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Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja


Introduction to Transcultural Studies
(co-taught with Prof. Dr. Christiane Brosius and Prof. Dr. Joachim Kurtz)

The concept of transculturality can be conceptualized both as a heuristic device and a  focus of study. It is embedded in a heterogeneous landscape of theoretical and methodological approaches drawing on many disciplines and covering diverse thematic, historical and geographic areas. Jointly conducted by researchers in the three study foci of the MA Transcultural Studies, this lecture class will explore the contributions and limitations of inherited and current approaches to cultural interactions. Theories and methods will be tested, e.g., in explorations of global art and exhibition practices, appropriations of philosophical and religious ideas, and the relationship between patterns of consumption and exchanges of commodities. The goal of the course is to introduce students to diverse disciplinary perspectives enabling them to frame their own studies of transcultural phenomena.

Tuesdays, 11am to 1pm, KJC 212

Middle/ Advanced Seminar

The world in a glass-case – museums of art, ethnography and industry in Japan, India and Europe
(co-taught with Prof. Dr. Melanie Trede)

Although the institution of the modern museum was born in the European metropolis, it has since its inception asserted itself as an infinitely varied global form that has taken roots in different localities of the world and shaped by specific regional, national and transcultural forces. While the museum’s emergence outside of Europe was undoubtedly bound up with its European story, the seminar avoids a narrative, which looks at museums in Asia as variants of an established “norm”. Its focus is three-fold: (a) to examine the specific constellations of actors, sites and historical processes within which museums in India, Japan and Western Europe took shape responding to the contingencies of nation-building, citizenship and heritage, (b) to investigate the social, political and material aspects of sites of display, which preceded the modern museum and to identify its remnants, and (c) to analyze the classifications of museums into art, ethnographic and museums of industrial arts (Kunstgewerbe).
By taking a closer look at modalities of collection, of exhibiting and practices of spectatorship at sites in three different regions of the world, we adopt both a comparative and a connected approach to an institution that has revealed a capacity to reinvent itself in myriad ways. The time frame covered by the course spans the early nineteenth century to the present. It allows us to trace the changing formations of a modern museum-scape from large, generally state-sponsored “national” museums to an infinite variety of forms in the present ranging from the globally visible mega-projects such as the Calcutta MOMA, the Maitreya Buddhist museum all nurtured through the flows of global capital and which often draw on other regimes such as those of the theme park or religious shrine. At the other end of the spectrum we will turn our attention to local or regional initiatives such as the boom of Prefectural Museums built in Japan in the 1980s and 1990s, and the Asia Art Museum in Fukuoka undertaken in response to political initiatives to reframe art discourses, or smaller institutions responding to the identity needs of communities prompted by their concern to inscribe memories, such as the Mongol Invasion Memorial Museum in Fukuoka, or museums created by individuals and rich entrepreneurs as cultural capital of their company (e.g. Bridgestone Museum in Tokyo).
The course will be based on an intensive engagement with texts including contemporary source material. It will also be accompanied by two excursions to museums: a half-day excursion to the Weltkulturen Museum in Frankfurt and (depending on resources) a two-day excursion to the Rietberg Museum in Zürich.

Tuesdays, 4 to 6pm, KJC 112


Colloquium for doctoral and master students

Within the colloquium doctoral and master students will have the possibility to present and discuss their thesis projects.

Wednesdays, 9 to 11am, KJC 112

Franziska Koch


Actions, Happenings, Performances from the 1950s to 1970s: Creatively crossing borders in the shadows of the Cold War?
(co-taught with Eugenia Bogdanova, M.A.)

The aftermath of WWII and the ensuing Cold War era, marked by political and economic divisions between the states of the Eastern and Western blocs as well as the nations of the so-called Third World, witnessed the rise of a new experimental art scene not only in Western Europe and the US, but also in Asian countries like Japan. Artists organized in loose groups such as "Fluxus", "Gutai", "Zero" and in the framework of neodadaist performance and music festivals stirred public interest as they introduced forms of collaborative, multi-media based and interdisciplinary artistic expression such as the happening.
The seminar explores how artists pursuing innovative forms of action as well as performative practices, who shared the trauma of WWII, reflected on contemporaneous political and cultural demarcations, while their approaches were often based on (utopian) ideas of globally accessible artistic communication and transmission. We will study introductory texts, followed by the work of prominent artists (e.a. Joseph Beuys, Nam June Paik, Jackson Pollock, Yoko Ono, George Maciunas or Charlotte Moorman) as well as artist groups (e.a. the Japanese Gutai, the transatlantic Fluxus network, the entanglements of Asian avant-garde calligraphers and American/European painters). A one-day  excursion to the exhibition "Beuys, Brock, Vostell" at the ZKM Karlsruhe will allow us to study relevant works in-situ. The seminar is based on strong elements of team work to jointly elaborate basic background knowledge. We will use peer-to peer teaching to exercise presentational skills and to achieve better results in your term paper.

Wednesdays, 11am to 1pm, KJC 002

Dr. Corinna Forberg


The Sadhu and the Christian Hermit: Visual Concepts of Asceticism in India and Europe

Ascetic life forms are known since the Bronze Age Indus Valley Civilization and have since been developed in different cultures mostly in a religious context. The willingness to renounce the world and devote one's life to God or another higher purpose has been particularly high on the Indian subcontinent where Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Muslim communities have established organized ascetic life forms. Even in Europe, especially ancient Greece, asceticism was widespread. The cynics were considered to be extreme practitioners who - philosophically motivated- consciously placed themselves on the margins of society. With the spread of Christianity and its monasticism practiced from the beginning, asceticism became established throughout Europe.
Both in India and Europe pictorial representations of the remote hermit, mendicant monks and contrite penitents were popular. The contact between European travelers and Indian ascetics, which can be detected since the conquest of Alexander the Great, was not without resonance. The goal of our seminar is to trace, on the one hand, the developments of visual concepts of asceticism in India and Europe and to persue, on the other hand, the reactions of European artists ti images and reports of Indian ascetics. With the help of detailed image analysis and careful research, we will focus on the cultural, religious and social context of the image and knowledge transfer.

Fridays, fortnightly, 9am to 1pm, KJC 002

Dr. Anna Grasskamp


EurAsian Objects: Art and Material Culture in Global Exchange, 1600 - 1800

This seminar is dedicated to the study of artifacts in EurAsian exchange, traded through the Silk Road or transported on board of ships, as well as early modern objects that display a combination of "Asian" as well as "European" material, technical or stylistic features. Examples range from Japanese and Chinese woodblock prints that integrate Western one-point perspective to images of "the East" in European travelogues, from Ming dynasty porcelain re-framed by European cabinets of curiosity to English clocks within the contexts of Quing imperial collecting, from paintings made in Sino-European cooperation to pictorial reframings of the world in early modern Japanese, Chinese and European maps. Class participants will familiarize with pivotal figures as Jiao Bingzhen, Giuseppe Castiglione and Shiba Kokan, discuss transcultural workshop productions and learn about early modern trade, tribute bearing and gift exchange. Through concepts as histoire croisées students engage with issues of historiography and learn to critically engange with the disciplinary boundaries of (Art) History as well as scholarship on (early modern) globalization.

Wednesdays, 3 to 5.30pm s.t., KJC 212 + International Conference: EurAsian Objects, November 21-23