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In/transitive Modernities: Dis/continuities and cultural transformation

Explore transcultural connections and divides across Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa and the American continent from the 20th to the 21st century

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CIVIS focus area
Society, culture, heritage
Open to
  • Master's
  • PhD
Field of studies
  • Art, Design and Media
  • Social Science and humanities
Course dates
26 January 2022 - 28 April 2023

Focusing on cultural transfers, encounters, and circulations, this course explores trans-European and transcultural connections and divides across Europe, the Mediterranean, Africa, and the American continent from the 20th to the 21st century. Reflecting the research concerns of the teaching team, the course will focus on diverse social experiences, forms, and media, spanning literature, film, the visual arts, and creative practice at large. We will examine experiences of [un]belonging, the formation of identity and memory, mobility, [un]rootedness, and the sense of place. With a view to expanding our core concept of ‘in/transitive modernities’ both theoretically and methodologically, the course will take as its main axis the concept of ‘home’ considered from the joint perspectives of transnationalism, diaspora, and dispossession. We will work with recent theoretical paradigms in fields such as feminism, border and migration studies, decolonial thought, public humanities, and posthumanism, in order to examine how literature, art, and theory expose values that are unsustainable and/or naturalised, engage with social challenges and lead us towards reconfigured forms of praxis.

The course carries 6 ECTS and comprises a range of training activities, summing up to 160 hours distributed as follows:

  • 40 hours of theoretical-practical classes guided by professors (lectures, seminars, plenary discussions, workshops) that would represent 20 hours online and 20 hours on-site in Athens
  • 8 hours of tutoring
  • 2 hours of evaluation activities
  • 110 hours of individual learning and teamwork projects developed together with other international students.

Detailed course outlines, syllabus, and materials will be made available one month prior to the beginning of the virtual component.

Main topics addressed

  • Modern/modernist genealogies and avant-garde practices
  • Exile, migration, borders
  • Mobility, transnational and transcultural trajectories
  • Marginality, otherness, exclusion, citizenship
  • Racialization
  • Counter-publics

Learning outcomes

The programme will:

  • Strengthen and expand your perspective on European cultural values and practices
  • Engage research methodologies and theoretical frameworks to a wide variety of issues across national, cultural, and linguistic boundaries
  • Experiment with practices that gear these reflections into thinking across as a means to weave a relational fabric, and thus enliven participation in a social and cultural Europe in the making

This BIP course stems from the experience and momentum gained from two previous CIVIS summer schools at Aix-Marseille Université in August 2021 and at the University of Stockholm in June 2022.
For more info visit the Transitive Modernities website.

Dates: 26 January 2022 - 28 April 2023* Total workload: 160 hours
Format: Blended ECTS: 6*
Location: Athens, Greece Language: English (C1) 
Contact: transitivemodernities@gmail.com  

*Note change of date. Some earlier messages and promotional materials may refer to a starting date of 24 January 2023.

*Recognition of ECTS depends on your home university.

Physical mobility 

The on-site part will take place at the Athens University History Museum and will be running for five consecutive days, from Monday 24 April to Friday 28 April 2023. On-site sessions will foster collaborative production and rethink cultural practice in relation to social challenges. Students and teachers will ponder together how the blend of practice and research may lead to cultural transformation.

Each day will comprise three 2-hours long sessions:

  • Two-hour seminar sessions with student presentations based on work related to themes that were introduced in the online sessions led by the teaching staff
  • Two-hour collaborative workshops where students present their own findings and projects
  • Two-hour tutoring sessions alternating with sessions with cultural practitioners focusing on the practitioner’s work

Virtual part

The virtual part will be running from 26 January to 6 April 2023.

It will comprise ten 2 hour-long thematic sessions in which the teaching staff will introduce key concepts and questions related to case studies, followed by a discussion.

Throughout the online and on-site course, students will engage with the core readings on the learning hub. The hub will also be used to share reading experiences and responses, and creative work in progress.

Time: 17:00 - 19:00 CET

Thursday 26 January

In the first session, participants will be introduced to the key concepts that will be examined in “in/transitive modernities” and the teaching staff will present the aims and objectives of the course; participating students will be invited to form groups based on their interests and background.

In the following sessions, the teaching staff will introduce key concepts and questions, case studies and proposed activities pitched to the assigned materials. All online sessions will comprise discussions. From the second session onwards, tasks and activities will be assigned.

Thursday 2 February

The second session provides a cultural and critical framework for the discussion of home by resituating it in the long history of European culture. In particular, it discusses the notion of the “nowhere” as an expression of a new geographical sensitivity that claimed the possibility of inhabiting a non-territorial space and turning it into a site of nomadic circulations and experimentations.

Thursday 9 February

The third session offers us an opportunity to reflect on the figures, discourses, and cultural strategies of passions that can be articulated with the changing configurations of the concept of 'home'. The lecture focuses on nostalgia, a chameleon-like modern passion that traverses modernity and fuels its imagination in a not always dysphoric way.

Thursday 16 February

The fourth session pursues the discussion by focusing on the trans-European trajectories, and the mobility of a number of Nordic artists in the interwar period. The notion of home will be discussed in relation to feminist and gender issues, and cultural exchanges and networks.

Thursday 23 February

The fifth session discusses the notion of home and no home in the recently rediscovered work of the Jamaican-born poet and writer, Claude McKay, one the founders of the Harlem Renaissance in New York in the early 1920s and a major expatriate figure in Europe and North Africa.

Thursday 9 March

The sixth session examines the representation of home as the refuge of transmodern and intercultural relations and reciprocities, beyond and past the ethnocentric and racializing agendas of the organic community of the nation. Theoretical readings from Spillers, Balibar, Spivak, Derrida, Mignolo, and Walsh will help us shape the notion of a “tidal inhabitancy” that is inextricably linked to homelessness, dispossession, and expropriation.

Thursday 16 March

The seventh session focuses on Claire Denis’s film Beau travail (2000). Key themes include formal-filmic aspects such as the extent/limit of connections to modernism and the avant-garde, literal and metaphorical unrootedness/rootlessness, post-colonial and indigenous bodies, and Western military-strategic ‘mobility’ and involvement in Africa (historic and contemporary).

Thursday 23 March

In connection with the previous discussion, the eighth session will be devoted to an exploration of Chantal Akerman’s No Home Movie (2015), focusing on the mother-daughter relationship from feminist and film studies perspectives.

Thursday 30 March

The ninth session is dedicated to Cypriot poet and writer Stephanos Stephanides’s memoir fiction and critical writing. Stephanides’s subversive reading of home as ‘radical rupture’ is crucial for the acknowledgment of the need for home and the necessity of being warned about its ‘elusive transience’ and ‘fugacity’ and, perhaps, danger.

Thursday 6 April

The tenth session examines contemporary Egyptian prose poetry in the 1990s, through the writings of Yasser Abdellatif, Hoda Hussein, Iman Mersal, and Ahmed Yamani. Nearly thirty years later, most of them have traveled across continents, generic boundaries, media regimes, and political events. Is home the last illusion they have had to forsake in their crossings?

Requirements

This course is open to Master's and PhD students at CIVIS member universities with a background in one of the course’s related fields (Literary studies, Cultural and Visual Studies, Anglophone literature, Comparative Literature, Modern Languages, Art History, Semiotics), with related research and projects, and with a proficiency in the English language.

Application process

Send your application by filling in the online application form by 30 November 2022 with the following documents:

  • Motivation letter
  • CV
  • Research project outlines
  • Level of English

Assessment

Learning and assessment will take place around blended formats of online teaching and the 5-day meeting:

Participating students will have to:

  • Prepare and engage with the core readings for the online and on-site course; they will be required to formulate questions for the discussions and hand them in via the learning hub
  • Present their findings and projects
  • Reflect on their experience of the course in a final report

Blended Intensive Programme

This CIVIS course is a Blended Intensive Programme (BIP): a new format of Erasmus+ mobility which combines online teaching with a short trip to another campus to learn alongside students and professors across Europe. Click here to learn more about CIVIS BIPs.

