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Projects Research Area 4

The Birth of Monolingualism from Multilingualism (2022-)

Questions of literary multilingualism have received increased attention in recent years. This is especially true of the research on globalisation and the translation of literature, which has shown that even modern national literatures are bound to temporal interconnections and historical conjunctures of transmission. The concept of post-monolingualism, introduced to describe contemporary global developments, clearly emphasizes this temporal dimension. Against this background, the comparative project centers on pre-monolingualism, and therefore focusses on the beginnings of modern monolingualism and its impact on the development of a linguistic norm and national standard language.

The Cinema of Disintegration: Countering the White Gaze in Black and (Post-)Migrant Film in the U.S. and Germany, 1970 to the Present (2021-)

In this project, Till Kadritzke starts from cross-temporal and cross-geographical echoes to investigate equivalences, affinities and differences between two distinct cultural and racial imaginaries, focusing primarily on archives of film. From the L.A. Rebellion era to contemporary New Black Cinema in the U.S., from early migrant films such as Gölge (1980) to the confidently postmigrant cinema exemplified by Berlin Alexanderplatz, Exil and Futur Drei (all 2019) in Germany, Black and (Post-)Migrant films were forced in one way or another to relate to a "mythical norm" (Audre Lorde)––of white America or a German Leitkultur––and its visual archive. Hence, I focus specifically on aesthetic and narrative strategies that destabilise these norms, "averting the critical gaze from the racial object to the racial subject" (Toni Morrison).

The Webs ‘We’ Tell. Making community through ‘conversations’ across contemporary Afrodiasporic literature (2021-)

In her research project, Raphaëlle Efoui-Delplanque reads contemporary literary works alongside material collected online and from interviews with authors in order to understand how literature functions as a site of community-making across a spectrum of people of African descent marked by differences in language, culture, class, and gender, among other aspects.

A Dialogue from Time to Time. Translation and Literary Multilingualism (2021-)

This project investigates the time-bound nature and temporality of literary translations and their different historical circumstances. It examines the transnational circulation of literary texts in translation from the eighteenth century to the present and with the help of select case studies. The aim is to shed light on the question of value creation and appreciation for literary translation with regard to their divergent status within literary criticism and the book markets, especially in light of the fact that translation as a means of bridging time inherently bears the potential to strengthen communities. Moreover, the project will critically probe current models and practices of literary translation and test them out in collaborative formats involving translators, students and young scholars.

Digital Constructions of Authorship (2020-)

This project will investigate new, digital models of authorship that transcend classic concepts. Concepts of authorship – including ideas about ‘the charismatic artist’ and ‘intellectual property’ – will be probed for how they have changed, for example, through the shifting temporalities of the digital and new media forms of interactivity.

Beyond the book – Concepts and practices of public readings (2020-)

Literary installations, visual presentations of texts, literary exhibitions, performances, and happenings in public spaces, the use of new media and technologies – the spectrum of literary presentations that seek to go beyond the traditional "glass of water" reading is vast. Challenging the idea of an original artwork and individual authorship, collaborative works and digital language techniques are gaining relevance, setting into motion a fundamental reflection on the triad of author/originatorship, work, and recipient, with meaningful consequences for publication and dissemination practices. In complementary formats of literary research and cultural practice the project seeks to investigate the relation between process and product, author and interpreter, event and text.

MOTDYNAMO (2020-)

Over a period of two years and in complementary formats of literary research and collaborative practice, MOTDYNAMO seeks to investigate how the reflection, adaptation, and application of avant-garde concepts of translation informs current digital language art and how it may shape future literary practices.

Studying Academic Discussions on the Art of Poetry in Late Renaissance Florence (2020-)

This project pursues a collaborative digitally based investigation in the field of early modern European aesthetics. It focuses on the Accademia degli Alterati – an academy of about 140 members active from 1569 to c. 1630.

Poetics of Radical Vulnerability in Contemporary Literature (2019-)

This project investigates poetry from Chinese, American/English and German writers who first started publishing their writings online (on Twitter, Instagram, Weixin, Weibo, etc.) and were later “discovered” by editors and publishers from the more traditional/established literary field. Schneider’s work considers the power struggles that emerge when poems originally written for an online audience are transferred into the analogue publishing industry and thereby stress the seemingly stable notion of literature.

Body/Images – Foreign/Gazes: (Feminine) Territoriality and Corpography in Latin American graphic narratives (2019-)

Over the last two decades, graphic narratives have become a prominent artistic space of feminist resistance in Latin America. Although the comics scene is still dominated by male artists and readers, women are increasingly using the medium to question and de- and reframe hegemonic and heteronormative social structures and visualities. They are, moreover, challenging and re-appropriating lines imposed not only by their male peers but also by colonial and ‘Western’ art traditions. As Tim Ingold (2007) argues, the ‘imposition of lines’ is a modus operandi of colonialism, which “proceeds first by converting the paths along which life is lived into boundaries in which it is contained, and then by joining up these now enclosed communities, each confined to one spot, into vertically integrated assemblies.” Such ideas were recently taken up in relation to graphic narratives during the international conference ‘Crisis Lines: Coloniality, Modernity, Comics’ (City, University of London, 9-10 June 2021). Drawing on Boaventura de Sousa Santos’s (2007) reference to the ‘abyssal line structuring of Western Modernity’, this project will develop and expand on these interventions by exploring the anti-colonial potential of comics and graphic narratives by Latin American women.

Writing Berlin (2019-)

The project “Writing Berlin” will study the manifold activities promoting inter­national literary exchange that took place in the divided city after the building of the Berlin Wall. There will be an emphasis on the selection processes and on the cultural and political implications of these activities, on their effects on actual literary writing and on how the changing political environ­ment affected the social roles and existence of the authors concerned.