[INDOLOGY] Petition to save South Asian Studies (and other subjects at Halle University

Suchandra Ghosh suchandra at uohyd.ac.in
Mon Mar 21 01:34:27 UTC 2022

Have signed!

On Mon, Mar 14, 2022, 9:36 PM Antonia Ruppel via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear all,
> A number of you signed a petition last year that aimed at preserving
> various 'Kleine Faecher' ('Small Subjects', an official designation),
> including South Asian Studies, at Halle University. The international
> attention meant none of those chairs or institutes have so far been cut,
> but unfortunately there are new plans in the works that might change this.
> Would you please consider signing this new petition as well?
> https://www.openpetition.de/petition/online/faechervielfalt-erhalten-kleine-faecher-an-der-martin-luther-universitaet-halle-wittenberg-retten
> If you have any questions, please simply get in touch with me. (I've added
> an English translation of the petition below. For practical reasons, it's
> DeepL with some minor edits by me, so do please apologise that it is at
> times not the most elegant!)
> All best from sunny Munich,
>     Antonia
> At Martin Luther University (MLU), there is a threat of an eradication of
> the Small Subjects - subjects that not only have a long tradition at our
> university, but also contribute to the national and international
> reputation of the MLU in the fields of Ancient Languages (Greek Studies),
> Archaeology (Oriental Archaeology) and Non-European Studies (South Asian
> Studies, Indology and Japanese Studies) or Small European Cultures (South
> Slavic Studies), as well as being particularly successful in the
> acquisition of third-party funding and the promotion of young academics.
> Subject diversity has always been a hallmark of MLU, which has also made
> the university attractive for academics and students. In 2013, the German
> Science Council also strongly recommended that MLU make the Small Subjects
> more visible in its profile.
> The current austerity dictate - under the euphemism of ‘Profilschärfung’/
> ‘profile enhancement’ - affects the Small Subjects in a special way,
> because with the reduction of chairs, these subjects, which are only
> represented by one person anyway, are completely on the brink of
> extinction. This means that entire subject cultures are disappearing in
> Saxony-Anhalt, because subjects are being cut that, across the whole of
> Central Germany, are only represented at MLU.
> In addition, the target agreement signed by the MLU Rectorate and the
> Minister of Science in 2020, the basis for the future structural
> development of the university, specifies as part of the teaching profile,
> among others: Greek, South Asian Studies, Japanese Studies, Archaeology and
> Slavic Studies. The current plans for cuts contradict the content of this
> agreement. This petition is directed against that. MLU is putting one of
> its brand cores at risk here, but it is threatening to lose far more than
> just the damage to its image: in times of globalisation, expertise in
> different regions of the world is a decisive location factor, for example
> in economically strong or strongly growing economies such as East or South
> Asia. In the South Slavic region, there are currently candidates for
> accession to the EU. But even beyond economic factors, political, cultural,
> religious and social problems are increasingly seen in and shaped by a
> global discourse that cannot be solved by the Western perspective alone. In
> order to understand these processes, to analyse them and to process them
> for the areas involved, regional scientific expertise in various fields is
> required in addition to sound language skills.
> To successfully shape the future, it is always necessary to take a
> critical look at history, a history that does not only look at Europe, but
> at all regions of the world, and not only at modernity and the present, but
> is open to long periods of time. How much is to be learned from linguistic
> as well as material evidence, especially from regions that show the
> beginnings of globalised societies thousands of years ago, how much can we
> learn from their experiences and knowledge. In this respect, both the
> ancient languages and cultures of classical antiquity and Near Eastern
> archaeology, which deals with Mesopotamia as the "cradle of culture" and
> the junction between Orient and Occident, are indispensable.
> The petition for the preservation of these subjects is therefore not only
> about the discussion of content at the university itself, but rather about
> having excellently trained graduates in these fields in the future who can
> contribute their expertise to the economy, politics, culture and
> administration in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany and the EU.
> We call on the rectorate of the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
> to stop the massive cutback plans, to present the financial situation
> transparently and, building on this, to work together with the faculties
> and institutes on the further profiling of the MLU in the university
> network.
> We call on the state government of Saxony-Anhalt to ensure stable basic
> funding for all universities in the state and to preserve MLU for what it
> is: a traditional alma mater with a future and the only comprehensive
> university in the state.
> We appeal to the senators of the Martin Luther University to support not
> only the unity of research and teaching, but also the preservation of Small
> Subjects and the associated diversity at our university, and thus for a
> strong partner in the university network.
> If you care about the future of MLU, the breadth of university education
> for future generations of students and researchers, and Central Germany as
> a strong research location that is also crucial for the social, economic
> and societal development of the region, then show your solidarity with us.
> Sign the petition and stand up for the continuation of the diversity of
> subjects at MLU with your signature and in the comments section.
> _______________________________________________
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> INDOLOGY at list.indology.info
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