Alterity and Performative Knowledge: Contemporary Re-Definitions of Modernity and Modernism in the Transatlantic Triangle

The research project’s aim is an epistemological re-evaluation of the concept of modernism which would also be relevant for the analysis of cultural phenomena in the globalized present. Historic discourses on alterity in the transatlantic world (characterized by the contacts and conflicts between African, European, and American cultures) would be read for this purpose, as well as new readings and interpretive accounts developed. Hence African and indigenous cosmologies are not seen, as in European and American modernism, as raw material for primativist fantasies or as exotic inspiration for a West that has lost its values, but rather as epistemologically independent phenomena to be analyzed and thereby incorporated into new interpretive strategies. In this context, the extent to which the binary differentiation between modern and premodern cultures is at all meaningful for such analyses of cultural texts will be put into question.

Term of Project: 2007-2009

Research endowment fund 2007 Project Members:
Jun. Prof. Nicole Waller (American Studies)
Dr. Sabine Sörgel (Theater Studies)

WALLER, NICOLE (2011): Diving Providence Doesn’t Generally Knock Twice: Therizing the Circum-Atlantic through Religious Cosmologies. In: CORTIEL, JEANNE/ MICHAEL WALA (Hrsg): Religion in the USA. Heidelberg.

SÖRGEL, SABINE (2008): Mediating the Body Politic: Contemporary Dance and Transnationalism. Orbis Pictus - Theatrum Mundi, 9th International Congress of the German Society for Theatre Studies, Amsterdam, Netherlands, 2008.