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WiSe 2018/19 & SoSe 2019: Contact Zones

Winter Semester 2018/19 & Summer Semester 2019
Contact Zones

 

Winter Semester 2018/19

Anne Waldschmidt (University of Cologne, Germany)

The Cultural Model of Dis/ability as an Analytical Tool. Key Assumptions, Strengths, and Weaknesses

13.11.2018, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Anne Waldschmidt

Full Professor for Sociology and Politics of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies

Director of the International Research Unit in Disability Studies (iDiS), Faculty of Human Sciences, University of Cologne, Germany

Main Research Interests

  • Cultural and political sociologies of 'dis/ability'
  • Body sociology
  • Contemporary disability history
  • Political participation of persons with disabilities
  • Dispositif theory and discourse analysis

Publications (selected)

  • With Anne Klein and Miquel Tamayo Korte: Das Wissen der Leute. Bioethik, Alltag und Macht im Internet. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2009.
  • Selbstbestimmung als Konstruktion. Alltagstheorien behinderter Frauen und Männer. Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften 2012.
  • With Gabriele Lingelbach (Hrsg.): Kontinuitäten, Zäsuren, Brüche? Lebenslagen von Menschen mit Behinderungen in der deutschen Zeitgeschichte.Frankfurt/Main, New York: Campus 2016.
  • With Hanjo Berressem and Moritz Ingwersen (Eds.): Culture – Theory – Disability. Encounters between Disability Studies and Cultural Studies. Bielefeld: transcript 2017.
  • With Rune Halvorsen, Bjørn Hvinden, Julie Beadle Brown, Mario Biggeri and JanTøssebro (Eds.): Understanding the Lived Experiences of Persons with Disabilities in Nine Countries. Active Citizenship and Disability in Europe Volume 2. Abingdon, London, New York: Routledge 2018.
  • Disability – Culture – Society: Strengths and Weaknesses of a Cultural Model of Dis/ability. In: ALTER: European Journal of Disability Research | Revue Européenne de Recherche sur le Handicap, 12(2) 2018, pp. 67-80. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alter.2018.04.003

Abstract

Drawing on the approach of disability studies this lecture claims the relevance of culture as an analytical category for the study of disability. It starts with differentiating several fields of research that focus on disability; then it explores the notion of culture. Next, it appreciates the social model of disability, sketches its history and resulting debates. It also provides an overview on earlier attempts of conceptualizing a cultural studies approach to disability. Further, it offers an analytical perspective that uses the concept of ‘dis/ability,’ analyses impairment, disability and normality as ‘empty signifiers,’ views dis/ability as naturalized and embodied difference, and understands this category as effected by symbolic orders, bodily practices and social institutions. Additionally, referring to the debate on independent living for persons with disabilities as an example, the lecture will highlight the heuristic value of the cultural model of dis/ability for both research and practice by describing guiding questions resulting from individual, social, and cultural models of disability. It concludes by discussing possible pitfalls of a cultural studies approach to dis/ability.


Vanessa Andreotti (University of British Columbia, Canada)

The Enduring Educational Challenges of Setting Horizons of Hope Beyond Modern-Colonial Imaginaries

04.12.2018, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Vanessa Andreotti

Professor at the Department of Educational Studies at the University of British Columbia, Canada

Main Research Interests

  • Education for/about International Development
  • Global Citizenship Education
  • Ethics of Internationalization

Publications (selected)

  • With Stein, S., Sutherland, A., Pashby, K., Susa, R., Amsler, S.: “Mobilising Different Conversations about Global Justice in Education: Toward Alternative Futures in Uncertain Times.” In: Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, 26(Spring) 2018, 9-41.
  • With Kerr, Jeannie: “Recognizing More-Than-Human Relations in Social Justice Research: Gesturing towards Decolonial Possibilities.” In: Issues in Teacher Education 27(2) 2018, 53-67.
  • Witch Stein, S., Hunt, D., Susa, R.: “The Educational Challenge of Unraveling the Fantasies of Ontological Security.” In: Diaspora, Indigenous, and Minority Education, 11(2) 2017, 69-79.

