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Cathrine Bublatzky joins global dis:connect

A warm welcome to our new guest Cathrine Bublatzky who joins global dis:connect in early April. Cathrine Bublatzky is a media anthropologist and senior lecturer at the University of Tübingen. She was formerly assistant professor at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies. She researches diaspora and exile, archives, visual and digital media cultures, photography, art, activism, and the aesthetics and politics of belonging throughout Europe, South Asia and the Middle East. Cathrine has been speaker of the DFG Network Entangled Histories of Art and Migration: Forms, Visibilities, Agents (2018–2022) and author of Along the Indian Highway: An Ethnography of an International Travelling Exhibition, a monograph published by Routledge. Her project Contemporary Photography as Cultural Praxis of Iranians in the European Diaspora, which she will continue at global dis:connect, was awarded a scholarship by the Baden-Württemberg Foundation.   Continue Reading

Call for papers: global dis:connect summer school 2023

Concept and organisation by Hanni Geiger and Tom Menger, Käte Hamburger Research Centre global dis:connect, LMU, Munich. Presenters include Florian Bachmeier and Eckehard Pistrick, Constance de Gourcy, Celeste Ianniciello and Renata Poljak. Participants are also invited to attend an evening lecture by Eva Mayer and Eran Schaerf taking place at the centre on 26 July.

Sea of absence? Globalisation, the Mediterranean and beyond

Munich, 24-27 July 2023 The global dis:connect Research Centre invites MA, doctoral students and creative professionals in all stages of their careers to meet in Munich for a summer school on the absences produced by globalisation processes, focusing on the Mediterranean, particularly on the aspects of migration, tourism and (post)coloniality, in the past, present and future. Like globalisation research generally, some of the most famous scholarship on the Mediterranean Sea has focused on the different connections that bind the ‘Middle Sea’ together (Braudel, 1949; Horden & Purcell, 2000). Its connections, however, have also created and obfuscated many absences: of people, of cultural belonging, of institutions, of personal and collective memories, of regions, of (art) objects, in archives, epistemologies, discourses, in stories and representations of and about the Mediterranean, and finally in our scholarship. The summer school aims to combine subjects such as art history, history, social sciences, media and film studies, theatre studies, literary and cultural studies with artistic approaches. It will allow the participants to present their own projects and will feature several master classes by renowned scholars, as well as art and film presentations. All sessions will be held in English. global dis:connect promotes dialogue between scholarship and art as equal means to approach dis:connective phenomena of globalisation. Such phenomena leave few traces in archives and defy direct observation, but artistic practice can reveal them. Recent years have seen increased attention to the global Mediterranean and its absences, particularly in art, film, theatre, design and architecture. Dissertation projects, grant proposals, exhibition projects and artistic interventions are all welcome. Participants can propose whatever format best suits their work, be it a traditional presentation, a film screening, an artistic intervention, a moderated discussion or a slide show. The deadline for applications is 15 May 2023. There are no participation fees. The Centre will cover accommodation and travel costs for all participants.  

