Summer Term 2012

VL: Carnival and Pantomime: Performing Transculturality in the Caribbean

Wednesday 14-16 c. t.

HS II, Geb. B3 1

Caribbean culture has often been derided as having no lineage on account of its slave and indentured labour history. Derek Walcott, the first Nobel prize winner from this region has instead argued that this culture was formed through a process in which remembered fragments of cultures transported to the region were created anew. Creolization, as this process has come to be called, has several exceptional features, of which the Carnival is perhaps the most interesting. We will be looking closely at the emergence of Caribbean Carnival while focusing on two exemplary texts, Walcott’s Pantomime and Earl Lovelace’s play The Dragon Can’t Dance.



Both plays to be read as follows: once through before the semester starts and a second time before the third session; regular attendance of the full lecture series; end of term written test.
Please check the TAS website under "Your Studies" for guidelines, especially on note-taking during a lecture series.



Wednesday 16:00-18:30

R. 1.20, Geb. C5 3

All students intending to take any part of their final examinations in TAS are strongly advised to attend this colloquium. It provides a forum for the treatment of issues relevant to:

  • Academic writing skills
  • Choice of exam topics
  • Presentation of work-in-progress
  • Mock-oral exams
  • Application of TAS theories to selected texts
  • On-going analysis of contemporary critical issues in this field of study


Please contact m.ghosh(at) for further details.


HS: Creating the British Empire: The Honorable Company

Thursday 14-16 c. t.

R. 1.20, Geb. C5 3


Tutorium Claudia Kilian

Thursday 13-14

R. 1.20, Geb. C5 3

The British Empire, the largest in world history, took its inception, humbly enough, when a charter was granted by Elizabeth I on the last day of 1600 to 219 ‘subscribers’, who had supplied nearly 70,000 pounds so that the East India Company could begin trading the “Indias”. Britain is currently commemorating a business venture that introduced spices, textiles, tea, and ‘china’ to a rising number of consumers, with the exhibition “Monsoon Traders” at the National Maritime Museum, Greenwich. An excursion (Fri. 11th – Mon. 13th May) to this exhibition will be integral to a seminar that incorporates various approaches to studying the creation of an overseas empire.

That all was not done ‘honorably’ becomes evident when we consider that the price for importing Chinese tea to Britain was paid for by the Chinese who became addicted to the opium grown in India and smuggled into Canton. In this context we will be reading Amitav Ghosh’s historical novel The Sea of Poppies as fictive representation of the world of the EIC.

A different approach to the topic of trade and empire-building is provided by video games. East India Company, in particular, as well as High Tea, offer its players the virtual ‘experience’ of re-enacting a period in history in which globalization was rapidly progressing. The historical accuracy of these games will be measured using material prepared by the National Archives, Kew, to which a visit is planned as part of the excursion.

These interrelated approaches will be complemented by a media workshop scheduled for the the end of the term, in which experts in graphic design and ‘serious’ computer games as well as cultural studies will discuss their fields of work.



Regular attendance of all sessions including the excursion and workshop block seminar; thorough acquaintance with all the material listed above before the first session; individual research on a relevant topic of your choice for short oral presentations / group work, followed by a term paper (7,500 words, in MLA format). Please check the TAS website under "Your Studies" for further details about oral presentation and essay writing modalities.


Please contact m.ghosh(at) for further details


HS: Avatar/s in Transcultural Perspective

Thursday 16-18 c. t.

R. 1.20, Geb. C5 3


Tutorium Julia Schröder

Thursday 17.45-18.45

R 1.20, Geb. C5.3

James Cameron’s film Avatar (2009) has been a great commercial success, among other reasons, for its innovative 3-D technology, but as much for its blending of several older narrative traditions like the Native American and the Hindu in the age old battle of good against evil. From a transcultural point of view, one of the most fascinating features of the film is its focus on the human-animal divide, a much-debated topic of special relevance to the processes of European colonisation. In influential works like R. Kipling’s The Jungle Book (currently a popular musical), the Virginian story of Pocahontas and Capt. Smith (now a popular Disney film), the colonial Other(s) are presented, as was done in the Hindu Ramayana, as humanized animal/native informant ‘helpers’ of the ‘hero’ on his mission to defeat ‘savage’ evildoers.

The ‘savages’ in question form the focus of an exhibition titled “Human Zoos: The Invention of the Savage” at the Musée du Quai Branly, Paris. An excursion to this important exhibition will take place on a Fri/Sat, most likely 1st or 2nd June. The seminar will conclude with a media workshop on the topic of “Avatar/s” during which animated/trick film practitioners and screenplay writers will provide insights into their work.



Regular attendance of the tutorial, all sessions including the workshop block seminar and the excursion; thorough acquaintance with all the material listed above before the first session; individual research on a relevant topic of your choice for short oral presentations / group work, followed by a term paper (7,500 words, in MLA format). Please check the TAS website under "Your Studies" for further details about oral presentation and essay writing modalities.


Please contact m.ghosh(at) for further details.


PS: Representations of Indigenous Australia

Christiane Charon, M.A. (St. John’s College, Darwin, Australia/AISM Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)


Session times:

Fridays 14-16 c. t. 16-18 c. t

Saturdays 10-12 c. t.  12-14 c. t. 

starting on the 29.06.2012, ending on the 21.07.2012

R. 120, Geb. C5 3


Australia has become the new country of opportunity after the recent and ongoing disintegration of the US economy. This economic stability in Australia stands in stark contrast to the way of life experienced in many remote Indigenous communities. They are far off the beaten tourist track, but very much on the map for humanitarian concerns as statistics of drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and juvenile delinquency in these communities have reached soaring heights.

This course will explore the dimensions of culture clash in Australia and the historical background on what is one of the country's most complex humanitarian issues. This will be done through film, biographical writing, short fiction and factual texts.


Assessment: Students are expected to attend all sessions and complete set readings and film viewings prior to scheduled course times.

Written: Weekly reflective journal entries (350 -500 words), and a final seminar paper of 5.500 words. Comparative studies of two or more texts are encouraged for the seminar paper.

Oral: Short presentations (5-10min) to provide a factual introduction to the session’s topic.


Course outline and readings/viewings:

All texts will be made avaliable in a designated folder in the library. Movie screenings will be scheduled in addition to the session times in case you do not have an opportunity to view the films at home. Please contact Christiane Charon c.charon(at) for more information.


Remote communities, missionaries and researchers

Texts: Sampson and Delilah (film); Craig Cormick: Going Nowhere (short story); My Voice, Our Story (film/documentary)


Between cultures

Texts: Archie Weller, Going Home (collection of short stories); Doris Kartinyeri, Kick the Tin (autobiography); Stephen Kinnane, Shadow Lines (biography); The Rabbit Proof Fence (Phillip Noyce); Sally Morgan, My Place (autobiography)


Closing the gap in health and education

Texts: newspaper clippings, speeches, statistics, the bi-lingual education debate