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Workshop: "How to Define Cultural Dynamics"

Jan 24, 2014 | 10:00 AM c.t. - 06:00 PM

Event in the context of the grand opening of the Thematic Network "Principles of Cultural Dynamics".





Glenda Carpio (Harvard University)
Laughter and Difference: Race and Ethnicity in American Humor

Ian Morley (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
The Advancement of Civilisation and Cities in the Asia-Pacific: Moving Beyond National/Cultural Borders

5-minute break




Hent de Vries (Johns Hopkins University)
Static and Dynamic: Old and New Archives of Culture and More

Denis Laborde (EHESS Paris)
Of Course, Beethoven Is an African Musician

15-minute break




Martin Shuster (Johns Hopkins University)
Some Notes on Hannah Arendt and Cultural Dynamics in Modernity

Islam Dayeh (Freie Universität Berlin)
Global Humanities and Philological Encounters

Lunch break




Erika Fischer-Lichte (Freie Universität Berlin)
The Dynamics of Interweaving Performance Cultures

Derek Miller (Harvard University)
Theater History and the Industrial Avant-Garde

5-minute break




Carola Hilfrich (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
How to Define Cultural Dynamics: Between Critical Theory and Historical Specificity I

Ofer Waldman (Hebrew University of Jerusalem)
How to Define Cultural Dynamics: Between Critical Theory and Historical Specificity II

15-minute break



Mu-Chou Poo (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Understanding Cultural Dynamics Through Comparison: the Study of Antiquity and Global Humanities

Marcello Carastro (EHESS, Paris)
Inventing Magic. Event, Structure and Cultural Dynamics in Ancient Greek Polytheism

Coffee break




Closing Discussion



  Marcello Carastro is maître de conférences (associate professor) at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS). He teaches “Anthropology of Religion and Cultural History of Ancient Greece”. He is a founding member of the EHESS Program of Inter¬disciplinary Research “Practicing comparison: Fieldworks, Texts, Artifacts” ( and joint director of the EHESS History department. His fields of study include anthropology and history of Ancient Greece, comparative studies of ancient and modern societies, historiography, ritual writing, medicine and cultural anthropology of West Africa. He has published a book on the invention of the notion of magic in ancient Greece (La cite des mages. Penser la magie en Grèce ancienne, Grenoble, éditions Jérôme Millon, 2006) and edited a comparative collection of essays on colours in ancient and modern societies (L’antiquité en couleurs: catégories, pratiques, représentations, Grenoble, Éditions Jérôme Millon, 2009).
  Glenda Carpio is Professor of African and African American Studies and English at Harvard University. Her book, Laughing Fit to Kill: Black Humor in the Fictions of Slaverywas published by Oxford University Press. She is currently working on a book on immigration, expatriation, and exile in American literature. Professor Carpio recently co-edited African American Literary Studies: New Texts, New Approaches, New Challenges (2011) with Professor Werner Sollors.

Islam Dayeh holds a PhD in Arabic and Semitic studies from Freie Universitaet Berlin (2012) and is codirector of the research program Zukunftsphilologie: Revisiting the Canons of Textual Scholarship. His research interests focus on comparative philology, commentary cultures and textual practices in early modern European and Arabic scholarship.

Hent de Vries is Professor in the Humanities Center and the Department of Philosophy at the Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, where he holds Russ Family Chair and serves as the Director of the Humanities Center. He is currently also a Distinguished Visiting Pro-fessor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and, from 2014-2018, he will serve as the next Director of the School of Criticism and Theory (SCT), at Cornell University. He is the Editor of the international book series Cultural Memory in the Present at Stanford University Press. Before joining the faculty at Johns Hopkins, de Vries held the Chair of Metaphysics and Its History in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam (1993–2002), where, until recently he was a Regular Visiting Professor of Systematic Philosophy and the Philosophy of Religion. He was a co-founder of the Amsterdam School for Cultural Analysis (ASCA) and served as the Director of its governing board (1994–1998) and its Scientific Director (1998–2004). His principal publications include: Philosophy and the Turn to Religion (Johns Hopkins UP, 1999, 2000), Religion and Violence: Philosophical Perspectives from Kant to Derrida (Johns Hopkins UP, 2002, 2006), and Minimal Theologies: Critiques of Secular Reason in Theodor W. Adorno and Emmanuel Levinas (Johns Hopkins UP, 2005). He was the co-editor, with Samuel Weber, of Violence, Identity, Self-Determination (Stanford UP 1997) and of Religion and Media (Stanford UP 2001); the co-editor, with Lawrence Sullivan, of Political Theologies: Public Religions in a Post-Secular World (Fordham UP 2006); and the co-editor, with Ward Blanton, of Paul and the Philosophers (Fordham UP, 2013). In addition, he served as the General Editor of the five-volume mini-series, entitled The Future of the Religious Past, as well as of its first title, Religion Beyond a Concept (Fordham UP 2008). Currently, he is completing two book-length studies, one entitled Of Miracles, Events, and Special Effects: Global Religion in an Age of New Media (for the University of Chicago Press) and Spiritual Exercises: Concepts and Practices (for Harvard University Press). With Nils F. Schott, he recently co-edited the volume entitled Human Alert: Concepts and Practices of Love and Forgiveness (forthcoming from Columbia University Press).
Erika Fischer-Lichte is director of the Institute for Advanced Studies on “Interweaving Performance Cultures” (since 2008) and spokesperson of the International Doctoral School “InterArt” (since 2006), both at Freie Universität Berlin. She had guest professorships in the USA, Russia, India, Japan, China, Norway. She is a member of the Academia Europaea, the Academy of Sciences Goettingen, the National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, and the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences. She has published widely in the fields of aesthetics, history and theory of theatre, in particular on semiotics and performativity, contemporary theatre, and interweaving performance cultures. More information here.
Carola Hilfrich is Senior Lecturer in Comparative Literature and Cultural Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, and a founding member of the I-CORE (Israel Center of Research Excellence) “Da'at Hamakom: Center for the Study of Cultures of Place in the Modern Jewish World” ( Her research explores the poetics and politics of contact zone writing in the historical contexts of modernity and contemporaneity, with focus on 18th century Jewish German literature and thought, and late 20th century and contemporary African American, Jewish Algerian French, and Turkish German literatures, including performed ones. Her book (Fink, 2000) and articles on Moses Mendelssohn (Revue Germanique Internationale, 2002, Journal of Religion, 2005) as well as her edited volume on cross-cultural dialogue (Niemeyer, 1997) discuss problems of cultural representation and translation in and between these contexts. Other publications address transnational political tropes in the writings of Toni Morrison (Modern Fiction Studies, Special Issue: Toni Morrison, 2006) and Hélène Cixous (New Literary History, Special Issue: Hélène Cixous, 2006), the aesthetics of cultural unease in Anna Deavere Smith's plays (Partial Answers, 2009), or the poetics of unhomeliness in the writings of Jacques Derrida and Cixous (Jahrbuch des Simon-Dubnow Instituts, 2011). She is currently working on a book on architectures of the uncanny in contemporary Jewish literatures.
  Denis Laborde is a social scientist and ethnomusicologist. He studied at the Con-servatoire National Supérieur de Musique (Paris). As a conductor he dedicated himself to contemporary music. He then studied anthro-pology at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris), working on conceptua-lizing an ethnology of music in the Western cultures. Denis Laborde is now Senior Researcher at the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and Directeur d’études at the EHESS Paris. He is a member of the Centre Georg Simmel (Paris) and holds a research professorship on “World Music” at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (Paris). He has held visiting positions in Quebec (Université Laval), Berlin (Humboldt University) and Brazil (Goiania, Uberlandia, Brasilia). He was invited to deliver the lecture “Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions and World Music” at the 2007 annual meeting of the American Folklore Society. His research interests include both improvisation (in relationship with the cognitive perspective), “iconoclashes” (Bach and Saint Matthew Passion, Bardo Henning and the day of Germany’s reunification, etc.) and “Music and Globalization“. He launched the “Music-Anthropology-Globali-sation” platform in the context of an agreement between EHESS and the Fondation Royaumont. He is also in charge of the collection Anthropology of Western World for L’Harmattan.
Major publications include La Mémoire et l’Instant. Les improvisations chantées du bertsulari basque (Bayonne: Elkar, 2005); Musiques à l’école (Paris: Editions Bertrand-Lacoste, 1998); De Jean-Sébastien Bach à Glenn Gould. Magie du son et spectacle de la passion (Paris: L’Harmattan, 1997). His current book project investigates the creation process of Steve Reich’s opera Three Tales.