Absences, globalisation and the Mediterranean

  Starting from the concept of absences, including voids, erasures, exclusions and disappearances, the summer school will focus mainly on three distinct manifestations of absences in the Mediterranean: migration, tourism and (post-)coloniality. Absences are not simply ‘absent’ and therefore invisible. Rather, as Derrida noted, they leave ‘traces’. Recent work has expanded on this notion and has even argued that absences can have spatiality, materiality and agency (M. Meyer & Woodthorpe, 2008). They are objects of research in addition to a perspective; they necessitate their own methodologies, combining different disciplines, theories and practices. The arts have proven particularly fruitful in illuminating absences, finding ways to visualise the repressed and the excluded, drawing attention to individual destinies and disappearances and addressing cultural belonging in connection with absences. Many of the absences of today’s Mediterranean are inextricably linked to globalising processes. This is more than evident in the fact that many migrants crossing the sea (or dying in the attempt) are not from those shores, but from Sub-Saharan Africa, Iran, Bangladesh and further afield. Therefore, it is unsurprising that Mediterranean absences have been addressed in the context of migration recently (CRISALIDE, 2017). This research has re-emphasised Abdelmalek Sayad’s notion of ‘double absence’ in the Mediterranean migrant experience (particularly of migrant labourers from Algeria). As conditions have changed in recent decades, this notion has been largely superseded by a ‘double presence’ (Saada, 2000). However, as Constance de Gourcy has shown, absence continues to be relevant and even constitutive of relations between origins and destinations (Gourcy, 2018a, 2018b). Of particular interest are Mediterranean borders, border regimes and the absences they create, like those that become visible in the Lampedusian project Porto-M, a project collecting the objects lost, washed ashore or abandoned by those migrating across the sea (Askavusa, 2009). Migration in the Mediterranean has always been entangled with tourism since the 19th century — a second lens through which to view absences in the Mediterranean. The Mediterranean as an idyllic vacation destination, where tourists can contemplate the origins of Western civilisation as reified in its archaeological ruins, swim in the turquoise sea and enjoy the benefits of the Mediterranean diet, has overwritten other conceptions of the region and marginalised many groups and areas (Terranova & Chambers, 2021). Apart from migration and tourism, (post)coloniality would provide a third lens to think through Mediterranean absences. Colonialism in the Mediterranean basin generated many absences for scholarship and art to address, such as settler-colonial processes of erasure (for instance, in colonial Algeria) and the dominance of colonial epistemologies that privilege the Mediterranean’s northern, European shore (Chambers & Cariello, 2019). Modern artists, such as Alessandra Cianelli and Beatrice Ferrara, have responded to these absences by opening a (post)colonial archive of Italy with subtle, personal works (Ferrara et al., 2014). Furthermore, links have also been drawn between the Mediterranean and the ‘Black Atlantic’, both as seas of dispossession and unbelonging, with biopolitical power over black and brown bodies today being replicated on the Mediterranean frontiers of the European Union (Terranova & Chambers, 2021). The notion of ‘absences’ has always played a prominent role in postcolonial thought. Léopold Senghor, for instance, mused on absence and global Black (in)visibility in his poem L’absente, while for Édouard Glissant and Frantz Fanon, the Mediterranean was either a reference point or a lived historical experience (Glissant, 1997, p. 33; Proglio et al., 2021). The summer school is an opportunity to consider the conceptual links among postcolonial thought, absence and the Mediterranean. Absences have also affected cultural belonging throughout the region, either forming a basis of group identity (as for the Sephardi Jews) or as the result of nation-states’ attempts to conceal more cosmopolitan social realities, such as that of Levantinism in the eastern Mediterranean (Yehoshúa, n.d.; E. Meyer & Schaerf, 2022). The various invisibilities induced by advancing nationalism in the region are made manifest, for example, through digital techniques of erasure in film by Kamal Aljafari (Grunebaum, 2021). Beyond Mediterranean absences in past and present, the summer school is equally interested in exploring Mediterranean futures. What futures can be (re)imagined for a region affected by ongoing financial crises, mass migration and climate change? We would like to stress that we conceive of the Mediterranean as broadly as possible and welcome proposals that go beyond the sea itself. Starting from the perspective of absences, possible topics for the summer school include:
  • absent regions, agents, artefacts, institutions, discourses, theories and perspectives in/on the Mediterranean
  • Mediterranean epistemologies/narratives, histories and the ‘unlearning’ of the Mediterranean (Chambers) through the lens of absences
  • methodologies (artistic or scholarly) to explore Mediterranean absences
  • the agencies, spatialities and materialities of absences
  • invisible or hidden routes of migrations or borders
  • lost, abolished or vanished objects and actors
  • (mass) tourism and what it hides or removes
  • colonial erasures
  • postcolonial thinking on absences and their (im)possible overcoming
  • absences and personal/collective affects and memories
  • the (hegemonically curated) construction and concealment/disappearance/exclusion of Mediterranean cultural belongings and groups
  • imagining Mediterranean futures through an engagement with absences (materially and ideologically/theoretically)
  Global dis:connect is a research centre dedicated to exploring historical and contemporary globalisation processes. We’ve conceived the summer school to overcome disciplinary disconnections and bring together different subjects, approaches and geographies.  

To apply, please send the following documents by 15 May:

  • A CV (max. one page).
  • A cover letter of no more than one page explaining your motivation.
  • A description of what you intend to present at the summer school (0.5-2 pages). Proposals for artistic presentations can include images, links to videos, film stills and other media.
Please send us your application as a single PDF file by email to: Hanni.Geiger[a]lmu.de and T.Menger[a]lmu.de. Please click HERE to download the Poster.     Continue Reading

