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Winter Term 2019/20

Joachim Kurtz

GPTS Reading Class

Joachim Kurtz

Introduction to Transcultural Studies

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.

Joachim Kurtz

MATS Colloquium

Joachim Kurtz

The Present of the Past in East Asia (KBR Intro)

Representations of the past—as tradition, memory, heritage, or myth—play a central role in the self-definitions of cultures, nations and societies. This seminar analyses how such representations were formed, reshaped, and contested in modern and contemporary East Asia. Students will learn how to disentangle the interests, concerns and anxieties that have shaped Chinese, Japanese and, provided sufficient interest, Korean answers to the question of historical continuity since the age of the European expansion. In our investigations, we will scrutinize representations of the past in scholarly works, including histories of thought, science and literature; explore sites of memory, such as monuments, museums, parks and mausoleums; and analyze depictions of historical events and personalities in historiography, film, fiction, music, art, and popular culture. Our discussions will interrogate the different means and media of representing the past; the interests involved in appropriating certain versions of past events or ideas and not others; and explore the implications of such choices for our understanding not only of the past and the present but also about the circulation of ideas across languages and cultures.

Martin Hofmann

Visualizing Knowledge in Asia and Europe

Visualizations of knowledge are ubiquitous. Photographs, diagrams, maps, sketches, and drawings are important means of expressing, storing, and conveying knowledge. Yet, their functions and the ways in which they represent knowledge are subject to specific, often local, conventions and usages. Thus, in the course of transcultural exchanges the visualizations of knowledge cannot be simply adopted but need to be adjusted, redrawn, and commented on in order to become comprehensible. And still, their meaning often undergoes considerable transformations in this process. This seminar will explore what visuals can express that words cannot; how and why seemingly similar visual representations convey different messages; how they are “translated” in order to fit particular cultural conceptions; and how they shape or fail to shape discourses in different cultural contexts.