Abstract

tbd


Harry Lehmann (Berlin, Germany)

Conceptual Art and Music. Conceptualism as a Hot Contact Zone of the Arts

11.12.2018, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Harry Lehmann

Philosopher of Music, Berlin

Main Research Interests

  • Music Philosophy
  • Art Philosophy
  • Systems Theory

Publications (selected)

  • “Digitization and Concept: A Thought Experiment Concerning New Music.” In: Search. Journal for New Music and Culture, Issue no. 7 2010, 1-14.
  • With Ullrich, Wolfgang: “Why the Socialist States Have Failed in Respect of Design.” In: Villa Sovietica. Soviet Objects: Import-Export. Musée d’ethnographie de Genève 2009, 175-183.
  • “Avant-garde Today. A Theoretical Model of Aesthetic Modernity.” In: Critical Composition Today. Hofheim: Wolke 2006, 9-42.

Abstract

Contemporary art describes itself very often as “conceptual.” However, what exactly does it mean? Usually, these artworks in question have little in common with the prime examples of Conceptual Art from the 1960th. It is of paramount importance for art theory today to have a clear understanding and a clear notion of the conceptual character of the arts. In my lecture, I would like to present a model of Conceptualism which allows to integrate into this model such different pieces like “One and Three Chairs” by Joseph Kosuth and the “Fettstuhl” by Joseph Beuys, or, in respect to music, 4’33’’ by John Cage and “Pendulum Music” by Steve Reich. Conceptual art arose in opposition toward the aesthetics of classical modernism. Conceptual artists tried to show that art can be separated from any aesthetic experience and reduced to one single idea. Nevertheless, the anesthetic character is not the decisive criteria for Conceptualism. My thesis is that Conceptual Music and Conceptual Art are based on the principle of an isomorphic mapping between idea and work. On the one hand, the idea of the artwork manifest itself entirely in the piece, and on the other hand, every perceivable aspect of the artwork is a representation of that idea.


Sophie Ratcliffe (University of Oxford, England)

Reading Well. The Trials of Bibliotherapy and the Hospital Library as Contact Zone

18.12.2018, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Sophie Ratcliffe

Professor at the Department of English Language and Literature at the University of Oxford, England

Main Research Interests

  • Medical Humanities
  • Literature and Emotion
  • Nineteenth Century Literature

Publications (selected)

  • “The Trouble with Feeling Now: Thomas Woolner, Robert Browning, and the Touching Case of Constance and Arthur.” In: 19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century. 2016(23).
  • “The Episodic Trollope and An Editor's Tales.” In: Victorian Studies, Vol. 58(1) 2015, 57-83.
  • “The Condition of England Novel.” In: Discovering Literature, British Library Website, 2014.

Abstract

Taking the idea of the hospital library as a central case study, this lecture draws on the spaces between medicine and the humanities, particularly the different ways of reading and knowing that seem inherent in each discipline. The notion of reading to get well, or ‘bibliotherapy’ is broadly established in current usage in the social sciences and humanities, but the word’s first appearance, in an issue of the Atlantic Monthly magazine in 1916 was meant as a joke. Something of this vulnerability remains on both a micro and macro level, as arts-based interventions try to justify themselves in medical contexts, and in the precarious status of the humanities in a global funding context geared towards the sciences.

A study of the East London Children’s Hospital library catalogue, which survives from the nineteenth century, is thought-provoking in the light of these contemporary questions. While we can recover something of Victorian reading habits and mores from looking at the archival material, this lecture will reflect on the difficulty of reading this (or any) hospital library space ‘well’. Articulating and placing a use-vale on a space which is, both ‘under-theorized’ (Nethersole, 2011) and riven by affective forces may be an impossible and counterproductive task. The lecture will conclude with reflections on possibilities for public engagement for those in the humanities – particularly the difficulties of translating ideas of affect and anecdote in a world dominated by measurement and evidence.


