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D3 Images of Alterity (project completed)

Images of Alterity in East and West

Coordination: Lieselotte E. Saurma, Anja Eisenbeiss

Abstract

Images of Alterity in East and West

Any concept of alterity has to be grounded in an awareness of the other, which builds on a construction of difference between self and other. In times of increasing East-West encounters, often accompanied by asymmetrical shifts in power, perceiving the difference is usually emphasized. The project seeks to question this assumption by investigating Western and Eastern images of alterity from the 4th to the 17th century.
It will ask for narratives initiated by these images, and for the interpretive acts involved in re-presenting and re-locating alterity in shifting narratives. Instead of pointing out ‘the exotic’, changing contexts of images and the way in which they are inscribed in Eastern, in Western and in East-Western narratives will be analysed. Further research will examine how images of alterity are dealt with in different cultures. In which contexts do either stereotyped, fantastic or mimetic images prevail?

Images © Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg

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