ConferenceReporton "NewHorizons in theTrans/NationalStudiesofLiteratureandCulture"
Justus Liebig University Giessen, Summer School 5–9 September, 2016, International Graduate Centre for the Study ofCulture (GCSC), Giessen
The opening roundtable on ‘TheHorizonsof Memory Studies’ featured ASTRID ERLL (Frankfurt), PACO FERRÁNDIZ (Madrid), CAROL GLUCK (Columbia) and PATRICK HUTTON (Vermont). There were further contributions in the form of pre-recorded videos by ALEIDA ASSMANN (Konstanz), SUSANNAH RADSTONE (Monash), and ANDREW HOSKINS (Glasgow), among others. Chaired by Jeffrey Olick, the panel explored existing methodological debates, objectives, and future perspectives for memory studies. Erll celebrated the field’s interdisciplinary diversity and flexibility enabled by its dynamic grounding in travelling concepts, an argument Ferrándiz extended by calling for the inclusion of ‘non- hegemonic epistemologies’. Gluck called for transcending ‘date-stamped’ traits that bind memory studies to twentieth-century traumas, or ‘traumatology’ as Olick termed it, given the emergence ofnew political challenges and complexities. Hutton’s comments neatly summarized the MSA’s rationale, noting that what had been dismissed as a “memory boom” has become established as a ‘mnemonic turn’, with intersections of past, present, and future a permanent feature of research, cultural production, and politics.
The second day was rounded out with a public keynote lecture by ANSGAR NÜNNING (Giessen) entitled “Unzeitgemäße Betrachtungen zum Wert und Wissen der Literatur als Ressourcen der Resilienz: Europäische Kulturen als Erzähl- und Wertegemeinschaften”. His lecture was held at the Casa di Goethe in Rome’s city centre, where it was followed by a reception. In his talk, Professor Nünning explored the potential and value of (fictional) literature as an answer to multiple challenges of our time. In an age where the humanities, and specifically literary studies, are deemed irrelevant in the face of financial, ecological or ideological crises, Nünning argued that the world-making, empathy- building, attention-training, and community-building functions ofliterature provide a highly valuable resource for resilience on an individual, national, and European level.
The proceedings continued with an approach extending ‚traditional‘ fields of royal studies, as JESSICA KOCH (Bielefeld University) presented her interpretation of royal insignia in modern professional wrestling and their ironic activations ofthe US American colonial past. Next, ALEXANDER SCHERR (GCSC, JLU, Giessen) addressed anti-royal sentiments in alternative music (The Smiths, Primal Scream, Leon Rosselson) and identified them not as personal attacks, but institutional criticisms and expressions of wider trends of discontent with the monarchy. NATALIE VEITH (Goethe University, Frankfurt/M) presented her insights on three neo-Victorian comics and their representations of Queen Victoria. While Victoria seems to be largely absent from the stories, Veith showed that her character is still central in negotiating key themes and mirroring narrative composition in her short appearances. The day ended with the first keynote lecture by SUSANNE SCHOLZ (Goethe University, Frankfurt Main). Guided by the modern fascination ofthe ‚dancing queen‘ Elizabeth I, Scholz analyzed central dance scenes from several films about the queen‘s life, spanning her talk from dance history to visual culture. In these scenes, Elizabeth I appears as a fantasmatic projection of contemporary desires, tur- ning the spectator‘s gaze from her ‘body politic’ to her ‘body natural’ (cf. E.H. Kantorowicz 1957), and thus complicating the portrayal of her political agency.
PAUL VICKERS (Justus-Liebig University, Giessen) explored multilingualism in area studies by considering both the practical execution of translations that enable the circulation of knowledge, as well as the notion of translation as a travelling concept signalling the movement of ideas, epistemologies, and methods between culturally diverse sites ofthe production of knowledge. Focusing on multilingual strategies in James Joyce’s collection of short stories The Dubliners, MARIA KOVALCHUK (National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Kiev) presented an interesting case at the crossroads of multilingual studiesand postcolonial relations. She provided a comparative analysis ofthe language of war and peace in contemporary Irish and Ukrainian discourse.
Eva Fauner and Sabine Schönfellner
Which roles do emotions play within writing as an aestheticLogo Text Mitte online process? Where and how do emotional moments ofthe practice of writing leave traces within the text? What kind of theoretical models do we have for analysing forms of emotion in modern literature? At theconference "Writing Emotions", international researchers in literatureandculturestudies aimed at answering these and other central questions and presented their latest findings and theories onthe thematic field of emotions. The
KULT_online. Review Journal for the Study ofCulture 47 / 2016
During the following Q&A session, Jens Kugele raised the question ofthe “funding topographies” and their role for the academic study ofculture in the future. In his reply, Andreas Langenohl highlighted the merit ofthe GCSC as an institution which has managed to secure substantial funding from the DFG, thus offering a great deal of freedom to the researchers. Encarnación Gutiérrez-Rodríguez then suggested new keywords for dealing with this topic, taken from practices such as social protests, especially movements from Spain and Mexico. These pro- tests could contribute to the scholarly practices by challen- ging the authorities of knowledge production; scholars ought to stay connected with public debates to draw ideas from them. Andreas Reckwitz noted the lack of dispute and con- troversy in the field ofthe study ofculture, raising the question: is a united front in the face of potential threats necessarily productive or is it perhaps a rather detrimental communication strategy within the field? Martin Zierold also expressed his skepticism with respect to absolute consensus, mentioning the lack of real communication evident even in scholarly settings. In reply, Hubertus Büschel stressed the need for a higher politicization ofthe study ofculture, more along the lines of cultural studiesandthe legacy of Stuart Hall. Commenting on this line of thought, Andreas Langenohl pointed out that abstaining from grand narratives possesses in itself an inherently ideological function. During the concluding remarks, Uwe Wirth returned to funding-related aspects and expressed his concern about the financially motivated replacement of passion with strategy. In his vision for the future, academia should create a space where pragmatism does not decide about everything – something Richard Grusin had previously stated.
readers to reconstruct the texts while reading. The thought that, as storytelling animals, humans can hardly not interpret also constituted an underlying principle in the following talks on musical forms in terms of rhythmic patterns (VERA HEROLD [Lisbon]), or on binary forms of decision-making in contemporary TV series (LEONIE SCHMIDT [Giessen]). Taking this to a more concrete level, panel two featured talks on empathy for fictional characters (ALEXANDRA EFFE [Giessen]) andonthe nature of highly subjective literary forms such as diary writing (MAREIKE ZAPP [Giessen]). JULIA VAESSEN (Aachen), for example, examined how narrative structures affect fictional character formation and in what ways, in return, these forms can help us understand how we see the world, or challenge these ways of seeing. WOLFGANG HALLET’S (Giessen) keynote lecture on ‘The Cultural and Epistemological Power of Forms in the Novel’ complemented an insightful first conference day with an account of how culture, and especially narrative forms, imprint their meanings onto the social and vice versa in the 21st century.
The juxtaposition of different case studies in various fields andnational contexts opened up insightful new perspectives onthe troubled (re-)mediation processes of Holocaust me- mory worldwide. Overall, theconference papers invited further research on transnational discourses and entangle- ments of Holocaust memories with a focus on generational change, transmission of postmemory and inherited trauma over time, as well as onthe entanglements of similar cultures of remembrance; they were examined in a variety of distinct contexts, their cross-cultural references and instrumentalization. As Oliver Pessow emphasized, the phrase "this will never happen again" in face ofthe genocides in former Yugoslavia, Syria, or Iraq once again brought this concern "whether or not there is an imperative to intervene" to the fore in the discourse on transnational Holocaust memory. In light of entangled, competing, and multidirectional memories in a global age, scholars need to examine conflicts and ask why an interpretation ofthe past becomes dominant whereas other narratives remain marginalized. Theconference might be a point of departure that encourages further research.
Mr. Korsun’s second argument concerned measuring progress, both in the narrow sense of measuring the quality of technical assistance but also in the broader sense of relating good policies arising from successful technical assistance and improved efficiency to important development outcomes, such as economic growth. This is, he argued, a rather challenging task that the first subgroup ofthe CBCPI working group is taking on. Measurement can also be furthered by the ICN in other ways, including acting as a clearinghouse for nationalreportandstudieson related issues. The ICN could also act as a repository for the many databases that have been created, both by national agencies and by the international agencies. His final point touched on state aid. Here, there is a need for new analytical concepts and tools that more logically relate the harm or potential harm caused by bad policies to either better policies ex ante or better remedies ex post. Mr. John Taladay, a U.S. lawyer, welcomed the Working Group’s activities and contributions. He noted that the matters addressed by the Working Group would further the development ofnational economies and promote the appropriate regulation of international business. Mr. Taladay made three suggestions for the future work program ofthe Working Group. He supported the Working Group’s existing program on technical assistance-related matters and argued that transparency needed to be improved here. A second potential area of inquiry concerned the priorities for “rolling out” competition law in developing and transition economies. In his view, cultural factors, the state ofthe judicial system, andthe level of development were relevant considerations here, and countries may have to choose between different types of enforcement activity. A third matter worthy of further consideration is the development ofthe private bar in developing and transition economies. In this regard, Mr. Taladay noted that the private bar plays an important role in counseling clients not to break competition laws in the first place; a reminder that much competition law-related work takes place outside government agencies.
