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Martin Puchner joins global dis:connect

A warm welcome to our new guest Martin Puchner who joins the Kolleg until late spring 2023. Martin Puchner has worked on such disparate topics as modernist closet dramas, revolutionary manifestos, Platonic dialogues, a history of world literature, environmental storytelling and Rotwelsch, the secret language of Central Europe. Having studied at the universities of Konstanz and Bologna, he pursued these topics at Columbia and Harvard, with shorter stints at Cornell, the Berlin Institute for Advanced Study, the New York Public Library and the American Academy. He occasionally attempts to bring the humanities to the attention of a larger public with op-eds, book reviews, essays, anthologies and open online courses.   At global dis:connect, Martin will expand his forthcoming history of culture, entitled Culture: the story of us, from cave art to K-pop, into a textbook introduction to the arts and humanities. The work focuses on mechanisms of transmission, with particular emphasis on interruption, misreading, appropriation and — of course — global dis:connections.     Continue Reading

Anna Grasskamp joins global dis:connect

A warm welcome to our new fellow Anna Grasskamp who joins the Kolleg until late summer 2023. Anna Grasskamp is a lecturer in art history at the University of St Andrews. She has authored Art and Ocean Objects of Early Modern Eurasia. Shells, Bodies, and Materiality (Amsterdam University Press, 2021) and Objects in Frames: Displaying Foreign Collectibles in Early Modern China and Europe (Reimer, 2019). Her articles have appeared in Res: Anthropology and Aesthetics, Renaissance Studies and other journals. Anna is a subject editor at the review journal SEHEPUNKTE and a member of the editorial boards of the book series Global Epistemics and the Journal for the History of Knowledge.   Project: Trash as treasure: value disconnections and the recycling of Chinese matter in art and design, 1500–2020 Recycling materials ‘made in China’ has a short history in the daily practices of middle-class households, but a long history in global art and design. Chinese natural resources, such as rare-earth metals used in digital devices and commodities like porcelain made of Chinese clay, have been pivotal to material, technological and artistic exchanges between Europe and Asia since early modernity. This project investigates art and design as fields of pioneering research in which strategies to reuse Chinese matter were developed centuries before the term ‘recycling’ – as we use it today – was adopted. It researches material flows of garbage in relation to disrupted material value systems associated with trash. Disruptions take place across cultural boundaries that allow for radical changes in systems of material evaluation (e.g. enabling the perception of ‘trash as treasure’) and through transcultural artistic research, which reuses and re-evaluates seemingly ‘meaningless’ garbage by turning it into multi-million-dollar art installations and prized design innovations. The project offers a non-hegemonic history of art and design, which researches urban hubs and rural ecologies, the works of artists and artisans, as well as the products of craftsmen and factory workers across social, historic and cultural divides.     Continue Reading

lunch time colloquium, summer term 24


The lunchtime colloquium (“ltc”) of the gd:c continues in the winter term. The first session will take place on 16 April. The colloquium takes place on Tuesdays from 11.30 am to 1 pm at the library of the Research Centre.

You can download the programme of the lunchtime colloquium here

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On a reading and discussion with Timo Feldhaus in conversation with Urs Büttner, 4 July 2023 (By burcu dogramaci)

© Florian Laufhütte

We at global dis:connect were privileged to host a reading by Timo Feldhaus from his book Mary Shelley's Zimmer. Als 1816 ein Vulkan die Erde verdunkelte (Rowohlt, 2022). The event was lively and well-attended, due in no small part to the conversation with Urs Büttner, a scholar of 19th-century German literature. The discussion yielded many insights into dis:connective events related to the eruption of Mount Tambora volcano (Sumbawa, modern Indonesia) and its aftermaths — historical, literary and artistic.


© Florian Laufhütte

First, the climate changes in Europe and the Western Hemisphere at the time were not inextricably associated with the eruption in the opposing hemisphere. Timo Feldhaus thus ties and connects natural events and, for example, the creation of Mary Shelley's book Frankenstein; or The Modern Prometheus (1818) in a climatically clouded Europe. Such connections did not seem evident in the 19th century. Although contemporary scientists and artists alike evinced great interest in weather phenomena, this knowledge was not widespread at the time.


© Florian Laufhütte

Mary Shelley's life and work around the inception of her Frankenstein novel is the nucleus of Timo Feldhaus's book. Its chapters are repeatedly interrupted by other stories and appearances by her contemporaries from Turnvater Jahn and Johann Wolfgang von Goethe to the painter Caspar David Friedrich. The result is a composite view of unusual constellations, unconnected and connected events, science fiction, romantic relationships, nationalism, the science of clouds and natural disasters.       Continue Reading

Hybrid book presentation “Islam and Heritage in Europe” by Katarzyna Puzon et. al.

Our new fellow Katarzyna Puzon has recently co-edited the book "Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities". On her behalf, we would like to point you to the hybrid presentation of the book on Monday, 11 July 2022. Looking at diverse trajectories of people and things, the volume examines developments in various parts of Europe, including France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, and the Balkans. At a roundtabel discussion, the participants will talk about entanglements between heritage, Islam and Europe and ways in which these entanglements have played out against the backdrop of recent developments, such as debates on restitution, decolonising museums or the 'refugee crisis'. The roundtable discussion will include inputs from Wendy Shaw, Peter McMurray, Jesko Schmoller, Avi Astor, Diletta Guidi, Banu Karaca, Mirjam Brusius, Christine Gerbich and Rikke Gram, and the editors, Katarzyna Puzon, Sharon Macdonald and Mirjam Shatanawi.

