Gisela Cánepa

(Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru)

Images of the World, Images in the World: From the Visual Archive to Visual Repertoires

Following the argument of Heidegger, who defined modernity as “the age of the world as picture”, visual images operate as technologies of objectification that have shaped our notions and sentiments about nation, geography and race in the context of the colonial project and the formation of the nation states from the end of the XIX century to the mid XX century.

Currently, where according to Lyotard knowledge is being legitimized in terms of its commensurability, that is, of its efficacy, efficiency and effectiveness, it is necessary to pose the question regarding the new mandates that this regime might be imposing on the definition and uses of visual images.
The observation of a variety of contemporary visual expressions present in graffiti, performance art and activism, marketing campaigns, advertising and facebook show: (i) the increasing use of visuality in a performative sense, that is as a device to act in the world; (ii) the growing exploration and instrumentalization of other senses, that challenges the supremacy of the sense of seeing and its expressive repertoires; and (iii) the emergence of mediated forms of knowledge transmission of expressive repertoires like dance that before resisted objectification and textualization.

In this regard, the aim of the seminar is to discuss the argument according to which, in the actual world the representational function of visual images (the visual image as text) has given place to its performative function (the visual image as event), responding in this way to the fact that knowledge and power do not operate anymore through technologies of objectification, but through performative technologies that impose on us the mandate to perform.

Berg, Ulla (2011): Videoculturas itinerantes: Visualidad y performance en el espacio diaspórico peruano. In: Cánepa, Gisela (ed.): Imaginación Visual y cultura en el Perú. Lima: Fondo Editorial de la PUCP.
Heidegger, Martin (1938/1977): The Age of World Picture. In: The Question Concerning Technology and Other Essays. New York: Harper and Row, 115-54.
Lyotard, Jean-Francois (1984): The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
McKenzie, Jon (2001): Perform or Else: From Discipline to Performance. London: Routledge.
Poole, Deborah (1997): Vision, Race, and Modernity. A Visual Economy of the Andean Image World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Turner, Terence (1992): “Defiant Images. The Kayapo appropiation of video”. Anthropology today 8 (6): 5-16.

John Clarke

(The Open University, UK)

Embodying the Public Interest: Governing and Evaluating Public Services

Publics are understood to share a collective interest in the provision of public services. Reforms of public services during the last thirty years have changed the ways in which such services are produced, distributed and governed, including the rise of mechanisms for ‘governing at a distance’. This seminar will examine how publics and their interests are imagined and instantiated in reformed and restructured public services. Who are the members of these imagined publics? What interests are they understood to possess? How are those interests represented and embodied in, and enacted by, the personnel, policies, practices and places of governing apparatuses? The seminar is designed to explore approaches to representing the public, in particular those concerned with the summoning, convening and mediation of publics. It will focus on discursive practices in text and talk around governing public services, supported by some empirical examples.

Clarke, John (2012): The Work of Governing. In: Coulter, Kendra/Schumann, William R. (eds.): Governing Cultures: Anthropological Perspectives on Political Labor, Power, and Government. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 209-232.
Clarke, John (2010): Enrolling Ordinary People. Governmental Strategies and the Avoidance of Politics?’ Citizenship Studies 14 (6): 637-650.

Chantal Cornut-Gentille D’Arcy / Juan Tarancón de

(Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain)

Dancing on the Edge of Disciplines: Analytical Potentials at the Interface Between Cultural Studies and Film Studies (with practical case studies).

The aim of this workshop is to combine the variety and interdisciplinary nature of cultural studies with the exciting and intellectually stimulating study of film. Starting off from this premise and taking note of the valuable work carried out in the fields of cultural studies and film studies to date, our purpose is to move beyond the ineffectiveness of what might be perceived as an increasingly dominant form of analysis in both the classroom and in academic publications. More than ten years ago, Cary Nelson, for example, already denounced that cultural studies was becoming, in his view, “an opportunistic umbrella” for anyone who wants to study film, while the history of cultural studies and its most basic tenets are ignored (1996: 274). In a similar vein, but from the perspective of film studies, David Bordwell condemned the preponderance of cultural approaches to film that rely on “loose and intuitive connections between film and society” but that ignore cinema’s distinctiveness (2008: 31). Although the reactions of intellectuals like Nelson and Bordwell against studies of the type belong in different contexts and were no doubt triggered by different concerns, they do betray both the ineffectiveness of, and the dissatisfaction with, an ongoing mode of analysis that dispenses too rapidly with the most elemental tenets of cultural studies and with the narrative and aesthetic distinctiveness of cinema.
Against this background, a central aspect of this workshop will be to identify the benefits of in-depth interactions between cultural studies and film studies in an attempt to clarify the ground for a more genuine and effective interdisciplinary methodology. Indeed, by drawing out connections between these two areas of study (through both theory and practical examples) students will be provided with the opportunity to develop new, novel, and more critically satisfactory explanations of the ways in which films and society relate.