GDPR Consent

The CIVIS alliance and its member universities will treat the information you provide with respect. Please refer to our privacy policy for more information on our privacy practices. By applying to this course you agree that we may process your information in accordance with these terms.

  • Stéphane Baquey is a poetry critic and an Associate Professor in Modern Literature at Aix-Marseille Université. He is the author of the preface to Kiril Kadiiski’s Poèmes (2006), published jointly by L’Esprit des Péninsules and Kliment Oxhridski University of Sofia, (to be reissued by Belles Lettres). For the last five years, his research has known a new inflection towards the poetics of the place telling from an ecopoetics perspective.
  • Raluca Bibiri is an Associate Professor of Film and Women's Studies at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies, University of Bucharest. She has authored two books on the concept of femininity in philosophy, psychoanalysis, culture, and the arts. Her ongoing research projects focus on intersectional posthumanist methodologies exploring social exclusion and institutionalized forms of knowledge and power. She is actively involved in the exchange between academia and society as a documentary filmmaker, reflecting on the instrumentality of the historical archives for the production of new forms of knowledge about the past, through a wider, more inclusive perspective.
  • Stamatina Dimakopoulou teaches US literature and culture at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She has been a Fulbright Visiting Scholar at New York University and has guest-lectured at Paris-Nanterre. She has published transatlantic avant-gardes across literature and the visual arts. She is a founding member and co-editor of Synthesis, an Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies. She has co-founded Transitive Modernities and participates in the CIVIS projects, CARE, and PostRacial Trans-Modernities. With Vassilis Vlastaras (Athens School of Fine Arts), she co-organised practice-based workshops to be followed by an exhibition at Atoposcvc. Currently working on a manuscript on home/lessness.
  • Angelos Evangelou is an Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature, at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. Since 2010, he was a Lecturer in the Department of Comparative Literature at the University of Kent. His research focuses on the border between madness and reason. Publications include Philosophizing Madness from Nietzsche to Derrida (2017) and articles in academic journals. Since 2015 he is a Fellow of the British Higher Education Academy and is an Honorary member of staff of the Department of Comparative Literature, University of Kent. He also participates in the CIVIS project on PostRacial Trans-Modernities and the BIP project Care.
  • Stephen Forcer is a Professor of French at the University of Glasgow. His publications include Modernist Song: The Poetry of Tristan Tzara (Legenda 2006) and Dada as Text, Thought and Theory (Legenda 2015), which was shortlisted for the 20016 Gapper Book Prize. In 2020-2021 he was a co-investigator on an AHRC research grant into the use of comedy and other performing arts in tackling sexual and gender-based violence, supported by NGOs in Sierra Leone and South Africa. He also participates in the CIVIS project on PostRacial Trans-Modernities.
  • Astrid Franke is a Professor of American Literature and Culture at Tübingen University. She is the author of Keys to Controversies: Stereotypes in Modern American Novels (1999) and Pursue the Illusion: Problems of Public Poetry in America (2010) as well as articles on popular culture, poetry, and injustice, and the contemporary American novel. She is a principal investigator in the interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Center Threatened Orders with a project on the resilience of the racial order in the US. She also participates in the CIVIS project on PostRacial Trans-Modernities.
  • Mina Karavanta is an Associate Professor of Theory, Comparative Literary and Cultural Studies, and Global English Literature at, the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She co-edited Interculturality and Gender and Edward Said and Jacques Derrida: Reconstellating Humanism and the Global Hybrid and published in journals such as boundary 2, Callaloo, Feminist Review, Modern Fiction Studies, Symplokē. She has participated in Travelling Concepts (ATHENA) and Behind the Looking-Glass (AHRC). She is co-founder and co-editor of Synthesis: An Anglophone Journal of Comparative Literary Studies. She has given invited talks in the US, Europe, the Caribbean, and Australia. She has launched the CIVIS project, PostRacial Trans-Modernities, and participates in the BIP project CARE.
  • Andrea Kollnitz is an Associate Professor of Art History and director of Studies for advanced level in Art History at Stockholm University. Her research focuses on art and nationalism, art and fashion discourses, the Nordic avant-garde, and connections between fashion and art during modernism. She is co-editor of Fashion and Modernism (Bloomsbury 2018), and A Cultural History of the Avant-Garde in the Nordic Countries. Vol 2 (Brill, 2019). She is currently working on a monograph about the Surrealist artist Leonor Fini and is co-editor of Fashion, Performance, and Performativity (Bloomsbury 2021).
  • Alexis Nusselovici is a Professor of General and Comparative Literature at Aix-Marseille Université. His research and publications span translation studies, the experience of exile, European culture, the literature of personal accounts, issues for mixed-race individuals, and the aesthetics of modernity. He is the leader of the ‘Transpositions’ group based at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Literature Study (CIELAM) at Aix-Marseille University and holds the ‘Exile and Migration’ Chair at the College of World Studies (Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme, Paris).
  • Isabella Pezzini is Professor of Semiotics at the Department of Sociology and Communication, Sapienza Università di Roma. She serves on the board of Versus, Quaderni di Studi Semiotici, E/C/, Rivista on-line dell’Associazone Italiana Semiotici. She focuses on contemporary forms of expression, audio-visual language, consumerism and the imaginary, and strategies in efficacity. Publications include: Le passioni del lettore, Saggi di semiotica del testo; Semiotic Efficacity and the Effectiveness of the Text, Trailer, spot, siti, banner. Le forme brevi della comunicazione audiovisiva, Scene del consumo. Dallo shopping al museo, It testo galeotto. La lettura come pratica efficace, Immagini quotidiane, Sociosemiotica visuale.
  • Anne Reynes-Delobel is Associate Professor of American Literature at Aix-Marseille Université. She has published widely on American modernisms and the international avant-gardes, and more specifically on their transatlantic circulation in the interwar period. She is the current president of The Kay Boyle Society (an ALA and SSAWAA affiliate) and a co-founder of the Banjo Society-ClaudeMcKay (AMU). She also participates in the CIVIS project on PostRacial Trans-Modernities and the BIP project CARE.
  • Jessica Sjöholm Skrubbe is Associate Professor in Art History at Stockholm University. She participated in the Transnational Perspectives on Women’s Art, Feminism, and Curating (Leverhume Trust). She is the editor of Konsthistorisk tidskrift/ Journal of Art History; an Advisory Board member for the Feminist legacy in Art Museums (Norwegian Research Council). Publications include: (Ed.) Curating Differently: Feminisms, Exhibitions, and Curatorial Spaces, and Nell Walden, Der Sturm, and the Collaborative Cultures of Modern Art. Her project “Swedish artists en route: Mobility, transnationalism and artistic practices in the early 20th century” was supported by Landskrona museum, Åke Wibergs stiftelse, and Magnus Bergvalls Stiftelse.

