Ansatte på Saxo-Instituttet – Københavns Universitet

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Karsten Johanning

Karsten Johanning

Ph.d. stipendiat

Medlem af:

  • Universal Empire

"Cosmopolitan Identities between Rome and India"

My research is part of the Copenhagen University-based project "Rome in the World History of Universal Empire", headed by Peter Fibiger Bang. Given that frame, I’m studying how Greco-Roman cosmopolitan (e.g. transregional) identity was imagined and discussed in literary culture, and which insights can be gained by comparing it with Indian Sanskrit culture. The latter stretched far beyond the subcontinent and into China, Japan and South East Asia, even though it was never under the control of any single imperial power. My time frame will be the first half of the first millennium AD, particularly the early empire for Rome, and the Gupta dynasty for India (roughly the 1st and 2nd centuries, and 4th to 6th centuries AD, respectively).
            I focus on the interplay between literature and power, as seen in Latin, Greek and Sanskrit texts, for instance in the use of literature as a means of inclusion and exclusion. Hence, I am particularly interested in cultural meetings – how imperial elites balanced local, regional and cosmopolitan interests – and what made both cosmopolitan identity and universal empire so attractive.

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