringing together the results. The universities, which we have visited, are specialized, among other things, in providing the courses on local languages of the region under consideration. If to take into account that researchers aim to go to field, the learning language helps a lot to delve deeper into the environment of local community. For example, the Tubingen University has courses on Kyrgyz language, taught by native language speaker; the Humboldt University in Berlin set courses on Kazakh and Uzbek languages, also given by native language speakers. These universities, which are mentioned above, sustain the close research collaboration, providing for their students the communicative networks. Thanks to that, we were able to easily find out students involved in related research areas, thus further expanding the networking ties to Japan.
In the end, I would like to express the deepest gratitude for Tsukuba and Tubingen Universities for giving unforgettable experience for all of us to advance academic skills and hope that the internationalization initiative undertaken by the Tsukuba and Tubingen Universities will be broadened further.
Germany, between west and east.
When I watched play by ballet company from Sankt-Petersburg at theater in Munich, I suddenly realized that Germany is situated between Western Europe and Slavic area. Of course, DDR (GDR) was satellite state of USSR, so that in eastern Germany we met many Germans who studied Russian in school age. Today, after the collapse of Berlin wall, many German cities are connected with Slavic states cities, for example, we can go to Warsaw from Berlin by train for about 5 and half hours, and from Munich to Prague about 6 hours without even passport check.
After integration of Germany, former DDR’s universities also integrated to Federal Republic of Germany. But universities relationship between DDR’s institutions and post-soviet states are still active. For example, during cold war, many anthropologists in Jena University (Friedrich Schiller University) conducted fieldwork in caucuses. At that time, many scholars of western side of the iron curtain, could not entry into such area, so that, central Asian researchers in Japan, for example, was able to use only materials in China, Iran or Turkey. In university library in Jena, we found many books and materials in Georgian, published in soviet and post-soviet time.
Through contact with German central Eurasian scholars.At Tubingen:
In Tubingen, I had a chance to make a presentation about my research in front of professors and Ph.D candidates of anthropology department of Tubingen University. It was mainly about my field work in Uzbekistan conducted during August to September of this year. My approach is also related to anthropology. Therefore, their questions were very critical and got in point. After my presentation, Miss Susanne introduced me a scholar who submitted paper about Toktogul dam in Kyrgyzstan to central Asian survey.At Berlin:
In Jena, we met with Dr, Darieva, who worked at Tsukuba before, and she introduced us to Humboldt University in Berlin, department of Asian and African studies. Its department of central Asian studies is divided to two sector: non Islamic area studies (mainly Tibet) and Islamic area studies (central Asia, including Afghanistan).
Many of central Asian researchers in Humboldt University are studying about contemporary issues. What impressive for me was, recently students who started studying about central Eurasia tend to study local language, not colonial language (Chinese, Russian). In Tubingen also I saw similar students. One Ph.D candidate is studying about Pamir highland’s development issue. But she is learning intensively Pamir language, not Tajik or Russian. It depends on discipline or area which language choice to study first, I think. But I feel that new approaches toward central Eurasia are evaluating through my experience in Germany.
The training program which was held from October 26 to November 17, was dedicated to the introduction of various research projects related to Central Eurasian studies between Tsukuba and Tubingen Universities. The focal point of this program is to gather the young scholars and researchers who have interest on the region and give an opportunity to exchange opinions, research tools and techniques and to create new basis for further academic cooperation.
The considerable place within this training program was the opportunity of exchange not only with Tubingen University, but also Friedrich Schiller and Humboldt Universities. It must be considered that above mentioned universities provide studies not only regarding the specificity of the region but also the language studies including the local languages which exist in the region. Research methods which were used by the scholars of Tubingen University include the surveys and interviews conducted during the fieldwork. The research projects include the political, religious, cultural and socio-cultural aspects of the region. For instance, the topic of political aspect of folklore `aytishuv` in Kyrgyzstan, the topic of Islam denomination (shia and sunni) in Tajikistan, the topic of memorial building in Kyrgzstan.
The research methods and conducted fieldworks with the German university, gave me incentives on my further investigation and to improve my knowledge regarding the methodological aspect.
It was a great opportunity for us, mutually presenting our research projects by covering the focal aspects such as theoretical framework, methodology and to exchange ideas on our further researches and academic cooperation.
■March 26, 2013, Tsukuba-Tokyo
The delegation from the University of Tubingen visited the International Centre for Central Asian Research and Education. Director of International Centre for Central Asian Research and Education‚ Associate Professor USUYAMA Toshinobu has provided detailed explanations of exchange activities with the institutions of higher education in CIS countries and the university’s international strategy.
Round Table “Research Trends and Methods in Central Eurasian Studies,” organized by the SPCEA, University of Tsukuba, and the DAAD Tsukuba-Tubingen Partnership and supported by DAAD German Academic Service for Exchange.
