Asian and African Studies

International PhD programme, in partnership with:

Universität Heidelberg

Transcultural Studies on Eurasia and North Africa

Academic Year: 2017/2018


For information on educational activities:

Elena Bergamin,

Palazzo Vendramin - Dorsoduro 3462
30123 Venice

Doctorate coordinator

Prof. Patrick Heinrich, Ca' Foscari University,


In our PhD program we seek to educate a new generation of prospective experts on Eurasia and Northern Africa. Graduates are trained to acquire all the necessary skills to become influential experts and knowledge brokers in the study of these regions. We believe that a combination of specific skills is imperative for this:

  • Firstly, we built and develop our program on solid theoretical and methodological skills;
  • Secondly, we expect and support students to develop original research with interdisciplinary and transcultural perspectives;
  • Thirdly, we integrate students into ongoing joint activities with our international partners in order to prepare them for their successful interaction in international settings. 


Students who seek participation in our program should have a broad intellectual and communicative engagement as well as intercultural flexibility. They need to have excellent language skills in at least one of the languages of the list below and have an English language proficiency of at least B2 level. The principal language of our program is English. Applicants should have a solid methodological basis in either the humanities or in the social sciences. 

Our expertise

We provide training and guidance across a wide range of languages and disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Our department ranks among the best 200 modern language programs worldwide. We offer excellent, cutting edge academic training and a vibrant international network.

Languages permanently offered in our program: Arabic, Armenian, Azerbaijani, Chinese, Korean, Hebrew, Georgian, Japanese, Hindi, Persian, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Turkish, Urdu. We also have expertise with regard to Aramaic, Russian and Yiddish. 

Academic calendar (2017/2018)

  • 05/10 - 15/11/2017: Uploading of thesis evaluations
  • 24/11 - 05/12/2017: Publication of the thesis votes

22/11 - 24/11/2017, Training & teaching block 1

Wednesday, 22 November

  • 14:00-15:30 - Discussion: “How to do theory” (Stefano Pello’)
  • 16:00-17:00 - Discussion: “Science as a vocation” (input: Patrick Heinrich)

Thursday, 23 November

  • 09:00-10:30 - Research at DSAAM (Matthias Kappler) - Languages in contact - writing systems in conflict
  • 10:45-12:15 - Research at DSAAM (Laura de Giorgi) - Becoming a scholar of Chinese history
  • 14:00-15:30 - Theory and methodology (Toshio Miyake)
  • 16:00-17:30. Waves of sociolinguistic research (Patrick Heinrich)

Friday, 24 November

  • 10:00-12:30 Student presentation: PhD project & workplan
  • 12:30-13:00 General & free discussion

5/12 - 6/12/2017, Workshop: Texts Inbetween Action and Non-Action: Genesis, Techniques, and Outcomes of Textual Agency

5 December 2017, Aula Baratto

  • 15:00-15:15 - Welcome, Greetings
  • 15:15-15:30 - Marta Sanvido, Introduction to the Symposium
  • 15:30-16:30 - Massimo Leone, How To Redo Things With Texts: The Pragmatics of Repair
  • 16:30-16:50 - Discussion
  • 16:50-17:00 - Pause

The genesis of action

  • 17:00-17:30 - Simona Loi, De-Orientalizing the ‘Āšūrā’
  • 17:30-18:00 - Carlotta De Sanctis, Working with Oral History in Turkey
  • 18:00-18:30 - Silvia Rivadossi, Texts of Shamanic Narration in Contemporary Japan
  • 18:30-18:45 - Discussion

6 December 2017, Aula Baratto

The strategies of action

  • 10:00-10:30 - Luca Rizzo: The narratological structure of ambiguity: A first semiotic analysis of the tawriya in some Arab epigrams
  • 10:30-11:00 - Marco Guagni: Geography of Innerhood: Ascetic, topology and endoretoric practice in texts of ancient Buddhism
  • 11:00-11:30 - Arianna Magnani: The Imported Culture: Who is the dummy? Agility and texts in Chinese book collections in Europe between the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries
  • 11:30-11:45 - Pause
  • 11:45-12:15 - Pier Carlo Tommasi: Itinerant Sheets and Social Trajectories – buke monjo and “textualization” in the late Middle Ages of Japan
  • 12:15-12:45 - Beatrice Gallelli: Metaphors and Power: Analysis of the Imagined Language in Political Address by Xi Jinping on the Chinese Dream
  • 12:45-13:15 - Discussion

The outcomes of action

  • 15:00-15:30 - Vittorio Cattelan: New Data on Opera Culture in Istanbul of the Nineteenth Century
  • 15:30-16:00 - Veronica De Pieri: The Commitment After the Disaster: The Canonization of Literary Responses to Trauma
  • 16:00-16:30 - Andrea Facchin: The Third Stage of Learning: Pleasure and Beauty of Text in Tammam Hassan
  • 16:30-17:00 - Rossana Tufaro: The Companion of Paper: Niḍāl al-Ummāl and the Organization of the Factory Committees in the Beirut Industrial District (1970-1975)
  • 17:00-17:30 - Discussion
  • 17:30 - Closing remarks
file pdfManifesto1.03 M
  • 06/12 - 12/12/2017: Uploading final thesis version
  • 13/12/2017 Student presentation and discussion (16:00-17:00, Sala A): Carlotta de Sanctis: Biographies and testimonies of protest - towards a history of mobilization in Turkey
  • 15/01/2018: Deadline call for abstracts (Heidelberg Workshop) until 16/01/2018: Handing in printed thesis

