In these times of pandemic real contact is extremely limited, not to mention business trips or field studies. This also effects the exchange programs CERES is involved with. There are different international cooperations, for example as part of the EU program Erasmus+, where Bochum’s Center for Religious Studies is taking part in. Beside the student exchange one part of the program is the mutual exchange of teaching staff.
CERES has been cooperating with the Iranian University of Shiraz since 2018 and within the scheme of the Erasmus+ program since 2020. In order to pursue an academic exchange in spite of the ongoing global pandemic, Kianoosh Rezania, professor for West Asian Religions at CERES, recently taught Iranian students online. On 26 April 2021 he presented part of his research he did at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg under the title of “The Temporal and Spatial Zoroastrian Concepts in Myth of Yima” in a course on Iranian mythology. He also had the chance to present his recently started academic project “Zoroastrian Middle Persian: Digital Corpus and Dictionary” to Iranian students and teaching staff. For this purpose, he gave a short first introduction in his lecture “Conceptual History in Middle Persian Studies: dēn and pēšōbāy as two Case Studies” presented in the course “Middle Persian Wisdom Literature” on 3 May 2021.
Even though the current situation does not allow for other measures, the possibilities of direct and local exchanges can only partly be compensated by mediating such topics online. When the pandemic subsides and borders will be reopened, exchanges will again be possible and be actively utilized.