Summer School 'Objects on the Move – Circulation, Social Practice and Transcultural Intersections'

Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg
Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context", Heidelberg University
13.07.2009 - 16.07.2009
Martin Gieselmann

The summer school takes at its starting point the premise that objects are seldom mere objects – inert, mute or purely utilitarian. Rooted within human and social contexts, they animate the worlds of societies, past and present, and transmit a gamut of meanings.

When on the move, they are subject to appropriation, display and reuse, causing their meanings to undergo radical changes. Not infrequently objects become the site of contesting interpretations, conflicts or productive dissonances born out of the space they occupy at the intersection of cultures.

The study of manifold transactions centred on things has attracted practitioners of a range of disciplines – from economic to religious and art history, branching out into material culture, museum studies, anthropology and psychoanalysis. Eminent representatives of many of these areas will lecture and conduct seminar sessions during the summer school.

A central concern of the themes to be discussed is the transcultural mobility of objects with a view to understanding the entanglement of local and global power structures and the working of a complex economy of relationships across national and cultural boundaries.

The Summer School is addressed to an international and multidisciplinary constituency of graduate students. It will be organised around lectures and seminars with readings, a museum visit, excursions and a final round table.

For a detailed programme, application procedures and organisational matters see:

Coordinator: Prof. Dr. Monica Juneja, Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies, University of Heidelberg.


Monday, July 13:
Morning session: Welcome and keynote talk by Richard H. Davis (New York)
Afternoon session: Commodities in Global Context – Networks, Consumption and Local Cultures
Kim Siebenhüner (Basel) "Jewels on the move - global connections, local agents"
Anne Goldgar (London) "Tulipmania" – profit, desire and legend

Tuesday, July 14:
Morning session: Gifting, Exchange and Hybrid Modernities
Natasha Eaton (London) "Gift and the circulation of charisma in India"
Melanie Trede (Heidelberg) "Banknotes as the Battlefield of Gender Politics and National Representation in Meiji Japan"
Afternoon session: Collecting, Display and Curatorial Practice
Christoph Lind (Mannheim) "Does the Object Tell, and if Yes to Whom? "
Nic Leonhardt (Heidelberg) "Moving objects - objects on the move. Waxwork displays and anatomical cabinets in European Panoptika of the 19th century"

Wednesday, July 15:
Morning session: Translating Object into Image – Exotic Goods, Visual Practice and the Shaping of Art History
Mattias Bruhn (Berlin) "Species, prints and property: changing concepts of the "image" in European visual history"
Lothar Ledderose (Heidelberg , response awaited)
Afternoon session: held at Museum für Angewandte Kunst, Frankfurt

Thursday, July 16:
Morning session: Participants work together in groups aiming at connecting their own research areas with the methodological impulses provided by the sessions.
Afternoon: Final Round Table
In addition, a variety of extra-curricular activities are planned for the summer school participants.


Sabine Urbach

Voss straße 2 Gebäude 4400 69115 Heidelberg

Summer School 'Objects on the Move – Circulation, Social Practice and Transcultural Intersections', 13.07.2009 – 16.07.2009 Heidelberg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 18.03.2009, <>.
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