Summer Term 2018

Prof. Dr. Ghosh-Schellhorn:


Vorlesung: Others on Display: A Transcultural Survey of Human Zoos and Other Popular Entertainments

Mi 14-16 c. t., Geb. C5 3, R. 1.20

The manner in which Others have been subjected to display encompasses several fields of inquiry, from museum history to disability studies. Not only have animals routinely been displayed when still alive or else preserved in the form of dioramas, so-called 'monsters', i.e. alien individuals as well as entire villages have also been co-opted as veritable 'golden geese' for the 'exotic' shows initiated by proprietors like Carl Hagenbeck and P.T. Barnum, for example. On both sides of the Atlantic visitors to these enormously popular shows were invited to satisfy their curiosity about the Other/s for a small fee from 1841 onward. The 'savages' brought to these visitors from remote parts of the globe were displayed in what was purported to be their 'natural surroundings', or else they were displayed in cages like animals.
The last of these shows was held in 1958, more than a century after the trend began. We will be looking at the development of this type of Western popular culture in order to eventually ask: how do we deal with Others; who is made to sit on which side of the fence nowadays? 

HS: 'My Name is Khan and I am not a Terrorist': Visualizing Post-9/11 Lives

Mi 16-18 c.t. Geb. C5 3, R. 1.20

My Name is Khan, starring the Indian movie icon Shah Rukh Khan as an autistic Muslim character, was one of the greatest box-office successes in both India and its US diaspora. The film deals with the negative stereotyping of foreigners by the American mainstream, a topic that has gained significance following the 9/11 attacks on the USA.  On the basis of selected films that explore the protagonists' experiences of being ostracized solely on account of their ethnic identity, we will be engaging with the phenomenon of the scapegoat. Via the lens of feature films set in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, we will take a closer look at the kind of agency victims of scapegoating take on when they attempt to vindicate themselves. 

Main Film Texts:
At Five in the Afternoon (2003)
For the Love of God [Khuda Kay Liye] (2007)
New York (2009)
My Name is Khan (2010)

HS: Virtual Modelling in TAS Perspective: Government House Calcutta

Do 14-16 c. t., Geb. C5 3, R. 1.20

What are some of the ways in which we can re-examine received history? Among different options, one worth exploring is that of making historiography more 'visible'. A first step would be to render the centuries-old stones of historical buildings less inaccessible by transforming them into 3D models that can be digitally handled by users. In making 'visible' a monumental building like Government House (GH) Calcutta, the official residence of the highest representative of the East India Co., and later of the British monarch, we need to take a further, transculturally informed step.  Certain objects, like the 'throne' captured from a major enemy of the East India Co., has, besides its intriguing appearance, a whole story to tell about the various uses it was put to. The grand stairs of the building, to name another case, was reserved for the ceremonial use of the Governor General or Viceroy alone – until Viceroy Curzon's wife decided, nearly a century later, to finally break this rule.
In either supporting or challenging the tale of British supremacy over the Indian sub-continent, these kinds of artefacts carry a wealth of information about the 'invention of tradition' that accompanied colonial rule. We will be seeking out archival information concerning the most important artefacts in order to draw attention to the contribution they, as petit narratives, have made so that the grand narrative of Britain's hegemonic rule could be told.    

Letters and other autobiographical material (out of copyright) referring to life in Government House will be made available.



Do 16-18:30 s. t., Geb. C5 3, R. 1.20All TAS students in the semi-final and/or final stages of their studies in our Department are encouraged to attend. Students intending to take any part of their final oral examinations in TAS are strongly advised to participate in this colloquium a semester prior to the final run through. Students either starting out or meanwhile writing a thesis are also expected to attend these sessions.The colloquium will help TAS students develop their study skills while providing on-going guidance during preparation for an exam or of a thesis.



Emanuel Blaich, M.A.:


PS/Übung: Transcultural Short Stories: Narrating the Post-Colonial Experience

Di 8.30 - 10.00 a.m., Geb. C5 3, R. 1.20

A genre that often tends to be overlooked by critics and scholars, the short story nonetheless conveys the voices, and depicts the challenging reality of persons outside the mainstream on account of alienating post-colonial circumstances like poverty, lack of opportunity, and ostracism. Due to its poetic potential, the short story provides these so-called outsiders with a space from which to write about their experiences, be it the longing for a different identity, or for a resolution of cross-cultural conflicts, or for solutions to the problems faced by diasporic communities.

In this introductory seminar, we want to take a closer look at post-colonial short stories and to explore the transcultural potential of the genre. Among others, we will be reading short stories by writers like Salman Rushdie, Pauline Melville, Chinua Achebe, Ben Okri, and Jhumpa Lahiri.

Achebe, Chinua. "Dead Men’s Path." Girls at War and Other Stories. London: Heinemann, 1972. Print.

Mukherjee, Bharati. "The Lady from Luknow." Darkness. Markham: Penguin Books, 1985.

Melville, Pauline. "Eat Labba and Drink Creek Water." Shape-Shifter. New York: Pantheon, 1990. Print.

Okri, Ben. "Disparities." Incidents at the Shrine. London: Vintage, 1993. Print.

Rushdie, Salman. "The Courter." East, West. London: BCA, 1994. Print.

Lahiri, Jhumpa. "Interpreter of Maladies." Interpreter of Maladies. Stories of Bengal, Boston and Beyond. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1999. Print.

Participation: Regular attendance, active participation, reading and writing assignments. Requirements include a short oral presentation (about 10 min) and a term paper.

If you have any questions, please contact me at: