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Beyond Boundaries: Religion, Region, Language and the State


The Gupta dynasty dominated South Asia during the 4th and 5th centuries. Their period was marked by political stability and an astonishing florescence in every field of endeavor. The Gupta kingdom and its networks had an enduring impact on India and a profound reach across Central and Southeast Asia in a host of cultural, religious and socio-political spheres. Sometimes characterized as a ‘Golden Age’, this was a pivotal moment in Asian history. The Guptas have received considerable scholarly attention over the last century, as have, separately, the kingdoms of Central and Southeast Asia. Recent advances notwithstanding, knowledge and research activity are fragmented by entrenched disciplinary protocols, distorted by nationalist historiographies and constrained by regional languages and associated cultural and political agendas. Hemmed in by modern intellectual, geographical and political boundaries, the diverse cultures, complex polities and varied networks of the Gupta period remain specialist subjects, little-mentioned outside area studies and traditional disciplinary frameworks. The aim of this project is to work beyond these boundaries for the first time and so recover this profoundly influential dispensation, presenting it as a vibrant entity with connections across several regions and sub-continental areas. To address this aim, three PIs have formed an interdisciplinary team spanning linguistics, history, religious studies, geography, archaeology, Indology, Sinology and GIS/IT technologies. This team will establish a scientific laboratory in London that will generate the synergies needed to delineate and assess the significance of the Gupta Age and its pan-Asian impacts. The project's wider objective is to place Central,South and Southeast Asia on the global historical stage, significantly influence practices in Asian research and support EU leadership in Asian studies.

Call for proposal

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Lead Principal Investigator

Michael Willis Dr.


Great russell street
WC1B 3DG London
United Kingdom

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London Inner London — West Camden and City of London
Activity type
Research Organisations
Principal investigator
Michael Willis (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
J. D. Hill (Dr.)
EU contribution
€ 5 408 137,80

Beneficiaries (3)