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Research Area B: Public Spheres

Cityscape: Metro, Temple and Park.
New Delhi, 2011 (copyright: Suboor Bakht)

Research Area B explores cultural exchange processes between Asia and Europe in public and private fields of social practice. A particular focus lies on the transculturality of visual and textual media entanglements, gender-specific practices, and social networks. The projects within this research area study shifting conceptions of music, art and culture, changing media, floating spaces, and intermediary figures such as cultural brokers.

In the first funding period, the aim was to understand how cultural flows between Asia and Europe and within Asia are initiated, directed and negotiated in different public spheres, and how the asymmetric relations that characterise these flows function. Scholars asked how these asymmetries are shaped by the actors involved. They studied the tensions in these processes and observed how and why asymmetries of power and perception shift within different public spheres at different moments in time.

With the beginning of the second funding period, the research moved on: instead of looking at the morphologies of cultural flows, it now focuses on the transcultural dynamics involved. From studying forms of circulation, it has gone on to discuss and theorise the circulation of forms. The projects are organised in three thematic fields: (1) Performances, Exhibitions and Aesthetics, (2) Networks and Spaces, and (3) Public Media.

Scholars of this research area use a great variety of source materials: from illuminations in medieval Christian manuscripts to erotic prints in early modern Japan, from music records to satire magazines, from newspapers in Singapore to Valentine’s greeting cards in India, from billboard advertisements to ancient inscriptions, from diasporic internet sites to contemporary art exhibitions, from rituals in South Asia to staged performances for Europeans in Germany, from images in popular lifestyle and women’s magazines to pamphlets, internet blogs and movies.

The former website of Research Area B can be found here.


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    The Cluster of Excellence Asia and Europe in a Global Context,Subproject B19 Ageing in a Transcultural Context (Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius, Prof. Dr. Axel Michaels, Prof. Dr. Andreas Kruse,Annika Mayer, M.A. and Roberta Mandoki, M.A.) offers a position of astudent assistant (undergraduate or...