Summer Term 2019

Prof. Dr. Ghosh-Schellhorn

Mi. 14-16 c. t.

VL Foundations of Cultural Studies

What is meant by "culture", and why do we need to study it? At the simplest level culture encompasses the how of life lived in a society, i.e. our common pool of language use, food customs, fashion trends, architectural styles, forms of entertainment, but also of social taboos and norms, regardless of whether these are explicitly expressed or implicitly understood. If "culture" is, in this sense, a way/s of 'worldmaking', is it not also much more than that? We can ask: Who makes these norms for us, or have they arisen from our own collective behaviour? To what extent are we agents who actively make our own 'worlds'; to what extent are we consumers of what social and cultural institutions, the media, and advertising agencies would have us believe is what the majority of us currently think/should be thinking? Cultural Studies have set themselves the agenda of trying to explain, as best as possible, why it is that we 'perform' culture in the ways that we do in the societies we inhabit.

Course material will be placed in the Semesterapparat (IB) or, if otherwise difficult to locate, will be made available online.

Participation: All lecture series material to be read in preparation for each session as scheduled; regular participation in 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.


Mi. 16-18 c. t.

HS: Reading Slowly, Reading Transculturally: Jean Rhys's Wide Sargasso Sea

Why are certain texts categorized as "transcultural"? Do they call for a particular contextualization while reading? Are there any benefits to be had from closely reading these kind of texts? We will be taking a detailed look at our case-study, Wide Sargasso Sea, so as to pay due attention to its socio-cultural aspects, its intertextual creative agenda, and the contested fame of its author. This seminar hence seeks to induct participants into the analytical skills requisite to appreciation of a TAS text that has meanwhile achieved the status of a classic.

The 1985 Penguin version, with an Introduction by Francis Wyndham.


Do. 14-16 c. t.

VL: Transcultural 3D Modelling: The Government Houses Project

We are still a nation locked in denial. If you point out basic facts about the British Empire - that the British deliberately adopted policies that caused as many as 29 million Indians to starve to death in the late 19th century, say - you smack into a wall of incomprehension and rage. (Johann Hari, "The Truth?", 2006)

If we wish to interrogate the institutionalized history of the British Empire, with special attention to its founding moments, what are the avenues open to us today? Among different options, one approach eminently worth exploring is that of making written history more 'visible'. TAS has followed this particular trajectory by seeking to render the centuries-old stones of historical buildings less remote. Starting with the first, still extant Government House (GH) built in Calcutta by the British, we will be examining these buildings, which have undergone a medial transformation in being re-created as 3D models that can, moreover, be digitally handled.

Monumental architecture carries a wealth of information about the 'invention of tradition' that accompanied colonial rule, and in either supporting or challenging the tale of British supremacy over its colonies, it addresses revisionist historiography in fresh ways. In other words, we will set out to discover the extent to which archival sources enable the inclusion of petit narratives, i.e., the lesser-known accounts, that often enough challenge the grand narrative of Britain's hegemonic colonial rule.    

Do. 16-18.30 s. t.

Kolloquium TAS

For B.A., M.A. and Lehramt Candidates

Students intending to take any part of their final examinations in TAS are strongly advised to participate in this colloquium a semester prior to the final run through. It is meant for students in various stages of engagement with their written academic work, i.e. those pursuing a B.A. or an M.A. degree, with particular attention to TAS-related topics.  The colloquium offers support in developing study skills while providing on-going guidance on exam preparation, especially for the state examinations. In this supportive forum, the latter group of students will be able to participate in mock exams, while the former group will be expected to present their theses-in-progress to peer review.


Tina Helbig, M.A.

Fr. 10-12:00 c.t.

Depictions of the other in Novels and Films

In this course, we will discuss three novels which are set within the Victorian era and which are concerned with "others" at home and abroad: geographically, we will start with Charlotte Brontë in Great Britain, travel up the Congo River with Joseph Conrad, and will finally settle in Queensland, Australia, with David Malouf. Along the way, we will particularly concentrate on analysing the depictions of "racial others", but we will also be interested in examining representations of gender and class.

When discussing excerpts from several film adaptations of Jane Eyre, Francis Ford Coppola's adaptation of Heart of Darkness, and excerpts from the Australian movie We of the Never Never, we will ask ourselves whether the films succeed in bringing the problem of othering to the viewer's attention, whether they are at all interested in giving a voice to marginalized and silenced characters – or if these films in fact perpetuate othering.


Charlotte Brontë, Jane Eyre.

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness.

David Malouf, Remembering Babylon.

Film adaptations of Jane Eyre (excerpts).

Francis Ford Coppola (dir.), Apocalypse Now.

Igor Auzins (dir.), We of the Never Never (excerpts).