Bordwell, David (2008): Poetics of Cinema. New York & London: Routledge.
Nelson, Cary (1996): Always Already Cultural Studies: Academic Conferences and a Manifesto. In: Storey, John (ed.): What is Cultural Studies? London: Arnold, 273-286.

Dorota Golańska

(University of Lodz, Poland)

Seeing Differently: Affirmative Approach and its Implications for Feminist Study of Visual Culture

The study of visual culture is crucial for understanding its role as a key factor in processes of globalization, technologization, and multiculturalization, which are all part of our historicity. At the center of contemporary visual culture stands the image, yet the study of visual culture is not limited to the study of images, but also of their effects, material practices they entail, and creative potential they offer. One form of feminist work on the image is the critique of representation and deconstruction of its existing regimes with reference to gender, sexual difference, class, race, ethnicity, sexuality, etc. Although the emphasis on the meaning-making practices is important, it is obviously not enough if we want to truly understand the critical potential that the field offers. Hence, there is a need for new figurations to creatively think about the visual in order to get liberated from the ontological dichotomy of essence and representation. The seminar starts with revision of the philosophical groundings of mimetic, intentional, and constructionist paradigms of conceptualizing representation. It aims at exploring uses and abuses of ideological renderings of visual culture as well as at discussing their theoretical assumptions and methodological shortcomings. My goal is to challenge prevailing ways of reading visual culture by dint of ideology, discourse, or semiotics advocated by theorists working within the paradigm of the “linguistic turn”. By claiming that visual language is irreducible to conveyance, discovery, or construction of meaning as these remain pertinent to representation, the seminar aims at encouraging a radical shift towards creational (i.e., affirmative) understanding of the visual.

Hemmings, Clare (2005): “Invoking Affect. Cultural Theory and the Ontological Turn.” In: Cultural Studies 19 (5): 548-567.
hoogland, reneé c. (2009): “The Affective Turn and Visual Literacy.” In: Oleksy, Elżbieta H./Golańska, Dorota (eds.): Teaching Visual Culture in an Interdisciplinary Classroom. Feminist (Re)Interpretations of the Field. Utrecht: ZuidamUithof Drukkerijen (ATHENA), 163-174.
Pollock, Griselda . (2003). “The Visual.” In: Eagleton, Mary (ed.): A Concise Companion to Feminist Theory. London: Blackwell, 173-194.

Affective Landscapes/Traumatic Intensities: Post-Deconstruction Approach to Memory and Memorial Art

The seminar explores the cultural studies approaches to diversified operations of memory as they are reenacted by memorials/monuments of events experienced as collective trauma. Within the seminar we will critically assess and discuss the usefulness of methodological approaches worked out within the cultural studies for investigations of the ways in which contemporary memorials operate. Postmodernism produced at least two contemporarily powerful explanatory critiques of art, that is, one having its origins in Marxism and one stemming from deconstruction. The latter (the negative critique par excellence) has become the dominant cultural studies approach applied to analysis of visual culture products. Its negativity notwithstanding, I am far from necessarily conceiving of deconstruction as a wrong or useless strategy. Instead what I want to make clear is that such (i.e., deconstructionist) interpretations of art are simply not sufficient, since after revealing its entanglement within particular discursive formations, art remains dynamic in a sense that it still affects us and mobilizes our (creative) responses. We do not become entirely immune to the workings of an already deconstructed artwork and—even adopting the position of resistance vis-à-vis ideological meanings conveyed thereby—we still actively engage in its affective operations, therefore, I believe, such artifacts constitute an interesting material for analysis of what Gilles Deleuze names “intensity” or “affect” (1997). Importantly, in this context it has to be underlined that trauma, as an experience, remains beyond representation; it is not possible to grasp and express traumatic experience in language, yet it is possible to activate it in an affective manner. Taking as an example a number of contemporary memorial artworks, the seminar aims at evaluating the post-deconstruction theoretical framework and a synaesthetic approach to art as well as at assessing their potential for academic investigations within the broad field of cultural studies.

Bennett, Jill (2002): “Dis/Identification: Art, Affect, and the ‘Bad Death’: Strategies for Communicating the Sense Memory of Loss.” In: Signs. Journal of Women in Culture and Society 28 (1): 333-351.
Carroll, Noël (2005): “Art and Recollection.” In: Journal of Aesthetic Education 30 (2): 1-12.
Deleuze, Gilles (1997): “The Shame and the Glory.” In: Essays Critical and Clinical. London: Verso, 115-125.
Massumi, Brian (1995): “The Autonomy of Affect.” In: Cultural Critique 31: 83-109.

