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Global Modernities


Museum Fridericianum, side wing

Prof. Dr. Liliana Gómez, Dr. Charlotte Bank, Lada Nakonechna

Since the turn of the century and the so-called "global turn" in cultural history, the notion of modernity as a purely Western phenomenon has been widely critiqued and the importance of re-thinking modernity as global and interconnected stressed by numerous authors. This has included debates about appropriate terminology.[1] Whether we chose to talk about "other", "global", "multiple", "alternative" or "non-Western" modernities, the need to redefine this phenomenon that has left no region untouched and studying its historical connections to colonialism and imperialism remains as important as ever. In the field of art history more specifically, this has led to numerous research projects and publications that have centered on artistic production outside the art centres of the West, while still keeping the interdependent nature of the international and global art scene and market in mind. As Piotr Piotrowski has argued, art history must be horizontal and open to all peripheries as well as to the former centres.[2 ] This approach is discerned in the work of numerous art historians, who have examined the rise of local artistic movements and theoretical approaches of locations outside of the Western centers, as well as educational endeavours, with each study adding to our understanding of the history of modern art as a rich and diverse global field of scholarship.


With this lecture series, we will examine art historiography as part of global modernization processes and invite scholars focusing on different regions in the Global South and Eastern Europe whose work is and has been seminal to these debates in order to discuss how notions of modernity were shaping art practices throughout the twentieth century.


[1 ] E.g. Appadurai, A., Modernity at Large, Cultural Dimension of Globalization, Minneapolis/London: University of Minnesota Press, 2010 (1996); Chakrabarty, D., Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000; Gaonkar, D. P. (ed.), Alternative Modernities, Durham & London, Duke University Press, 2001; Mitchell, T. (ed.), Questions of Modernity. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2000.

[2] Piotrowski, Piotr: In the Shadow of Yalta. Art and the Avant-garde in Eastern Europe, 1945-1989, trans. Anna Brzyski, London: Reaktion Books, 2009


Contested Memories in the Global South

Seminar with guest lectures

Contested Memories in the Global South

Thursday 4-6 p.m.

Moritzstr. 18, Campus Center, Room 1112/Seminar Room 3

This lecture series addresses the socio-political challenges and the artistic practices of remembering in the Global South. We ask how societies deal with violent history and the past, whose history is remembered, how politics of the past is shaped, whose interests prevail in the "making of history", what role different media (art, film, literature, music) play in memory, how the struggles for remembering are fought out. The lecture series has a strong practical and research orientation and is situated at the intersection of art, museum practices, culture, politics and society. Participants will be introduced to the concepts of transitional justice, politics of the past, and cultures of memory and guided to develop theoretically grounded research questions. Guests are: Jan Stehle, Susanne Buckley-Zistel, Mónika Contreras Saiz, Katarzyna Puzon, Friederike Pannewick, Stefan Peters, Anne Hufschmid and Martin Schmidl.

Histories of Resistance

September 4 - 15, 2023. Bogotá, Colombia

The University of Kassel, in cooperation with Universidad del Rosario, Escuela de Ciencias Humanas, and documenta Institut Kassel, invites Master and doctoral students, artists, and engaged members of the diverse fields of the humanities and the arts to apply for an international summer school held from September 4 to 15, 2023, in the city of Bogotá,Colombia. The summer school is supported by CAPAZ - German-Colombian Peace Institute -, CELA - Centro de Estudios Latinoamericanos of the University of Kassel, and the DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service.

About the Summer School:

The summer school Histories of resistance: remembering and archiving political and environmental conflicts offers an international and interdisciplinary exchange on political and environmental conflicts. It takes Colombia, a country of rich biodiversity and a long history of numerous violent conflicts that have affected both the cities and the rural regions, as a starting point to reflect upon conflicting memory cultures in the global present past.

Conflicts cause long-lasting traumas and material and immaterial wounds in living ecosystems and social ecologies. While some past events become part of the historical memory and are remembered in local, regional or national cultural forms and practices , e.g. of music, performances, art, or literature, others remain engraved as damages within the diverse ecosystems, and are still invisibilized. The summer school seeks to foreground practices of remembering and archiving as forms that resist forgetfulness, and help claim both political participation and historical and cultural recognition. Following this, the soil is conceived as an archive of violence and displacements through which the cultural relations between people and ecosystems have been permanently disrupted. The focus lies on the peace process in Colombia, in which the role of memory and archive in coming to terms with the multi-layered conflicts on the Colombian territory are explored. Special attention is given to the artistic forms and aesthetic practices that resist forgetting and are used as an integral part of the peace process. The summer school seeks to identify new speculative propositions and creative responses and to acknowledge these forms and practices as histories of resistance.

The thematic threads of the summer school will address local and collective ecologies and knowledges, tangible and intangible forms of resistance to forgetfulness, emergent institutional and non-institutional archives of civil society, foregrounding the critical and creative capacity of the arts and aesthetic articulations of healing, reparation, restitution and peacemaking. In workshops, seminars, and public events the summer school aims to address the following perspectives:

  • Linguistic and cultural patterns of historical conflicts, their narrativizations and contemporary effects.
  • Contested memories of conflict in soil, urban and rural spaces, museums & collections.
  • The performance of human and non-human rights in aesthetic forms and practices.
  • Circulation and negotiation of memory in Latin American literature from a global perspective.
  • Memorial sites and artifacts as renegotiations of public space and historical memory.

The summer school welcomes participants from the following academic and artistic fields:Literature, cultural studies , linguistics, history and visual/environmental history, the arts, art history, humanitarian and environmental law, human geography, performances studies, architecture and urban planning, anthropology and ethnology, peace studies, philosophy.

Dates of the program:

  • Arrival date in Bogotá: Sunday, September 3
  • Starting date: Monday, September 4
  • Finishing date: Sunday, September 15

Ethics of Display

12/07/2022 | ART AND SOCIETY

10:00 - 13:00 GMT, Online 

The material past lives and lived testimonies of victims of genocide and human rights abuses frequently form a central part of the narratives of violence in Holocaust and Genocide Museums and other sites of memory. However, the use of victims' testimonies, personal artifacts, photographs and even in some cases physical remains poses questions about the ethics of display. Firstly, to what extent might this process re-victimise? Secondly, do museums have a moral duty towards the dead they display? Thirdly, how should museums store, handle and display both human remains and personal artifacts? These are merely a few of the myriad moral questions that researchers and museum staff must deal with in their everyday encounters with remains.

Hosted by the Peace and Conflict Cultural Network this symposium will explore this contested space, with contributions from Tali Nates, director of the Johannesburg Genocide Centre, Dr. Zuzanna Dziuban of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Elma Hodžić of the Historical Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina and James Bulgin, Director of Public History at the Imperial War Museum.

In addition, we will explore possible themes and ideas for the 'Why Remember?' international conference as part of the symposium and invite both past participants and those wishing to attend in 2023 to engage with the Steering Committee of the Peace and Conflict Culture Network to assist in shaping the call for papers for the 2023 conference.

The Peace and Conflict Culture Network is an international network that facilitates connections between academics, practitioners and cultural sector workers, and mobilise arts and social institutions engaged in peace, conflict and cultural discourse.

The network will foreground the contribution of academics and institutions from post conflict societies in particular from the Former Yugoslavia, Rwanda and the Great Lakes region, Lebanon and the Middle East and Colombia and Latin America.

The Peace and Conflict Culture Network is convened by University of the Arts London and funded by the AHRC. The organising team consists of Professor Liliana Gómez, University of Kassel; Dr Paul Lowe, PARC and London College of Communication; Dr Nela Milic, PARC and London College of Communication; Professor Kenneth Morrison, De Montfort University.

Keynote lecture

11/24/2022 | ART AND SOCIETY

Liliana Gómez: (Neo)extractivism and its discomfort: artistic responses to commodity cultures. University of Duisburg-Essen 

Extractivism and its discontents: cultural and artistic counter-movements

07-18.09.2022 | ART AND SOCIETY

Kassel, Germany

We announce the program for the International Summer School Extractivism and its discontents: cultural and artistic counter-movements, organized by the University of Kassel, in collaboration with Más Arte Más Acción (MAMA), documenta Institut and CELA, which will take place in the city of Kassel, Germany from September 7-18, 2022 within the framework of documenta fifteen.

