Research

Publications catalogue

The publications catalogue of the Department collects the information from ARCA [ITA], the institutional open-access archive of Ca’ Foscari scientific production.
It is also accessible from cerCa, the Ca’ Foscari bibliographic platform.

Working in research

PhD Degrees

PhD Degree is the highest level of academic education. It is a limited admission degree programme and lasts for at least three years. It allows graduates to develop methods and skills to pursue highly qualified research.

Research fellowships and grants

Short-term research fellowships allow Master’s Degree graduates to pursue short-term research (less than 12 months normally) including them in existing projects and research groups.

Research grants allow Master’s Degree graduates and PhDs to pursue research activities at the university or in the projects offered to the candidates.

Discover all the other opportunities of international recruitment at Ca’ Foscari: our University is highly committed in achieving excellence in research, developing international partnerships and funding new talents.


Research areas

The Department of Asian and North African Studies presents many inputs and lines of research thanks to the wide interests covered by its faculty members. Many geographical and linguistic areas are represented as well as many different fields: linguistic, philology, literature, history, sociology, arts, performances…

This feature creates a stimulating environment, facilitates a multidisciplinary approach to research and offers support to the most diverse research prospects.

Research labs and groups

Laboratorio on the Translation of Asian and North African Languages

The Laboratorio on the Translation of Asian and North African Languages was founded in 2008; it gathers researchers and translators who work on the main issues related to a number of non-European (and Euro-Asian) languages and cultures, and on the relationship between the latter and our own culture in the contemporary world, as well as in history. Our research is not only focused on what languages transmit – culture, texts, authors – but also on the ways in which all these elements are conveyed from one language to another, in an attempt to shed light on the often asymmetrical nature of cultural interplay.

The Laboratorio regularly organises conferenceslectures, and debates on translation, from both a theoretical and a practical perspective; it supports publications in the field of TS and promotes translations, through the new-born Ca’ Foscari Editions series Translating Wor(l)ds.

The Laboratorio also holds meetings with writerspublishers, and translators, and aims at exploring the cultural and social interaction at play in the practice of translation at all levels, proposing new threads of research and reflection, and providing a repertoire of information, knowledge, and experiences.

thewaysoftranslation.com

https://www.facebook.com/laboratorio.traduzione/

CEM - Center for Studies on Contemporary Middle East

The Center for Studies on Contemporary Middle East (CEM) promotes and provides an incentive for research and studies on the Greater Middle East from the 19th to the 21st century with an emphasis on current events.

Covering the area from Morocco to Pakistan, it deals with the various characteristics of the countries and cultural areas of the region (history, politics, institutions, religions, society, literature, visual arts, communication instruments for modernity…) associating linguistic and historical and cultural skills with methodologies associated with the different disciplinary approaches.

In particular the CEM facilitates the dissemination of research and teaching on contemporary Greater Middle East through publications, conferences, symposia, seminars, exhibitions and collaborations with research institutes and national and international institutions.

Japanese language E-learning

The Department of Asian and North African Studies has been carrying out for some years a project for IT instruments development and facilitating learning Japanese language, thanks to the support of many sponsors and the work of a large research group.

The project follows several steps which are important to the history of the Department and shows its attention to innovation and creativity and its perception of the future. The project has generated:

BunpoHyDict: a hypermedia dictionary of Japanese grammar, with alphabetically organized voices that are structured with links and contextualised in daily situations.

Itadict: it allows users to conduct terminology related research in Japanese language with the Japanese alphabets (kana and kanji) as well as the Latin alphabet (romaji).

Edukanji: an app for the organization and the management of Kanji teaching which allows users to visualize animations that show how to write individual letters and information on each kanji following a specific organization of teaching.

Jalea: a web app that allows users to obtain a strong command of written and spoken Japanese language.

Japan-related antique materials in Venice

The database uploaded on this page is an online catalogue of the Japan-related or Japanese antique documental materials preserved by the Biblioteca Nazionale Marciana of Venice. The database includes, for each book, a bibliographic description and a content description.

Research projects

 

World Heritage and East Asian Literature - Sinitic Writings in Japan as Literary Heritage (WHEREAL)

Supervisor: Bonaventura Ruperti, Researcher: Edoardo Gerlini; Lenght: 36 months (01/06/2018-31/05/2021), Grant: € 280.683,00

