About MIDA

Pro­ject Part­ners | Pro­ject sum­ma­ry | Pro­ject Goals | Pro­ject Insti­tu­ti­ons | Part­ner Insti­tu­ti­ons


Project Partners

- Prof. Dr. Ravi Ahu­ja, Cent­re for Modern Indian Stu­dies, Georg-August-Uni­ver­si­tät Göt­tin­gen

- Prof. Dr. Micha­el Mann, Insti­tu­te for Asi­an and Afri­can Stu­dies, Hum­boldt-Uni­ver­si­tät zu Ber­lin

- Dr. Hei­ke Lie­bau, Leib­niz-Zen­trum Moder­ner Ori­ent (ZMO)

Fun­ding: Ger­man Rese­arch Coun­cil (DFG)

Dura­ti­on: Nov. 2014 to Oct. 2026 (first fun­ding peri­od: Nov. 2014 to Oct. 2017)

Project Summary

The rich­ness and the poten­ti­al of the hol­dings of Ger­man archi­ves on modern Indian histo­ry has been appre­cia­ted insuf­fi­ci­ent­ly so far. To the inter­na­tio­nal com­mu­ni­ty of his­to­ri­ans of India, the­se resour­ces can open up new rese­arch per­spec­tives that have remai­ned obst­ruc­ted by an exces­si­ve fixa­ti­on on Bri­tish colo­ni­al archi­ves. At the same time, inno­va­ti­ve rese­arch ques­ti­ons can be gene­ra­ted for pur­po­ses of trans­na­tio­nal his­to­ri­cal com­pa­ri­son and for the his­to­ri­cal ana­ly­sis of “glo­ba­li­za­ti­on” pro­ces­ses through an explo­ra­ti­on of the modern histo­ry of Ger­man-Indian ent­an­gle­ments.
Moreo­ver, the resul­ting two­fold wide­ning of rese­arch per­spec­tives crea­tes new chan­ces for a more inten­si­ve com­mu­ni­ca­ti­on and coope­ra­ti­on bet­ween Indian and Ger­man tra­di­ti­ons of his­to­ri­cal inqui­ry – tra­di­ti­ons that have taken cogniz­an­ce of each other, so far, only to a very limi­ted extent. Through the fol­lo­wing initia­ti­ves the long-term pro­ject “Modern India in Ger­man Archi­ves” (“Das Moder­ne Indi­en in deut­schen Archi­ven”, MIDA) aims to pro­du­ce the necessa­ry con­di­ti­ons for this sub­stan­ti­al endea­vour.

  • sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly collect in a sin­gle data­ba­se cata­lo­gue and key­word infor­ma­ti­on on hol­dings of Ger­man archi­ves on modern India and the histo­ry of Ger­man-Indian ent­an­gle­ments, from the estab­lish­ment of the Danish-Hal­le Mis­si­on in South India (1706) up to the end of the poli­ti­cal divi­si­on of Ger­ma­ny (1989/90);
  • make avail­ab­le this data­ba­se to the inter­na­tio­nal aca­de­mic com­mu­ni­ty on a long-term basis as a “gro­wing” and open digi­tal resour­ce for the pur­po­se of loca­ting spe­ci­fic archi­val mate­ri­al;
  • pro­vi­de the inter­na­tio­nal aca­de­mic com­mu­ni­ty as well as a wider public with long-term access to a digi­tal archi­ve gui­de, which will be deri­ved from the data­ba­se and suc­ces­si­ve­ly expan­ded in order to pre­sent an over­view of the full the­ma­tic ran­ge of rele­vant collec­tions;
  • demons­tra­te the poten­ti­al of Ger­man archi­val resour­ces for India-rela­ted stu­dies in exem­pla­ry pilot rese­arch pro­jec­ts and a cor­re­spon­ding publi­ca­ti­on series. This will encou­ra­ge a) a more inten­se uti­li­za­ti­on of the­se archi­val hol­dings par­ti­cu­lar­ly by Ger­man and Indian his­to­ri­ans and b) the sha­ping of the necessa­ry mul­ti­lin­gu­is­tic and inter-regio­nal qua­li­fi­ca­ti­on pro­files;
  • con­tri­bu­te to a sustai­ned rea­li­za­ti­on of the goal that was for­mu­la­ted on a bila­te­ral work­shop of the DFG and the Indian Coun­cil for His­to­ri­cal Rese­arch (ICHR) in Novem­ber 2012, name­ly the inten­si­fi­ca­ti­on of Ger­man-Indian rese­arch co-ope­ra­ti­on in the Human Sci­en­ces. The Ger­man-Indian “tan­dem struc­tu­re” accord­ing to which the pilot pro­jec­ts have been desi­gned will ser­ve as a key instru­ment to achie­ve this aim.

Project Goals

An important goal of the long-term pro­ject “Modern India in Ger­man Archi­ves” (MIDA) is to sys­te­ma­ti­cal­ly record the con­tents of Ger­man archi­ves on the histo­ry of modern India and the Ger­man-Indian histo­ry of ent­an­gle­ments bet­ween 1706 and 1989/90 in a data­ba­se and to make this data­ba­se avail­ab­le to inter­na­tio­nal rese­arch.

Bey­ond this collec­tion of the rele­vant stocks, their pre­pa­ra­ti­on in a digi­tal archi­ve book­kee­per ensu­res that this archi­ve data is pre­sen­ted in a way that meets cur­rent and future rese­arch needs.

