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Visual and Media Histories (Publication Series)

Visual and Media Histories

Edited by Monica Juneja

This Series takes as its starting point notions of the visual, and of vision, as central in producing meanings, maintaining aesthetic values and relations of power. Through individual studies, it hopes to chart the trajectories of the visual as an activating principle of history. An important premise here is the conviction that the making, theorising and historicising of images do not exist in exclusive distinction of one another. Opening up the field of vision as an arena in which meanings get constituted simultaneously anchors vision to other media such as audio, spatial and the dynamics of spectatorship. It calls for closer attention to inter-textual and inter-pictorial relationships through which ever-accruing layers of readings and responses are brought alive. Through its regional focus on South Asia the Series locates itself within a prolific field of writing on non-Western cultures which have opened the way to pluralise iconographies, and to perceive temporalities as scrambled and palimpsestic. These studies, it is hoped, will continue to reframe debates and conceptual categories in visual histories. The importance attached here to investigating the historical dimensions of visual practice implies close attention to specific local contexts which intersect and negotiate with the global, and can re-constitute it. Examining the ways in which different media are to be read on to and through one another would extend the thematic range of the subjects to be addressed by the Series to include those which cross the boundaries that once separated art historical scholarship from the popular: studies of film, photography and prints on the one hand, advertising, television, posters, calendars, comics, buildings and cityscapes on the other.

Publications of the series:

Ramaswamy, Sumathi (ed.): Barefoot across the Nation. M F Husain and the Idea of India. Visual and Media Histories 1. Abingdon: Routledge, 2010. ISBN (hardcover): 978-0-415-58594-1, ISBN (paperback, 2016 ed.): 978-1-13-894813-6 → order here

Ali, Daud, and Emma J. Flatt (eds.): Garden and Landscape Practices in Pre-colonial India. Histories from the Deccan. Visual and Media Histories 2. Abingdon: Routledge, 2011. ISBN (hardback): 978-0-415-66493-6, ISBN (paperback): 978-1-13-865986-5 → order here

Mathur, Saloni, and Kavita Singh (eds.): No Touching, No Spitting, No Praying. The Museum in South Asia. Visual and Media Histories 3. Abingdon: Routledge, 2014. ISBN: 978-1-13-879601-0 → order here

Wille, Simone: Modern Art in Pakistan. History, Tradition, Place. Visual and Media Histories 4. Abingdon: Routledge, 2015. ISBN: 978-1-13-882109-5 → order here

Desai, Madhavi: Women Architects and Modernism in India. Narratives and contemporary practices. Visual and Media Histories 5. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. ISBN: 978-1-13-821069-1 → pre-order here

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D18 Picturesque Modernities

Picturesque Modernities. A Transcultural Enquiry into the Formation of the “Colonial Style” in Architecture between Europe and South/Southeast/East Asia.

Coordination: Michael Falser


This project aims to overcome the territorial determinants of nation-states and evolve a multi-polar concept of space in global art history. It recognises colonies not as containers for European style imports and transformations but as highly innovative laboratories for architectural 'neo-styles' (like the Indo-Saracenic or the Style Indochinois) that themselves were constitutive in the formation of 'regionalist styles' in the European metropoles. By conceptualising all picturesque forms of 'colonial styles' in Asian and European architecture as a transcultural, process/agency-based phenomenon and by testing it in the Euro-Asian colonial arena between 1850 and 1950 with major focus of 'German-China' in comparison with Indochina, British-India and the Dutch-Indies, this project aims to reframe the discipline of art history by reconfiguring the concept of 'style', one of its analytical core categories.
For this project two international conferences were/are planned. In December 2015, the conference "The Picturesque Eye. Investigating Regionalist Art Forms in late Empires" took place in Vienna and was organized together with the Austrian Museum of Folk Life and Folk Art, and the Institute of Culture Studies and Theatre History of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, and in association with the DFG-Research Group "Transcultural Negotiations in the Ambits of Art", Institute of Art History at the Freie Universität Berlin. In December 2016 the conference "Picturesque Modernities. Architectural Regionalism as a Global Process (1890-1950)" takes place in Paris and is organized together with the German Centre of Art History in Paris, CRIHAM/Department of Art History and Archaeology at University of Poitiers, the Centre André Chastel (CNRS/University Paris-Sorbonne) and the Association d’Histoire de l'Architecture (A.H.A.).

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The European Architectural Heritage Year 1975 (2015) (project completed)

Cover of the Publication

A Future for Our Past. The 40th Anniversary of European Architectural Heritage Year (1975 - 2015).

Eine Zukunft für unsere Vergangenheit. 40 Jahre Europäisches Denkmalschutzjahr (1975 - 2015)

Un Avenir pour Notre Passé. 40e Anniversaire de l'Année Européenne Architectural (1975-2015)

Coordination: Michael Falser


In 1975, the European Council announced the European Architectural Heritage Year (EAHY 1975) under the motto A Future for our Past. It was decided on by 17 member states, and carried out by 23 countries. The project was one of the largest international campaigns for the preservation of architectural heritage worldwide, with 45 case studies all over Europe.
The idea of the EAHY 1975 goes back to an initiative of the Austrian delegate Ludwig Weiss, who, in 1963, conceived of the preservation of architectural heritage as a pan-European concern, and thus as an elementary device for the culturo-political collaboration of the member states of the European Council. In the following years, Austria also contributed largely to the concept and realisation of the EAHY 1975. Connecting to this tradition, ICOMOS Austria (concept by Wilfried Lipp, President ICOMOS Austria, and Michael Falser, member of ICOMOS Austria and project leader within the Heidelberg Cluster's Chair of Global Art History) published an edited volume on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of this important event in 2015, in the series MONUMENTA.

Bibliographical Info:

From the Book Cover:

Under the motto A Future for Our Past, the European Architectural Heritage Year of 1975 was the most important and successful campaign of its time for the preservation and valorisation of architectural heritage in Europe. With its recognition of the importance of urbanistic ensembles, of the plurality within the categories of historic monuments, of citizens’ engagement, and finally, of legal and administrative measures for monument protection, this European campaign had a sustainable impact. Its programmatic approaches and conceptual ideas are of high importance for the present, and motivate new interpretations for the future. This publication is the first comprehensive appraisal of 1975 European Architectural Heritage Year for its 40th anniversary in 2015. More than 40 international authors comment on the participating countries,
the campaign’s influences in the East Bloc Countries, and its Non-European reception. ICOMOS Austria has, with its two editors and in collaboration with ICOMOS committees of Germany, Luxemburg and Switzerland, initiated this third volume of the MONUMENTA series.

For the Publisher's Information about the publication see here.

For the Table of Contents see here.

For the Info about the Book Presentation in Vienna, 6 November 2015, see here.

For the Info about the Book Presentation in Berlin, 13 November 2015, see here.

D17 Images of Disasters (project completed)

Images of Disasters

Coordination: Gerrit Jasper Schenk, Monica Juneja


The research project “Images of Disasters” of the Cluster of Excellence “Asia and Europe in a Global Context” started in 2010 and is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja, Chair of Global Art History in Heidelberg, and Prof. Dr. Gerrit Jasper Schenk, Chair of Medieval History at TU Darmstadt. Together with their research assistants Noura Dirani and Jacob Birken they examine how societies and individuals deal with the events of natural disasters through the ages and across regions. Now they exhibit the findings of their four-year research work in a large exhibition at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums in Mannheim. The project investigated specific culturally formed patterns of action and collective ways of coping brought forth by catastrophic events. This makes all disasters, even those which unfold in the heart of “nature”, profoundly socio-cultural happenings. For survivors the experience of disaster can become a search for meaning: in what terms is the encounter with elemental violence perceived, interpreted, described and interiorized?

Following from the interdisciplinary and trans-regional nature of the research and in preparation of the exhibition, the project already organized various events. It hosted workshops, such as “Visualizing Climate Change” with climatologist Prof. Stefan Brönnimann and historian Daniel Krämer, both from the University of Bern. In March 2012, the conference “Imaging Disaster” with participants from all over the globe took place at Heidelberger Wissenschaftsforum. It focused on the cognitive, communicative, social and aesthetic functions of medial representations of disasters. During the summer term 2012, a lecture series “Imaging Disaster – Katastrophenbilder” has been held at the Cluster “Asia and Europe” and the TU Darmstadt.

The exhibition “Von Atlantis bis heute – Mensch. Natur. Katastrophe”, which takes place at the Reiss-Engelhorn-Museums of Mannheim from September 7, 2014, until March 1, 2015, displays the findings of the research project. The show illustrates how human beings respond to the violence unleashed by extreme natural events. It investigates culturally formed patterns of action and collective strategies of coping, as individuals, societies and world-views are exposed to the most elemental of borderline situations.

Visit the Exhibition Website
Visit the Museum Website (German)

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D13 Multi-Centred Modernisms (project completed)

Multi-Centred Modernisms – Reconfiguring Asian Art of the Twentieth and Twenty First Centuries

Coordination: Monica Juneja, Franziska Koch


Its increasing resonance in the Western world notwithstanding, most Asian art remains caught in the paradox of having to participate in a universal notion of the modern, while attempting to “catch up” in an asymmetrical game of progress. Discussions of modern Asian art have been by and large mired in early historiographic constructions of modernity as a European preserve, while visual culture emanating from beyond the frontiers of Europe was dismissed as “derivative” of particular Euro-American styles and movements. This lecture series, held in the summer term of 2010, brought forth fresh discussions on visual practices that have their roots in multiple locations in Europe and Asia and attempt to create visions of the modern through the engagement of local particularity with the universal – and in the process de-centre that universal.

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D12 Heritage as a Transcultural Concept (project completed)

Heritage as a Transcultural Concept - Angkor Vat from an Object of Colonial Archaeology to a Contemporary Global Icon

Coordination: Monica Juneja, Michael Falser



The project investigates the formation of the modern concept of cultural heritage by charting its colonial, postcolonial/nationalist and global trajectories. It does so through researching the case study of the Cambodian 12th century temple of Angkor Vat (Falser) as different phases of its history unfolded within the transcultural interstices of European and Asian projects and conceptual definitions: from its “discovery in the jungle” by French colonial archaeology in the 19th century to its canonisation as a symbol of national identity during struggle for decolonisation and under the postcolonial Khmer Rouge regime, and finally as a global icon of contemporary heritage schemes. A study of material traces and architectural forms as well as of literary and visual representations of the structure will be undertaken with a view to analysing processes of transfer and translation as well as the recent proliferation of hybrid art forms in the wake of the monument becoming a media icon.
The enquiry into the formation of heritage as a transcultural concept will acquire a sharper analytical contour by drawing in comparisons with studies on the making of archaeological heritage in colonial India (Sengupta) and the modern disciplinary formations of Indian architectural and art history (Juneja).

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