The sessions will feature a diverse group of guest lecturers who have proposed and co-created a variety of themed dialogue spaces that will allow participants to explore the cultural, aesthetic, and political implications of extractive economies through discursive and artistic laboratories, from interdisciplinary perspectives that span the arts, humanities, cultural studies, and social sciences.

The participants of the summer school were selected through an open call and the selection by an academic committee that resulted in a group of 35 people, 15 of them recipients of a DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service scholarship. We count among our participants activists, researchers, artists and academics who reflect on Latin America's ecological diversity and its long (post)colonial experience of resource extraction through their practices.

Although these sessions are closed to participants, we will have two sessions open to the public that will take place at the MAMA Doc Space, the space dedicated to the development of the Más Arte Más Acción program during documenta fifteen.

On Friday, September 9, expert teachers from the summer school such as Liliana Gómez, Carolina Caycedo, Paco Gomez Nadal and Ximena Gonzales will talk in a forum called: Ecosystems: Art and Artivism. On Wednesday, September 14, Elizabeth DeLoughrey, Alejandra Rojas and Liliana Gómez will meet in a discussion space called: Thinking with Bodies of Water. If you are in Kassel, we invite you to join this open invitation to reflect on our Summer School.

The International Summer School: Extractivism and its discontents, cultural and artistic counter-movements is organized by the University of Kassel, documenta Institut, CELA and Más Arte Más Acción Foundation with the support of documenta fifteen and CAPAZ - German-Colombian Peace Institute. This initiative is financed by DAAD - German Academic Exchange Service with funds from the Federal Foreign Office (Auswärtiges Amt, AA).

For more details on the program and the lectures, see:



Thursday, July 21, 2022
Artist talk with Ursula Biemann, Uriel Orlow and Alexandra Gelis (conSECUENCIAS collective)
Venue: Untere Karlsstr. 14, 34117 Kassel
6 - 8 pm
Friday, July 22, 2022
Talk and Round Table Discussion with T.J. Demos
Venue: Untere Karlsstr. 14, 34117 Kassel
6 - 8 pm
Discussants: Liliana Gómez and Fabienne Liptay
The events are supported by documenta Institut, Universität Kassel, Universität Zürich, and Schweizerischer Nationalfonds (SNF)

The climate change crisis has become part of both aesthetic discourses and critical research perspectives in culture and the arts. Until recently, the focus has been mainly on the representation of the prevalent ecological relationships and cycles or on the impacts on the environment and contemporary society. Increasingly, however, future-oriented, ecologically conceived possibilities for action are being explored by emergent artists, curators, and critical scholars. In addition to the need for global and local (co)operations, new technologies present both challenges and opportunities for shaping a sustainable future.

We will explore eco-operations and  e-cooperations that address both the ecologies and technologies of cooperation (artistic, activist, curatorial, etc.). The concepts of "flow" and "network" that are central in globalization studies are relevant for our perspective and, as the hyphen suggests, for the discussion of interruptions, ruptures, disconnections, dissonances, exclusions, and allochronism. The project critically distances itself from notions of a single, coherent (eco- or techno-) system and instead emphasizes frictions within asynchronously running systems. We aim thus to form a working group that addresses curatorial and artistic practices of cooperation (including structurally or institutionally supported or 'enforced' cooperations in the field of "global art"), in order to critically reframe them. Media formats and infrastructures play here a central role, as they enable and regulate processes of sharing and exchange. In this context, artists and activists depend on the same media ecological environments into which they simultaneously intervene. This points to a field of tension between global and local ecologies, where dissonances can be identified and, accordingly, signify both creative potential and political challenges.

From an interdisciplinary approach (film, literature, media studies, art history, philosophy, political theory, and cultural analysis), we aim to inquire into these questions and speculations. As a group of researchers, thinkers, curators and artists, we are aware of existing contradictions as part of the collaborative effort of a "working group," we plan to form and initiate. Rather than striving towards a coherent product, we aim to elaborate and present fragments of thought in public discussions, exhibitions, authors' workshops, and essays that will be published in collective formats.

The planned activities will take place in Kassel on 21 and 22 July 2022 on the occasion of documenta fifteen and in spring 2023 as part of the discursive and exhibition program at KINDL in Berlin, both in Germany. The project is supported by the University of Kassel and the newly founded documenta Institut, the University of Zurich and Zentrum Künste und Kulturtheorie. ecooperations is jointly organized by Liliana Goméz (University of Kassel / Kunsthochschule Kassel) and Fabienne Liptay (University of Zurich).