Udo Göttlich

(Zeppelin University Friedrichshafen, Germany)

Images of Cultures and Nation in the European Public Sphere

Stereotypes and images of “others” as well as of “ourselves” as national, regional or local groups are very common in our visual and textual culture. The seminar is interested in the changing role of these images and stereotypes of national cultures and identities for current aspects of national and transnational communication.
In former times the production, exchange and reception of such stereotypes and images were mostly text-based and conveyed through literature or the press. The different European cultures were signified by assumed national or racial character traits such as “the punctual German” or “the brawling Irishman” as well as allegoric personifications such as the French “Marianne” or the German “Michel”. The cultural construction of such stereotypes was (and still is) used for different reasons, ranging from political propaganda to marketing and tourism. These socially solidified images sometimes resist cultural and political change at large. With the advent of transnational visual media such as film and television, these images and stereotypes were no longer bound to national languages and became signs and signifiers for culture and identity in itself.
Presently, these images are still communicated within different sectors of society through various media. For example, entertainment media make use of cultural stereotypes by using certain stock characters; sports media attribute certain characteristics to athletes from different nations and political communication routinely evokes images of ethnic groups and nations. All these communications follow the common goals of inclusion and exclusion as they bind members of a society together and point out the differences of “the others”.
The seminar focuses on the construction, exchange and reception of these stereotypes. In methodological perspective, the seminar will draw on different approaches to analyse the role and function of such stereotypes and images over time and will ask for the role of such images in current communications and public spheres. One aim of the seminar is to show how these images developed within Europe, spread out and changed over the last years through different case studies. Questions of signifying Europe in its entirety will be a second focus, concerning problems for the building of a European public sphere.

Fornäs, Johan (2012): Signifying Europe. Bristol et al.: Intellect Press.
Hall, Stuart (1997): Representation. Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices. London et al.: Sage.
Hall, Stuart & Du Gay, Paul (1996): Questions of Cultural Identity. London et al.: Sage.
Leerssen, Joep & Beller, Manfred (Eds.) (2007): Imagology. The Cultural Construction and Literary Representation of National Characters: A critical survey. Amsterdam et al.: Rodopi.

Mechthild Hetzel / Andreas Hetzel

(University of Darmstadt, Germany)

“The Distribution of the Sensible“. Jacques Rancière and aesthetical Resistance

In his writings on aesthetics Jacques Rancière examines art’s capacity of resitance beyond explicit political messages. He shows how the social order in modern societies that he calls ‘police’ uses regimes of visibility to assign individuals a social place by attributing or denying skills and abilities and thereby producing ‘the part which has no part’, those who can neither be seen nor heard. For Rancière interventions of art are genuinely politically because they make the regimes of visibility itself visible and expose them to a critical eye.
Literature for example is a starting point of a transformation of the threshold of language and writing. Literature shifts the borderline between legitimate expressions that ‘we’ adequately make according to legitimate norms, and the sheer senseless noise of the ‘others’. In a similar way he interprets movies as productions of a disagreement (mésentente), which rejects normalized orders of perception. In the seminar we will discuss the basic assumptions of Rancière’s political aesthetics and relate them to similar considerations of critical theory and cultural studies. We will focus primarily on the question of the consequences of forms of aesthetic resistance for processes of subject-formation and subjectivization.

Rancière, Jacques (1999): Dis-Agreement. Politics and Philosophy. Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 21-42.
Rancière, Jacques (2004): The politics of Aethetics. The Distribution of the Sensible. London/New York 2004: Continuum, 9-45.
Rancière, Jacques (2010): Dissensus. On Politics and Aesthetics. London/New York 2010: Continuum, 115-168.

Brigitte Hipfl / jan jagodzinski

(Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt, Austria / University of Alberta, Canada)

The sites/sights/cites of Migrant’s Struggle in European Film.

In this seminar we will use two films, Import Export (Ulrich Seidl, Austria 2007) and Gypo (Jan Dunn, Great Britain, 2005) to discuss the ways in which the different conditions of precarity and marginalisation that migrants find themselves in are addressed within these two exemplary films. The analysis of the films is based on a relational approach where gender, race, sexuality and identity are seen as an effect of embodied relations, affects and events. So rather than questions of representational identity we will attempt to think through the forces that affect the spaces that migrants find themselves in, including the ‘past’ memories that press on them. By referring to the homology sites|sights|cites, we are attempting to consider the virtual dimension of the site as well as the actual empirical dimension of the sight; the two are informed by the discursive use of representational language (cite), which also skews the forces acting on these bodies in particular ways. We will argue that these films intervene in dominant discourses of migration but above all, they present moments of contingencies where new assemblages of living and potential processes of becoming emerge.

Bal, Mieke & Hernández, Miguel Á. (Eds.) (2011): Art and Visibility in Migratory Culture. Conflict, Resistance, and Agency. Amsterdam & New York: Rodopi.
Bignall, Simone & Patton, Paul (Eds.) (2010): Deleuze and the Postcolonial. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.
Burns, Laura & Kaiser, Birgit M. (Eds.) (2012): Postcolonial Literatures and Deleuze: Colonial Pasts, Differential Futures. New York and London: Palgrave.
Butler, Judith (2006): Precarious Life. The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso.
Ponzanesi, Sandra & Merolla, Daniela (Eds.) (2005): Migrant Cartographies. New Cultural and Literary Spaces in Post-Colonial Europe. Oxford: Lexington.
Ponzanesi, Sandra & Waller, Marguerite (Eds.) (2012): Postcolonial Cinema Studies. London & New York: Routledge.