International Graduate Centre for the Study ofCulture (Giessen)
The two-day symposium investigated the entanglements between literatureand institutions, offering examples and case studies from a broad range of historical and cultural contexts. The first day opened with a welcome address by ANDREAS LANGENOHL (Giessen) in which the speaker stressed both the “interdisciplinary embrace” oftheconferenceandthe link between literatureand social practices. According to Langenohl, literature as an institutionalized form of expression plays a key role in con- stituting the social imaginary. Institutions are nothing else but modes of imagining futures, since modern societies exist precisely through imaginaries. Within this constellation, literature represents a key medium of expression, in that it conveys “the difference between reality and something else”. Histories of Literary and Institutional Entanglements
Trips and Exchanges
The presenters of this session spoke about knowledge shared in Colombia not only through books, but also through journeys and exchanges with other countries. CAMILO PÁEZ (Bogota) gave examples of some ofthe material donated by book collectors such as Rufino José Cuervo, Angel Cuervo, and Marco Fidel Suarez to Colombian institutions during the 19th century. CARMEN ELISA ACOSTA (Bogota) explained how the circulation ofthe book Uncle Tom’s Cabin by H. Beecher Stowe provided a characterization of slavery from outside the country. CARLOS ALBERTO GARCIA (Bogota) discussed the training of Colombian artists in Europe through scholarships provided by the government at the end ofthe 19th century. To conclude, VERÓNICA URIBE HANABERGH (Bogota) showed thirteen sketches ofthe expedition to Colombia that the American artist and naturalist Titian Ramsey Peale made between 1830 and 1832.
Often the panels at theconference highlight these issues through a feminist perspective. The panel "Re-Envisioning Caribbean Feminisms for the 21st Century" offers reflexive critiques ofthe silences, elisions and failures of Caribbean feminisms. PATRICIA MOHAMMED (UWI St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago) opens this panel and draws up a map of feminisms in the Caribbean. For her project she compiled an archive of a special collection dedicated to Caribbean feminisms. She subdivides this group into different branches such as women's movements, state feminisms and gender policies, and academic feminism. Her work attempts to create a body of thought and activism which dedicates itself to an emerging Indo-Caribbean feminism while contrasting epistemologies of mainstream feminism.
These features are relatively well known. What is less widely known is that in all three periods in Hungary, a masculine political culture crystallized. Onthe first count, this category suggests that the power positions are almost exclu- sively filled by men. Women in the political elite are, at most, exceptions that prove the rule. Besides, their influence, if they are present at all, is negligible. (It is to be noted that the political sphere was dominated by men in the whole western world until the end ofthe 20th century, thus Hungary hardly deviated from the mainstream in this regard. In the 21st-century EU, however, Hungary considerably differs from the majority; for except Malta, the rate of female ministers and MPs is the lowest here, particularly conspicuously after 2010). Far more importantly than this biological fact, the Hungarian power elites in the past one hundred years have almost exclusively constituted of men who pursued politics onthe basis ofthe masculine habitus. This context confirms that the overgrown state is actually a patriarchal state organized onthe model of paternal authority crystallized in the family in which this peremptory, conde- scending attitude and bearing expressing paternal authority prevails. The state andthe political elite expect the citizens to be quasi vassals; instead of profes- sional expertise and competence, the knowledge to rule becomes the basis for selection mechanisms of state bureaucrats. Speaking ofthe “indolence” ofthe state which does not render services but acts like an authority, treating the citizens as subjects not partners, pinpoints the quintessence ofthe patriarchal authoritarian model. It is obvious and demonstrable in this context that the power elite’s nepotistic world is practically organized onthe basis ofthe logic of masculine bonds that transfer the relations of patriarchal clans into the realm of politics, similarly to other masculine institutions ofthe country: the pubs, casinos, academy of sciences, hospital managements, and stock exchange councils.
