Graduate School of the Arts and Humanities Blog

Titelbild TransHumanities 2020


Bildschirmfoto 2019-06-21 um 11.59.24Doris Bachmann-Medick is Senior Research Fellow at the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC) of the Justus Liebig University Giessen. She held numerous appointments as a Visiting Professor in Literary Studies and the Study of Culture, recently at the universities of Graz, Göttingen, UC Irvine, Cincinnati, and Georgetown University. During her time as fellow at the IFK in Vienna she completed her book on “Cultural Turns“. This cross-disciplinary work synthesizes not only the current theoretical trends and discussions in the humanities and social sciences, but also gives an insight into Doris Bachmann-Medick’s main research fields such as cultural theory, Kulturwissenschaften, literary anthropology (literature and ethnography), and cultural translation studies. She is especially interested in epistemological, cultural and political conditions of transcultural and global developments – in emerging concepts, topics , concerns and practices in cultural theory – and in cultures as manifold translations. In this regard she is currently co-editing a volume on „Futures of the Study of Culture“. She serves on the editorial board of Translation Studies.
Recent Publications: Jenseits der Konsensgemeinschaft – Kulturwissenschaften im “socio-political turn?”, in: Zeitschrift für Kulturwissenschaften 2, 105-111, 2017. / Cultural Turns: New Orientations in the Study of Culture. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2016. / The Trans/National Study of Culture: A Translational Perspective. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter, 2014. / more


Regarding the topic of the Summer School 2019, her areas of expertise include translation studies, cultural theory, interdisciplinary and transcultural developments in the study of culture, cross-cultural knowledge, travelling concepts, cultural turns.


Salzbrunn_FotoMonika Salzbrunn, Full Professor of Religions, Migration, Diasporas at University of Lausanne, invited research professor at Università degli Studi di Genova and associated researcher at CéSOR/EHESS Paris, is principal investigator of the European Research Council (ERC) project on ARTIVISM –Art and Activism. Creativity and performance as subversive means of political expression in super-diverse cities. She was leading the projects “(In)visible islam in the city. material and immaterial expressions of muslim practices within urban spaces in Switzerland” and “Undocumented Mobility and Digital-Cultural Resources after the ‘Arab Spring”, funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. Monika Salzbrunn has published numerous articles and books in English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese about political and religious performances in a context of migration and written several documentary films. She was visiting professor at the Japan Women’s University Tokyo and at Kwansei Gakuin University in Japan and is currently member of the research group POPADIVCIT, Popular Arts, Diversity and Cultural Policies in Post-Migration Urban Settings of the European Excellence Network IMISCOE, and associated researcher at CéSOR/EHESS Paris.
Recent publications: Civilisations, vol. 67, A l’écoute des transnationalisations religieuses/Sounding religious transnationalism, (in print). / Revue européenne des migrations internationales, vol. 35, 3-4, 2019: Musiques, danses et (trans)nationalismes, (in print) / L’événement (im)prévisible. Mobilisations politiques et dynamiques religieuses. Beauchesne, 2019. /L’islam (in)visible en ville. Appartenances et engagements dans l’espace urbain. Labor et Fides, 2019. / Migrations, circulations, mobilités. Nouveaux enjeux épistémologiques et conceptuels à l’épreuve du terrain. Sociétés Contemporaines, 2018.


Regarding the topic of the Summer School 2019, her areas of expertise include transnational social spaces, urban spaces, migration, political and religious practices, festive events/carnival/art/music/ theatre, visual anthropology, multisensory ethnography.