Lothar Mikos

(University of Film and Television, Potsdam-Babelsberg, Germany)

Local Adaptations of International TV Formats

The global television landscape in the first decade of the twenty-first century is a complex terrain of contradictory developments and trends. On the one hand there are globally successful formats and series like Big Brother, Who wants to be a Millionaire?, or Sex & the City and Lost, on the other hand each national TV landscape presents a lot of national adaptations of successful programs from other countries. On the one hand the audiences are fascinated by such international program, on the other hand the same audiences are looking for local adaptations of the same shows.
Without doubt there is a global television market, and international trade in television formats has become an important part of the television business (Havens 2006; Moran and Malbon 2006). The “global media flow” is mainly dominated by American products (Straubhaar 2007; Thussu 2007). Europe is the largest export market for US films and television formats. American television programs are broadcast in more than 125 countries (Thussu 2007). In recent years, however, the dominant position of the American film and television industry has been somewhat undermined. Britain leads the world in the export of television formats. Furthermore, there are a few other film and television genres that enjoy worldwide distribution: Japanese anime, Indian Bollywood films and Latin American telenovelas (ibid.; Straubhaar 2007; Waisbord 2004, Mikos & Perrotta 2013).
The seminar will give some information on the strategic ways of buying and selling TV formats in different territories. The participants will investigate local adaptations of international formats like America’s Next Topmodel, Pop Idol, Who wants to be a Millionaire?, Ugly Betty, The Killing or Britain’s Got Talent. By using these examples the seminar will deal with theories of a global media market, of adaptations, cultural proximity, cultural contexts and challenges of international comparative research.

Havens, Timothy (2006): Global Television Marketplace. London: BFI.
Mikos, Lothar/Perrotta, Marta (2013): Global Ugly Betty. International Format Trade and the Production of National Adaptations. In: Mayer, Vickie (ed.): The International Encyclopedia of Media Studies. Volume II: Media Production. Malden, MA: Blackwell.
Moran, Albert/Malbon, Justin (2006): Understanding the Global TV Format. Bristol: Intellect.
Straubhaar, Joseph D. (2007): World Television. From Global to Local. Los Angeles, CA: Sage.
Thussu, Daya Kishan (2007): Mapping Global Media Flow and Contra-Flow. In: D. K. Thussu (ed.) Media on the Move. Global Flow and Contra-Flow, London: Routledge, 11-32.
Waisbord, Silvio (2004): McTV. Understanding the Global Popularity of Television Formats. Television & New Media, 5 (4), 359-383.

Sebastian Nestler

(Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt, Austria)

Transforming the Image-Space

In the Arcades Project Walter Benjamin develops a notion of what can be called “image-space”. Herewith Benjamin describes an increasing instrumentalisation of visual images as for example in public advertising. Finally he comes to the point where he states that history consists of images, not of stories, i.e. the image replaces the word. History, politics and visuality are concentrated to such an extent that they become an indissoluble entity. A logic of the spectacle operates through ubiquitous mediatized imagery which not only intrumentalises imagery but also the social. As media theorist Tom Holert puts it, in the image-space we are being governed by images full of ideology and power. Thus we could say that in a Deleuzian sense, ubiquitous imagery structures the social in terms of an “organism”. This can be observed in the public space, which since Benjamin’s times has become a “battleground” of commercialization where public advertising subjects us to the ideology of crude consumerism.
Originating from street art movements, resistant visual strategies known as subvertising, adbusting or culture jamming—to name just a few—have become quite popular recently which is also due to widespread social media. These strategies attack the ideology of consumerism by transforming its images in a subversive way. Thus they break up the “organism” produced by consumerism and transform it into a Deleuzian “body without organs”. Using this metaphor, our seminar intends to take a closer look at this phenomenon and discusses the critical potential of this “anti-spectacle”.

Benjamin, Walter (2002): The Arcades Project. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Deleuze, Gilles & Guattari, Félix (1988): A Thousand Plateaus. Capitalism and Schizophrenia. London: The Athlone Press.
Holert, Tom (2008): Regieren im Bildraum. Berlin: b_books.

Mirko Petrić

(University of Zadar, Croatia)

Intersections: Cultural Objects & Visual Identities

The initial phase of the Birmingham period of the cultural studies movement saw an intense exchange between the thematic interests of the newly emerging field and the well-established disciplinary routines of sociology. The post-1979 global migration of the cultural studies approach was marked by a strong textual turn that made the field drift away from some of the central methodological considerations of the social sciences. However, the 21st century advent of “meaning-making” cultural sociology has opened up new avenues of disciplinary cross-fertilization.
The seminar explores this new thematic and methodological proximity between cultural studies and sociology by discussing two prominent intersecting topics: cultural objects and visual identities. To set the ground for the elaboration of these topics, the first session of the seminar discusses the changes of the concept of cultural industry from Horkheimer and Adorno’s classical definition to Lash and Lury’s recent account of its working as a mechanism of “the mediation of things”. The second session examines the tensions emerging in the discussion of the modes of objectual and visual establishment of cultural and social presence. Topics such as epistemological vs. ontological power, hegemony vs. algorithm, and extensive vs. intensive politics are viewed from a perspective combining the insights and analytical strategies of sociology, cultural studies and semiotics.

