Summer School "Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality"

Karl Jaspers Centre for Advanced Transcultural Studies
Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context"
29.07.2012 - 04.08.2012
Dr. Alexander Häntzschel

The Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" welcomes applications for its Summer School "Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality" to take place at the Karl Jaspers Centre from Sunday, July 29, to Saturday, August 4, 2012.

This year's Summer School "Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality" will explore the role of visual and material culture in the context of transcultural exchange processes between Asia and Europe. In highlighting the tensions between visual culture studies, art historical approaches and recent material culture studies, the Summer School will address questions such as: How can we move “beyond representation” to take on images in all their tangibility and material presence? Is “thing theory” a site for us to analyse the confluence of materiality and visuality? How can we look at images and objects differently when we approach them from transdisciplinary and transcultural perspectives? In what ways do such perspectives challenge concepts and methods of our own disciplines?

Another aim of our Summer School is to address the transgressing mobility of images and objects as a key challenge for today’s Humanities, by tying it to current theoretical debates on this subject within various disciplines and testing it in case studies derived from the participants’ research projects and regions.

The programme is designed to provide stimulating discussions and new inspiration for graduate and junior research work, to exchange ideas and test methods from individual research projects and to actively engage with an international group of peers and senior scholars who share an interest in transcultural visuality and materiality. Keynotes will be presented by Kenneth George (Anthropology, University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Janice Bardsley (Japanese Humanities, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). Invited speakers include Kajri Jain (South Asian Visual Culture, University of Toronto Mississauga), Sumathi Ramaswamy (History, Duke University), Kavita Singh (Art History, Jawaharlal Nehru University), and Paola Zamperini (Asian Languages and Civilizations, Amherst College). Contributions from Heidelberg University come from Christiane Brosius (Visual and Media Anthropology), Monica Juneja (Global Art History), Barbara Mittler (Chinese Studies), and Melanie Trede (Japanese Art Histories).

Applications are accepted until April 15, 2012. The application form and additional information on fees, scholarships and the programme can be found at

The Cluster’s Summer School 2012 is organised by Christiane Brosius (Heidelberg) together with Barbara Mittler (Heidelberg) and Sumathi Ramaswamy (Duke), coordinators of project B4 "Transcultural Visuality". Christiane Brosius holds the Chair of Visual and Media Anthropology at the Cluster, Barbara Mittler is Speaker of Research Area B "Public Spheres", Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History, is one of the Key Partners of the Cluster.


Programme (preliminary)

Sunday 29.07.2012
Arrival of participants

Monday 30.07.2012

9.30 – 10.30 am
Welcome and Introduction to the Transcultural Visual Learning Group, Cluster Project B4, by Christiane Brosius, Barbara Mittler and Sumathi Ramaswamy
Introduction of B4 members and invited scholars

10.30 – 11.30 am
Introduction by the students with individual project-posters

12.00 – 1.00 pm
Introduction by the students with individual project-posters

2.00 – 3.00 pm
Introduction by the participants with individual project

3.15 – 5.00 pm
General Discussion: Why does materiality matter when it comes to interpreting visuality? Approaches, methodological problems, materials; expectations etc.
Chairs: Melanie Trede & Paola Zamperini

5.00 pm – 6.00 pm

6.00 pm – 8.00 pm
Public Keynote 1: Kenneth George “Companionable Objects, Companionable Conscience”

Tuesday 31.07.2012

Forming Material Worlds: Scale, Form and Substance

9.30 – 10.45 am
Forms: Kajri Jain “When Size does Matter”

11.00 am – 12.15 pm
Sumathi Ramaswamy “Global encounters, Spherical reflections”

1.15 – 2.30 pm
Monica Juneja “Cut, paste and reconfigure: bringing home mythical worlds”

3.00 – 3.30 pm
Reflections on Presentations and Introduction to Discussion: (N.N.)

3.30 – 5:30 pm
Group Work/Readings: “On Scale, Form & Substance”

6.00 pm
Heidelberg Guided Evening Tour with short stopover in Kulturbrauerei for a drink

Wednesday 01.08.2012

Delicate Materials: Embodying and Colouring Intimacy

9.30 – 10.45 am
Paola Zamperini “La Lingerie. Intimate Bodies and Public Narrative”

11.00 am –12.15 pm
Christiane Brosius “Colouring Companionship in Urban India”

1.15 – 2.30 pm
Barbara Mittler “Materials of Love and Life in China”

2.30 – 3.00 pm
Laila Abu-Er-Rub Reflections on Presentations and Introduction to Discussion

3.00 – 5.00 pm
Group Work/Readings: “On Colour and Intimacy”

6.00 – 8.00 pm
Public Keynote 2: Janice Bardsley “Maiko (apprentice geisha) in Kyoto”

Thursday 02.08.2012

Collecting & Exhibiting Material: Assemblages, Performances, Museums

9.30 – 10.45 am
Kavita Singh “Transplanting the Museum”

11.00 am – 12.15 pm
Melanie Trede on Framing Materials (title to be announced)

1.30 – 2.00 pm
Cathrine Bublatzky Reflections on Presentations and Introduction to Discussion

2.00 – 4.00 pm
Group Work/Readings: “On Collecting and framing”

Joint Conference Dinner

Friday 03.08.2012

Seeing Matter(s)

10.00 am – 12.00 pm
Reflect on your own work and prepare a short presentation: What have I learned, gained for my own work, what do I take home, how do I visualize my research matter?

1.00 – 4.00 pm
Student Presentations & Final Discussion


Catherine Bublatzky

Cluster "Asia and Europe", Vossstraße 2, Building 4400, 69115 Heidelberg, Germany

Summer School "Seeing Matter(s): Materiality and Visuality", 29.07.2012 – 04.08.2012 Heidelberg, in: H-Soz-Kult, 24.01.2012, <>.