VIENNA CHAPTER: Kuenstlerhaus, Vienna
May 20th, 2005
2.15 – 6.00 pm (lectures part 1: The Other self)

Postcolonialism and the Dialectics of the Other in a European Context: The Habsburg Monarchy

In Anglo-Saxon Cultural Studies, Postcolonialism has become a predominant feature. It raises questions of relations between culture and power and the extremely asymmetrical relations of exchange on all levels. The point of the argument is that cultural differences and economic inequality are maintaining a precarious relationship. In the 19th century, along with the big narratives of progress and liberty, another narrative emerges, which excerts a significant influence on inter- and intra-cultural relations, providing for an instrument of assessing cultures by their degree of progressivity. Questions of the post-colonial discourse may be modified with regard to European constellations, emerging in the 19th and 20th centuries. The invention of the Other, and the claim to speak for them, romantic transfiguration and political hegemony towards those less advanced in terms of progress are a definite part of the symbolic in the stock of western-european imaginations of dominance: India and the Orient are everywhere, thus also in Europe. The dialectics of imagery of the Self and Other shall be illustrated and discussed within the context of the multi-ethnic Habsburg empire and put in perspective with current asymmetries in EU-Europe.

Wolfgang Mueller-Funk (Vienna) is a literary scientist and cultural philosopher, teaching a.o. in Munich, Birmingham and Vienna; research-projects concerned with cultural theory, cultural anthropology as well as with culture and multi-ethnicity in the Habsburg monarchy.

Respondent: Ranjit Hoskote (Bombay) is cultural theorist, poet and independent curator.


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