Brighenti, Andrea Mubi (2010): Visibilities in Social Theory and Social Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Floch, Jean-Marie (2000 [1995]): Visual Identities (trans. Pierre Van Osselaer and Alec McHoul). London: Continuum.
Johnson, Richard (2007): “Post-hegemony? I Don’t Think So”. Theory, Culture, and Society 24 (3): 95-110.
Lash, Scott (2007): “Power after Hegemony: Cultural Studies in Mutation?“ Theory, Culture & Society, 24 (3): 55-78.
Lash, Scott & Lury, Celia (2007): Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Gil Rodman

(University of Minnesota, USA)

Why Cultural Studies?

From the very beginning (regardless of where one believes that to have been), the range of work done in the name of cultural studies has been too diverse to allow for simple and straightforward definitions of the enterprise. While cultural studies isn’t completely unbounded, it also doesn’t have a clearly identifiable center: there is no single object of study, body of theory, or methodological paradigm that lies at the enterprise’s core. This seminar will engage the very old definitional question from a relatively new angle: i.e., not by trying to pin down the “what” (or the “where” or the “who”) of cultural studies, but by wrestling with the slipperier questions of “why.” Why do people claim “cultural studies” (and not some other, more traditional disciplinary identity) as the label for their work? Why did cultural studies’ earliest practitioners (at Birmingham and elsewhere) make the specific choices (of research objects, theoretical frameworks, methodological approaches) they did for their projects? Why does the cultural studies “brand” matter today? In the very limited time available, of course, we will not be able to provide definitive, final answers to these questions. But our discussion will hopefully help us come away with a richer understanding of what makes cultural studies a unique and valuable approach to political and intellectual work.

On (Not) Seeing Race

Race is one of those “natural” categories of identity that people are socialized, almost from birth, to recognize instantly and automatically. Of course, for a “natural” phenomenon, the ways that racial categorization functions — what criteria are used to identify and sort people; how racial hierarchies are organized; what economic, political, social, and cultural imbalances result from those hierarchies, etc. — varies dramatically from one geopolitical and historical context to another. Enough so to effectively undermine the notion that race is a natural phenomenon at all. Still, despite being a socially constructed phenomenon, race has very real, material consequences — both locally and globally — for the distribution of resources, justice, education, healthcare, and so on. This seminar will examine the question of how race (and racial difference) is made to be visible in some contexts (and invisible in others) as part of larger efforts to keep those unjust racial hierarchies in place.

Kris Rutten

(Ghent University, Belgium)

Rhetoric as a theoretical and methodological framework for cultural studies

There is a small but growing body of work that explores the “intersection” between cultural studies and rhetoric by addressing related questions about culture, interpretation and critical practice (Rosteck, 1998; O’Donnel, 2007; Strecker & Tyler, 2009). Although rhetorical studies and cultural studies have very different institutional and historical pasts (O’ Donnel, 2007), they both aim at revealing how the symbols we use create a specific social order and focus on symbolic practices as forms of power and performance (Rosteck, 1998). In this seminar, we will specifically focus on ‘new rhetoric’, a body of work that sets rhetoric free from its confinement within the traditional fields of education, politics and literature, not by abandoning these fields but by refiguring them (Gaonkar, 1993). Moving away from a focus on rhetoric as ‘mere’ persuasion or as ‘the icing to a cake’ (Booth 2004: x), new rhetoric focuses on ‘rhetoric as a means of understanding and living successfully in a world of symbols’ (Herrick 2004: 223). Scholars within the new rhetoric tradition describe rhetoric as a tool for identification (Burke, 1969a,b), as a tool to enable our understanding of contextualized reasoning or argumentation (Perelman and Olbrechts-Tyteca 1969) and as a tool to build community through a listening rhetoric (Booth 2004). The shift from ‘old’ to ‘new’ rhetoric broadens the outlook from an emphasis on persuasion to an interest in how language functions in the establishment of social relationships. We will specifically focus on the theoretical and methodological framework developed by Kenneth Burke, one of the founders of this new rhetoric tradition.
As a rhetorician and literary critic interested in how we use symbols, Burke described the human being as the symbol-making, symbol-using and symbol-misusing animal. He argued that our interpretations, perceptions, judgements and attitudes are all influenced and ‘deflected’ by the symbols that we make, use and misuse, and that we are at the same time used by these symbols. This implies that we can approach the world either symbol-wise or symbol-foolish. Burke focuses on language as the most fundamental tool by which people symbolically convey conceptions of reality to one another and he proposes the explicit study of language as the critical moment at which motives take form. From a methodological perspective, rhetorical criticism uses different tools to analyze the situated meaning and motive-generating functions that symbols perform in relation to specific contexts (Brummett, 2006). This seminar will explore how rhetorical concepts can be used as tools to develop critical engagement with, as well as on behalf of, those symbols and we will explore what a “full” rhetorical perspective (Lanham, 2006) can imply for the project of cultural studies.

