Frankfurt Memory Studies Platform: Writer’s Talk mit Verena Boos

Ein Werkstattgespräch über die Schichten der Erinnerung in der urbanen Topografie Barcelonas

Di 26.06.2018, 12:00 c.t. – IG 1.414

Die katalanisch-spanische Aktualität ist ohne die Geschichte nicht zu verstehen. Im Konflikt um Katalonien wird weniger das katalonische Steuerdefizit als vielmehr Erinnerung verhandelt und aus einem spezifischen Geschichtsbewusstsein heraus Zukunft zu gestalten versucht. Ein historisch aufgeladener Ort ist der Montjuïc, Barcelonas Hausberg. Im Fossar de la Pedrera im stadtabgewandten Teil des Montjuïc liegen unter anderem Tausende Opfer der Franco-Diktatur und auch der 1940 hingerichtete katalanische Präsident Lluis Companys begraben. Im Werkstattgespräch folgt die Schriftstellerin Verena Boos den Spuren der Geschichte und lotet anhand dieser Fallstudie aus, wie Erinnerung Gegenwart mitgestaltet.

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Guest lecture by Venugopalrao Nellutla

Ngũgĩ in India: A Transcultural Dialogue

Do. 03.05.2018, 18:00 c. t. – IG 4.201

The talk will explore the dynamics of transcultural dialogue between Telugu-speaking areas of India and the legendary Kenyan writer Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. Though separated by more than 5,000 km distance and without any common bonding in political, social, cultural and economic relations, how this Gikuyu author got a familiar treatment as one of their own authors and commanded highest respect, goes beyond literary appreciation. It has to do with a collective memory of oppression and struggle. It is a kind of discovery of one’s own self in a literature from afar. It is an attempt to draw inspiration for one’s own continuing struggles. In this transcultural dialogue, cultural differences become secondary to political unity. I would also like to give a personal touch to this line of argument by referencing the interactions many Telugu people and I had with Ngũgĩ in the course of last two decades and more.

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Guest lecture by Alex Tickell

Can the Slum-dweller Speak? Katherine Boo and the Postcolonial Politics of Literary Journalism

Do. 08.02.108, 18:00 c. t. – IG 4.201

My paper examines the rise of forms of narrative reportage and creative non-fiction in representations of the city and urban subaltern communities in India. Drawing on my recent research on citizenship, infrastructure and writings on the city, I will discuss the postcolonial ethics and politics of literary journalism with special reference to Katherine Boo’s celebrated account of Mumbai’s Annawadi settlement, Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Slum (2012). My aim is to theorise Boo’s use of first-person narrative voices in this text, and contrast this fictionalising technique with Aman Sethi’s ‘involved’ narrative reportage in his work of the same year: A Free Man: A True Story of Life and Death in Delhi (2012). Continue reading →

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Guest lecture by Martina Kopf

Concepts of Development in Postcolonial Kenyan Writing

Do. 01.02.2018, 18:00 – IG 4.201

In his seminal work on the colonial origins of developmentalism in Africa in the first half of the 20th century, Frederick Cooper proposes that at its very roots there is a problem of knowledge. Colonial officials approached social phenomena with a specific gaze, one that thought that European solutions are applicable anywhere in the world. This problem of knowledge did not disappear with the end of colonial rule. Rather, it went into the post-colonial governance of processes of social and economic change in Africa and was re-inforced through international institutions and organisations in development politics and planning. This ‘not-knowing-enough’ or ‘not-knowing-the-right-things’ runs through the history and critique of development research and planning.

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Moving Cultures im UniReport

„Der Masterstudiengang Moving Cultures ist einmalig in Deutschland“, stellt Julia Wittenhagen in der aktuellen Ausgabe des UniReport fest. Ihr Artikel bietet Einblicke in Themen und Schwerpunkte des Studiengangs, stellt künftige Arbeitsfelder von Absolventen vor und lässt Dozenten und Studierende zu Wort kommen. Den Artikel als pdf finden Sie hier …

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Guest lecture by Nadia Butt

‘Travelling Cultures’:  Reading Nineteenth-Century British Narratives about Movement and Mobility

