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CfP: Konzeptualisierungen kleiner (europäischer) und nicht-westlicher Kulturen

Conceptualising Small (European) and Non-Western Cultures

Canonical Concepts, Structural Asymmetries and Promising Routes for Comparison

October 10th and 11th 2019, Technical University Dresden


To deal with phenomena from small cultures with a different language, history, literary tradition and social structure, seems to be the field for specialists or even nerds, who deal with ‘exotic subjects’ or luxuries. Research, which focusses on hegemonic countries or on ‘World languages’, on canonical texts or on widespread discourses and structures is often perceived as more relevant and more important. Thus, hegemonic discourses, which are often affected by eurocentrism, methodological nationalism (Wimmer/Glick Schiller 2002) or the monolingual paradigm (Yildiz 2012), are constantly reproduced. As a result, phenomena, which share more than one linguistic and cultural context, are often described merely as borderline cases. Contributions from small and non-western cultures are received as “case studies”, which seem to have no impact on theoretical concepts. At the same time, it is a special challenge for researchers to focus on theory, when they deal with cultures and languages, which are hardly explored and analysed to a sufficient degree.

However, a big part of the (world’s) society lives in a multilingual, cross-cultural world. As FUEN (2018) states: “There are more than 400 European minorities in Europe. One in seven Europeans is part of an autochthonous minority or speaks a regional or minority language.” According to different estimates 5.000 to 7.000 languages are spoken worldwide, compared to this the six UN languages seem to be quite marginal. In view of this reality, research on smaller european and non-western cultures as well as on translingual and cross-cultural phenomena, can no longer be regarded as a moral plea or a political demand. It is a challenge, which should be met in an international and interdisciplinary debate. The conference therefore invites scholars from all disciplines, to think and talk about the relationship between canonical concepts and non-western or smaller european cultures and to reflect on structural asymmetries, reciprocity and promising routes for comparison.

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