Booth, Wayne C. (2004): The Rhetoric of Rhetoric. The Quest for Effective Communication. Oxford: Blackwell Books.
Burke, Kenneth (1969a): A Grammar of Motives (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Burke, Kennetz (1969b): A Rhetoric of Motives (2nd ed.). Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Brummett, Barry (2006): Rhetoric in Popular Culture. London: Sage.
Gaonkar, Dilip P. (1993): The revival of rhetoric, the new rhetoric, and the rhetorical turn: some distinctions. Informal logic, 1, 53-64.
Lanham, Richard A. (2006): The Economics of Attention. Style and Substance in the Age of Information. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.
Perelman, Chaim & Olbrechts-Tyteca, Lucie (1969): The New Rhetoric: a treatise on argumentation. Notre Dame, IN et al.: University of Notre Dame Press.
Rosteck, Thomas (Ed.) (1998): At the Intersection: Cultrual Studies and Rhetorical Studies. London: Guilford Press.
Tyler, Stephen & Strecker, Ivo (2009): The Rhetoric Culture Project. In: Strecker, Ivo & Tyler, Stephen (Eds.): Culture & Rhetoric. New York: Berghahn Books, 21-31.

René Schallegger

(Alpen-Adria-Universitaet Klagenfurt, Austria)

Homo ex Machina? – Transhumanism and Cyber-Citizenship in Video Gaming

Critics and audiences agree that DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION (Eidos Montréal/Square Enix 2011) is one of the central texts in its generation of video gaming and an exemplary achievement in game design. Its aesthetic, thematic, and philosophical frame of reference is a society on the edge of the transhuman divide: As technology cybernetically merges with our societies, our ways of life, and even the biological human body, questions of where one ends and the other begins surface, eventually destabilising the concept of humanity itself. Transhumanism, as defined by Nick Bostrom and other thinkers, is also deeply rooted in Renaissance Humanism that put the responsible individual at the centre of its philosophical or ideological dimension, opening up the wide field of the socio-political relationship between the individual and the society it lives in. Using DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION and other contemporary video games as examples, we will come to an understanding as to how game designers create interactive experiences that let the player explore complex issues of identity, free will and responsibility first hand on both levels, content and form. Videogames as transhumanist narrative architectures or spaces, intertextually connected to earlier literary and philosophical pre-texts, will emerge as attempts to address not only the increasingly blurred line between the human and the non-human on a psychological, cultural and political level, but also the question of personal and collective responsibility. As breeding grounds for the cyber-citizens of the (near) future, we will showcase the power of video games to contribute to both incipient and on-going contemporary socio-cultural debates.

Gray, Chris Hables (2002) [2001]: Cyborg Citizen. New York & London: Routledge.
Huges, James (2004): Citizen Cyborg: Why Democratic Societies Must Respond to the Redesigned Human of the Future. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.
McGonigal, Jane (2011): Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They Can Change The World. London: Jonathan Cape.
Wardrip-Fruin, Noah & Harrigan, Pat (Eds.) (2004): First Person: New Media as Story, Performance, and Game. Cambridge, MA & London: MIT Press.

Jiřina Šmejkalová

(University of Lincoln, England)

De-Westernizing Cultural Studies?

In 2000 James Curran noted that much of cultural and media research is characterized by the “self-absorption and parochialism of much Western media theory” which is based on “universalistic observations about the media to be advanced in English-language books on the basis of evidence derived from a tiny handful of countries”.
We examine to which extent are the “de-westernising” practices still on the agenda in the context of current interconnections between the changes in “the West” and “the East” – in both political and geological terms – under globalisation, neoliberalism, liquid modernity, longtail/niche economics, etc.? We will ask how are the “de-westernizing” practices further challenged by the development of new media and cultural ‘ecologies’ which disturb established borders between the modes of communication in favour of multiplicity of contents, forms and tools of data exchange. The “de-westernizing” will be discussed not just as an intellectual intervention in terms of certain dominating conceptual networks and methodologies in cultural research, but also as an institutional one in terms of access to international research resources and publication outlets.

Bourdieu, Pierre (1984): Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.
Curran, James & Park, Myung-Jin (Eds.) (2000): De-Westernizing Media Studies. New York and London: Routledge.
Durham, Meenakshi. G. & Kellner, Douglas. M. (2006): Media and Cultural Studies: Keyworks. Maldon, MA & Oxford: Blackwell.
Fuller, Matthew (2005): Media Ecologies: Materialist Energies in Art and Technoculture. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Lash, Scott & Lury, Celia (2007): Global Culture Industry: The Mediation of Things. Cambridge: Polity Press.