Schroeter_FotoJens Schröter, Prof. Dr., is chair for media studies at the University of Bonn since 2015. He was Professor for Multimedial Systems at the University of Siegen 2008-2015. He was director of the graduate school “Locating Media” at the University of Siegen from 2008-2012. He is member of the DFG-graduate research center “Locating Media” at the University of Siegen since 2012. He was (together with Prof. Dr. Lorenz Engell, Weimar) director of the DFG-research project “TV Series as Reflection and Projection of Change” from 2010-2014. He was speaker of the research project (VW foundation; together with Dr. Stefan Meretz; Dr. Hanno Pahl and Dr. Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle) “Society after Money – A Dialogue”, 2016-2018. Since 4/2018 director (together with Anja Stöffler, Mainz) of the DFG-research project “Van Gogh TV. Critical Edition, Multimedia-documentation and analysis of their Estate” (3 years). Since 10/2018 speaker of the research project (VW foundation; together with Prof. Dr. Gabriele Gramelsberger; Dr. Stefan Meretz; Dr. Hanno Pahl and Dr. Manuel Scholz-Wäckerle) “Society after Money – A Simulation” (4 years). April/May 2014: „John von Neumann“-fellowship at the University of Szeged, Hungary. September 2014: Guest Professor, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China. Winter 2014/15: Senior-fellowship at the research group „Media Cultures of Computer Simulation“, Summer 2017: Senior-fellowship IFK Vienna, Austria. Winter 2018: Senior-fellowship IKKM Weimar.
Recent publications: Postmonetär denken, Wiesbaden: Springer 2018. (together with „Project Society after Money“) / Society after Money. A Dialogue, London/New York: Bloomsbury 2019. (together with „Project Society after Money“) /Markets, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press and Lüneburg: Meson (Series: In Search of Media). (together with Armin Beverungen, Philip Mirowski, Edward Nik-Khah).


Regarding the topic of the Summer School 2019, his areas of expertise include theory and history of digital media/digital culture, intermediality, virtual reality, multimedia, auditoryculture, visuality, media and capital.


Trading Zone or Translation? Knowledge Formation through Displacement

Doris Bachmann-Medick

How do “sites of knowledge“ emerge in a globalized world? This talk focuses on knowledge as a compo-site rather than a mere “site“ – as a complex dynamic that unfolds especially through processes of displacement: emerging from shifts and transversal relations between different systems or genres of knowledge such as research, art, common knowledge, social media, etc. Such intersections reach beyond hybridized or mixed constellations. They are challenges for intervening or mediating practices. In this respect, my talk discusses the concept and practice of the “trading zone“ trying to transfer it from science studies to the study of culture. Could the elaboration of this concept provide new insights into processes of social and cultural knowledge formation, too? Could it also be a useful practice for managing communication between different registers of knowledge in cultural and medial encounters – between artistic articulations, political conversations, social actions, museum displays, lay knowledge, and scholarly expertise? At issue here is the attempt to find a common “exchange language“. But, don’t we need more than just a shared language? Perhaps also an activation of senses, emotions, and practical skills, of common concerns and reference points – stimulated through displacements? For exploring this complex field my talk suggests to elaborate a specific mode of a social and cultural practice that is embedded in “translational epistemologies“. At issue is in any case a practical turn of knowledge – to be reached by 1) a different scaling (from global thinking towards local acting), 2) by scrutinizing and activating travelling concepts (that transform ideas into practices, actions, collaborations, and participations), and 3) by looking for new and other forms of generating knowledge (through linking different fields, be they those of social action or symbolic representation).


Mandatory reading (available here):

  • Bachmann-Medick, Doris 2014:  From Hybridity to Translation: Reflections on Travelling Concepts. In: The Trans/National Study of Culture: A Translational Perspective, Doris Bachmann-Medick (ed.),  De Gruyter, pp. 119–136.
  • Galison, Peter 1999: Trading Zone: Coordinating Action and Belief (1998 abridgment).” In: The Science Studies Reader, Mario Biagioli (ed.), Routledge, pp. 137-160.