Chairs: Tsypylma Darieva (University of Tsukuba) and Leslie Tkach-Kawasaki (University of Tsukuba)
Roland Hardenberg (University of Tuebingen) – Fields of Research in Central Asia: Where do Historians and Anthropologists meet?
Akifumi Shioya (University of Tsukuba) – Archival Sources and Modern Central Asian History: Beyond Dichotomous Approaches
Andrea Luithle-Hardenberg (University of Tuebingen) – Practical Implications for Fieldwork Studies: Comparing South Asia and Central Asia
Carole Faucher (University of Tsukuba) – Identity and Collective Memory: Some Comparisons between Doing Fieldwork in Southeast Asia and in Central Asia
Vadim Zhdanov (University of Erlangen-Nürnberg) – Studying Religious Education in Russian Public Schools: Social and Legal Aspects
Ryota Saito (University of Tsukuba) – Constructivist Approach towards
Central Asian Water Issues
■March 25, 2013, Tsukuba-Tokyo
Meeting of the SPCEA students with the Tubingen University’s delegation
(Prof. Roland Hardenberg). In response to the questions by the students
who are in the process of writing their master’s theses‚ Prof. Hardenberg
provided examples from his own experience. This gathering greatly contributed
to the educational activities of the program.
■March 23, 2013, Tsukuba-Tokyo
IMG_0530International Workshop “Transforming Social Orders in Central Eurasia: History, Memory and Everyday Life,” organized by University of Tsukuba, Tokyo Metropolitan University and Kyushu University. The workshop was supported by DAAD German Academic Service for Exchange, SPCEA (UT), and JSPS Grant-in Aid Scientific Research (B) “Sovereigns and Military Elites in the Eurasian Empires.”
Chairs: Tsypylyma Darieva and Hirotake Maeda
Hirotake Maeda (Tokyo Metropolitan University) – Caucasians in the Imperial Spaces: The Safavid and Ottoman Experiences
Gocha Saitidze (Georgian National Centre of Manuscripts) – From a History of Georgian Military Organization in the Second Half of XVIII Century (Activities of King Erekle II)
Hayrapet Margaryan (Yerevan State University) – Intercultural and Interreligious Relations between Aristocratic Families of the Christian Caucasus and the Central Eurasia in the XIII-XIV centuries (in Russian with English abstract)
Roland Hardenberg (University of Tübingen) – Collective, Communicative and Cultural Memories: Local Historiography from Northern Kyrgyzstan
Timur Dadabaev (University of Tsukuba) – Selectivity in Recalling Soviet Past in Central Asia: Re-collecting, Reflecting and Re-imagining
Natsuko Oka (Institute of Developing Economies) – Everyday Corruption in Kazakhstan: An Ethnographic Analysis of Informal Practices
Susanne Fehlings (University of Tübingen) – The Formal and Informal Orders of Housing and Construction in the Armenian Capital
Louise Bechtold (University of Tübingen) – Remembering Feasts in Everyday Life: Gifts, Videos and Informal Conversations in Kyrgyzstan
Tsypylma Darieva (University of Tsukuba) – Traveller’s and Everyday Narratives on Urban Religious Places: Restoring a Mosque in Contemporary Armenia
■February 27- March 6, 2013, Tubingen, Germany
Meeting and updating the three-year DAAD Tsukuba-Tubingen exchange program (Darieva Tsypylma, Hardenberg Roland, Fehlings Susanne)
Creating working groups for elaboration of a future syllabi platform “Politics and Everyday Life in Eurasia”
Central Asia and the Caucasus Lecture Series Lecture “A View from the East? Central Eurasian Studies in Japan” by Dr. Tsypylma Darieva, University of Tsukuba
■March 1, 2013
- Meeting of the teams at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology,
- Visit of the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology and other facilities of the University of Tubingen
- Sightseeing tour through the Castle of Hohentubingen (Museum: Frau Hafele; Castle: Frau Schuhmacher)
- Discussion of a three-year DAAD Tsukuba-Tubingen exchange program (Darieva, Dadabaev, Shioya, Hardenberg, Fehlings, Bechtold, Koerner, Luithle-Hardenberg)
- Meeting with students. Creating working groups with students for elaboration of a future syllabi platform ‘Politics and Everyday Life in Eurasia,’ student research teams (Yanti Hoelzchen, Swetlana Torno, Amrisho Lashkariev, Louise Bechtold, Annabell Koerner, Susanne Fehlings, Anja Uhlmann)
March 2, 2013
- Working groups
- Lunch/Break (at the Department of Anthropology)
- Tour to the Monastery of Bebenhausen
March 4, 2013
- Meeting for preparing the visit of the German group to Tsukuba,
- Lecture with Dr. Tsypylma Darieva: “A View from the “East”? Some insights into Central Eurasian Studies in Japan”
March 5-6, 2013
- Working in library at the University of Tubingen, Dr. Tsypylma
- Meeting with Prof. Antoni (Department for Japanology)