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Here you can find all the keynote lecture videos since 2011.

Cultural Acoustics: Sound Studies and the Study of Culture


Without doubt, Sound Studies has become a burgeoning field for rich, eminently interdisciplinary initiatives in the humanities. One of the major contributions of the field has been to mark out the neglect in theories of medial modernity that focus entirely on various kinds of visual culture and their historicity. What I call "cultural acoustics," while under the broad rubric of sound studies, specifically draws attention to the potent role that acoustic practices could play in distinguishing, comparing, establishing, and dispersing cultures, whether scientific, musical, political, national, trans-national, or religiously bound. Examples include the work of Ana Maria Ochoa on listening and knowledge in nineteenth-century Colombia, Jonathan Sterne’s work on the centrality of sound, hearing, and listening to the “cultural life of modernity,” or Charles Hirschkind’s on the “ethical listening” of sermons and its role in the social and political transformations in Egypt. In my talk, I will use my own research on eighteenth-century Europe to discuss the key role played by listening practices and conceptions of sound in formative ideas of culture, nation, and anthropology and what these findings offer to the contemporary study of culture.


Tanvi Solanki

Main Research InterestsSolanki

  • 17th to 19th Century German Literature and Philology
  • Theories and Practices of Reading
  • Digital Humanities

Publications (selected)

  • “Sounding Culture from the Pulpit.” In: Couturier-Heinrich, Clémence (ed.): Revue Germanique Internationale. (Forthcoming 2018, in French)

  • “Cultural Hierarchies and Vital Tones: The Making of Herder’s ‘Mother Tongue.’” In: Gramling, David and Wiggin, Bethany (eds.): German Studies Review 41.3, 2017. (Forthcoming)

  • “A Book of Living Paintings: Tableaux Vivants in Goethe’s Die Wahlverwandtschaften (1809).” In: Daub, Adrian and Krimmer, Elisabeth: Goethe Yearbook 23, 2016, 245-270.

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Framework for a Critical European Culture Studies


Over a long history, Europe and culture are interwoven as terms. And within the contemporary context of European Unionization, the complex connection of the two has taken on new forms. The EU project is a singular project because it strives for economic, political, and cultural union. The globe is crisscrossed by free market-oriented projects to foster economic union, as well as supranational organizations that strive to accomplish various forms of political agreement. Only in the space of Europe does the project include a cultural component and of the three aspirational dynamics that drive European unification, culture remains both the least studied and yet the most compelling of the three. Nevertheless, Europe is not the EU, nor is culture equivalent to the current EU culture industry policy. This presentation will propose a framework for critical studies of European culture through attention to each of the terms: critical, Europe, and culture. Such a framework helps us better answer a number of questions. How do we approach culture in this political and economic context? How do we assess the European commercialization of cultural heritage? How does the striving for transnational cultural union differ from that cultural union produced in the nation state? In what way does the contemporary understanding of Europe call forth new histories? Among others.


Randall Halle

Main Research InterestsHalle

  • (Un)Popular Culture
  • Visual Alterity

Publications (selected)

  • The Europeanization of Cinema: Interzones and Imaginative Communities. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2014.

  • German Film after Germany: Toward a Transnational Aesthetic. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 2008.

  • After the Avant-garde: New Directions in Experimental Film. Rochester: Camden House Press, 2008.

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Empathy and Violence: The Chiasma of Politics and Law


My argument starts with two different readings of George Eliot’s Daniel Deronda by two scholars who have a radically different idea on the force and goal of empathic reading: Martha Nussbaum and Sara Ahmed. The former bases her argument on a human subject that is coherent, stable and through an ethical mode of reading literature is able to place herself in the position of someone else. The latter takes willful, unstable, swerving subjects as her point of departure, who find themselves oppressed in such a way that the very idea of their having a will of their own is made impossible. Nussbaum is looking for an underpinning of justice on some sort of common human ground, while Ahmed accepts the irreconcilability of positions, or the principal impossibility of a common ground. Focusing on the ways in which both authors employ radically different strategies of empathy, I ask what the goals of empathic reading could be in a juridico-political context. Here, I trace a chiastic relation between politics and law that is of relevance at times in which politics is turning more and more into a power game propelled by emotions and the force of law is threatened by parties demanding that their emotions be served.


