There is no “East”: Deconstructing the idea of Asia and rethinking the disciplines working on it

  • Elisa Freschi Austrian Academy of Sciences and University of Vienna
Keywords: methodology, coffee break project, transdisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, comparativism


This introduction summarises the steps which led the scholars grouped in the Coffee Break group to undertake the project and then accompanied them from the awareness of the need to deconstruct the idea of geographic boundaries and, consequently, of area studies such as “Indology” or “South Asian studies”, to the need to deconstruct disciplines such as “Philology” or “Literature” themselves, since they are also historically and culturally loaded and risk to tell one more about their subjects than about their alleged objects of study. This pars destruens is followed by a pars construens suggesting as an alternative a situated epistemology which refutes to essentialise the “Other” and, on a more practical level, by the constant implementation of team work.


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Author Biography

Elisa Freschi, Austrian Academy of Sciences and University of Vienna
Elisa Freschi (University of Vienna and Austrian Academy of Sciences) studied South Asian studies and Philosophy. She works on Indian Philosophy (especially Mīmāṃsā and Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta) and on comparative philosophy, epistemology, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, deontic logic and on the re-use of texts. She is a convinced upholder of reading Sanskrit philosophical texts within their history and understanding them through a philosophical approach. Among her publications: Duty, language and exegesis in Prābhākara Mīmāṃsā (2012), Rule-extension strategies: Ritual, exegetical and linguistic considerations on the tantra- and prasaṅga-principles (2013), The reuse of texts in Indian philosophy (2015, ed.) and Adaptive Reuse: Aspects of Creativity in South Asian Cultural History (2017, edited with Philipp A. Maas).


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