The­se rese­arch needs are shaped by the his­to­rio­gra­phic ten­den­cy towards trans­na­tio­nal and trans ter­ri­to­ri­al per­spec­tives. The MIDA pro­ject its­elf is an expres­si­on of this increa­sing ope­ning of the his­to­ri­cal sci­en­ces: sources of Modern India in Ger­man archi­ves, which so far had appeared as mar­gi­nal to ear­lier natio­nal — but also colo­ni­al-his­to­ri­cal con­tai­ner per­spec­tives — are only now beco­m­ing the focus of the inves­ti­ga­ti­on. Pre­vious­ly, ter­ri­to­ri­al­ly defi­ned per­spec­tives, whe­ther that of a Ger­man natio­nal histo­ry or of a Bri­tish-Indian colo­ni­al his­to­rio­gra­phy, were unab­le to iden­ti­fy source mate­ri­al, the signi­fi­can­ce of which could only be seen in con­junc­tion with mate­ri­als that had emer­ged from other ter­ri­to­ri­al con­texts.

Trans­na­tio­nal and trans-ter­ri­to­ri­al per­spec­tives initi­al­ly focu­sed on the histo­ry of trans­fers or mutu­al recep­ti­on, i.e. they exami­ned bila­te­ral rela­ti­ons or trans­fer axes that trans­cen­ded the ter­ri­to­ri­al frame­work of natio­nal or impe­ri­al his­to­rio­gra­phies. In the mean­ti­me inter­di­sci­pli­na­ry rese­arch approa­ches are lar­ge­ly ancho­red in the huma­nities, cul­tu­ral and soci­al histo­ry, but also in post­co­lo­ni­al stu­dies, and Ger­man-Indian exchan­ge rela­ti­ons are exami­ned less along trans­fer axes than in lar­ger inter­re­li­gious-his­to­ri­cal con­texts.

If the histo­ry of ent­an­gle­ments is well estab­lished in terms of con­tent, the metho­do­lo­gi­cal con­se­quen­ces of this his­to­rio­gra­phic deve­lop­ment, howe­ver, seem to have been neglec­ted so far. If, for examp­le, Indian and Ger­man his­to­ri­cal actors ent­e­red into com­plex exchan­ge rela­ti­ons that could not be redu­ced to bila­te­ral trans­fer axes media­ted by ter­ri­to­ri­al sta­te insti­tu­ti­ons, but were inte­gra­ted into exten­si­ve trans­na­tio­nal net­works, what does this mean for the order of archi­ves and the struc­tures of the archi­ve? As a form of epis­te­mo­lo­gi­cal power arti­cu­la­ti­on from dif­fe­rent per­spec­tives, the archi­ve has beco­me the sub­ject of inten­se phi­lo­so­phi­cal and his­to­ri­cal reflec­tion. The clo­se con­nec­tion bet­ween the logic of the archi­ve and the insti­tu­tio­nal logic of power appa­ra­tu­ses, espe­ci­al­ly of sta­te (natio­nal or impe­ri­al) power appa­ra­tu­ses, is now open. Howe­ver, what con­se­quen­ces does it have if, wit­hin the frame­work of the MIDA long-term pro­ject, we not only lea­ve the con­cep­tu­al con­tai­ners of the ter­ri­to­ri­al sta­tes with our rese­arch, but bring archi­val mate­ri­als into a new rela­ti­ons­hip and in a cer­tain way pro­du­ce a new “meta-archi­ve”?

The pro­ject intends to respond to the­se ques­ti­ons by first taking the archi­ves as sin­gu­lar, insti­tu­tio­nal­ly and ter­ri­to­ri­al­ly deli­mi­ted repo­si­to­ries in the pre­sen­ta­ti­on of the invent­ories in the data­ba­se and fol­lo­wing their own logic. At the same time, howe­ver, the goal of the pro­ject is to make the data visi­ble in a new way as a net­work of archi­ves accord­ing to the rese­arch ques­ti­ons and thus to reor­ga­ni­ze “the archi­ve” against insti­tu­tio­nal and ter­ri­to­ri­al logics.

Project Institutions

The pro­ject is based at three insti­tu­ti­ons at two loca­ti­ons, that is, Goet­tin­gen and Ber­lin:

Centre for Modern Indian Studies

Georg-August-Uni­ver­si­tät Göt­tin­gen
Wald­weg 26
D-37073 Göt­tin­gen

Cent­re for Modern Indian Stu­dies, Georg-August-Uni­ver­si­tät Göt­tin­gen

Seminar für Südasienstudien

Insti­tut für Asi­en- und Afri­ka­wis­sen­schaf­ten
Hum­boldt-Uni­ver­si­tät zu Ber­lin
Unter den Lin­den 6
D-10099 Ber­lin

Semi­nar für Süd­asi­en­stu­di­en, Insti­tut für Asi­en- und Afri­ka­wis­sen­schaf­ten, Hum­boldt-Uni­ver­si­tät zu Ber­lin

Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient

Kirch­weg 33
D-14129 Ber­lin

Leib­niz-Zen­trum Moder­ner Ori­ent, Ber­lin

Partner Institutions

The vir­tu­al rese­arch envi­ron­ment FuD employ­ed in the pro­ject as well as the web­site of MIDA have been deve­lo­ped by the Ser­vice­zen­trum eSci­en­ces of Trier Uni­ver­si­ty and adap­ted to the spe­ci­fic needs of MIDA in clo­se coor­di­na­ti­on with the staff of the pro­ject.

Uni­ver­si­tät Trier
Ser­vice­zen­trum eSci­en­ces
DM-Gebäu­de Post­fach DM26
54292 Trier

Ser­vice­zen­trum eSci­en­ces, Uni­ver­si­tät Trier