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Projects Research Area 1

Arts of Memory (2021-)

"Arts of Memory" explores historical arts of memory as transtemporal and transcultural modes of community building. We start from the assumption that cultural ‘arts’ such as mnemotechnics, rhetoric, writing or translation are decisive for the genesis of temporal communities, along with non-verbal or trans-linguistic modes of communication (performative, artistic, institutional, technological). The project’s focus is on the art of memory as it was originally developed in Roman rhetorics and then productively recast in the early modern period.

The Fabrics of Community: The Temporal Poetics of Fashion and Law in US-American Literature (2021-)

The research project examines the cultural work (Tompkins) of fashion and fashion discourses—as a language/semiotic system (Barthes), theory, or cultural practice—from the late nineteenth and over the twentieth century to the present day. It interrogates the varied relationship(s) between fashion discourses, literature, and the law, particularly in the US but also globally. In focusing on questions of intellectual property and creative freedom as one of its main analytical trajectories, the project furthermore examines the sexualized and racialized legal dimensions of fashion discourses from an intersectional analytical perspective.

Enlightened Medialities (2020-)

"Enlightened Medialities" investigates communicative technologies and techniques during the age of Enlightenment in the Greek "republic of letters" (the Ottoman Empire and the Western European Greek diaspora), Spain and its (former) colonies, and the newly founded United States at the time of the French and Haitian Revolutions. The project focuses on Enlightenment theories and practices of disinterested deliberation, on the one hand, and the Enlightenment rhetoric of friendship and empathy, on the other, analysing them as two versions of one and the same desire for non-normative norms.

(Post-)Soviet Literary Cosmopolis (2020-)

"(Post-)Soviet Literary Cosmopolis" approaches the challenging task of theoretically developing and applying the EXC 2020’s concept of temporal literary communities to the situation that emerged when Soviet cultural politics laid claim to global cultural dominance. While Soviet value system was engaged in constant competition with the capitalist world, pre- and post-Soviet literary communities are understood as specific cases of literature in imperial and post-imperial contexts. An integral focus on the history of more or less violent constructions and (post)Soviet reconstructions of "national" literatures must necessarily account for recent discussions of (post)Soviet literatures from the perspectives of postcolonial studies, decolonial studies and world system theories.

Petrarchan Worlds (2019-)

“Petrarchan Worlds” scrutinises com­peting appropriations of Petrarchan modes of expression from the early modern period to modernity. The project will thus reconstruct a transnational and transtemporal community, taking into account the issues of power deriving from Petrarchism’s changing political con­texts, but also the specific gen­dered­ness of Petrarchan poetic styles.

The Creativity of Reform: Frederick Douglass’s Philosophical Imagination (2019-2021)

Centering on the idea of competing intellectual, political and cultural communities, this project investigates the philosophical imagination of Frederick Douglass, arguably one of the most influential and (in)famous voices in the long history of U.S. reform movements.