CfP: Theatre, globalisation and illiberal regimes after 1989, 7-8 September 2023

A workshop at global dis:connect, 7-8 September 2023     The two-day workshop hosted by global dis:connect intends to explore the relationship between the global trajectories of illiberal regimes and their theatre cultures following the Cold War. The war in the Ukraine has accentuated the globalising propensities of states such as Russia, China and Iran. In the past year, we have seen Cold War alliances and networks resurface and soft-power strategies employed to receive support in international fora. There is a strong sense that alternative, illiberal, global interconnections are being (re)forged.   We invite participants to debate and map various cases from the illiberal spectrum – from one-party states to theocracies and various forms of authoritarianism (competitive or one-person rule) to elaborate commonalities of illiberal engagement with globalisation via theatre. The workshop’s aim is to conceptually frame the role of theatre in illiberal regimes’ international relations as a global, post-Cold War phenomenon.   Recent scholarship on the Cold War emphasises the spatial and conceptual diversity of illiberal interconnections in the realm of cultural diplomacy under the term of ‘alternative globalisations’. However, patterns of the late-Cold War have carried over into the post-1989 period, as Western-guided globalisation has hardly been ‘the only game in town’ in recent decades. This phenomenon raises the question of how to approach theatre history and non-Western-centric interconnectedness after 1989. The workshop will address this central question by proposing the post-Cold War as a period in which new polarities have emerged. These novel alignments and their impact on theatre have yet to be comprehensively studied.   Globalisation has pushed many illiberal states to venture into market economics, sometimes radically changing the landscape of subsidised cultural production and its international distribution. The new synthesis of market and command economies has affected national theatre communities, engendering new partnerships between states and artists as well as new modes of resistance. While independent and private theatre initiatives may persist alongside state-led engagement with the international theatre community, governmental involvement remains crucial in illiberal regimes. It shapes the careers of local practitioners and influences choices about performance production, international tours and participation in festivals.   The workshop will focus on the following questions:
  • What are the characteristics of illiberal cultural diplomacy in the post-Cold War period, and what role does theatre play?
  • Upon what institutional and organisational scaffolding do illiberal states globalise their theatre cultures?
  • How do illiberal global dynamics affect local theatre communities? How does it affect theatre practice and reception?
Participants are welcome to suggest other related topics.   The workshop will be held in Munich at global dis:connect, a Käte Hamburger research centre, on 7-8 September 2023. Abstracts of no more than 400 words and short CVs of no more than 200 words should be sent by 30 April to: theatreglobalization@gmail.com Papers are to be submitted to the organiser, Viviana Iacob, a fellow at global dis:connect, by 24 August for review by Christopher Balme, the keynote speaker, and the other participants. Short presentations of no more than 10 minutes will allow for extensive discussion in each panel.   Accommodation and meals during the workshop will be covered. Some financial support for travel costs is available, but we ask participants to explore and exhaust other funding sources.   Continue Reading

The Singer of Shanghai Scottish Premiere

Kevin Ostoyich spoke in Edinburgh, Scotland following the Scottish Premiere of The Singer of Shanghai on 31 January 2023. Ostoyich co-wrote the play with Prof. Kari-Anne Innes and the students of the course, Historical Theatre: The Shanghai Jews at Valparaiso University. The play narrates the true story of the Abraham family as they fled from Germany after Kristallnacht and found a haven in Shanghai, China. The play was performed in Edinburgh by students of Broughton High School. The event was sponsored by the Edinburgh Interfaith Association; the Edinburgh Jewish Cultural Centre; and Adam and Kyeon-ah Leven and Family. Ostoyich is currently working on two more plays titled Three Girls of Shanghai and Three Boys of Shanghai. Ostoyich hopes the plays will be performed at schools around the world in order to spread awareness about the history of the Shanghai Jews. If you or anyone you know is interested in performing any of these plays, please contact Ostoyich at Kevin.Ostoyich@valpo.edu. Continue Reading

Arnab Dey joins global dis:connect

A warm welcome to our new guest Arnab Dey who joins global dis:connect in early February. Currently an associate professor of history at the State University of New York at Binghamton, Arnab is a historian of modern India and the British Empire, with research interests centred around questions of law, labour and the environment. Arnab’s first monograph, Tea Environments and Plantation Culture looked at the monoculture tea enterprise of British east India. This study brought the plant and the plantation together in analysing the praxis and politics of commodity capitalism. His associated research agendas and publications have similarly involved tracing imperial capital, legal regimes and environmental transformations in the British colonial world and the Indian subcontinent. Continue Reading

Katharina Wilkens joins global dis:connect

A warm welcome to our new guest Katharina Wilkens who joins global dis:connect in early February.