Frans Willem Korsten

Main Research InterestsKorsten

  • Rhetoric (Classical and Modern)
  • Literature and Politics
  • Politico-Cultural Organization of Europe

Publications (selected)

  • “Poet/healer/judge: Literature as cicatrix – the case of Maria Dermoût’”. In: Grave, Jaap; Honings, Rick; Noak, Bettina (eds.): Illness and Literature in the Low Contries: From the Middle Ages until the 21st Century. Göttingen: V&R Unipres 2016, 181-198.

  • “The comedic sublime in a dynamic of worlds: the work of Frans Hals in a Dutch Baroque”. In: Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art 8(2): 1-24, 2016.

  • With Zeeuw T.L. de: “Towards a New Judicial Scene for Humans and Animals: Two Modes of Hypocrisy”. In: Law and Literature 27(1): 23-47, 2015.

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Space, Place and the Humanities: The Emergence of GeoHumanities

In this talk I outline the development of the new interdisciplinary field of the GeoHumanities linking relatively recent developments in the digital humanities and GIS to ancient concerns for space, place and ways in which we inhabit the world, the flowering of spatial theory since the 1970s in geography, and the spatial turn across the humanities and social sciences of the last few decades. In addition, I link the fusion of all of these histories with the embrace of ‘geo’ themes in the creative arts ranging from geo-poetry to conceptual art. While the emergence of GeoHumanities is not without problems and dangers I argue that the new field presents many theoretical, creative and strategic opportunities for scholars across the humanities and social sciences.


Tim Cresswell

Main Research Intereststimcresswell

  • Geographies of Mobility
  • Geographies of Place

Publications (selected)

  • Geographic Thought: A Critical Introduction. Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell 2013.
  • Citizenship in worlds of mobility. In: Ola Soderstrom, Didier Ruedin, Shalini Randeria, Gianni D’Amato and Francesco Panese (eds.): Critical Mobilities. London: Routledge 2013.

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Social Ecology as Transdisciplinary Science of Societal Relations to Nature

12 December 2017

The discourse on sustainable development in the Anthropocene is, essentially, centered on the question of how the complex relations between society and nature can be conceptualized, analyzed, and shaped. In my lecture, I present a specific interpretation of social ecology as an attempt to address this question. The basic idea of Frankfurt social ecology is to put the modern distinction between nature and society at the start of a critical analysis. Theoretically, relationships between humans, society and nature are conceived as societal relations to nature. This concept focuses on patterns and modes of regulation, as well as on the entanglement of material-energetic and cultural-symbolic aspects of the relationship in different areas of action such land use, mobility, or water, energy and food supply. Using an approach that conceptualizes social-ecological systems as provisioning systems, I will show in which way theory and empirical research practice can be linked. Research that aims at contributing to sustainable development needs to integrate different kinds of scientific and non-scientific knowledge. It must combine scientific research with societal practice, in order to offer solutions for real-world problems while at the same time producing generalizable knowledge. Therefore, I will discuss transdisciplinarity as the research mode of choice for social ecology as a problem-oriented science.


Diana Hummeldianahummel

Main Research Interests

  • Concepts of societal relations to nature
  • Population dynamics, biodiversity and provisioning systems
  • Gender and environment

Publications (selected)

  • Hummel, Diana, Thomas Jahn, Florian Keil, Immanuel Stieß & Stefan Liehr (2017): Social Ecology as Critical, Transdisciplinary Science – Conceptualizing, Analyzing and Shaping Societal Relations to Nature. Sustainability 9(7), 1050
  • Diana Hummel & Immanuel Stieß (2017): Social Ecology. A transdisciplinary approach on Gender and Environment research. In: MacGregor, Sherilyn (Ed.): Routledge International Handbook on Gender and Environment. London/New York., 186-201;
  • Mehring, Marion/Barbara Bernard/Diana Hummel/Stefan Liehr/Alexandra Lux (2017): Halting biodiversity loss: how social-ecological biodiversity research makes a difference. International Journal of Biodiversity Science, Ecosystem Services & Management 13 (1), 172-180