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Prof. Dr. Barbara Mittler

Barbara Mittler

Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

Principal Investigator of the project "Epochal Life Worlds: Man, Nature and Technology in Narratives of Crisis and Change"


Short Biography

Barbara Mittler studied Sinology, Musicology and Japanese in Oxford, Taipei and Heidelberg. She came to Heidelberg as Professor of Chinese Cultural Studies at the Institute of Sinology in Heidelberg since 2004. She is co-founder of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" (2007-2019) and the Centre for Asian Studies and Transcultural Studies (CATS) that emerged from it. She has been a member of the Leopoldina - National Academy of Sciences and Humanities - since 2008 and of the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities since 2013. Her research focuses on Chinese cultural history. She recently published a volume on epochal questions: Why China did not have a Renaissance and why that matters (Berlin 2018), co-authored with historian Thomas Maissen.


Lifeworlds, Systemic Crises and Action Potential

Before a backdrop of an increasing number of global environmental crises, the interdisciplinary Thematic Research Network "Umwelten - Umbrüche - Umdenken", situated at Heidelberg University, is interested in forming transdisciplinary understandings of epochal catastrophes, considering the action potential that they offer. Our task will be to search for answers to the question of how, in past and present, catastrophes, triggering radical changes in our lifeworlds have served as creative crises, to challenge human thinking, thus giving room for action. In this project, then, we are interested in understanding how, in the past and the present, long-term, effective, epochal changes in living environments have taken place and what that means for future action. Read more