Summer Semester 2019

Leigh York (Cornell University, Ithaca)

Transmedia Contact Zones: Episodes from the Page to the Screen

14.05.2019, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Leigh York

Researcher at the Department of German Studies at Cornell University, USA

Main Research Interests

  • Narrative Form in the 19th Century German Novels
  • Critical Theory
  • Media Studies

Abstract

This talk will posit the “episode” as the primary narrative unit that shapes multi-media print narratives in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With the rise of the periodical press, authors were faced with rapidly changing printing technologies and an expanding literary marketplace. Whereas earlier picaresque novels comprised series of episodes that were only loosely connected, new media conditions demanded new narrative strategies. This project looks at the ways that nineteenth-century authors began using the episode to generate complex forms of transmedia continuity that generate continual (and futural) narrative pleasure. By looking beyond its own narrative limits and asking “what comes next,” the episode conveys a storytelling gap that prompts continuation in future episodes, thus generating a potentially infinite series that, in many cases, exceeds the boundaries of text and medium. I trace the development of multi-media episodes from the eighteenth-century work of Karl Philipp Moritz to the nineteenth-century bestseller Karl May; I end by arguing that the episode continues to structure popular transmedia storytelling well into the twenty-first century, in print, online, and on screen. This paper uncovers a continuity between print media in the long nineteenth century and digital media in the twentieth and twenty-first, giving us a deeper historical view of our own storytelling practices and aligning these practices with larger shifts in how we conceive of life, pleasure, value, and politics.


John Haldon (Princeton University)

St Theodore, Euchaïta and Anatolia, c. 500-1000.Landscape, Climate and the Survival of an Empire

11.06.2019, 18-20, room 001, MFR

John Haldon

Professor at the History Department at Princeton University, USA

Main Research Interests

  • Byzantine
  • Environmental History
  • Material Culture
  • Social History

Publications (selected)

  • A Tale of Two Saints: The Martyrdoms and Miracles of Saints Theodore 'the Recruit' and 'the General'. Oxford University Press 2016.
  • The Empire That Would Not Die: The Paradox of Eastern Roman Survival, 640-740. Harvard University Press 2016.

  • A Critical Commentary on The Taktika of Leo VI. University of Chicago Press 2013.

Abstract

No-one doubts that climate, environment and societal development are linked in causally complex ways. But in relating these different evidential spheres in an explanatorily satisfactory way, we must consider a number of issues, not least the scale at which the climatic and environmental events are observed, and how this relates to the societal changes in question. Differentiating between the various effects of the structural dynamics of a set of inter-connected or overlapping socio-economic or cultural systems is complex; building into our explanation the impact of environmental stressors does not make life easier. One good reason for a historical perspective is to determine how different categories of socio-political system respond to different levels of stress – in the hope that such knowledge can contribute to contemporary policy and future planning, for example. How and why are some societal systems more resilient or flexible than others? If we don’t really understand these complex causal associations, we are unlikely to generate effective responses.

Since Anatolia was for several centuries the heart of the medieval eastern Roman empire, understanding how its climate impacted on the political, social and cultural history of the eastern Roman world would seems to be an important consideration. But only recently have historians begun to think about this seriously and to take into account the integration of high-resolution archaeological, textual and environmental data with longer-term low-resolution palaeo-environmental data, which can afford greater precision in identifying some of the causal relationships underlying societal change. In fact, the Anatolian case challenges a number of assumptions about the impact of climatic factors on socio-political organization and medium-term historical evolution. In particular, the study raises the question of how the environmental conditions of the later seventh and eighth centuries CE impacted upon the ways in which the eastern Roman Empire was able to weather the storm of the initial Arab-Islamic raids and invasions of the period ca. 650-740 and how it was able to expand again in the tenth century. When looked at holistically, the palaeoenvironmental, archaeological and historical data reflect a complex interaction of anthropogenic and natural factors that throw significant light on the history of the empire and its neighbors, offering at the same time a useful approach to similar issues in other cultures and periods.