Do., 30.11.2017, 18:00 –IG 4.201

In the last years, the idea of ‘travelling cultures’, particularly expounded by American anthropologist James Clifford, has captured the imagination of a significant number of historians, philosophers, anthropologists, cultural and literary studies scholars who are actively engaged with it. Indeed, a number of theories have also recently emerged around this notion such as ‘travelling concepts’ expounded by Doris Bachmann-Medick or ‘travelling memory’ by Astrid Erll, which seem to be an interesting offshoot of travel as a metaphor of cultural transgressions and personal transformations. I take modern, interdisciplinary concepts of travel and deliberately choose to go back in time to address travel from a different perspective in order to develop innovative approaches to various forms of travel in British literature in the long nineteenth-century – travels which are not necessarily connected to the idea of British colonial expansion alone, but how an individual, a family or a community (often caught between cultures) is shaped by temporal, spatial, existential or spiritual journeys or pilgrimages. Continue reading →

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Guest lecture by Laura Marcus

Rhythmical Subjects and Modern Utopias

Do., 30.11.2017, 18:00 – Nebengebäude 2.731

This paper explores the intense focus on and fascination with questions of ‚rhythm‘ in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the development of ‘rhythmics’ and ‘rhythm-science’ in the period.  One significant dimension of this ‘rhythmic turn’ was found in developments in dance and movement. The paper looks at Dalcroze’s ‘eurythmics’ and Rudolf Steiner’s ‘eurythmy’, in the contexts of the architectural spaces in which they were practiced, as part of an examination of the ways in which rhythmic expression became an aspect of early twentieth-century utopianism.

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Guest Lecture by Ranjan Ghosh

In Transition: The Aesthetics and Politics of the ‘Across Factor’

Thursday, 26 October 2017, 6pm – Casino 1.812

Over the last decade, I have invested myself in framing critical departures and discriminative correspondences between disciplines, across the humanities and sciences, training myself in poetics and philosophy across cultures both European and non-European. This sustained investment has resulted in the emergence of a conceptual/philosophical/epistemological space that I call “trans-(in)fusion”. It is this space that has inspired and nourished both my reading and writing. This ‘thinking’ space has eased me into making intellectual articulations across paradigms and epistemes, cultures of thought and establishment – a trans-(in)fusioned understanding of issues and ideas whether in the studies of religion, philosophy of history and historiography, memory studies, critical theory, continental philosophy, theories of literature, world literature, body theory, comparative aesthetics, educational philosophy, or the philosophy of sciences. Is critical thinking always in transition? My talk will explain what I mean by trans(in)fusion, trans-habit, intra-active transculturality, aesthetic imaginary, trans-thinking (conceptual coinages that have settled into the international comparative/ world literature vocabulary) to reformulate how we produce knowledge and reconfigurate discursive and disciplinary thinking. Continue reading →

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Guest Lecture by Galvan-Alvarez

Sovereignty On Camera: Documentary, Performance and War in Syria


As the Syrian revolution, which began as a peaceful grassroots movement, became militarised in 2012, the Syrian government started losing ground in different parts of the country. From the early days, these ‘liberated areas’ became experimental spaces of difference where new forms of governance were implemented. In disparate ways, they aimed to prefigure the post-revolution, post-Assad era. However, as early as Spring 2013 there were plenty of cases of corruption, power-abuses and brutality in the areas controlled by the Free Syrian Army (FSA) (Yassin-Kassab and al-Shami, 2016: 127), which seemed to mimic the ways of the Assad regime. As a reaction, many fighters and civilians turned towards Islamist principles as a guarantee of order and as an alternative to both the perceived lawlessness of the secular opposition and the relentless brutality of the government. By late 2013 infighting between opposition militias, and between conflicting visions of sovereignty, had become rampant, seeing the emergence of old jihadi ghosts from the post-9/11 imaginary and, in the process, attracting much journalistic attention. Continue reading →

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Guest Lecture by Roman Bartosch

Towards Transcultural Ecology: Learning | Reading

The ‘New World Literature’. The ‘Anthropocene’. Two of the most recent and most vitally flourishing critical concepts currently discussed in literary studies seem to demand a move towards a planetary scale. Not only may this move conflict with traditional tenets of poetics and interpretation because, as Dominic Head says, the notion of the planetary ‘may contradict the way in which the novel’s role as a social medium is usually articulated’ (2000, 237). It moreover leads to ‘derangements of scale,’ as Timothy Clark has repeatedly shown: When we talk, for instance, about environmental crises and the global, the novel’s ‘scale includes the whole earth but when it comes to relating the threat to daily questions of politics, ethics or specific interpretations of history, culture, literature, etc., the map is often almost mockingly useless’ (2012, 148-9). Continue reading →

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