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Summer School 2009

Objects on the Move - Circulation, Social Practice and Transcultural Intersections


Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Heidelberg


July 13 to 16, 2009


Coordinator: Monica Juneja, Professor of Global Art History at the Karl Jaspers Centre


What the Summer School 2009 is about ...

The Summer School 2009 of the Cluster "Asia and Europe" takes as its starting point the premise that objects are seldom mere objects – inert, mute or purely utilitarian. Rooted within human and social contexts, they animate the life worlds of societies, past and present, and transmit a gamut of meanings. When on the move, they are subject to appropriation, display, reuse, causing their meanings to undergo radical changes. Not infrequently objects become the site of contesting interpretations, conflicts or productive dissonances born out of the space they occupy at the intersection of cultures. The study of the manifold transactions centred on things has attracted practitioners of a range of disciplines – from economic to religious and art history, branching out into material culture, museum studies, anthropology and psychoanalysis. Eminent representatives of many of these areas will lecture and conduct seminar sessions during the summer school. A central concern of the themes to be discussed is the transcultural mobility of objects with a view to understanding the entanglement of local and global power structures and the workings of a complex economy of relationships across national and cultural boundaries.

More about the concept ...



What kind of programme is being prepared ...

Zwei Studenten auf einem Wiese

The summer school course programme spans over four days and combines insights in the research of renowned experts in the form of lectures with more interactive elements such as seminars and excursions. The scholars represent a wide range of backgrounds in line with the Cluster's own focus on interdisciplinary research. The keynote talk will be given by Richard H. Davis, Professor of Religious Studies at Bard College, New York, and author of the book "Lives of Indian Images" which won the prestigious A.K. Coomaraswamy Prize.


The days are structured in several panels:

Monday, July 13:

morning session: welcome and keynote talk by Richard H. Davis (New York) "A Tale of Two Bronzes: From India to Los Angeles and Back Again."

afternoon session: Commodities in Global Context – Networks, Consumption and Local Cultures

Kim Siebenhüner (Basel) "Jewels on the move - global connections, local agents"

Anne Goldgar (London) "Tulipmania"

Tuesday, July 14:

 morning session: Identities, Consumer Culture and Hybrid Modernities

Harald Fuess (Heidelberg) "Origins of Beer in East Asia: National Identity, Transnationalism, and Consumer Culture in Hybrid Modernities"

Melanie Trede (Heidelberg) "Banknotes as the Battlefield of Gender Politics and National Representation in Meiji Japan"
afternoon session: Collecting, Display and Curatorial Practice

Christoph Lind (Mannheim) "Can the object speak – if so, to whom?"
Nic Leonhardt (Heidelberg) "Moving objects - objects on the move. Waxwork displays and anatomical cabinets in European Panoptika of the 19th century"

Wednesday, July 15:

morning session: Translating Object into Image – Exotic Goods, Visual Practice and the Shaping of Art History

Matthias Bruhn (Berlin) "Species, prints and property: changing concepts of the "image" in European visual history"

Lothar Ledderose (Heidelberg) "Mao’s Mausoleum"

afternoon session: held at Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt


Thursday, July 16:

Participants work together in groups aiming at connecting their own research areas with the methodological impulses provided by the sessions.


In addition, a variety of extra-curricular activities are planned for the summer school participants.

More about the programme ...

More about the speakers ...

Participants' Area (requires log-in) ... 


Who is eligible to participate ...

The summer school addresses graduate students in a range of disciplines – social and economic history, art history, anthropology, cultural studies, global studies, archaeology, conservation and museum studies. 

How you can apply ...

Applications should be accompanied by a CV and an abstract (500 words) of the applicant’s dissertation project. In the case of non-doctoral candidates, a statement of interest or planned research of the same length is required. These are to be sent electronically to Sabine Urbach at, latest by May 10, 2009.


Further conditions ...

The course fee for participation at the Summer School is 250 Euro and covers the following:

  • Lecture and seminar programme of 25 hours
  • Reception dinner on first evening
  • Lunch , coffee and cold drinks during the course
  • Museum visit in Frankfurt
  • Local sightseeing programmes
  • Farewell party

Participants will be expected to arrange for their own travel and accommodation at Heidelberg for the duration of the course. However, the Cluster team is happy to provide a comprehensive list of accommodation possibilities and prices.

For queries and further information, please contact Sabine Urbach at


We ask for your kind understanding that parts of the Summer School programme package cannot be deselected in order to reduce the course fee. However, the Cluster offers allowances to cover the expenses of the summer school. These will be awarded on the basis of merit and need. Applications for scholarships should be sent to Sabine Urbach at, latest by May 15, 2009.



A successful participation in the summer school will be certified by the Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, institutional home to the Cluster "Asia and Europe in a Global Context".


For further questions ...

If you have any queries or wish to receive further information, please contact the summer school organising team at

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