Tanja Thomas

(Leuphana University Lüneburg, Germany)

Naked Protest, Vulnerability and Power: Gendered Scenarios of Visibility and Protest

‘Allah made me visible’. This is what some young German women shouted while they were protesting IKEA’s decision to remove all the women from the furniture catalogue for the Saudi-Arabian market. Protesting topless was meant to raise media attention and to get publicity; additionally it was unequivocally inspired by the Ukrainian feminist group ‘Femen’, which some have called one of the most successful campaigns of feminism in recent times.
In this seminar I’d like to invite the participants to consider diverse examples of naked protests – e.g. fighting for peace and human rights in Liberia and Nigeria – from a transcultural perspective. In enacting nakedness as a performance of vulnerability and precariousness these examples draw our attention to particular corporeal actions, activities, practices, and events and they also clearly illustrate that ‘the body’’ signifies more than a site of cultural inscription. At the same time one can realize that such protest performances and their depictions in the media in particular have been criticized as self-commodification, as pornography reinforcing power structures of heteronormativity, and as the idea of the (post)colonial West and the Rest. I would hereby like to argue, that these examples make us well aware of the ambiguities and dilemmas of visibilities and that they point to the challenges that those in the public sphere, as well as cultural studies scholars, are confronted with by transcultural media.

Alaimo, Stacy (2010): The Naked Word: The trans-corporeal Ethics of the protesting Body. In: Women & Performance: a journal of feminist theory, Vol. 20/1, 15-36.
Brighenti, Andrea Mubi (2010): Visibilities in Social Theory and Social Research. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
Butler, Judith (2004): Precarious Life. The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso.
Lunceford, Brett (2012): Naked Politics: Nudity, Political Action, and the Rhetoric of the Body. Lanham: Lexington Books.
Sutton, Barbara (2007): Naked Protest: Memories of Bodies and Resistance at the World Social Forum. In: Journal of International Women‘s Studies Vol. 8/3, 139-148.
Baumgarten, Britta & Ullrich, Peter (2012): Discourse, Power and Governmentality. Social Movement Research with and beyond Foucault. Discussion Paper SP IV 2012-401.

Ksenija Vidmar-Horvat

(University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)

Migration, Gender and Visual Culture: Framing the Debate on Identity and Belonging

In this seminar, we will focus on media representation of women migrants in Europe. The emphasis will be on visual and narrative discourses of migrant women and their placement in symbolic and political space of national and trans-European public space. This will be done with the goal to address the following issues:

  • What is the role of images of migrants in the construction of national and European identity and belonging
  • What is the gender specific role of depiction of imigrant women in the cosntruction of national and Europea identity and belonging
  • What is the role of mass media and visual culture in representation and construction of imigrant women
  • How can critical cultural analysis contribute to reframing the European debate on heritage, identity and belonging.

The seminar will be based on lecture and practical activities with the aim of:

  • Learning the semiotic method of reading the meaning
  • Applying the method to selected concrete images/examples of representation
  • Articulating critical discourse in relation to the selected material with the goal of conceptualizing an alternative democratic politics of representation
  • References:
    Roland Barthes (1978): Image, Music, Text. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
    Stuart Hall (Ed.) (1997): Representation: Cultural Representation and Signifying Practices. London: Sage.
    Cartwright, Lisa & Sturken, Marita (2001): Practices of Looking: Introduction to Visual Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Matthias Wieser

(University of Klagenfurt, Austria)

Assembling Culture – Connecting Sights/Sites

Within recent years there has been a growing attention between cultural studies and science & technology studies. Some are challenged by Bruno Latour and others in their work on the cultures of science, technology and medicine or in turn challenging STS by calling for a more critical and interventionist approach. Still others are using concepts established within science studies to explore indigenous cultures, media cultures or cultural institutions.
This seminar will introduce to these conversations and relations between cultural studies and science studies. The focus will be on exploring ways of research into cultural assemblages. The following issues will be addressed:

  • similiarities of cultural studies and STS in theory and research
  • recent cultural studies of science and technology
  • research on the materialities and topologies of culture

The seminar will be based on lecture, discussion and practical activities with the aim of giving students and scholars tools to study cultural assemblages by following (not only) sights and connecting sites.

Balsamo, Ann (Ed.) (1998): Cultural Studies of Science and Technology. Special Issue of Cultural Studies 12 (3).
Bennett, Tony & Healy, Chris (Eds.) (2009): Assembling Culture. Special Issue of Journal of Cultural Economy 2 (1-2).
Latour, Bruno (2005): Reassembling the Social: Introduction to Actor-Network Theory. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Law, John (2004): After Method: Mess in Social Science Research. London: Routledge.
Lury, Celia & Parisi, Luciana & Terranova, Tiziana (Eds.) (2012): Topologies of Culture. Special Issue of Theory, Culture & Society 29 (4-5).

Jeffrey Wimmer

(TU Ilmenau, Germany)

The multiple meanings of engagement and participation in and through game worlds.

