Cultures in contact – cultural intermediary spaces as a potential "third space"?

The research project investigates the area of cultural transfer, starting from the question of how literary production is constituted within the present German-Chinese context, in terms of its mediation or transmission - in the sense of a "carrying-over," for example, of meaning - its reception, and the ways in which it achieves its effects. Examined here are, on the one hand, the processive and strategic procedures and patterns of the mediating and transmitting actors and institutions (authors, publishers, translators, cultural mediators, critics, scholars, cultural institutions etc.), on the other, the attribution within a given culturally differentiated context of what is in fact being mediated, which will in turn have its own dynamic, modes of action, and effects.
In this sense, cultural transfer refers to a specific form of cultural contact which presupposes an intercultural "intermediary space" as both a complex field of tension and productive sphere of many-layered negotiation processes between the cultures, and at the same time constitutes this space. In this methodological reliance on Bourdieu, the field of literature is extended by adding the aspect of interculturality, as an "intermediary space" of many-layered, complex configurations which need to be mediated, as an interface of cultural interweavings, and as a space for the playing out and negotiation of social interactions. Here interculturality is not to be perceived from the binary perspectives of the own or the foreign, or of identity and otherness as identity-producing categories. Rather, it should be read as a spatial constellation and examined for its suitability as a "third space" (Bhabha, 1994).
The application of the project will be the constitution of an ‘intercultural forum’, centred around a (Chinese) writer in residence and flanked by public readings, discussion forums etc. To this end, the involvement of the project, working together with publishers, cultural institutions and authors, in the preparation of the 2009 Frankfurt Book Fair, with guest country China, was a valuable source of practical experience.

Project management: Dr. Irmy Schweiger

Persons involved in the project: Prof. Dr. Yin Zhihong, Qin Wen Universität Nanjing; Prof. Chen Xiaoming, Chinesische Akademie der Sozialwissenschaften, Beijing;

Commencement: 01.07.2006

Publications: „Yu Hua“ in Metzler Lexikon Autoren der Weltliteratur hg. von Ruckaberle, Axel, 2006.