EXC 2020 Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective
The Cluster of Excellence Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective aims to create a new theoretical and methodological take on literature in a global perspective that moves beyond the categories of nation and period and conceives of literature instead as a transcultural and transtemporal phenomenon in deep time. Based on the insight that literature is a fundamentally performative and intermedial phenomenon, a form of social action taking place in complex networks of human and non-human actors, the Cluster will study how literature becomes global through its temporal entanglements. Introducing the notion of 'temporal communities', the Cluster will investigate the ways in which literature reaches out through space and time and establishes extensive transtemporal networks in which the notion of literature itself is constantly re-constituted as it interacts with other arts and media.
- Research Area 1, "Competing Communities", will investigate how a perceived literary globality is actually an effect of competing communities. RA 1 will question the totalising implications of previous notions of the 'global' and supplant them with a concept of ever-shifting relations of transtemporal competitive entanglement. It will be especially interested in the criteria for what constitutes a community – what does it take to speak of a community? How small, how large can they be? Can they intersect? Can an actor belong to different communities at the same time? How do communities voice their claims to globality?
- Research Area 2, "Travelling Matters", will examine the roles mediality and materiality play in shaping literary communities over time. It will explore the mediality and materiality of literature’s transmission, circulation and adaptation, including questions of medial translation and transposition, and examine the role that new technologies play in forging new literary practices. How do media, genres and materialities intersect in shaping literature through the ages? How do literature and its status change as literature encounters and engages with other art forms? How do older practices live on in new media?
- Research Area 3, "Future Perfect", will explore literature’s ability to construct complex temporalities of its own, shaping temporal communities potentially over long expanses of time. RA 3 will focus on literature’s involvement in imagining as well as participating in diverse, often multiple temporalities. It will study how literary texts imagine their own reception in the future and forge temporal communities for themselves. How do cultural practices such as philology construct temporalities, e.g. by establishing chronologies or freezing textual objects in zones of radical synchronicity? How is literary history constituted through teleological narratives?
- Research Area 4, "Literary Currencies", addresses the question of how literature is subjected to processes of valuation and re-evaluation as it circulates between cultures, languages, media and markets. RA 4 will focus on canon formation, notions of authorship, the circulation of texts and literary concepts and the economic dimensions of this circulation. An important focus will be on the rise and fall of literary currencies, on the fluctuating prestige enjoyed by literary texts and genres. How do changing notions of literary value shape literature’s temporal communities?
- Research Area 5, "Building Digital Communities", will contribute to advancing both the critical reflection on and the practical application of visual modelling in the Digital Humanities by taking EXC TC’s notion of temporal communities as a starting point for exploring the translatability of the Cluster’s innovative approach to literary history into a visual digital format. RA 5 will also develop an open access Living Handbook of Temporal Communities that will serve as a point of reference for the Cluster’s research methodology and terminology and provide a platform for the EXC TC community that will emerge both locally and globally.