In the face of an increasing convergence of communication and media, digital games by far extend media and genre boundaries. Hence, although digital games can be researched as a case sui generis, they also need to be understood as part of a massive process of change (e.g. processes of mediatization, globalisation, commercialisation and individualization of society). The fact that digital games should be seen as a special form of media entertainment which does not occur outside everyday life, seems decisive. Due to their interactivity, especially online games are strongly (and thereby visually) embedded into social interrelations and cultural practices, through which they win valence and significance without ever losing their character as economic (media-) products. Specifically and because of their overwhelming popularity, this also means that game worlds have become a moulding force for personality development and individual socialization. Using the case example of political engagement and participation the seminar will focus on the question which role these practices take on in game worlds, how they are visually represented and potentially appropriated by the gamers (e.g. phenomena like persuasive games, gamification or game protests). Because of the decisive character of digital games visualisation as well as playfulness play a central role for the attractiveness of engagement and participation. On the long run this could not only change the ways to participate but also the meaning of participation and engagement in general. The seminar will be based on lecture, discussion of case studies and practical activities.

Dyer-Witheford, Nick/De Peuter, Greig S. (2009): Games of empire. Global capitalism and video games. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota.
Kücklich, Julian (2009): Virtual Worlds and Their Discontents. Precarious Sovereignty, Governmentality, and the Ideology of Play. Games and Culture, 4(4), 340-352.
Neys, Joyce/Jansz, Jeroen (2010): Political Internet Games: Engaging an Audience. In: European Journal of Communication 25, 227-241.
Simon, Bart (2006): Beyond Cyberspatial Flaneurie: On the Analytic Potential of Living with Digital Games. Games and Culture, 1(1), 62-67.
Wimmer, Jeffrey (2012): Digital game culture(s) as prototype(s) of mediatization and commercialization of society. In Fromme, Johannes/Unger, Alexander (eds.): Computer games/players/game cultures: A handbook on the state and perspectives of digital game studies. Berlin: Springer, 525-540.

Carsten Winter

(University of Music, Drama and Media Hanover, Germany)

Studying Berlin Cultures and Economies of Music

The aim of the seminar is to discuss how to research and participate in creating the future of the “long revolution” of culture. Starting with Raymond Williams’s premise the seminar is devoted to studying and discussing developments of some of Berlin’s inextricably interwoven cultures and economies of music and the challenges those involved face when developing new possibilities to create not only aesthetic, cultural and social value but economic value as well. Thereby we will address the following issues:

  • What is “culture” and what is “economy” within the ordinary lives of people related to processes of the production, allocation, perception and use of music in Berlin?
  • How problematic is the separation of “base” and “superstructure” today (in the context of the adoption of a long revolution of culture), in the light of arguments of Raymond Williams in Marxism and Literature (1979)?
  • What drives cultural and economic change – not only that of music?
  • What role does the development of media, as a means of production, play in the transformation of culture and economy?
  • How to research and participate in creating the future of the long revolution of the lives of people related to professional music in Berlin?

Gay du, Paul et al. (1996): Doing Cultural Studies. The Story of the Sony Walkman. London: Sage.
Williams, Raymond (1961): The Long Revolution. Harmondsworth: Pelican Books.
Williams, Raymond (1977): Marxism and Literature. Oxford, New York: Oxford University Press.
Winter, Carsten (2012): How media prosumers contribute to social innovation in today’s new networked music culture and economy. In: International Journal of Music Business Research 1 (2): 46-73. URL:

Cultural Studies meets Management Studies – Perspectives, Problems & Projects

This seminar will identify the benefits of analyzing and developing practices of living culture and economy in an attempt to clarify the foundation for developing cultural studies and its methods and practices for a smarter, more inclusive and more sustainable civil society. Participants engage in developing their perspective on how to contribute to a better understanding of current developments of the cultures and economies of music on the way to a more networked “Pull-” or “On-Demand-Music-Networks” and of new threats and chances to contribute to a more inclusive and sustainable development. Participants will be provided with the opportunity to develop more adequate and satisfying understanding of the new ways in which cultures and economies of music relate. The following issues will be discussed:

  • What do you/we expect after the music industry as we know it – and why?
  • How to engage in the development of the cultures and economies of music in Berlin?
  • What are new potentials and perspectives for music cultures as well as economies?
  • What do we need to research and know to develop the culture and economy of music in Berlin – what politics, policies, actions, strategies and regulations are needed?
  • What will the post-capitalistic future of culture and economy look like?

Lally, Elaine/Ang, Ien/Anderson, Kay (eds.) (2011): The Art of Engagement: Culture, Collaboration and Innovation. Crawley: UWA-Publishing.
Lull, James (2002): “The Push and Pull of Global Culture”. In: Curran, James/Morley, David (eds): Media and Cultural Theory. London/New York: Routledge, 44-58.
Li, Charlene/Bernoff, Josh (2008): Groundswell. Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. Boston, MA: Harvard Business Press.
Potts, Jason D./Hartley, John/Banks, John A./Burgess, Jean E./Cobcroft, Rachel S./Cunningham, Stuart D./Montgomery, Lucy (2008): “Co-creation and Situated Creativity”, Industry and Innovation 15 (5): 459-474.
Prahalad, C. K./Ramaswamy Venkat (2004): The Future of Competition. Co-Creating Unique Value with Customers. Boston, MA: Harvard Business School Press.
Winter, Carsten (2012): How media prosumers contribute to social innovation in today’s new networked music culture and economy. In: International Journal of Music Business Research 1 (2): 46-73. URL: