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Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja


From garden paradise to machine utopia – a transcultural view
(co-taught with Prof. Ronald Inden)

The seminar will focus on the idea of landscape and its multiple translations into planned gardens, visual representations and garden cities. It will investigate the ways in which the aesthetic conquest of nature - one which harnessed the use of sound, fragrance, light and built structures - participated to create an iconography of paradise in a range of cultures. The transcultural perspective of the seminar would involve looking at the mobility of forms, ideals and artistic-cum-technical practices across different regions in Europe and Asia - Graeco-Roman Antiquity, Iran, South Asia, Renaissance and Baroque, Ming China. A second section of the seminar will analyze the aesthetics of machinery in modern times in Europe and Asia - Futurist utopias as well as the opposition to them expressed by arts and crafts movements and Ghandian anti-machine aesthetics.

The seminar will be held by Monica Juneja in cooperation with Ronald Inden, Professor Emeritus of South Asian History at the University of Chicago and Professorial Research Associate at the Centre for Media and Film Studies, SOAS, London.

April 21, 2011, 11am to 1pm, KJC 212
April 29 and 30, May 6 and 8, 2011, 10am to 5pm, KJC 212
May 13, 2011, 11am to 1pm, KJC 212



Practices of collection and display in Europe and Asia till the age of museums
(co-taught with Prof. Dr. Melanie Trede)

The conditions in which objects are commissioned, collected, used and displayed are crucial to the construction of the categories such as "art" and "artifact" in the modern world. The seminar will offer a historical and global perspective on these practices. It will look closely at how objects come to be invested with a dense socio-cultural meaning in specific cultural contexts - Western- Europe, South and East Asia from ancient times to the age of museums. This involves analyzing the role of actors and institutions such as private collectors of rarities, hidden treasures, chambers of curiosity, and world fairs on the one hand, courtly patronage of painted images, imperial collecting, ritual practices, the assembling of utensils and displays to select elite groups on the other.

This course is designed to investigate the dynamics of how different cultures define the aesthetic and invest objects with distinct value, and how this value itself changes over time. We will also follow objects on their journeys across geographical and cultural boundaries - from the palace, battlefield or market place to the metropolitan auction house, museum or private home and examine the agency of curators, designers, dealers, art journalists and critics, cultural and social elites as well as the clergy and politicians in recasting these works and shaping our experiences of them. The programme of the seminar includes a visit to the Frankfurt Museum für Angewandte Kunst to be able to experience the new setting and display which objects from East Asia and the Islamic world have found in a metropolitan museum setting.

Tuesdays, 11am to 1pm, KJC 212

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Franziska Koch


Transcultural perspectives on Chinese Art after 1949: production and presentation between the local and the global
(co-taught with Dr. Juliane Noth)

This proseminar examines Chinese art from 1949 till the present. It focuses on the conditions under which art is produced and exhibited in the People’s Republic of China and beyond. The compact course is structured as two day-long sessions, an additional preparatory and a wrap-up session. The first full day session covers the time span from the founding of the People’s Republic in 1949 till the beginning of the reform period in 1979 and subsequently till the repression of the democracy movement in 1989. The second day-long session is centered on artistic developments since 1989.

The period until 1979 is marked by debates evolving around socialist realism on the one hand and traditional Chinese art forms on the other. The proseminar looks into the contested practices and the tensions within them, while discussing specific exhibitions, the making of art institutions as well as the work of individual artists and the stances the latter assume with regard to these tensions. During the reformist 1980s an independent art scene emerged, characterized by experimental approaches and a pluralism of artistic styles that led to new forms of artistic production (installation, performance and conceptual art) and presentation (e.g. the large “China/Avant-Garde” exhibition in 1989).

The second full day session will focus on the ways in which the processes of negotiating Western art forms and discourses, which were under way during the 1980s, increasingly diversified under the impact of globalization. Chinese biennials and triennials as well as the circulation and reception of Chinese artworks in international art events from Venice via Kassel to São Paulo are significant points in case. In addition to analyzing these phenomena, the proseminar asks how Chinese artists both in diasporic communities overseas and from Beijing and Shanghai participate in global and local networks, positioning themselves between (national) cultural policy and the booming art market.

The proseminar intends to deepen our understanding of transcultural perspectives taking the example of Chinese art in local and global contexts, exploring research approaches that are central to the understanding of contemporary art in the era of globalization.

April 15, 2011, 9 to 11am, KJC 112
May 13, 2011, 9am to 6pm, KJC 112
June 17, 2011, 9am to 6pm, KJC 112
July 1, 2011, 9 to 11am, KJC 112

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