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Monday, May 27, 2013

A beginner's guide to the Coffee Break Project

The Coffee Break (henceforth CB) Project is led by young researchers located in Italy or in other European countries who aim at a new concept of scholarly exchanges. In this sense, the name "Coffee Break" aims at highlighting the possibility of a real conversation, as it happens during coffee breaks, although often not during standard conferences. The CB Conferences are indeed chances for dynamic interactions and exchanges regarding methodologies, open problems and perspectives.
The field of investigation of the researches fostered by the CB Project is the Indian subcontinent, although comparisons with other parts of the world are welcome and the panels organised in the CB conferences always focus on specific problems and topics and not just on a mere geographic area. Similarly, the study of Classical India is not separated from that of contemporary India, and a multi-disciplinary approach is promoted as the key to the investigation of each cultural phenomenon.

Activities of the CB project

The members of the Coffee Break Project have organised five Coffee Break Conferences, plus a Coffee Break meeting, hosted by prestigious universities and research institutes in Italy ("Sapienza" University of Rome; National Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci", Rome; University of Turin; Torino World Affairs Institute, Turin; University of Cagliari) and financed by research centres in Italy and in Europe ("Sapienza" University; University of Turin; Torino World Affairs Institute; University of Cagliari; National Museum of Oriental Art "Giuseppe Tucci"; Italian Association of Sanskrit Studies; Institute of the Cultural and Intellectual History of Asia at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna).
Researchers from Europe (Austria, France, Germany, Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Switzerland, UK), India and USA have participated to our meetings and to the ensuing volumes of proceedings.

As an instance, the 2013 CB conference in Turin is articulated into eigth panels: The Philosophy of testimony, International relationships, Metrics and phonology, Labour questions in neoliberal India, Cultural astronomy, Gods in space, Sociocultural constructions of sexuality, Change of paradigms and mechanical (re)discoveries: Manuscript and print cultures across Asia.
The general purpose is that of an open discussion which should enable the participants to see India as not an "exotic" Other but as the necessary complement of Ourselves and the Others.

Further info on the CB project and on the past and future conferences can be found here.

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