About TAS

‘TAS’ – Short Definition

The term transcultural stresses processual perspectives on cultural constitution, i.e. the definition, material articulation, and transformation of individual and collective identities, institutions, and works; with a particular emphasis on the coloniality of such processes, i.e. the extent to which colonial encounters, relations, and systems of rule have affected and continue to influence them.

Anglophone refers to translocated usages of English that exist in a differential (conflictual) with imperial/metropolitan language and literary practices.

Studies refers to research and teaching activities informed by historical and political developments as well as conceptual frameworks developed in the course of critically examining such works and practices, carried out in the spirit of the epistemological vigilance urged by Bourdieu, on the “geneaologies” (Nietzsche, Foucault) of the disputed field of transcultural knowledge production. Methodologically, TAS draws on literary and cultural theory as well as related fields such as media studies and philosophy. (Ghosh-Schellhorn/Zehle)

Why Transcultural Knowledges (TrKnow)?

Because we need “genealogies” of the trajectories by which dominant knowledge of transcultural cultures has survived up to the present day, this being the “epistemological violence” Chakravorty Spivak censures; at the same time we must not lose sight of the impact this knowledge is still allowed to have on current injustices, to the “symbolic violence” Bourdieu criticises. The manner in which memorialization has been/is performed with regard to a culture’s or nation’s contested history of the past as officially displayed in museums, to name but one institutionalized example, is one such topic demanding critical attention. Yet current injustices like modern slavery, involving human trafficking, child labour, coerced prostitution, and drug- and arms-trafficking, need to be urgently traced back to their genealogies. We also need to interrogate the advocacy of consumerism and fetishism with regard to the disputed rights of minors and animals, while in the context of the continuing depletion of natural resources, we need to focus on the magnitude of these policies on not only our ecosystem, but also for those remnants of minority cultures now facing extinction. In the context of the public sphere, the issues of rights, citizenship, and peoplehood demand that we do not forget to investigate the human cost and benefit balance of the so-called Fortress Europe, and therewith address the long-standing yet still-contemporaneous transcultural self- versus other-stereotyping that leads to cultural (and concomitant political) conflicts.

Studying TAS

TAS Homepage, Universität Saarland
Prof. Dr. Martina Ghosh-Schellhorn

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