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Kulturoversettelse og kulturell hybriditet – tidlige moderne cases

Cultural differences are central in the current political and intellectual debate, and in the study of contemporary societies, concepts intended to capture inter-cultural relations have become increasingly prominent (cf. cultural hybridity / translation). And as Z. Bauman has observed “the impact of the differential concept of culture is […] so deeply ingrained in popular thinking, that we employ and perceive the notion of “cultural clash” as self-evident, commonsensical truth.” However, he also adds that a “look backward into the intellectual past of the Western world cast […] serious doubts on the timelessness and spontaneous origin of the belief”. Hence, “culture” should not be regarded as an “emic” concept that informed the understanding of actors in early modern cultural encounters.

This course presents a historical perspective on the theme of cultural difference and encounters between cultures, as well as the conceptual history of cultural studies. The course offers an introduction to the history of Europe’s encounters with “others” in the early modern period (ca. 1492-1800) and the understandings of human identity and difference that arose in the process. Questions such as the following are crucial: How did early modern Europe, in a period “before the concept of culture came into general use” (Burke), construe human, collective difference? For instance, how did they react when confronted with “naked” Amerindian “cannibals”, or with Chinese sages who claimed to have preserved a historical legacy more ancient than the Biblical? What was the implication of the “discovery” of internal, European folk cultures for the status of non-European cultures – and vice versa?

Of critical importance are the semantic history of counter concepts such as “paganism”, “barbarism” and “superstition”. Does the intellectual framework for interpreting “otherness” established in the early modern period, and with reference to these counter concepts, still have an impact on the way we understand human difference and identity in anthropocentric and cultural terms?

In addition to addressing general issues such as these, the course also offers the opportunity for in-depth study of one selected case history from the period.


●Emnet er en avansert versjon av KULH1492. Det gis på engelsk og norsk.


● Det blir gjesteforelesning om "Cultural Hybridity" av Peter Burke i april 2012.


●Studentene velger oppgaveformulering, primærkilder og setter opp sin egen leseliste med både primær og sekundærkilder i samråd med emneansvarlig.


● Undervisningen gis som forelesninger og seminarer og forutsetter aktiv deltagelse.


●Kontakt for mer informasjon

Publisert 3. nov. 2011 09:24 - Sist endret 1. des. 2011 14:54