Katharina Wilkens is a scholar of religion with a wide range of interests, particularly in the fields of African religions and aesthetics of religion. After graduating in the study of religion, anthropology and Islamic studies at the University of Bayreuth, she taught at the universities of Heidelberg, Munich, Bayreuth, Zurich, Salzburg and Leipzig. Her PhD project was a case study of Catholic exorcism and healing in Tanzania. She has published on religious healing, spirit possession, the practice of drinking the Quran, travelogues written by Africans and the aesthetics of material texts.

  Continue Reading

Jeanno Gaussi joins global dis:connect

Jeanno Gaussi

A warm welcome to our new guest Jeanno Gaussi who joins global dis:connect in early February.
Born in Kabul, and growing up in Kabul, Delhi and Berlin, Jeanno’s interests transcend national borders and genres. Initially focused on film and video art, her work now transcends genre boundaries. Starting from a narrative concept, she creates installations that include video, photography, objects and texts. Her art explores the places where she’s worked, travelled and had meaningful encounters. It engages with remembrance, identity  and the social and cultural processes associated with them. She develops projects in relation to the place of their creation, examining the unique aspects of her surroundings.
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Camille Serchuk joins global dis:connect

Camille Serchuk

A warm welcome to our new guest Camille Serchuk who joins global dis:connect in early January. Camille is professor of art history at Southern Connecticut State University. She received her doctorate in art history from Yale in 1997, where she focused on images of medieval Paris. Since then, her research has focused primarily on the relationship between painting and mapmaking in late medieval and early modern Europe, with particular attention to the ways that artistic techniques and practices both enhanced and undermined the authority of cartography. The links between cartography and painting in 16th century France are also the subject of her recently completed book manuscript.   Continue Reading

Andrea Frohne joins global dis:connect

Andrea Frohne

A warm welcome to our new guest Andrea Frohne who joins global dis:connect in early January. Andrea is professor of African art history and Director of the School of Interdisciplinary Arts at Ohio University, with a joint appointment in the School of Art + Design and of African studies. Her first book is The African Burial Ground in New York City: Memory, Spirituality, and Space. Her second book titled Contemporary Arts from the Horn of Africa: Encounters Beyond Borders through Conflict, Colonialism, and Modernity is forthcoming. She earned her PhD from Binghamton University (State University of New York). She has taught at Cornell University, Pennsylvania State and Dickinson College.       Continue Reading

Looking back at global dis:connect’s first annual conference, 20-21 october 2022 (by hanni geiger & tom menger)

@Annalena Labrenz & David Grillenberger

The first annual conference of global dis:connect, entitled Dis:connectivity in processes of globalisation: theories, methodologies and explorations, took place in Munich on 20-21 October. As the title indicated, the conference aimed to ground the vast field of research on global dis:connectivity by probing what theories and methodologies might be fruitful. The conference sought to start the discussion rather than to formulate definitive answers, laying the groundwork for further reflections on these issues over the coming years in conversation with our current and future fellows at the centre. This international conference brought together different disciplines: historians, art historians, theatre scholars and others in conjunction with creative professionals from the arts, including architecture, design and theatre. The dialogue between theory and practice, each with its own distinctive approaches, induced productive friction. Artistic and philosophical approaches showed their potential to offer new modes of studying a phenomenon as complex as global dis:connectivity. The conference featured three panels: interruptions, absences and detours. The presentations revealed how researching these modes of dis:connectivity can mean very different things. Such research can mean asking about tradition and modernity and their relation to globalisation; it meant looking at the interplay of nationalism and globalisation in societies marked by stringent national, ethnic and religious demarcations; it meant searching for connections and disconnections simultaneously in such bounded contexts such as the global interactions of the Cold War era. Many papers also looked at how individuals negotiate global connections and disconnections in their own personal biographies, revealing the affective attributions, emotions and ideological influences that make globalisation processes significant in the first place. Such research also entails recovering the agents and groups that were effaced by later hegemonic narratives. Some participants even sought to understand experiences of  dis:connectivity beyond our conventional Western understandings of linear time and Euclidian space in ways that might enable more personalised modes of dealing with forced or trauma-induced immobility.

@Ben Kamis

Dis:connectivity is an expansive research object and always threatens to elude us. The papers and unconventional presentations of this conference emphasised both the need to refine the term and the extent to which unconventional methodologies and theories allow us to approach dis:connectivity. The complexity of globalisation processes that the conference sought to explore affect our present in dramatic ways. As was highlighted in the conference’s wrap-up, seeking to better understand this complexity can tangibly affect society. The original announcement and the full programme of the conference can be found here. Continue Reading