Universität Mannheim / PhilFak / PK Globalisierung / english / The Graduate Program / The Project / Focus on Literary and Cultural Studies / Linguistics

Focus on Literary Studies

The development of appropriate categories and patterns of description for particular languages, literature and other artistic modes of expression in a globalizing world has just begun. Many contemporary studies are still concerned with questions of post-colonialism and multi-culturalism and only a few have turned their attention to globality, its development and consequences.

Within the research area of literary/cultural studies and linguistics processes of globalization and global relations are explored with regard to their representations and conceptions. Literature and other forms of art are primarily modes of expression which make the world accessible - whereby representations of the world and of globality, which always carry elements of construction and design, take center stage. A dual perspective is decisive here: We always deal with "worlds within a world" (Nassehi), so that both specific conceptions of the world and depictions of global processes, elements, places, and individuals in globalized conditions need to be analyzed. The concepts of "world(s)" and "globe" are also related to each other on a theoretical level. Linguistics and translation studies are increasingly interested in a concept of creolization that is not purely linguistic but rather following the concepts that Ulf Hannerz developed for the field of ethnology, cultural and social anthropology and Karl-Heinz Stoll for translatology. This new approach to creolization does not only allow to revaluate target texts (Translate) of literary and non-literary texts from the perspective of globalization but also to analyze patterns of communicative actions with regard to their culture-crossing, global dimension. To what extent "Globalesisch" (Trabant), "McEnglish" (Snell-Hornby), "McSpanish" etc. must be criticized can only be elicited in empirical studies.

Within a philology that encompasses cultural and media studies (English, American and  Romance studies) representations in text, literature, film, music, art, and photography will be studied. What is crucial is the project's reference to global relations, to numerous places and cultures, to culture-mixing and the transgression of borders, as well as to multipolar perspectives of observation. Further emphasis is given to research on the cultural dimensions of globalization processes with special regard to Anglo-Saxon cultures and the English language (USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia, India, the Caribbean, South Africa, etc.) as well as the Latin cultures and the Spanish and Portuguese language in particular (Spain, Portugal, Latin America, USA, the Caribbean, Africa, creolophone cultures). Moreover, (aesthetic, theoretical, and utopian) conceptions of the world in the different language and cultural areas will be studied. Eventually, there will be developed a model that describes and analytically captures forms, elements, structures, processes, designs, "scapes," and "flows" in depictions of the global.

Possible Dissertation Topics:

  • Depictions of processes of globalization in text, literature and film
  • Literary conceptions of the world
  • Hybridity / borders / flows /globes as metaphors of globalization
  • Global thinking / thinking in the mode of irreducible pluralism
  • Global cities and global culture
  • translational phenomena in global space
  • creolization as cultural cross-fertilization in language and text
  • global claims in use textuality (Gebrauchstextualität)
  • linguistic criticism and glocalization
  • America and/in the world