Languages of Collecting. Literature as medium and reflective form of collecting

Against the background of the current dominance of material culture and the resulting interest of the humanities in forms of collecting and collections in the last twenty years, the network Languages of Collecting is concerned with literature as the medium which is active in establishing collections, under its own conditions, and which reflects about collections at the same time. The term literature is thereby understood to mean - in the narrow definition which has been in place since the “Sattelzeit” – a non-purposeful and imaginative form of writing; however, the research at hand focusses in particular on the 19th and 20th centuries. When researching collections, the centre of interest is the epistemic meaning of literature, i.e. collecting is regarded as a form of knowledge, in which different knowledge cultures manifest, depending on the specific medium and the order structures contained therein. In connection with literature, we are interested in the question about which idiosyncrasies and media-related possibilities distinguish literature(s) as forms of collecting: a) as a medium that produces collections itself via genuinely literary, poetic and rhetorical order systems and texts as well as b) as a medium, which, by addressing and describing, reflects on the act of collecting, collectors and institutions of collections via the motif of collecting. Both aspects cannot be clearly separated and yet are not identical. The central focus of the research project is on the question if and how there is a knowledge discourse in the literary interest in collecting and collections that is based on a specific literary knowledge. In order to contrast this literary knowledge in the interdisciplinary research network, there are research essays by art and cultural historians to stand alongside the case studies about anglophone, romanophone and German literature; these also bring a different definition of literature into play. Compared to other forms of knowledge and collection, the historic question interested in synchrony and a-synchrony of literature is also of interest; this latter question relates the exemplary case studies to decisive moments in the development of natural science and of the humanities and to specific phases in the culture of collecting. The different projects undertaken by the members of the network are organised into four modules linked by similar themes. The results will be presented in five events during the term of the network (2010-2013).

Principal investigators
Arndt, Andreas Prof. Dr. (Details) (Philosophy)

DFG: Sachbeihilfe

Duration of project
Start date: 11/2011
End date: 12/2014

Last updated on 2022-08-09 at 23:06