In the last 20 years, world heritage and world literature have drawn much attention because they represent a convenient framework for visualising and promoting a certain numbers of selected ‘items’ acknowledged as the best achievements of human creativity, in response to a growing interest about foreign cultures. However, the concepts of world heritage—especially the recent declaration of intangible cultural heritage (ICH)—and world literature have been harshly questioned: Is it correct to delegate to an international community that is identified with the cultural elites of developed countries the power to judge and “edit the cultural diversity of the world” such as UNESCO”s list of ICH, or to arrange and create a new canon of “what is literary and what is not” such as in anthologies of world literature? These questions are tied to problems of the ownership of cultural heritage and of authorship of certain literary works that are translated from peripheral languages to hegemonic, international ones. Regarding these problems, the discourses of East Asia and Japan are interesting objects of study not only because they are both ‘peripheral’ from the traditional, Eurocentric point of view but also because their cultural and literary heritage is often older and richer than that of many European countries. This action will allow the candidate to apply an interdisciplinary approach to merge the different debates on ownership and authorship, and to formulate a new definition of ‘literary heritage’ that presents an alternative to the dichotomy of tangible/intangible. The case study will focus on the role of Sinitic writing (jp.: kanbun) in pre-modern Japan as part of the shared cultural heritage of East Asia and its historical development, reception, diffusion and eventual abandonment. This research will stimulate the dialogue on the role of literary heritage among multicultural societies with shared traditions and languages, such as East Asia and the European Union.


 

Florilegia Syriaca. The Intercultural Dissemination of Greek Christian Thought in Syriac and Arabic in the First Millennium CE (FLOS)

Principal Investigator: Emiliano Fiori, Lenght: 60 months (01/03/2018-28/02/2023), Grant: € 1.343.175,00

Christian communities in Mesopotamia were intellectually and religiously thriving realities until the 13th century CE. They talked and wrote in Syriac, a variety of Aramaic in which a rich but relatively little-known body of literature was written. Between the 8th and the 11th centuries, with the constitution of the Abbasid caliphate and the increasing weight of Islam in every field of cultural life, Mesopotamian Christians had to develop strategies of survival and confrontation with the changing religious and intellectual environment. On the one hand they made a selection of their own cultural heritage, especially of Greek Christian texts in Syriac translation, compiling them into large collections, the florilegia, to preserve and reconfigure the Christian thought of the previous centuries in compliance with the needs of their own time. These Greek texts had been written between the 2nd and the 6th century by the so-called “Church Fathers”, and by the 8th century they had been translated into Syriac. In the florilegia, they were excerpted and organized around themes that were central in the debates with Muslim intellectuals (e.g. the Trinity and Incarnation), but also with Jews and with other Christians. Florilegia thus served as a sort of repository where Syriac Christians learnt the abc of their theology, which they had to justify in front of other religions or Christian confessions. On the other hand, they actively engaged in conversations with their religious competitors by writing polemical works directly in Arabic, in which the influence of florilegia is clearly detectable but as yet unexplored. The florilegia have been brought down to us by a small number of precious manuscripts of the first millennium (ca. 800-1000 CE) preserved at the British Library in London. FLOS will study the Syriac Florilegia for the first time, publishing them online in digital critical editions, and will investigate how the selection of Greek Christian thought found in these collections decisively influenced the content of interconfessional and interreligious confrontations in the first centuries of Islam in the Middle East.

 

 


 

Reader, Author, Scholar in a Context of Information Overflow. How to master/manage knowledge when there is too much to know? (RASCIO)

Supervisor: Antonella Ghersetti, Researcher: Elise Franssen, Lenght: 24 months (15/01/2018-14/01/2020), Grant: € 180.277,20

The Mamluk period (1250-1517) is an example in terms of intellectual vivacity. Scholars and books travel easily, ideas are extensively discussed and shared, and the sum of knowledge available is always increasing. When it is no longer possible to master all the knowledge alone, and by heart, how do scholars compose new books? To answer this question, an eminent scholar of this time, al-Ṣafadī (d. 1363), will be taken as example. Several volumes of his personal reading journal—“tadhkirah”—are preserved, but have never been studied. They constitute exceptional evidence of his reading activity and reflect the very first stage of his working method. Besides, several manuscripts that were part of al-Ṣafadī’s personal library are preserved. Tracking them and the marginalia that al-Ṣafadī added next to their text sheds a complementary light on his readings. The only holograph volume of al-Ṣafadī’s tadhkirah preserved will be subject to a thorough and comprehensive study. All the authors and works cited will be identified, al-Ṣafadī’s excerpts will be confronted to the original texts. When the actual manuscript al-Ṣafadī read is identified, a careful analysis of the latter is conducted (study of paratexts left by al-Ṣafadī in the course of his work, codicological analysis). Moreover, the way al-Ṣafadī used the excerpts in his own works will be studied as well. An Open Access online edition will be prepared, including links to the original texts cited, to biographies of the authors, to al-Ṣafadī’s works using these information, and to the online database ELEO (database of paratextual elements, Liège University). Such exceptional documents will provide us an innovative picture of intellectual life during the Mamluk period, a period similar to ours in terms of overabundance of information. Therefore, the study of this original subject is perfectly timely—it will fill the gap of our knowledge of intellectual history of the Mamluk period and will nourrish our perceptions about our times.


