Laboratory “Historicity and Materiality”


The laboratory focuses on two central aspects: on the one hand, the historical depths of current phenomena, and on the other, the material constitution of cultural encounters and conflicts. Material culture and material objects are hardly passive, timeless containers of specific cultures or past times; on the contrary, quite apart from their everyday practical function they carry values and identity, which most commonly alter their meanings as soon as they change their users. In this way, material objects and assemblages become graspable as materialised interfaces of human activity in which the local givens of coexistence overlap with trans-local or even global impulses. Thus, (pre)historic but also recent social groupings that are unacquainted with or do not practise textual forms of representation, become visible on the “maps” of cultural encounters and conflicts for the very first time. That, in turn, allows to analyse them in their interaction with literate groups and their own historicity.


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Erich Kistler

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