24/01 - 26/01/2018: Training & teaching block 2

Palazzina Briati, Aula Tutorato 

Wednesday, 24 January

  • 14:00-15:30h: Discussion: “How to do theory” (Patrick Heinrich)
  • 16:00-17:00h: Discussion: “From research topic to research question” (input: Patrick Heinrich)

Thursday, 25 January

  • 09:00-10:30h: Research at DSAAM (Antonio Rigopoulos) - “On termite mounds, hagiographies and parables: My research in progress”
  • 10:45-12:15h: Head or Heart: Cosmopolitanism and Identity (Florian Coulmas)
  • 13:30-15:00h: “The ‘Persianate’ world and the ideologies of cosmopolitanism” (Stefano Pello’)
  • 15:15-16:00h: General & free discussion

Friday, 26 January

  • 09:00-10:30h: Research at DSAAM (Sabrina Rastelli) - “Raiders of the lost ark: research methods in Chinese art and archaeology”
  • 10:45-13:00 Student presentation: Theoretical foundation of your PhD project
  • 28/01 - 28/03/2018  Final exam sessions
  • 21/02/2018: Student presentation & discussion (16:00, Palazzina Briati): Arianna Magnani: All you need to know about China: Research on Italian Jesuit Libraries and Chinese Encyclopedias collections between XVII and XVIII Century
  • 28/02/2018 Meeting collegio del dottorato (14:00, Palazzina Briati)
  • 21/03/2018: Meeting doctoral college. Student presentation & discussion (16:00-17:00)

28/03 - 30/03/2018: Training & teaching block 3

Wednesday, 28 March

  • 14:00-15:30, Francesco Vitucci (University of Bologna): Filtering Iconic Clues from Audiovisual Texts: Semiotic cohesion and explicitation strategies in Japanese-Italian subtitles
  • 15:45-17:15, Henning Klöter (Humboldt University Berlin): Reading grammars and dictionaries compiled by missionaries: What do they tell us? What do they not tell us? 

Thursday, 29 March

  • 09:00-10:30, Research at DSAAM: Marco Ceresa
  • 10:45-12:15, Research at DSAAM: Piero Capelli
  • 13:30-15:00, Discussion The order of things [Les mots e les choses] (Patrick Heinrich & Zi Wang)
  • 15:45-17:00, Discussion: On methodological nationalism (Input presentation: Patrick Heinrich)

Friday, 30 March

  • 09:00-12:00, Student presentations: Methodological considerations of your PhD project
  • 12:15-13:15, Ruriko Otomo (Hokkaido University) & Zi Wang (Duisburg-Essen University): “From PhD to post-doc and first employment”

03/04/2018: Student presentation and discussion

Giorgia Foscarini: Memory and cultural identity: a comparative study of the politics of memory of third and fourth generation Israelis of Polish and Tunisian descent

Enrichetta Battista: Les représentationes des adolescents dans les romans jeunesse au Liban depuis l’an 2000

Palazzina Briati, aula B4, 16:00-18:00

10/04/2018: Student presentation and discussion

Beatrice Gallelli: Framing a “national dream”. The discourse on the “Chinese dream” and its role in contemporary China"

Arianna Magnani: Agency and strategies behind the Books Road. Encyclopedias and the Jesuit search of Chinese knowledge in the XVII-XVIII centuries

Palazzo Vendramin dei Carmini, Sala A, 16:00-18:00

  • 18/04/2018: Meeting doctoral college. Student presentation & discussion (16:00-17:00)
  • 02/05 - 04/05/2018: Training & teaching block 4

25/05 - 26/05/2018: Joint workshop in Heidelberg (Ca’ Foscari University, University of Heidelberg, Yale University)

Eurasian Connections: Transcultural and Global Dimensions
Workshop for Graduate Students and Young Scholars

Organizers: Harald Fuess (University of Heidelberg), Patrick Heinrich (Ca’ Foscari University of Venice), Verena Blechinger Talcott (Free University of Berlin)

Date: 25-26 May 2018

Venue: Heidelberg

Contact: Ms Nora Bartels: 

Call for Papers

We are seeking contributions from the humanities and the social sciences for a jointly organized PhD and post-doc workshop to be convened in Heidelberg. We are inviting abstracts of ongoing or recently concluded works in Eurasian Studies that include transnational perspectives and approaches. We seek applications that explore transcultural issues such as, for example, the symbolic exploitation of the ancient Silk Road for the new belt and road initiative, the impact of the initiative on collective identities, transcultural contacts and communication, political cooperation or confrontation, cultural work and attitudes, social engagement, narratives, changing senses of aesthetics, novel ways of cultural crossings and flows, and how these activities and attitudes challenge, unset or alter existing institutions, attitudes and practices. The principal language of the workshop is English. 

Please send an abstract summarizing the research question, methods and results in a word document. At the top of the page put the (working) title of your thesis / project next to your name.

Deadline for submission: 15 February 2018 

  • 20/06/2018: Meeting doctoral college. Student presentation & discussion (16:00-17:00)

Last update: 09/05/2019