One ofthe academy’s most notable turns in recent years has been towards ‘affect’—a concept that draws attention to visceral and bod- ily experiences ofthe world. In musicology, this turn has given a new impetus to explore music’s emotional appeal: to recover from the
On December 5th and 6th 2006 the Seventh International Conferenceon Grey Literature (GL7) was held in Nancy/ France. GL7 focused on an en vogue topic par excellence: Open Access (OA). It was arranged by TextRelease, the Grey Literature Network Service GreyNet andthe Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique (INIST-CNRS). The latter also hosted theconference. Defining Grey Literature as done by theconference Ensuing from the proposed conference definition of Grey Literature as “Information produced on all levels of government, academics, business and industry in electronic and print formats not controlled by commercial publishing i.e. where publishing is not the primary activity ofthe producing body” OA to grey literature is – due to the absence of publishing houses – less affected by licence arrangements than OA to white literature. Indeed GL7 proved that issues of collecting and distributing information, visibility, long- term availability, issues of quality assurance andthe development of policies remain important factors – irregardless of information being white or grey. GL7 also introduced initiatives focusing mainly on OA to white resources: Dr. Laurent Romary’s inaugural address explicated the OA strategy ofthe Centre national de la recherche scientifique, CNRS. He presented a central multidisciplinary OA repository based onthe system HAL (hyper article en ligne) and emphasized the advantages ofthe standardization a
The unlikely juxtapositions of war were captured by sol- diers themselves, some of whom produced photo albums for their families and perhaps also for their own reminiscence. One French physician, Docteur Beurrier captured his time onthe Isle of Vido, dealing with the sick and wounded opposite the town of Corfu. His self-portrait opens his portfolio of pho- tographs, many of which show dying or dead Serbian soldiers, with whom he had to deal daily. (Fig. 11 and 12). One he entitled ‘Charron’s barque’; it shows the steady gaze ofthe physician on our frail remains. A thousand miles away, in Volhynia onthe Eastern front, a Jewish Viennese physician found himself in contact with a very different group of his co- religionists. The poor Jews ofthe Pale of Settlement had little in common with Doctor Bernhard Bardach, a painter as well as a photographer (Fig. 13). He photographed them at prayer from a cultural distance. Examining Jewish prostitutes for venereal disease in this remote part of what is now Western Ukraine was an unlikely destination for a Viennese doctor. (Fig. 14) Note the woman in the window onthe right looking at prostitutes shielding their faces from the camera.
Importantly, Middell’s appraisal ofthe “end of communism” also notes that some states survived the historical caesura of 1989. Above all this meant China, which is the topic of a valuable survey chapter by Yang Kuisong and Stephen Smith, which covers over a century ofthe country’s history in the section addressing “Global Communism.” Firstly, there is a largely political sketch ofthe formation ofthe Chinese Communist Party (CCP) under the aegis the Comintern in 1921, the troubled relationship this provoked, and then the party’s expansion — in membership and especially geographically — as a result of a renewed alliance with the nationalist Guomindang in the war against Japan. In the ensuing civil war — which had already drawn China into the nascent Cold War — achieving victory by encircling cities from the countryside was “exported” to the Third World as a revolutionary model. Then, with the formation ofthe People’s Republic of China (PRC) on 1 October 1949, we see Maoism in practice. The regime’s aim was to achieve socialism as rapidly as possible. However, this policy produced a famine (1958 – 60) killing millions; unleashed a “class struggle” in the name of egalitarianism in which social purges led to some 1.6 million executions between 1950 and 1962, and millions more were arrested and sent for “re-education” through labour. Importantly, the “Cultural Revolution” wracked society until Mao’s death in 1976. It is at this point the focus ofthe chapter switches to the rise of China as an economic superpower, which abandoned socialism but kept the authoritarian one-party state. The story is one of qualified success. China rose from the ashes of Maoism to become a major economy, with heightened geopolitical and military influence. At home, Peking offered sufficient affluence to the rising urban, educated middle classes to stave off anything other than localised protest. All this makes a fascinating survey, and China is also covered in many ofthe other chapters in a manner accessible to the non-expert, making this perhaps the Handbook’s most valuable contribution.
Historians have studied for decades the commonality of Italian and German national histories in the nineteenth century. This edited volume aims instead to analyze them through gender and transnational lenses with a focus on women’s and Jewish history. What impact did the nationalist ideology have onthe notion of womanhood, on female agency and Jewish identities, and how do family and religion relate to emancipation? These issues help reconsider the essentialism ofnational narratives and methodological nationalism in historical research.