About the department

Knowledge of the world promotes tolerance

ToRS carries out research into language, culture, religion and society, mainly in countries outside Western Europe and the USA. Cross-cultural competencies and knowledge of the world’s great diversity are crucial in a globalised world – socially and culturally. ToRS’ mission is to provide insight into this diversity.

Research and teaching at the department examine the current state of affairs in the 21st century’s social and cultural hotspots, but draws on cultural heritage and historical perspectives that go all the way back to the hunter and gatherer communities, the first urban communities and the development of the first ancient civilizations in the Middle East, Asia and Central and South America. We can only understand our own time against the background of our cultural heritage.

Language skills and regional expertise form the basis for ToRS' work. Each society is studied on its own terms and through its own language, but based on the premise that cultures, religions and societies can never be understood as isolated units. Regional processes must always be seen in a wider context, transcending cultures, national borders and periods.

ToRS’ primary objective is to contribute to developing the knowledge society by increasing our understanding of cultural history, religious matters and social relations in a world whose regions are at the same time both closely interlinked and far away from each other. Through research, communication and education, ToRS’ aim is to make society smarter, both about itself and about others.