International Conference

Cover Conference booklet_1

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel famously remarked in October 2010 that “multiculturalism has absolutely failed”. This sentence will be used as the starting point for the panels and applied to Europe in general: Is Mrs Merkel’s conclusion correct or not? Which (alternative) visions of living together in a society and of the underlying norms and values are there in today’s Europe? What role can politics play?

These panels aim to create a platform for discussing Europe through the prism of transculturality. As a concept, transculturalism is used as an alternative to multiculturalism. It rests on the conviction that other cultures and influences are not merely absorbed, but equally accepted and appreciated. It gains its meaning with an appreciation of the influences we deal with every day and stands against any binary opposition of “us against them”. The concept of transculturality was first used in the South American context. Later, it was also applied to colonial encounters in Africa as well as to Turkish migration to Germany. It has thus been widely used in Ethnology, Anthropology and Sociology, and more recently also in Literary Studies and History – and just as often criticized. To what extent are we able to apply it now in the context of Europe and “Euroculture”? How have experiences of migration and travelling, Europeanisation, globalisation and glocalisation changed our lives?

On a broader level, one main question to be posed at these panels is whether the idea of a “cosmopolitan Europe”, as developed by Gerard Delanty, can be seen in line with transcultural understandings? Would a transcultural Europe not be the real aspiration of Europeanisation if we take the idea of an “ever closer union” seriously? The answers will be searched for from both within and outside Europe. They are designed to provoke research into the dimensions of Europe rather than to fix it as a geographical, social or political entity.

Friday 24th June


09.30 – 10.15 Auditorium
Opening: Martin Tamcke and Lars Klein (Georg-August-University Göttingen)

Introductory Lecture: Bill Bell (University of Edinburgh):
“The Bible, the Pilgrims, and the Catechist: An Anecdote Taken from History“

10.30 – 12.00
Panel 1:
Multiculturalism in Perspective (Chair: Lars Klein)

  • Janny de Jong (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen):
    “‘Here we go again’. Multiculturalism in Historical Perspective”
  • John McCormick (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis):
    “European Multiculturalism: Is It Really Dead?”
  • Arturo Gonzalez Sanchez (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México): “Multiculturalism. A Vision from the Other Side of the Atlantic”

12.00 – 13.30
Panel 2:
Perception of Migrants’ Experiences – by Themselves and by Others (Chair: Martin Elbel, Univerzita Palackého Olomouc)

  • Sabine Hess (Georg-August-University Göttingen):
    “’The Lesson of Otherness’”: Europe Under the Perspective of Migration”
  • Marcin Galent (Jagiellonian University Krakow):
    “Migration and Europeanisation: How the Presence of the Other Influences Identities of Europeans”

13.30 – 14.30

14.30 – 16.00
Panel 3:
Tranculturalism in Practice (Chair: Maya Aguiluz-Ibargüen, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México)

  • Anurekha Chari Wagh (University of Pune):
    “German Women's Movement': the Challenge of Race, Class and Nationality”
  • Elizabeth Goering (Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis):
    “Entering the Third Dimension: A CMM (Coordinated Management of Meaning). Analysis of Transculturalism in Inter/Action”
  • Swati Shirwadkar (University of Pune):
    “Lagaan or Slumdog?: Learning Culture Across Nations”


16.30 – 18.00
Panel 4:
Transculturalism in Art and Literature (Chair: Barbara Schaff, Georg-August-University Göttingen)

  • María Pilar Rodríguez (Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao):
    “Transnational Cinema in Europe”
  • Asier Altuna-García de Salazar (Universidad de Deusto, Bilbao):
    “Envisaging Transcultural Realities through Literature”
  • Anna Pia De Luca (Universitá degli studi di Udine):
    “Transcultural Encounters in Reinscribing Identity: European Memories and Ethnic Minority Writing in Canada”

Saturday 25th June


09.00 – 10.00 T 0.134
Panel 5:
Transculturalism in the Urban Space (Chair: Sadayuki Okada, Osaka University)

  • Alexandre Kostka (University of Strasbourg):
    “Building a Multicultural City: The ‘Neustadt’ in
  • Habbo Knoch (Georg-August-University Göttingen):
    “The Hotel as a Transcultural Place”

10.30 – 12.00
Panel 6:
Gauging European Transcultural Dimensions –
Panel Discussion:

  • Janny de Jong (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
  • Benjamin Martin (Uppsala University)
  • Martin Tamcke (Georg-August-University Göttingen)
  • Swati Shirwadkar (University of Pune)
  • Robert Wagenaar (Rijksuniversiteit Groningen)
  • Moderator: Asier Altuna (University of Deusto)

The conference was held as part as part of the European Studes IP 2011.