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CATS is an Asia centre of a different kind. It is committed to study Asia in a global context and through interdisciplinary dialogue. In CATS, four institutes from Heidelberg University whose regional focus is Asia are joined together. Scholars at CATs are specializing in a variety of disciplines such as Anthropology, Geography, History, Cultural Studies, Art History, Literary Studies, Musicology, Religious Studies, Politics, Sociology and others:
- the Centre for East Asian Studies (ZO): four professorships in Chinese Studies, two in Japanese Studies, and two in East Asian Art History, with a focus on China, Japan, Taiwan and Korea.
- South Asia Institute (SAI): seven professorships in Development Economics, Anthropology, Geography, History of South Asia, Cultural and Religious History of South Asia (Classical Indology), Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures (Modern Indology), and Political Science with a focus on Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka
- the Institute of Anthropology (IfE): two professorships, with a specialization in South East Asia (Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam)
- the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS), successor of the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a global Context": five professorships in Buddhist Studies, Cultural Economic History, Global Art History, Intellectual History and Visual and Media Anthropology
The CATS research building, worth some 30 million Euros, was supported by a grant from the German federal government and the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg (91b) . The Joint Science Conference of the Germany’s federal and state governments (Gemeinsame Wissenschaftskonferenz von Bund und Ländern) granted the funding proposal in June 2013.
In addition, the University of Heidelberg and the participating institutes contributed to the costs for the restoration of the historical buidlings, and the initial set-up of the offices, classrooms, library, and the digital humanities unit (Heidelberg Research Architecture).