"Versifying/Translating. Praxeologies of Versified Speech"
Workshop (April, 5, 2024)

The point of departure for this comparatist workshop was the question of what distinguishes versified texts in the first place, proceeding from a praxeological standpoint, namely by treating versification as a problem of translation. What is the significance of different metrical forms for versification - especially when verse forms themselves can function as vehicles of translation? While verse forms are mobile – they migrate between languages, cultures, and historical periods – the relationship to their respective ‘internal’ forms is far from definite. After all, the adaptation of metrics in translation can basically take place regardless of questions of content. Such processes of translation result in a travelling of formal elements in space and time; frequently, supposedly ‘dead’ metrical forms are perpetuated in these translation and open up new formal and textual scope.


"Transcultural Dynamics of Canonical Texts and Political Ideas between Europe, Africa and Asia" - Workshop co-organized with the Dr. K. H. Eberle Research Centre 'European Cultures in a Multipolar World' (May 30, 2023)

This workshop highlighted two contexts of transcultural exchange; the rewriting of the drama of classical antiquity in recent African literary adoptions and theater productions; and the evolution of the concept of the avant-garde and its artistic and political significance in literary transculturations between the Chinese-Sinophone and Anglo-European worlds during the long twentieth century. Rather than merely decentering established Eurocentric takes on the histories of classical tragedy and the avant-garde movement, the two speakers – Prof. Mark Fleishman (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Dr. Fangdai Chen (Lingnan University of Hong Kong) – asked how focusing on processes of intercultural adaptation ultimately challenges Eurocentric claims of universality and exemplarity. Both shed light on a transcultural, “post-centric” situation and inquired into the continued existence of aesthetic forms once considered to be ‘canonically European’ in a multipolar world. The workshop also aimed at exploring theoretical and methodological means for the conceptualization and analysis of these dynamics, particularly in intertextuality studies and transnational intellectual history.

"Traveling Forms meet Bilderfahrzeuge" - Joint workshop of the two research groups at the Warburg-Haus, Hamburg (April 17, 2023)

At this workshop, hosted by the Warburg-Haus and co-organized by 'Traveling Forms'-speaker Prof. Juliane Vogel and co-director of the Warburg-Haus Prof. Cornelia Zumbusch (University of Hamburg), members of 'Traveling Forms' joined colleagues from the Hamburg- and London-based divisions of the international research group 'Bilderfahrzeuge - Aby Warburg's Legacy and the Future of Iconology' for a day of presentations and discussions. The event highlighted similarities and differences between the two core concepts which inform the work of both projects respectively; namely the idea of 'traveling forms' and the notion of the 'Bilderfahrzeug' ('image vehicle'), a neologism coined by Warburg by which he described mobile material carriers of images which enable the geographic and intercultural spatial displacement of pictures. The workshop was part of the current annual theme at the Warburg-Haus , 'Dynamics of Form'.

"Public Experience and Aesthetic Forms" - Joint Workshop with the NOMIS-Project AgorAkademi (Columbia Global Centers / EHESS Paris), September 23, 2022

Held in Paris, this joint workshop with the NOMIS-Project AgorAkademi (Columbia Global Centers / EHESS Paris) was dedicated to new forms of agency and aesthetic expressivity in public. The collaboration aimed  at building a cross disciplinary approach between social sciences, art and literary studies and open up a field of public studies. The aesthetic dimensions of public experience transform the ways in which social conflicts, cultural distances and political agendas are determined. Yet how do aesthetic forms shape public space, how do they move across borders, how do they accommodate different contexts and change the concept of public life and space. The discussion explored a number of the key concepts derived from the respective research projects, namely hybrid forms, horizontal ties, translational space, creative accommodations, and protest etiquette to highlight the ways in which aesthetic forms and public experiences are interconnected.

"Public Space Democracy. Performative, Visual and Normative Dimensions of Politics in a Global Age: Members of 'Traveling Forms' Respond to Papers by Members of the NOMIS-Project 'Public DemoS" (March 25, 2022 / Columbia Global Centers, Paris)

The volume 'Public Space Democracy' is the result of the NOMIS-project 'Public DemoS', directed by Prof. Nilüfer Göle (EHESS Paris), in the context of which researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds investigated the emergence of protest movements in multiple sites over the last decades. For the book's launch event, held at Reid Hall/Columbia Global Centers in Paris, members of the 'Traveling Forms' group responded to a number of the volume's contributions.

"Activist Aesthetics of Dissent and Persuasion" - Workshop (January 13-15, 2022)

When communicating and enacting their political aspirations, activists reach out to a variety of different audiences. This commonly involves a politics of distinction from those actors and agencies whom activists hold responsible for the grievances they address and which they seek to transform to the better. At the same time, activists engage in a language of persuasiveness when trying to gain the support of members of the wider public, which requires them to attend to aesthetic, symbolic and performative repertoires deemed acceptable, even appealing, in the wider socio-cultural sphere. Contributors to this workshop, held in January 2021, investigated the aesthetic, performative and communicative dimensions of activism in its embodied forms and/or in relation to the social and mass media representations produced by activists in different parts of the world.

"Traveling Tragedy" - Workshop (October 7-8, 2021)

Traveling through time and space from Antiquity to the early modern era up to the present day, tragedies have been adapted to different aesthetic and political settings all over the world. Held in October 2021, this workshop investigated modes in which tragedy as a genre has circulated in the past, especially in early modern times, and continues to circulate today, specifically in postcolonial contexts. More generally, the workshop considered the relation between change of place and change of form, including the limits of traveling: how does tragedy travel and what hinders or even blocks its circulation?