018- Imagining Cultural Transfers — Poetics of Cultural Contact, Circulation and Exchange

 

Organized by:  DGAVL. Prof. Annette Simonis, Prof. Joachim Harst, Prof. Corinna Dziudzia

English

 

The group session / panel explores the dynamics of cultural exchange in literature, examining the circulation of narratives, images, concepts, and ideas travelling within and beyond cultural boundaries on a global scale. Cultural exchange proves to be a powerful stimulating agency of creative energy entailing a considerable transformative potential. Moreover, multiple forms of cultural contact and transfer have been the object of individual and collective imaginations in a contemporary as well as a historical perspective. They constitute key relationships at the very core of literary productions and artifacts in other media. In this context, the imaginative process of modeling and reflecting cultural transfer is not restricted to the limits of physical contact and empirical factuality. Far from being limited to mere exotism, imaginings and aesthetic representations of cultural contact play a crucial part in the evolution of cultures. They may also, for instance, draw on oral as well as recorded sources of myth, folklore, fantasy or even the phenomena of virtual reality. 

The panel’s contributions focus on the different imaginings of cultural transfers and their dynamics in literary texts. They analyse the poetic and stylistic forms designed to express and capture the cultural circulation of concepts, images, and experiences as well as their innovative and transformative implications. (Translations, for example, play an important role in this context.)

Furthermore, they may also reflect on the relation between notions of cultural transfer and comparative literature as an academic discipline. For example, key terms of the discipline such as „world literature“ can be questioned (e.g. the relevance of cross-cultural contacts for the thinking of „world literature“) and examined in regard to their implicit evaluations (e.g. the dominance of a Western canon, relationships between „major“ and „minor“ literatures).

Keywords: cultural transfer, literature, artifacts, cultural imaginary, transformation