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New issue of "The Journal of Transcultural Studies" online

Sep 26, 2019

The latest issue of the Cluster's e-journal, "The Journal of Transcultural Studies", was recently published by HEIup. It features five essays, which focus normative powers of memory, history of emotions, analysis of the exhibitionary complex in contemporary art, transcultural co-productions, and include another "Report from the Field."

The Journal of 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" at the Heidelberg University and hosted by heiUP. From November onwards, the journal will be published by the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies.

You can find the current issue here.


Jay Prosser: "'This charnel house of historic memories'": Salonica as Site of Transcultural Memory in the Published Writings of Cecil Roth"

This essay is a study of memorializing Jewish Salonica in the writings of Cecil Roth: writer, editor-in-chief of the Encyclopedia Judaica until his death in 1970, and a well-known collector of Judaica. In his article examining Roth’s publications on the significance of the Holocaust for Jewish history in Salonica, Jay Prosser intervenes in ongoing discussions in memory studies that have increasingly begun to question canonical narratives, the foundations of which were laid by the copious work of Pierre Nora and that are premised on a nexus between memory and the nation. Prosser’s account of Roth’s life and work, which have surprisingly received scant attention, speaks to a transcultural perspective on memory that is non-national and—in the particular example of Salonica’s Jewish community studied by Roth—is not reducible to Zionist or even diasporic memory, as frequently encountered in narratives of Jewish history.


Joy Nam Hye Lim: "Conceptualizing Sorrow and Hope The Discourse of Han in South Korea"

Can a transcultural perspective help us gain a more adequate and at the same time less essentialist understanding of “culture-specific” emotions? This is the question Hye Lim Nam raises in her essay on han, a powerful emotion that has been described as a “uniquely Korean psychological state.” Combining feelings of sadness, mournfulness, and resentment while also offering glimmers of hope to overturn the conditions from which it emerged, han is portrayed as defying both definition and translation. Provoked by universal experiences, it becomes tangible only, its propagators claim, in specifically Korean contexts. Nam reconstructs the successive nationalization of the Korean soul through an analysis of concrete historical situations in which han was enlisted to explain and overcome individual and collective suffering.


Barbara Lutz: "Learning from Crisis? On the Transcultural Approach to Curating documenta 14"

To what extent is it feasible for a large-scale periodic exhibition such as the documenta to engage in a self-reflexive praxis effecting a disruption of continuing structures that have by virtue of the sheer logic of editionality accumulated an authority whose habits resist dissidence from beyond? In her article “Learning from Crisis,” Barbara Lutz addresses this question to documenta 14 (2017), whose artistic director Adam Szymczyk sought to disengage the hosting institution from its established position with the intent of introducing a new ethics of participation and co-production that would heal some of the wounds inflicted by crises of the present. For the last edition of documenta, Szymczyk—following the motto “Learning from Athens”—chose two sites, Kassel and Athens, in a move to dissolve existing barriers and undo the prevailing asymmetries within the contemporary art world.


Dhruv Raina: "Jesuit Missionary Societies as the “Itinerant” Academies of Catholic Orientalism in Sixteenth- to Eighteenth-Century India"

Transcultural co-productions are not exclusively modern or contemporary phenomena. They were also a central feature of the “itinerant academies” established by Jesuit missionary societies in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, whose trajectories are traced by Dhruv Raina, a returning contributor to our journal, in the issue’s fourth article. While it has long been argued that the Jesuit order and the long-distance networks it built to sustain its proselytizing drives into Latin America and Asia functioned as early modern prefigurations of today’s multinational corporations, the relative significance and specific contributions of the non-European nodes linking these expansive networks are not yet sufficiently understood. Drawing on his own previous archival work and a wealth of kindred studies that have begun to fill in many blanks, Raina reconstructs the webs of connectivity that sustained the macro- and micro-geographies of Jesuit knowledge-making beyond Europe.


Sophie Florence: "Transcultural Field Notes"

Our rubric "Reports from the Field" features a contribution by Sophie Florence, a student in the MA in Transcultural Studies programme at Heidelberg University. The initiative taken by Sophie and her team comes in the wake of rising xenophobic violence and digitally disseminated hatred that have fractured the world across national boundaries and created a climate of fear and misinformation in our everyday lives. In other words, the world today presents us with conditions that call for an engagement with the core concepts of transcultural studies that effectively undermine purist notions of culture on which dominant versions of collective belonging continue to be based.


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