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New Issue of the E-Journal "Transcultural Studies"

Oct 16, 2017

The latest issue of the Cluster's E-Journal "Transcultural Studies" continues the exploration of novel interdisciplinary formats. It features five essays, and – for the first time – a "Report from the Field."

The five individual essays are closely related and based on contributions to the workshop "Transregional Crossroads of Social Interaction". This workshop of the BMBF-funded Crossroads Asia Competence Network took place at Leibniz-Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin on March 21, 2014. The essays explore emerging notions of identity and belonging in South-Central Asian borderlands.

Independent articles

  • Rudolf Wagner: "'Dividing up the [Chinese] Melon, guafen 瓜分': The Fate of a Transcultural Metaphor in the Formation of National Myth".
    Rudolf Wagner’s essay of the history of the Chinese term guafen 瓜分 (cutting up like a melon) studied the translingual and transcultural migration of the conceptual metaphor of China as a nation "asleep" and "awakened" in issue 2011.1 of the journal. The author now turns his attention to the genealogy and the use(s) of a metaphor that stands for the cutting up of China by foreign powers.
  • Dietrich Reetz: "Mediating Mobile Traditions: The Tablighi Jama'at and the International Islamic University between Pakistan and Central Asia (Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan)".
    The article explores connections between South and Central Asia in an alternative to or contestation of globalization. These connections, argues Reetz, are an attempt to revive or maintain Islamic practices and values while accepting the market economy and the political changes of the post-Soviet environment.
  • Jeanine Dagyeli: "Weapon of the Discontented? Trans-River Migration as Tax Avoidance Practice and Lever in Eastern Bukhara".
    Jeanine Dağyeli’s study challenges the nation state historiography with its focus on the political center and its fiction of hard territorial borders. It does so by studying the way in which populations on both sides of the Afghanistan-Tajikistan border crossed to the other side to avoid what they saw as excessively burdensome state exactions or deterioration of their agricultural environment.
  • Antía Mato Bouzasm: "Territorialisation, Ambivalence, and Representational Spaces in Gilgit-Baltistan".
    This micro-study investigates the ways in which the local inhabitants in an area contested between India and Pakistan cope with a recent, heavily militarized border, which separates them from their relatives while keeping them in limbo as to their citizenship. Based on interviews with locals and government officials on both sides of the border controlled by Pakistan and India, and drawing on an approach opened by Henri Lefebvre’s discussion of the frontier as a “space lived through its associated images and symbols,” the author documents different strategies to fix these images and symbols.
  • Timothy Alexander Nunan: "The Violence Curtain: Occupied Afghan Turkestan and the Making of a Central Asian Borderscape".
    Timothy Nunan focuses on Afghanistan’s northern border as an arena of transcultural mobility and interaction during the Soviet Union’s military occupation of Afghanistan. The article explores the forms, the impact, and the aftermath of the Soviet intervention in the context of a strategy that sought not only to protect the Soviet border but also to realize a Soviet model of state building abroad.

Reports from the Field

  • Srđan Tunić: "Ukiyo-e between Pop Art and (Trans)cultural Appropriation: On the Art of Muhamed Kafedžić (Muha)".
    The journal’s first "Report from the Field" is written by Srđan Tunić and is dedicated to the oeuvre of Muhamed Kafedžić, a Sarajevo-based artist with an extraordinary hybrid style which absorbs Japanese Ukiyo-e woodblock printing (seventeenth through nineteenth centuries) as well as American pop art (twentieth century), predominantly by Roy Lichtenstein. Tunić, who collaborated with the artist between 2012 and 2015, provides a vivid analysis of the paintings focusing on the intentions behind them rather than their impact.

Transcultural Studies is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal committed to promoting research on transculturality. Launched in 2010, it is published by the Cluster of Excellence, "Asia and Europe in a Global Context: The Dynamics of Transculturality" at the Heidelberg University and hosted by heiUP.


No. 1: Nanso Satomi Hakkenden, On the Roof of Horyoji after Toyokuni III. Technique: acrylic on canvas. Size: diptych 177 x 240 cm (69.68 x 94.48 inch); each panel 177 x 120 cm (69.68 x 47.24 inch). Year: May 2011. Availability: In private collection.
No. 3: James Gillray, The Plumb-pudding in danger; or State Epicures taking un Petit Souper, 1802.


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  • Nanso Satomi Hakkenden - On the Roof of Horyoji after Toyokuni III

  • James Gillray - The Plumb-pudding in danger