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International workshop "Recalibrating Culture"

19. Nov. 2018

The international workshop "Recalibrating Culture – Reconfiguring the (Trans-)Cultural" took place at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies from November 22-24. It was both a part and the highlight of the HCTS Interactive Lecture Series "Recalibrating Culture–Reenvisioning the (Trans-)Cultural."

Thinking through and beyond – in other words, "trans" – established understandings of culture, the international workshop "Recalibrating Culture – Reconfiguring the (Trans-)Cultural" sets out to rethink notions of culture, which are currently conceived as self-contained and clearly separable, man-made, stable units. Taking a critical view of this perspective, the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context," and the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies have for many years developed a transcultural approach. This workshop sought to expand and critically evaluate, as well as theorize the transcultural from a visual perspective: expanding visual culture into visual transculturality and reconsidering the transcultural from the visual; doing so adds new dimensions to thinking about the transcultural.

Transculturality is an established concept and field of research, not only at the Heidelberg Center for Transcultural Studies. It needs more theory - especially in the face of, for example, new naturalisms, "post-culturalisms" and others - such as new perspectives on nature/culture-configurations. The aim of the workshop is to focus on visual and iconic configurations of transculturality, to look for revisions, and use the concept of configurations, because figures, figuration and their configurations are epistemic, ethic, and aesthetic concepts of description and conceptualization.

The workshop was the highlight and culmination of the ongoing HCTS Lecture Series "Recalibrating Culture–Reenvisioning the (Trans-)Cultural – C’est quoi la (trans-)culture?" to which Steven Connor (Cambridge University), W.J.T. Mitchell (University of Chicago), Antoine Hennion (École Mines Paris Tech, Paris), Gisèle Sapiro and Jacques Revel (EHESS, Paris), David Alworth (Harvard University), Burkhard Liebsch (Bochum University), and Gottfried Boehm (eikones Basel) have and will contribute throughout this academic year. Keynote speakers at the workshop included, among others, Prof. Markus Gabriel (Bonn University), Gisèle Sapiro (École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales), Friedrich Balke (Ruhr University Bochum), Prof. Claire Farago (Zürich University), Prof. Donald Preziosi (University of California), Prof. Burkhard Liebsch (Hannover University), Prof. Steven Connor (University of Cambridge), Prof. W. J. T. Mitchell (University of Chicago), and Prof. Antoine Hennion (Mines Paris Tech).

The aim of the workshop was to bring together these well-established senior scholars with young and emerging academics, thus fostering a creative as well as constructive dialogue between past and future key players from various disciplines and fields.

The conference languages were English, French, and German.

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