Concepts in Transition: Modes and Effects of Change

Workshop, September 9–11, 2015


Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Behr, Thomas Hüllein, M.A., Polina Lukicheva, M.A., Christoph Mittmann, M.A., lic. phil. Philipp Hetmanczyk


URPP Asia and Europe and Institute of Asian and Oriental Studies – Chinese Studies


University of Zurich, Room RAA G-01, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zurich

Workshop Outline

Speakers from art history, philosophy, history, Japanese studies, sinology and religious studies are discussing an important question: How do concepts travel between different fields of knowledge and/or cultures and how do these transitions affect the concepts and the environment they are embedded in?

Most scholars would probably agree that concepts undergo changes and transitions. However, there are fierce debates on the impact of cultural, historical and social factors on concepts and the fields of knowledge they belong to. Not only is it necessary to question whether well-known concepts can be applied to other fields of knowledge, it is even possible that concepts which are firmly established in one culture can be mostly irrelevant or inapplicable in another.

Leaving aside the more general question what "concepts" actually are (or how "concept" could be defined), it shall be discussed how conceptual transitions could be methodologically approached. What features do concepts have and what circumstances render a conceptual transition successfull or a failure? These and other questions are discussed during the course of the workshop. The organizers hope to bridge disciplinary gaps by providing an inspiring environment for thought-provoking discussions.