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Lecture Series on Global Concepts: Art/Science

13.Jan 2011

"Art/Science" was the topic of the latest session of the Cluster's lecture series on "Global Concepts? Keywords and Their Histories in Asia and Europe" held on Thursday evening.

Prof. Joachim Kurtz welcomed the lecturers and gave a brief introduction into the session's topic: "Art/Science".

Under the title "'Art': A Modern European Invention", Prof. Raphael Rosenberg reviewed the history of the idea of art. Deriving the term from the Greek "techne" and the Latin "ars", he argued that the dominating concept of art is an European invention: "It is only in the course of the 18th century that five 'major arts' (painting, sculpture, architecture, music and poetry) were systemised as forming an area by themselves, clearly separated by their shared characteristics from the crafts, the sciences and other human activities. From 1800 on and especially in the German speaking world art was even felt to have an ethical dimension and thus claimed to be superior to science." (Abstract, more information on Moodle). Raphael Rosenberg is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Art History at the University of Vienna, Austria.

Next, Prof. Dhruv Raina talked about "Exact and Positive: Conceptions of the Past of the Sciences in India" (Abstract). Comparing John Stuart Mill's "Systems of Logic" (1843) with Brajendranath Seal's "The Positive Sciences of the Ancient Hindus" (1915) and other philosophical attempts, Prof. Raina discussed the conceptions of the past of the sciences starting in England in the 1830s: "By the 1920s, nobody talked about Western sciences. They all talked about modern sciences". Prof. Dhruv Raina is Holder of the Heinrich Zimmer Chair for Indian Philosophy and Intellectual History at Heidelberg University.

Subsequently, Prof. Melanie Trede discussed both papers presented. Among others, she suggested to consider the book "The Ideals of the East" by Kakuzo Okakura for the analysis of the history of science in India and Asia. In addition, she explained the adoption of various art terms in Japan: "In the beginning, the usage of the Western term 'art' was only possible by using Chinese characters". Melanie Trede is Deputy Speaker of the Cluster's Research Area B "Public Spheres" and Professor of Japanese Art Histories at Heidelberg University.

It followed a discussion on the "Begriffsgeschichte" and certain aspects mentioned in the lectures such as the relation of genius and science. The discussion was moderated by Prof. Joachim Kurtz. He is Professor of Intellectual History at the Cluster and one of the organisers of the Cluster lecture series. The further organiser of the lecture series are Prof. Monica Juneja, Cluster Professor of Global Art History and Dr. Susan Richter, Junior Research Group Leader at the Cluster.

The podium discussions are held from October 2010 until January 2011 at the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, room 212. The full programme is available here

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Press Release (German)
Press Release at Heidelberg University (German)

Profile Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja
Profile Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz
Profile Dr. Susan Richter