Aesthetic and cultural forms travel across cultural and social boundaries. As forms emerge through migration and transmission they are recreated in the course of traveling. In these processes forms are not simply given or invented but develop, change and stabilize in time and space. Practices related to traveling are considered to be constitutive for the emergence of form.
The project Traveling Forms is investigating how forms travel across these cultural and social boundaries. Guiding questions for the project are: How have aesthetic forms traveled to new contexts? How are they changed in these new settings, and how are they, in turn, shaping the contexts in which they are relocated? These questions address the present as well as the past, exploring, for example, how the impact of globalization in the present compares with mobility as a cultural factor in past times.
The project is interdisciplinary, bringing together a concept of form derived from literary studies with the anthropological concept of cultural mobility. Subprojects investigate the travels of literary genres, focusing mainly on the mobility of tragedy, and also analyze forms of global activism; another, theoretical subproject discusses the concept of assemblage, stressing the heterogeneity of forms. In general, we aim to show that forms undergo processes of integration and disintegration, and that they are temporary ensembles of partial forms, each of which has its own itinerary.
Traveling Forms is being led by Juliane Vogel, professor of modern German literature and general literary studies at the University of Konstanz (Germany).
Professor of modern German literature and general literary studies
University of Konstanz