 

Between Humanitarian Practices and Youth Aliyah Policy: Jewish Displaced Children and Youths in a Transnational Perspective (1943-1948)

Supervisor: Marcella Simoni, Researcher: Chiara Renzo, Lenght: 24 months (01/09/2017-31/08/2019), Grant: € 65.644,00

The project focuses on the Jewish displaced children and youths after World War II and aims at exploring the dynamics that promoted Jewish younger displaced persons generations’ self-determination and made their experiences in the refugee camps throughout Europe a springboard for shaping a new collective and national identity. The research will combine the methodology of the Post-Holocaust Studies with other fields of investigation, privileging a novel transnational approach. It will include different kinds of unexplored primary sources related to children and young Jewish DPs’ life; the involvement of the Jewish Agency in rescuing and resettling the Jewish children and youths who survived the War and the emerging humanitarian practices adopted on behalf of the younger Jewish DPs. The study aims at shedding light on the awareness of a social, cultural and political distinctiveness which developed towards a national consciousness among the younger generations of Jewish DPs between the end of the War and the establishment of the State of Israel.


Survey and Analysis of Former Success and Current Decline of Japanese Television Programs in Western Europe: Trading Dynamics and Broadcasting Policies, 1975-2015

Supervisor: Toshio Miyake, Researcher: Marco Pellitteri, Lenght: 12 months (29/04/2017- 28/04/2018), Grant: € 10.000,00 (TIFO - Toshiba International Foundation)

The project is dedicated to studying the success and decline of Japanese animé and live-action on Western European television channels, with relations to the past image of Japan in European cultures through these very series. These cultural productions arrived in Europe at the beginning of the seventies and their popularity grew until the nineties. With the beginning of the 21st century though this success slowly decreased. The research, funded for a large part by the Toshiba International Foundation, aims at understanding the broadcasting trends of Japanese series on European television and to suggest strategies to relaunch them and understand how positive the image of Japan that was built on these sources was to the European culture (and especially the youth’s).


Chinese Labour - Shifting Dynamics of Chinese Labour in a Global Perspective

Supervisor: Renzo Riccardo Cavalieri, Researcher: Ivan Franceschini, Lenght: 36 months (15/12/2015-14/12/2018), Grant: € 250.518,60 (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014_GF)

With the financial crisis stepping up the pressure on labour regimes around Europe, and with the European national economies increasingly subject to the vagaries of an uncertain Chinese growth, questions traditionally of interest only to Chinese labour specialists and rights advocates are taking a whole new dimension. Chinese labour issues have ceased to be local matters and have assumed a particular urgency, entering much of the political rhetoric of the European countries. Such diffused presence of Chinese labour in the European imaginary raises many questions and requires a thorough investigation. In particular, in the past few years, much has been written about a “rights awakening” allegedly undergoing among internal migrant workers in China. But how do Chinese workers perceive their rights? What role do Chinese state and non-state actors play in shaping this perception? And, more important, how will these shifting dynamics of Chinese labour activism affect the future of China as a “world factory”? Research that answers these questions is still scarce. The purpose of this study is threefold: a) analyse the expectations of Chinese migrant workers toward work hours and salaries, on the background of the minimum standards mandated by the current labour legislation; b) deconstruct the role played by different actors in shaping these expectation, with a particular attention to the role of the central and local state, the union, civil society organizations and foreign enterprises; c) address the implications of the rising expectations of the Chinese workers for EU investments in China and for the future of the country as a “world factory”. This research will not only give a meaningful contribution to the academic debate, but will also provide European policy-makers, companies, trade unions and labour NGOs with much needed knowledge on how to address Chinese labour issues in this new phase of the globalization process.


Approaches between Western Europe and the People’s Republic of China during Cold War: Italy and the Federal Republic of Germany, a comparison, 1949-1972

Principal Investigator: Samarani Guido, Lenght: 36 mesi (05/02/2017-04/02/2020), Grant: € 221.819,00 (Italian National funds PRIN)

The goal of the project is to investigate the interactions between Maoist China and Western Europe from the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (1949) to the early seventies when the PRC and many European States launched formal diplomatic relations, Maoist China was admitted to the UN and the rapprochement between the United States and China. In the context of the development of a non-official diplomacy supporting economic and cultural exchanges and political contacts between European States and Maoist China, Italy and Federal Germany are exemplary. The two states who lost the Second World War suffered from the antagonism between the two parts during the Cold War and in particular the requisite not to undermine their relationship with the United States. At the same time the two countries are drastically different with relations to their national context and their relations with China. While the Federal Republic of China has a small and illegal Communist Party and the relations with socialist countries (including China) must take into account the role of the Democratic German Republic, in Italy the Communist Party - and the Socialist Party up to the beginning of the sixties - had an important cultural, political and social impact on the relationships with China. At the same time Germany, contrary to Italy, could count on the legacy of strong economic - and cultural - relations with China before the war.