Lecture series summer semester 2022

25.04.-11.07.2022 | ART AND SOCIETY


Organization: Prof. Dr. Liliana Gómez, Dr. Charlotte Bank, Hannah Katalin Grimmer

Mondays | Monday 6 - 8 pm 

Kunsthochschule Menzelstraße 13 North Building | 0605

"Art constitutes one of the rare locations where acts of transcendence can take place and have a wide-ranging transformative impact." (bell hooks)

Following bell hooks' conceptualization of art and artistic creation as fundamentally transformative, in the lecture series "Aesthetic Dimensions of the Political: Art, Activism, Participation" in the summer semester of 2022, we would like to discuss with speakers* from different disciplines. These bring different fields of activity, thematic emphases, and regional focuses that are connected by feminist, queer-feminist, and gender-related issues.

Together, we would like to address diaspora, exile and flight, as well as self-organization and resistance. We want to explore how the linkages of artistic creation, archival practices, and critique can form theoretical concepts for the development of new forms of communities in solidarity. Especially in overcoming global inequality and dependency relations in a world still shaped by (neo-)colonial structures, art can represent a space in which emancipatory strategies can be conceived.

The lecture series is dedicated to questions of the interplay between art and society: a central focus is on the performative function of art and literature to speak truth and to demand political participation. The aesthetic dimensions of the political and art's ability to articulate alternative worlds will be examined. This critical potential of art enables it to go beyond questions about the institutions of the political as ethical-aesthetic considerations, because its creative modes create alternative semantics to, for example, a society's legal failures or lack of political participation. Invited d15 artists, curators, and scholars will explore these questions together.



Based on bell hook's conceptualization of art and artistic production as fundamentally transformative, we invite a discussion with speakers from different disciplines within the lecture series "Aesthetic Dimensions of the Political: Art, Activism, Participation", scheduled for the summer semester 2022. The speakers work in diverse fields of activity, thematic priorities and regional focuses, which are connected by feminist, queer-feminist and gender-related approaches.

Together we seek to address issues of diaspora, exile and flight, self-organization and resistance. We want to pursue the question of how the links between artistic creation, archival practices and critique can form theoretical concepts for the development of new forms of solidarity communities. Particularly in the effort to overcome global inequality and relationships of dependency in a world that is still shaped by (neo)colonial structures, art can have the potential to function as a space in which emancipatory strategies can be conceptualized.

The lecture series addresses questions of the interaction between art and society: A central focus is on the performative function of art and literature to speak the truth and demand political participation. The focus is on the aesthetic dimensions of the political and art's ability to articulate alternative worlds. This critical potential of art enables art to go beyond questions about political institutions as ethical-aesthetic considerations. With their creative modes they create alternative semantics to, for example, the legal omissions of a society or a lack of political participation. Invited artists of Documenta 15, curators and researchers will explore these questions together.

Program | program:

1. 25. April 2022 Einführung / Introduction: Liliana Gomez, Charlotte Bank, Hannah Grimmer

2. May 02, 2022 Andrea Giunta: Curatorial Strategies in Times of Exception: A Latin American Case (per Zoom)

3. May 09, 2022 Gayatri Gopinath: Promiscuous Intimacies: Queer Diasporic Excavations of the Archive

4. May 16, 2022 Jens Kastner: Fight the evil eye! The feminist art collective Polvo de Gallina Negra (1983-1993) in the context of conceptualist and activist practice (via Zoom).

5. May 23, 2022 Monira Al Solh: I strongly believe that we have no rights whatsoever

6. May 30, 2022 Elisabeth Tuider: Solidarity beyond identity politics

7. June 13, 2022: Archives des luttes des femmes en Algerie: Transmettre les traces des luttes féminines et féministes en Algérie. De la constitution d'une archive numérique à la mise en récit curatoriale.

8. June 20, 2022 Marwa Arsanios: Conversation with Charlotte Bank

9. June 27, 2022 Jill Casid: Melancholy as Medium

July 10, 2022  SylviaSasse: The Artistic Documentation of War: Ukraine 2014-2022

July 11, 2022 Burcu Dogramaci: Queer Exile, displaced Arts - Art History on shaky ground