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Cultures in Conflict / Conflicting Cultures – Zurich 2012

By 15. October 2012August 2nd, 2018No Comments

From November 9-10, 2012, an international conference by the Austrian Association for American Studies and the Swiss Association for North American Studies explored “Cultures in Conflict / Conflicting Cultures.” The event was hosted at the University of Zurich.

The workshop proposes rethinking issues of aesthetic production in the light of cultural differences by introducing the concept of conflict into the debate. At stake is conflict as a theme, as an aesthetic practice and as a description of a specific historical-cultural context. To speak of cultures in conflict allows one to look at the different types of articulation that make up a cultural field. This could include semantic conflict on the most simple level, namely within the rhetorics employed by a text, but also conflict as the fruitful tension between the visual, the verbal, and the acoustic. It could also refer to the manner in which texts fruitfully negotiate different genres in which they give voice to contradictory meanings, or sustain an ideological antagonism. To speak of conflicting cultures, in turn, means rethinking Huntington’s clash of cultures in a productive way, so as to ask how the production of national and personal identity presupposes alterity as well as internal difference.

Possible areas of investigation included, but were not limited to:

  • Film
    Intermedial negotiations with literature
  • Literature
  • History
    documentaries, history film, newsreels
  • Politics
    propaganda film, visual rhetoric, newspapers
  • Popular Culture
    sensationalism, fairground attractions, expositions, vaudeville
  • Science
    medical museums, scientific imaging and its popularizations
  • Ethnography and Geography
    ethnographic photography and film
  • Minorities
    minority art and cinema, politics of ethnic display
  • Gender
    shaping and visualizing gender identities
  • Art History
    abstract painting, art film, animation, design, landscape photography
  • Architecture and Urban Studies
    department store, public art, urban landscaping


Call for Papers (PDF)     Conference Program (PDF)