"Modernity" in transcultural discourses
What are the implications for a German Studies which calls itself "intercultural" when it seeks to take into account the disparate locations where "modernity" is talked about? What is "modernity" in the self-conception of the West, and what discursive attributions does it receive in the Chinese self-conception? In the context of globalisation and post-colonialism, and with the study of literature now more cultural studies oriented, the attempts to theorise "modernity", hitherto largely Europe-centred, have been extended through concepts of a "modernity" qualified as "alternative", "marginal", "delayed" or "peripheral". The canon of "modernity" is now being broken up discursively (deconstructed), and not only challenged for the asymmetry of its power relations (centre and periphery, modernity and tradition), but as a continuous and open process of formation of changing, multiple modernities "modernity" is now becoming transparent. The history of "modernity"is no longer simply assumed as a quasi-"natural " process of the homogenisation of the world. At the centre of the project, different locations, agents and times will be sought out and scrutinised, in order to make "modernity" transparent as a discursive formation involving self-foreign positionings – whether political, cultural or historical – in different institutional, cultural and ideological contexts. The focus will above all be on intellectual points of contact which can act as interfaces for imaginary encounters of Chinese and Western modernity discourses, together with the reciprocal interrelatedness of these discourses.