 

Invited speakers

  • Hélène Aji is Professor of American literature at the École normale supérieure in Paris, and Vice-President of the Institut des Amériques. She was Visiting Professor at the University of Texas in Austin (2017) and a Guest Professor at the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens. She is the author of Ezra Pound et William Carlos Williams: Pour une poétique américaine, William Carlos Williams: Un plan d’action, and a book-length essay on Ford Madox Ford’s The Good Soldier. She co-edited several volumes, most recently, Poètes et éditeurs : diffuser la pésie américaine (depuis 1945), “Records of Contingency: Forms and Media”, and Ashbery Hors Cadre, 2021). She co-directs the series “Intercalaires” (Paris Nanterre UP) and “Seminal Modernisms” (Clemson UP).
  • Ileana Marin is an associate professor at the University of Washington, Seattle, and at the Center of Excellence in Image Studies of the University of Bucharest, where she is also Chair of the Doctoral School “Space, Image, Text, Territory”. She has published books on tragic myths, Pre-Raphaelite artists, and Victorian aesthetics of erasure and has written extensively on the de-dehumanizingwer of art and the artistic legacy of communism as well as on the materiality of literary, pictorial, and graphic texts. Winner of several research grants, she has explored interdisciplinary dialogues between text and image and the transformation of artworks into cultural icons.