The event will take place in the framework of the Helmholtz-Zentrum für Kulturtechnik / CARMAH Colloquium Series. Please join on 11 July at 4 pm, in person or via zoom. A reception will follow the discussion.

Book presentation & Roundtable Discussion: Islam and Heritage in Europe: Pasts, Presents and Future Possibilities, edited by K. Puzon, S. Macdonald & M. Shatanawi. July 11th 2022 - 4.00 pm Location: HZK - Kurssaal im Gerlachbau (Haus 3 / Campus Nord), Philippstr. 13. 10115 Berlin

Zoom Link: Please register by sending an email to oliver.zauzig@hu-berlin.de

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»Iskhalo somlambo / Der Ruf des Wassers« at Staatstheater Augsburg in July

We are very happy to announce that the Ukwanda Puppets Collective will be performing at the Staatstheater Augsburg. Their performance titled: Isikhalo Somlambo/Der Ruf des Wassers will premiere on the 12 July 2022. Performances will continue till July, 16th. The collective are artists in residence at Centre for Humanities Research at the University of the Western Cape, one of our Kolleg's international partner institutions.

You can find more information on the Ukwanda Puppets Collective's performance on the website auf the Staatstheater Augsburg.
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‘Waves Across the South’ Wins World History Association’s Bentley Book Prize

We are proud to report that our fellow Sujit Sivasundaram’s latest book ‘Waves Across the South: A New History of Revolution and Empire’ has won the World History Association's Bentley Book Prize. Sujit is Professor for World History at the University of Cambridge. In his book, he radically shifts perspective and re-thinks British colonial history as seen from the southern seas. In doing so, he presents a much-needed adjustment in our Eurocentric imagination of the Age of Revolutions.   Continue Reading

Martin Rempe joins global dis:connect

A warm welcome to our new fellow Martin Rempe who joins the Kolleg until autumn.

Martin studies modern German, European and African history, particularly the social history of cultural work as well as the history of colonialism, decolonisation and development. Transnational and global perspectives are at the heart of his research. Martin’s career path has led him through stints in Berlin, Strasbourg, Heidelberg, Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Freiburg, Paris and Konstanz.   At global dis:connect, he is examining the role and significance of the military in civic musical life during the long 19th century from a global perspective. From the French Revolution to the First World War, military music shaped how music has come to be consumed, produced, appreciated and practised worldwide. Indeed, it has profoundly marked how we continue to valorise culture, and it propagated European music formations in distant geographies. Combining processes of rupture and continuity, displacement and integration, dis:connectivity is a key concept in grasping how military music has helped to (trans)form our world.
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CfA Summer School “Postcolonial interruptions?”, 3-5 Aug 2022

From 3 to 5 August 2022, global dis:connect will host its first summer school Postcolonial interruptions? Decolonisation and global dis:connectivity. The Call for Applications is now open and can be found in our calls section or directly here. Submission deadline is 3 April 2022.

The period of decolonisation from the 1930s to the 1970s witnessed the transformation of global processes of integration and exchange, which were still coloured by empire. Cultural connections, political alliances, economic relations and personal networks became subject to scrutiny and interruption. Then and after, existing connections metamorphosed, and new ones arose. global dis:connect invites to explore how instances of dis:connectivity of various kinds have affected processes of globalisation in postcolonial settings. The summer school is scheduled to take place from 3-5 August 2022 on the premises of global dis:connect (Maria Theresia-Str. 21 in Munich, Germany). .     Continue Reading

CfP “Oceans Disconnect”, Nov 2022

On 21 and 22 November 2022, global dis:connect will host the international workshop Oceans Disconnect. The workshop is organised by David Armitage (Harvard), Sujit Sivasundaram (Cambridge) and Roland Wenzlhuemer (Munich). The Call for Papers is now open and can be found in our calls section or directly here. Submission deadline is 15 May 2022.

Over the past three decades, the rapidly expanding historical literature on oceans and seas has traditionally been framed around the geographical units of the world's water bodies; it has been directed towards tracking long-distance connections, so as to problematise the political and specialist organisation of historical knowledge around “nation”, “area” and “civilisation.” Yet the promise of the first, boosterish, phase of oceanic history has lately ebbed. Globalisation now looks more reversible and halting. And transnational historians more generally are examining disconnection rather than connection as a dynamic in world history. Along these lines, new work in oceanic history is insisting on particularity, friction, interruption, materiality and resistance. There is growing attention to the critical foundations of connection, where people, things, ideas, legal systems, could demonstrate instability, violence, and invisibility at the very nodes of globalisation. And historians are increasingly focusing on the choke-points within the world's oceans: straits and narrows, gulfs and bays; pirates' nests and contested waters; natural disaster and commercial risk; closed seas and maritime limits, among other topics. This workshop will interrogate the underside of connection and the dynamics of disconnection in oceanic history. .     Continue Reading