In the last 30 years, many so-called ‘graphic novels’ have been published and have enjoyed enthusiastic popular reception. Writers such as Neil Gaiman (Sandman), Alan Moore (Swamp Things, V for Vendetta, From Hell), Frank Miller (The Dark Knight Returns), Art Spiegelman (Maus: A Survivor’s Tale), Joe Sacco (Safe Area Gorazde), Chris Ware (Jimmy Corrigan: The Smartest Kid on Earth) and Marjane Satrapi (Persepolis) are collaborating with well-known graphic artists such as Dave McKean, Dave Gibbons, Bryon Talbot, Mark Buckingham, Gene Wolfe, Eddie Campbell and are bringing to life this bi-medial mode of representation which has obviously inherited a lot from its precursors, comics, but also has a distinct aesthetics of its own. The aim of our project, which is part of the international and interdisciplinary research group on Popular Seriality: Aesthetics and Practice, is to explore the intermedial aesthetics of serialized graphic novels in all their variations and transformations, and their different visual and narrative worlds. Furthermore, we want to examine how and where graphic novels are positioned in the cultural landscape as well as the various forms of canonization processes they can undergo.
In September 2009, the SNF (Schweizerischer Nationalfonds) has granted the funds for the implementation of this project.
This project is associated with the DFG research group "Popular Seriality - Aesthetics and Practice" at the University of Göttingen.
In this research project, the concept of ‘cosmopolitanism’ is to be investigated in contemporary literatures of India and of the Indian diaspora. Long understood in the classical sense of the word - the cosmopolite as a ‘citizen of the world’ - the concept of cosmopolitanism has acquired new significance in the last thirty years, due to postcolonialism and, in its wake, globalisation, migration, multiculturalism and the re-emergence of nationalism and religious fundamentalism. By invoking new notions of belonging, citizenship and identity, and by recognizing new sites of cultural production, cosmopolitanism raises issues which demand to be investigated in cultural studies and, specifically, literary studies. Fictions produced by writers of Indian origin living in India or elsewhere discuss identity, cosmopolitanism, globalisation and nationalism from several perspectives. Considering the historical, political and social background of Indian literatures in English, it seems a worthwhile undertaking to investigate a selection of texts in respect to the issues of cosmopolitanism and identity, as well as to the further thematic concerns these concepts imply.
The project aims a) to understand the fascination of American and British writers with classical literature over the last centuries, b) to differentiate the specific characteristics of the reception of antiquity over different periods of literary and cultural history, c) to analyze the respective functions of intertextual, intermedial and intercultural references to ancient literature (for instance the depiction of violence), and d) to investigate intercultural contact and the construction of national identity as well as the processes of tradition building and canon formation.
Das von der VW-Stiftung mit einer Million Euro finanzierte und am Göttinger Zentrum für Theorie und Methodik der Kulturwissenschaften verankerte Promotionskolleg ist ein Pilotprojekt für eine in den Geisteswissenschaften neue Organisationsform der Graduiertenförderung. Literaturwissenschaftliche Qualifikation wird mit hoher Praxiskompetenz in Dissertationsprojekten verbunden, die Wertungs-, Kanonisierungs- und Vermittlungskulturen im wissenschaftlichen und wirtschaftlichen Bereich untersuchen und miteinander vergleichen. Beteiligte Fachgebiete sind Amerikanistik, Anglistik, Germanistik, Komparatistik, Romanistik und Slavistik. Neben ihrer wissenschaftlichen Arbeit lernen die Promovend/inn/en in Praktika bei renommierten Verlagen (dtv, Fischer, Hanser, Metzler, Suhrkamp, Wallstein und Verlagsgruppe Holtzbrinck) die Bedingungen gegenwärtiger Literaturvermittlung näher kennen.
This project focuses on the question of the relationship between word and image, text and picture in American and British literature and thought since the eighteenth century. Instead of addressing this issue from a relatively narrow philological angle, the concept of “intermediality” seeks to outline the interdisciplinary character of this project. On the one hand, intermediality refers to a wide range of phenomena, such as “illustration”, “pictorialism”, “ekphrasis”, “iconicity” and “emblem”, situating them within a wider cultural and intellectual framework. On the other hand, intermediality can also be understood as a term that seeks to describe how text-image relationships take part in the generation and dissemination of “knowledge”, broadly perceived. It is precisely in this sense that the present project does not focus merely on the similarities or differences between “text” and “image”. Rather, it seeks to investigate their wider effect on cultural imagination and imaginaire.
Gemeinsames Forschungsprojekt mit Dr. Christian Emden, Rice University, Houston/Texas.
The project’s starting point is the fact that violence seems incompatible with the Western “process of civilization”; and yet violence is endemic to all Western cultures and societies. The project focuses on 20th-century writers, film directors, and artists from Great Britain and the United States who depict horrific atrocities, both in the form of political and individual cruelty. The project aims firstly at providing a survey of the history of theorizing violence and its representations (Aristotle, Lessing, Artaud, Bataille, Adorno, Girard, Sofsky, Agamben, and Scarry). Secondly, it includes analyses of examples from literature and other media.
Zwei schweizerisch-estnische Graduiertenkonferenzen finden vom 25.-31. Mai 2007 an der Universität Tartu und vom 7.-11. Mai 2008 an der Universität Bern statt und dienen der Nachwuchsförderung. Das gemeinsame Forschungsprojekt von Philosophinnen, Literatur- und KulturwissenschaftlerInnen der Universitäten Bern und Tartu beschäftigt sich mit Formen individueller und kollektiver Identitätskonstitution vor dem Hintergrund der historischen Entwicklungen im 20. Jahrhundert. Diese Identitätskonstitutionen von Individuen und kulturellen und politischen Gemeinschaften weisen zunehmend Brüche auf, die sich in Geschichten der politischen Unterdrückung, der Verfolgung, der ethnischen Säuberungen und Kriege und schliesslich auch in Exil-, Transkulturations- und Hybriditätserfahrungen niederschlagen. Die Ergebnisse der beiden Tagungen werden in Buchform publiziert.
This project looks at the pre-occupation of contemporary American and British writers with questions of subjectivity and/or concepts of authorship. While postmodernism sounded the death knell for concepts such as the “self” and the “author”, it is remarkable how strongly felt the desire for an understanding of the self and its literary representation appears to be in the works of 21st-century writers. Similar, and connected to the former, is a perceptible concern with the status of the author on the threshold between fiction and reality, artifice and authenticity.
One-day post-graduate conference Authenticity, 24 October 2008, Kuppelraum der Universität Bern, with financial support from the MVUB. This conference aims to bring together young researchers working in the area of English, American and Post-Colonial literatures from Switzerland to discuss various aspects related to the concept of authenticity. Authenticity is one of the crucial concepts in contemporary literary theory and philosophy and offers a multitude of intersections with various strands in literary studies.
The research cluster “Staging Difference” aims at elucidating the emergence of increasingly tangible interreligious conflicts fuelled by stagings of religiously defined collective identities in South and Southeast Asian postcolonial societies. Its focus is on the media-driven communication of national and global social movements and their interaction with, and “colonisation” of, local conflicts. The three PhD projects (social anthropology, science of religion and literary studies) are methodologically linked across disciplines by a discourse analytic approach to intermediality.