Program brochure [pdf download, click on the image]
Call for applications
Follow our blog to get more information and regular updates
The Arts of Latin America in a Transregional Perspective
With a focus on Latin America, the Academy questions artistic interrelations within Latin America as well as those with other parts of the planet. It combines the study of transregional mobility and movement with a critical, methodological reflection. Rather than merely describing or confronting artistic traditions and tendencies, the Academy discusses the various dynamics of cultural creativity, strategies of appropriation, modalities of translation and comparison in transregional and transcultural terms.
The Academy aims at a transnational and transregional exchange about concepts and characteristics of mobility. From such point of view, research concentrating on Latin America will be put in dialogue with ongoing debates regarding other regions such as Africa, the wider Americas, Asia, Europe, as well as the regions of the Atlantic and the Pacific, the Caribbean, Indian Ocean in their connectivities and within the horizon of global art histories. This also means asking if indeed there is a common epistemological base for the construction of such a global discourse, interrogating the concepts “transcultural” and “transregional” themselves.
Mobility: Phenomena and Processes
The Academy studies changes of location of objects, materials, concepts and actors. However, it does not propose doing this according to notions of impact and influence or centers and peripheries. And it critically challenges linear concepts of interpretation and exclusively comparative approaches to cultural and artistic transfer. Rather, it aims at the study of the complexity and multi-layered stratigraphies of phenomena and processes of circulation, connectivity and entanglements. In line with the debates on the concept of contact zone, the Academy questions the ideological implications of hegemonial asymmetries and concentrates on fluid histories of Latin American art.
The Academy does not understand mobility as simply defining phenomena of change of location but rather as itself a process, as a basic term for a dynamic art history that argues against dichotomic narratives and static models of interpretation. A dynamic shift in art history towards “mobility” allows us to consider not only individual works of art, their production or reception, but also travelling or migrating concepts and people as well as materials, objects, and formal languages or “styles” in motion. Precisely, the synopsis of all these levels permits new insights into the complex dynamics of locomotion and displacement in their constitutive role for artistic and aesthetic practices and concerns.
Blind Spots and Methodological Assessments
The Academy is not restricted to a specific period and rejects historical caesurae. This implies a critical position towards the understanding of mobility as a mainly modernist phenomenon, in the sense of an ever increasing cultural “acceleration”. The Academy rather studies “mobility” as process in all historical forms, including slow, fast as well as non-constant, or eruptive motion, and various, transregionally interrelated temporalities. This furthermore implies a critical position towards the topoi of the “global village” and the celebration of overall connectivity in the course of globalization. Such narratives have fundamental blind spots in relation to important aspects of mobility, such as forced movement or involuntary mobility, as in the case of diaspora, migration and exile. Here, and more generally, mobility has to be studied in respect to phenomena and processes in all their dimensions, including economies, objects, materials, concepts and protagonists. It is exactly the multiplicity of notions and concepts that the Academy aims to analyze in a transregional and transcultural perspective, in historiographical, discourse analytical and art critical terms. A transcultural study of mobility and dynamics of transfer touches on theories of history and aesthetics, on concepts of materiality and cultural / institutional location, modes of performativity and processuality, nature and roles of political power, communities and public spheres, aspects of networks, ways and channels of distribution and circulation, as well as on techniques and geographies of movement.
Transregional Academies are part of the strategic cooperation between the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Foundation – German Humanities Institutes Abroad. They are supported by the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung, BMBF). The Terra Foundation for American Art sponsors two fellowships to facilitate the participation of scholars researching the question of mobility within the United States or as part of a broader international context.
The German Center for Art History (Deutsches Forum für Kunstgeschichte, or DFK Paris) is an independent art-history research institute. French and German intellectual traditions here engage in fruitful dialogue with currents of international thought, creating a starting point for innovative interdisciplinary research on the arts of both countries, viewed in a global context. Founded by Thomas W. Gaehtgens in 1997, DFK Paris belongs to the Max Weber Foundation (DGIA). It is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Thomas Kirchner took the helm of the institute in February 2014. The research program “Travelling Art Histories. Transregional Networks between Latin America and Europe” is based on the idea of a “mobile research project”, thus including a number of transregional academies taking place in different venues all over Latin America.
More information: dfk-paris.org/de/research-project/travelling-art-histories-1625.html
The research and fellowship program Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices. Kunstgeschichte und ästhetische Praktiken at the Forum Transregionale Studien discusses the potential and contours of a plural history of art. It analyzes the connectivity of larger historical spaces as well as contact zones and investigates artistic phenomena in a comparative, transcultural approach. Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices aims to create a space of dialog for scholars from all continents and neighboring disciplines. This program engages scholars from Islamic, Asian, African, Australian, European art histories and the art histories of the Americas, as well as scholars from neighboring disciplines such as archaeology and other fields dealing with the history of visual cultures. The program is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research as a project at the Forum Transregionale Studien. It is directed by Hannah Baader and Gerhard Wolf, both KHI in Florenz – MPI.
The Berlin-based Forum Transregionale Studien is a research organization that promotes the internationalization of research in the humanities and social sciences. It is dedicated to a research agenda that systematically links disciplinary approaches and the expertise of area studies by focusing on entanglements and interactions across national, cultural, and regional borders. The Forum is supported by the State of Berlin.
The Max Weber Foundation promotes global research concentrated on the social sciences, cultural studies, and the humanities. Research is conducted at ten institutes in various countries worldwide with distinct and independent focal points. Through its globally operating institutes, the Foundation is able to contribute to communications and networking between Germany and the countries or regions that host it.
*Image credit: Polychromy of Our Lady of Copacabana, ©Siracusanao, Maier, Tomasini