ARTIVISM in post-migration settings
(Co-)production of representations through audio-visual counter-narratives

Monika Salzbrunn

Action research, participatory research methods and interactive filmmaking share the common approach of taking the researched subject as an expert who co-constructs knowledge with the researcher. The circulation of images via social networks has contributed a great deal to rendering individuals and collectives conscious about their power in co-constructing or counter-performing knowledge and representations of self and others. The division of the sensitive (Rancière, 2000) implies the creation of new semantics of political inclusion and of legitimacy, putting into question formalised power relations.
In our ERC ARTIVISM project (Salzbrunn, 2015) which focuses on “Art and activism. Creativity and performance as subversive forms of political expression in super-diverse cities”, we research the use of art in activism and activism in the arts. Applying multi-sensory ethnography (Pink, 2011) and audio-visual methods, we conduct empirical research in cities of the French and Italian Mediterranean coast, in California and in the francophone part of Cameroon. I will first give an introduction to the epistemological and methodological background of the project, drawing on performance, urban and migration studies. This will be followed by examples that reveal the co-construction and staging of diversity through alternative fashion shows. Following Rancière’s (1994) idea that politics have always been aesthetic and Butler’s (1993) concept of performance as the staging of a desired situation, we focus on the performativity of artivist actions. Our approach implies a consideration of the filmed persons as co-producers of knowledge, representations and (counter-)narratives. Each actor gives a particular meaning (Deleuze, 1969) to her/his performance (Butler, 1993) in a certain context (Rogers and Vertovec, 1995) and in a given social situation (Clarke, 2005). Finally, considering the researched subjects as experts with whom researchers co-construct knowledge in a globalised battle of images and meaning implies their participation in the (film-)writing and their feedback in restitution processes.

Mandatory reading (available here):

  • Salzbrunn, Monika, Barbara Dellwo and Sylvain Besençon 2018: Analyzing participatory cultural practices in a medium-scale Swiss town: How multiple belongings are constructed and consolidated through an interactive film-making process, Conjunctions, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 3-18.
  • Souiah, Farida, Monika Salzbrunn and Simon Mastrangelo 2018: Hope and Disillusion. The Representations of Europe in Algerian and Tunisian Cultural Production about Undocumented Migration. In: North Africa and the Making of Europe. Governance, Institutions and Culture, Muriam Haleh Davis et Thomas Serres (eds.), Bloomsbury, pp. 155-177 (chap. 7).

Recommended reading (available here):

  • Salzbrunn, Monika 2016: When the mosque goes Beethoven: Expressing religious belongings through music. COMPASO – Journal of Comparative Research in Anthropology and Sociology, Vol. 7, No. 1, pp. 59-74.

Recommended website:

Official and Popular Media Analysis

Jens Schröter

In the recent years there has been a nervous and controversial discussion on fake news and conspiracy theories circulating in the web (‘Social Media’). The web, due to its mostly unregulated character and its network structure (‘everything is connected with everything’) is an optimal medial site for such counter-knowledge that tends to question ‚official‘ forms of knowledge (often meaning scientific knowledge and/or knowledge circulating through traditional mass media). Building on John Fiske’s conception of the difference between forms of ‚popular‘ and ‚official‘ knowledge (which itself derives partly from the work of Michel Foucault), the talk wants to sketch the conflicts of different types of knowledge in the plurimedial realm of the web. The plurimediality is especially interesting: Nowadays the web can contain several forms of audiovisual information – and the access to image and audio processing software is as widespread as never before. Transformed and reworked audiovisual materials, constructing other forms of ‘truth’, can counter ‘official’ audiovisual documents that represent ‘official knowledge’. This will be illustrated using the most exemplary case: The so-called Zapruder film showing the assassination of John F. Kennedy in 1963. This short piece of film is the most analyzed piece of film in history – and nowadays there are several ‘counteranalyses’ on the web, trying – e.g. with image processing software – to construct different readings of the material, for example to lend credibility to conspiracy narratives. In a way the monopoly of interpretation of audiovisual material (and its correlated techniques of audio-visual analysis), which officially was the task of (military or police) forensic analysis and later also of media studies is countered by ‘bottom-up media analysis’. Does this mean that we have to accept these multiplications of truths? Surely we should not. But how can we differentiate? This will be – amongst other things – an important task for the humanities in the future: A meta-reflection on the plurimedial struggles between official and popular knowledge.


Mandatory reading (available here):

  • Schröter, Jens 2005: Von Wissen/Unterhaltung zu offiziellem/populärem Wissen. Zeitschrift für Germanistik, Vol. XV, No. 1, pp. 96-108. [mandatory for German speakers]
  • Foucault, Michel 2003: Society Must Be Defended. In: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1975-76, Bertani et al. (eds.), Picador, pp. 1-19.

19. March 2019, Gabriel Rosenberg | 0 Comments


Challenging the Sites of Knowledge
Medial and pluri-medial configurations and transformations

3 – 7 September 2019, Hotel Bad Muntelier, Murten

Due to the impact of globalization and technological development, we are witnessing a growth and diversification of the sites of knowledge generation and the ways in which a variety of actors articulate and circulate knowledge, especially via new media. As a result, the privileged position of ‘scientific’ knowledge is contested, making knowledge the symbolic and material capital not only of academic ‘experts’ but also of (Western and non-Western) ‘citizen scientists’, activists and artists at the margins of Academia, as well as of journalists, bloggers, or politicians. ‘Knowledge’ has become (or has always been) a matter of public debate, always infected by power modalities.

Moreover, in the course of various ‘turns’ at least since the 1990s, it has been stated that books and archives, textuality and textual literacy have never been the only reservoirs and technologies of knowledge. As hybrid forms of text, image, material things, or even sound have always been the rule, scholars from cultural studies, media studies and linguistics have pointed out for some time already the growing need for a sensory literacy. Yet, in light of more recent participatory information technologies and, especially, a growing distrust of the Humanities expressed mainly by political stakeholders, we need another analytical reset in order to foster engaged inter- and transdisciplinary debate and research for a development of what Mikhael Epstein calls “avenues of conceptual creativity” in academic institutions. This does not mean merely boarding the high-speed train of neoliberal technophilia, but instead to carefully trace present and past medial and pluri-medial dynamics, relations between creation, mediation, translation, perception and performance, image, material, sound and text with its expert and non-expert actors.

The Summer School of 2019 analyzes and discusses present and past angles and sites of knowledge generation especially in regard to medial and pluri-medial configurations and transformations from a historical, sociological, cultural and philosophical perspective. It reflects in particular on the challenges thereof for the Humanities and the Cultural and Social Sciences regarding their role in a (post-post)modern knowledge society. How do we reclaim expertise of, and for, the Humanities – an expertise which is crucial to society, but which seems to have been in question for quite some time already? And how can we manage conversation and translation – inside and outside academia – in light of an increasing pressure to make our research visible, tangible and understandable for non-experts as well? How, for example, do we analyse the (co-)production of representations through audio-visual counter-narratives, in particular in a context of cross-cultural or post-migration settings?

 Keynote Speakers

Doris Bachmann-Medick (Permanent Senior Research Fellow International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, GCSC, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen)
Translation studies, cultural theory, interdisciplinary and transcultural developments in the study of culture, cross-cultural knowledge, travelling concepts, cultural turns

Monika Salzbrunn (Full Professor for Religions, Migrations and Diaspora Studies, University of Lausanne)
Transnational social spaces, urban spaces,migration, political and religious practices, festive events/carnival/art/music/ theatre, visual anthropology, multisensory ethnography

Jens Schröter (Full Professor for Media Culture Studies [Medienkulturwissenschaft], University of Bonn)
Theory and history of digital media/digital culture, intermediality, virtual reality, multimedia, auditoryculture, visuality, mediaand capital

Call for Application

For further information about the summer school and the application procedure (extended application deadline Mai 15, 2019), please have a look at our call.


22. October 2018, Gabriel Rosenberg | 0 Comments

A workshop about the transpositions of the concept of alterity in an interdisciplinary context.


7 – 8 December 2018, University of Lucerne

This workshop takes place in the framework of the consortium TransPositions.

Alterity is a concept discussed in all disciplines within the Humanities and often functions as a unifying concept in interdisciplinary research. As with so many concepts “transposed” from one context to another, it has widely differing denotations, connotations, and applications.

In addition to discourses conceptualizing alterity, studies related to terms in each language linked to the overarching concept likewise consolidate the terminological and conceptual jungle (e.g. English: foreigner, alien, other, stranger; French: l’autre, l’étranger, l’étrange; or German: der Andere, das Andere, der Fremde, das Fremde). And of course the concept has had its – more or less directly linked and highly flourishing – conceptual avatars such as identity, hybridity, difference, inter- and transculturality, liminality etc.

The present workshop has the aim of tracing and mapping the transpositions of the concept of alterity in an interdisciplinary context shaped by an almost uncontrollable methodological and theoretical eclecticism. Keynote speeches by the two invited professors, Christine Abbt (University of Lucerne) and Thomas Claviez (University of Bern), will frame the discussions of seminal texts theorizing alterity that will take place in the following two text sessions:

Text Session I “Democracy and Alterity” led by Christine Abbt

Geoff Boucher. “A Road Not Taken: Critical Theory after Dialectic of Enlightenment.” Rethinking the Enlightenment, edited by Goeff Boucher and Henry Martyn Lloyd. Lexington Book 2017. 221-246.

Judith Butler. Giving an Account of Oneself. Fordham University Press, 2005.

Christine Abbt and Susanne Schmieden. “Simulacra and Authenticity in Diderot’s ‚Sur le Salon 1765’ and ‚Paradoxe sur le Comédien’“. Diderot and 18th-Century Human Simulacra. Edited by Aurélia Gaillard and Marie-Irène Igelmann. Forthcoming Lumières, Presse Universitaires de Bordeaux 2018. (text will be sent to participants).

Christine Abbt holds a SNSF Professorship of Philosophy at the University of Lucerne, where she directs the Centre for Enlightenment, Critical Thinking, and Plurality. After completing German Studies, Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Zurich, she was academic assistant in Basel and Zurich, taught at several universities and was a guest researcher in the US, Australia, Germany, Italy, and Austria. In 2005, she received her doctoral degree from the University of Zurich on the topic of Speechlessness in Philosophy. In 2016, she became habilitated also in Zurich with a work on the relation between remembering and forgetting. Her key research areas are: political philosophy, aesthetics, and epistemology. Currently she is writing a monograph on the relation between democracy and forms of non-identity during the Antiquity, the Enlightenment, and the Present. Her monographs include Christine Abbt. Der wortlose Suizid. Die literarische Gestaltung der Sprachverlassenheit als Herausforderung für die Ethik [Suicide without Words: Literary Renderings of Missing Language as a Challenge to Ethics], Fink 2007; Christine Abbt. Ich vergesse. Über die Möglichkeiten und Grenzen des Denkes aus philosophischer Perspektive [I am Forgetting: On the Possibilities and Limitations of Thought Seen from a Philosophical Perspective], Campus 2016.

Text Session II “Alterity, Contingency, and the Difference of it All” led by Thomas Claviez

Thomas Claviez, “Done and Over With, Finally? Otherness, Metonymy, and the Ethics of Comparison.”  PMLA 128:3 (2013), p. 608-614.

Thomas Claviez, “A Metonymic Community? Towards a Poetics of Contingency.” In Thomas Claviez, ed., The Common Growl. Toward a Poetics of Precarious Community. New York: Fordham UP, 2016. p. 39-56.

Emmanuel Levinas, Ethics and Infinity. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 1985. p. 83-101.

-.- . Totality and Infinity. Pittsburgh: Duquesne UP, 1969. p. 194-219.

Thomas Claviez is Professor for Literary Theory and Co-Director of the Center for Global Studies (CGS) at the University of Bern, where he is responsible for the MA-program “World Literature.” He is the author of Grenzfälle: Mythos – Ideologie – American Studies (wvt. 1998) and Aesthetics & Ethics: Moral Imagination from Aristotle to Levinas and from Uncle Tom’s Cabin to House Made of Dawn (Winter, 2008), as well as the co-author, with Dietmar Wetzel, of Zur Aktualität von Jacques Rancière (VS, 2016). He is the co-editor of “Mirror Writing”: (Re-)Constructions of Native American Identity (Galda + Wilch, 2000), Theories of American Studies/Theories of American Culture (Narr, 2003), Neo-Realism: Between Innovation and Continuation (Winter, 2004), Aestetic Transgressions: Medernity, Liberalism, and the Function of Literature (Narr, 2006), and editor of the collections The Conditions of Hospitality: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics at the Treshold of the Possible (Fordham, 2014) and The Common Growl: Toward a Poetics of Precarious Community (Fordham, 2016). He is currently working on a monograph with the title A Metonymic Community? Towards a New Poetics of Contingency, and on two editions of essays: Throwing the Moral Dice: Ethics and/of Contingency (Fordham 2019) and A Critique of Authenticity (Vernon, 2019).

Call for Application

For further information about the workshop, please have a look at the call.

You can now apply by sending a short CV and statement of motivation (300-500 words) to  by September 3rd, 2018 (extended deadline) .

Keynote Speakers

Workshop 2018 mit Ch. Abbt und Th. Claviez


9. April 2017, Melanie Altanian | 0 Comments


21 – 25 August 2017, Woudschouten Hotel & Conference Centre

This edition of the TransPositions Summer School focusses on material culture and the senses. How can we investigate sensory experiences of past material cultures or cultures that are not our own? And how can we reconstruct in our studies the experiential richness of ephemera and material practices “lost in transmission” or only preserved in textual sources? The summer school approaches these questions across different disciplines including art history, archaeology, anthropology, conservation, musicology, performance and media studies, cognitive science, and religion- and science studies.

Today the constitutive and performative nature of material culture has become widely acknowledged and researchers have developed different methodologies and tools to study the complex, dynamic textures and temporalities of material cultures. Scholars have shown, for example, that neither science nor religion can be studied as “immaterial affairs”. Instead, they study the material genesis of immaterial facts and spiritual presence with an integrated and inherently multi-disciplinary approach that does not prioritize mind over matter. At the same time, scholars from and across different disciplines have challenged notions of the senses as discrete and monolithic. Visual anthropologists study sensory perception as situated action that is guided by and sensible to material affordances of the environments; historians of the senses have convincingly shown how sensory notions and experiences change through time; conservators and technical art historians redefined the activity of looking as a learned competency that comes with handling materials and developing sensorial proficiency in assessing their textures and surfaces. These participatory and materially engaged approaches, prompt us to reassess notions of seeing in terms of “sensorial apprenticeship” and “skilled vision”. Moreover, new methods are explored across different disciplines, combining object-based and reconstruction research that train visual acuity and material literacy. In fact, the handling and remaking of cultural artefacts is increasingly understood as a powerful heuristic process. Yet, at the same time, these approaches give rise to ongoing controversies about the nature of material agencies, while the usefulness of embodied, extended and embedded mind theories for the study of past and present material cultures remain open to discussion.

Building on scholarship that brought materials and things to the centre of scholarly attention, we invite participants to contribute to critical interdisciplinary discussions, moving beyond the questions “Why materials?“ or “Why things?“ and exploring how we can become more perceptive to materials and sensible objects, how we can foster material engagements in our fields, and how we—as humanities and social sciences scholars—can apprentice ourselves (and our students) in sensory proficiency and skilled material expertise relevant to our research. In particular, the following questions will be addressed:

  • How can we investigate sensory experiences of past material cultures or cultures that are not our own?
  • How are human bodies involved in practices of making visible and palpable?
  • How can we educate our senses? How do we build sensory expertise and material literacy?
  • In what ways can performative and experiential methodologies help us to study the historical and cultural contingencies of sensory experiences?
  • How can we account for sensual and performative aspects of material culture in our own research output—in text, visual forms or in speech?

Invited keynote speakers

Ulinka Rublack
(Faculty of History, Cambridge University)

Lambros Malafouris
(Kebble College and Institute of Archaeology, Oxford University)

Rachel Prentice
(Dept. of Science and Technology Studies, Cornell University)

Shigehisa Kuriyama
(Dept. of East Asian Languages and Civilizations, Harvard University)

16. October 2016, Melanie Altanian | 0 Comments

We asked some follow-up questions to our keynote lecturers, watch what they have to say below!

Guest lecturer Monica Juneja from the University of Heidelberg illuminates how new conceptions of current curatorial practices could create awareness of the relativity of disciplinary borders and transnational dynamic processes:


Guest lecturer Sandro Mezzadra from the University of Bologna explains why – in the face of today’s refugee crisis with all the media coverage on the return of fences, barbed wire and walls – it is necessary to see European borders not only as lines which disable or hinder mobility and exclude people, but to focus also on the productive aspect of borders:


Guest lecturer Bernhard Siegert from the Bauhaus University Weimar illuminates why – apart from economic and geopolitical processes – we should take into account aesthetics when dealing with today’s border regimes:


Guest lecturer Mary C. Fuller from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) elucidates why Richard Hakluyt’s collection is a text that is good to think with when it comes to the theme of border regimes:

12. October 2016, Melanie Altanian | 0 Comments


3Cs is born out of our enthusiasm with the power of maps

“We work on mapping in order to:

    • render new images and practices of economies and social relations
    • destabilize centered and exclusionary representations of the social and economic
    • construct new imaginaries of collective struggle and alternative worlds.

We seek to create collaborations for engaged research and cartography — transforming the conditions of how we think, write and map and the conditions about which we think, write and map.”

Check out their homepage for more information:

12. August 2016, Melanie Altanian | 0 Comments

Visible and invisible borderlands – art history’s unresolved epistemic frontiers

Monica Juneja

My talk takes its cue from Etienne Balibar’s designation of a border as something that goes beyond being a mere boundary between two states, rather performs a “world-configuring function”. In what ways does the notion of a border become a “condition of possibility” for the proliferation of boundaries as modes of producing authoritative knowledge? One important domain of such knowledge has been art history that, participating in and even constitutive of processes of nation building, was conceived of as a path to understand and account for the particularities of “national cultures”. My talk engages with these epistemic foundations and early histories of the discipline at a profoundly global conjuncture as it negotiated a dialectic of crossing and redefining boundaries. From the strivings of early “world art histories” (Weltkunstgeschichte) to encompass a new and ever-increasing diversity of objects that had made their way from regions of the world to Europe and confronted museums, curators, publics and not least a discipline fixated on Classical Antiquity with fresh challenges, I look at the way concepts of modernist art history get appropriated, re-configured and also reaffirmed as the discipline migrates beyond Europe to colonies and young post-colonial nations. I argue that this exercise assumes an urgency in contemporary times as art history strives once again to become “global”, carried by the euphoria of dissolving borders and a shared art world generated by contemporary art and the “excess visibility” (Jean Fisher) it accords to cultural difference. To what extent does the “intimate proximity” (Okwui Enwezor) induced by the global contemporary eschew an engagement with art history’s unresolved epistemic frontiers and what would be the logical consequences of a transcultural art history that worked to replace inherited notions of culture and the art historical apparatus that rests on them with more dynamic models of identities constituted through transborder relationships?

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