André Keet (Nelson Mandela University, South Africa)

Racism’s Knowledge/Culture – Is a Critical Decolonial Project Possible?

02.07.2019, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Andre Keet

Professor at the Department of Critical Studies in Higher Education Transformation at Nelson Mandela University, South Africa

Main Research Interests

  • Human Rights and Critical Human Rights Education
  • Transitional Justice and Reconciliation Processes
  • Equity and Social Justice in Higher Education

Publications (selected)

  • “Does Human Rights Education Exist?” In: International Journal of Human Rights Education 1(1) 2017.

  • With Sattardazeh, Sahar D. and Munene, Anne: “An Awkward, Uneasy (De)Coloniality. Higher Education and Knowledge Otherwise.” In: Education as Change 21(1) 2017, 1-12.

  • With Nel, Willy: Rights, Regulation and Recognition: Studying Student Leaders’ Experiences of Participation and Citizenship within a South African University.” In: International Journal of Educational Sciences 13(1) 2016, 129-144.

Abstract

Knowledge belongs to racism, and this proprietary relationship exercises steering power over cultural meaning-making processes. This is the straightforward thesis I am exploring here. Though the racism-knowledge nexus and its expression within scholarship and the academy has been a topic of academic interest for many decades, it has been dominated by debates on how racism ‘frames’ knowledge that centers the white, western subject. Another prevailing trend focuses on racism within the disciplines and its disciples, the academy, and the reproductive racialized outcomes of university education. However, my argument, is not simply that racism is inscribed into knowledge systems, but that racism provides the conceptual and pragmatic coordinates for knowledge. This disorder, so I suggest, needs to be tackled head-on to unburden the considerable possibilities for a critical, decolonial knowledge project.


Boris Buden (Humboldt University Berlin, Germany)

The End of Language as We Know it?

16.07.2019, 18-20, room 001, MFR

Boris Buden

Journalist and Critic of the Arts, Berlin

Main Research Interests

  • Philosophy
  • Politics
  • Critique of Culture and the Arts

Publications (selected)

  • Findet Europa. Eine Suche in der Dolmetscherkabine. Wien/Berlin: Turia + Kant 2015.

  • With Mennel, Birgit and Stefan Nowotny (eds.): Translating Beyond Europe. Zur politischen Aufgabe der Übersetzung. Wien/Berlin: Turia + Kant 2013.

  • Zone des Übergangs: Vom Ende des Postkommunismus’. Frankfurt/Main: Suhrkamp 2009.

Abstract

This is quite old news: the German spirit is dying again. This time, however, its passing away seems to be more dramatic than ever before. The deathbed on which it is lying today is in fact its own very cradle – the German language. The latter is rapidly deteriorating in the process of its re-vernacularization. This is at least what is claimed by Jürgen Trabant in his book Globalesisch oder Was/ Ein Plädoyer für Europas Sprachen. He understands this process as a new socio-linguistic and cultural condition that resembles the Europe of the Middle Ages, when Latin was used on all the higher levels of social, political or intellectual life, while the lower social strata were speaking the old vernaculars. Nowadays, however, it is English that has taken the role of the new lingua franca. It is spoken in all the higher and more important discourses of today’s Europe, forcing German and other European “cultural languages” to retreat onto the level of everyday life and less important discourses. At stake is a regression into a neomedieval diglossia. What are the social and political consequences of this development? How does it affect cultural relations within our societies and globally? Has it an impact on the existing forms of disciplinary knowledge production? The lecture will tackle these questions from the perspective of translation as a theoretical concept and a socio-cultural practice.