Derek Miller is an Assistant Professor of English at Harvard University. He holds a PhD in Theater and Performance Studies from Stanford University. His articles include “Performative Performances: A History and Theory of the ‘Copyright Performance,’” Theatre Journal 64.2 (2012), “On Piano Per-formance – Technology and Technique,” Con-temporary Theatre Review 21.3 (2011), and articles and reviews on musical theater for Studies in Musical Theatre and TDR: The Drama Review. His book manuscript, Judicial Criticism, addresses the political economy of performance as expressed in copyright law for theater and music. He is also developing a digital humanities project on Broadway as a field of cultural production. More information here.
Ian Morley is an Assistant Professor of Urban History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He has published widely on the design of built environments during the late-1800s and early-1900s, e.g. in Planning Perspectives, Cities, Fabrications, and The European Journal of American Culture. Professor Morley has also participated in television documentaries for The Discovery Channel and Voom!, as well as been interviewed by The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Los Angeles Times, Southeast Asia Globe and La Stampa. He is the Book Review Editor for Urban Morphology: Journal of the International Seminar on Urban Form, an editorial board member of the journal Planning Perspectives, and a former council member of the International Planning History Society. He has been a Visiting Fellow at the University of Sydney and University College Dublin, and was a Visiting Scholar on the urbanism programme held by the Universidade Estudual de Maringá and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil.
Mu-Chou Poo received a B.A. in History from National Taiwan University in 1975 and Ph.D. in Egyptology from The Johns Hopkins University in1984. He is a Professor of History at the Chinese University of Hong Kong.  Research interests include society and religion in ancient Egypt and China. Major publications include Muzang yu Shengsi: Zhongguo gudai zongjiao zhi xingsi (Burial and the Idea of Life and Death: Essay on Ancient Chinese Religion) (Taipei, 1993); Wine and Wine Offering in the Religion of Ancient Egypt (London: Kegan Paul International, 1995); In Search of Personal Welfare: A View of Ancient Chinese Religion (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1998); Enemies of Civilization: Attitudes toward Foreigners in Ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt and China (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2005). (Ed.) Rethinking Ghosts in World Religions (Leiden: Brill, 2009).
Martin Shuster is presently the James M. Motley Fellow in the Humanities at the Johns Hopkins University. He has a book forthcoming in 2014 with the University of Chicago Press titled Autonomy after Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism, and Modernity. In addition to Adorno and German Idealism, he has published on a variety of figures in Kantian and post-Kantian philosophy, including Kant, Bergson, Arendt, Cavell, and others. He is also the co-founder of the Association for Adorno Studies. During the 2007-2008 year, he was the Diane and Howard Wohl fellow in residence at the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies in the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC. Presently, he is finishing a book called From a Vast Wasteland: Philosophy, America, and New Television, which examines the aesthetic and political significance of shows termed 'new television' (The Wire, Sopranos, Six Feet Under, etc.).
Ofer Waldman is currently a PhD candidate at the Center for German Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel. His dissertation project conducted under the supervision of Professor Yfaat Weiss and presented on international conferences at the Universities of Leiden, the Netherlands, Beijing, China, and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, concentrates on Middle European regions which have experienced mass population exchanges as European identity endowing realms of memory. During 2014 the Konrad Adenauer Foundation will publish his paper carrying the title: “The binding fracture? Searching for traces in the Czech-German border regions as a case study of memory activism”.

Joachim Küpper is Professor of Romance Studies and Comparative Literature at Freie Universität Berlin, the Principal Investigator of the ERC-funded project “Early Modern Drama and the Cultural Net” (DramaNet), as well as the Director of the Dahlem Humanities Center (DHC) at Freie Universität Berlin. In 2001, he was awarded the prestigious Leibniz Prize, and has been a member of the German National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina since 2010. He is the general editor of Poetica, as well as the co-editor of Romanistisches Jahrbuch. From 2003 to 2010, he taught at Johns Hopkins University as a Visiting Associate Professor, and in 2009 and 2011, as a ‘Directeur de recherche invité’ at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris. Professor Küpper is a member of the Standing Committee on European research politics of the German University Presidents’ Conference (HRK). His research focuses on Romance literatures, as well as on the theory of literature and the arts. Among his numerous publications are Ästhetik der Wirklichkeitsdarstellung und Evolution des Romans von der französischen Spätaufklärung bis zu Robbe-Grillet (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1987); Diskurs-Renovatio bei Lope de Vega und Calderón. Untersuchungen zum spanischen Barockdrama. Mit einer Skizze zur Evolution der Diskurse in Mittelalter, Renaissance und Manierismus (Tübingen: Narr, 1990); Petrarca. Das Schweigen der Veritas und die Worte des Dichters (Berlin, New York: De Gruyter, 2002); Zum italienischen Roman des 19. Jahrhunderts. Foscolo, Manzoni, Verga, D’Annunzio (Stuttgart: Steiner, 2002); “The Traditional Cosmos and the New World”, in: MLN 118 (2003). Most recently, he has edited and contributed to the volume Approaches to World Literature (Berlin: Akademie-Verlag, 2013).

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Zeit & Ort

Jan 24, 2014 | 10:00 AM c.t. - 06:00 PM

Freie Universität Berlin
Habelschwerdter Allee 45
Raum KL 32/202
14195 Berlin