The key idea of this seminar was the conception of an emergent condition of the human, breaking through the culturally defined mood of existence into new possibilities of experiencing and communicating. The expected result is the definition of a seemingly utopian, transcultural stage of human being, liberated from cultural automatisms and filters that separate him/her not only from the direct experience of the world, but also from the vast sectors of the humanity that don't share the same cultural background.
In spite of its seemingly utopian character, the transcultural modality of existence becomes a reality in the globalized conditions, as we face the process of dissolving cultural boundaries and cultures as well defined and confined symbolic systems. The endeavor of developing a consistent theoretical approach towards those changes, as well as the desire of shaping and fostering them, appears thus as a pressing challenge.
The transcultural reality is characterized as the emergence of a new level of complexity due to the increased number of interactions between the diverse cultural systems. The aim of this program is thus to create new theoretical tools adopted to deal with this increased complexity in order to describe and analyze adequately the transcultural phenomena, both the ones discovered in the cultural past and those inherent to the contemporary, globalizing world.
This search for an analytical metalanguage will revisit the legacy of the postmodernism in its attempts of breaking through the established modalities of thinking. On the other hand, it will explore with special attention the transcultural potential of abstract languages of science, including the inspirations of the contemporary mathematics, such as topological geometry. Beyond the hermetic domain of topology, the visual arts and the visual culture in a wider sense (including diagrammatic, pictographic and other similar modalities of communication) will be regarded as a potential field of transcultural exploration. Finally, the attempt of achieving the transcultural condition through artistic practice will be an inherent part of this program as well. Thus, this seminar has a transdisciplinary character, by which we understand both the perspective of integrating different disciplinary fields in the study of determined phenomena, and the possibility of transgressing the frontier between research, reflection and creative activity, scholarship and art.
The transcultural phenomena will be considered both in their contemporary connection to the globalizing processes and in their precedents that may be found in the cultural history. Among the first premises of this program there is the observation that in certain circumstances, due to varied motivations, a human being has always nurtured the aspiration of transcending the limitations imposed by the culture in which he/she has been primarily acculturated. In search of such precedents of the transcultural condition, several topics appear as privileged. The relationships between the European culture based on Christianity and the cultures of Islam will be considered with special attention as a laboratory of transcultural debate. The emergent figure of Muslim intellectual and the exploration of the post-secular revisiting of monotheistic traditions will be observed, analyzed and developed as a specific field of emergence of a transcultural meta-discourse transcending the incommensurable discourses built up by theological traditions. Still in the domain of religion, the converging heritage of world's mysticisms will be explored as the expression of human aspiration of transcending the limitations of the cultured condition and as a legacy of practices and techniques of actually achieving states of mindfulness and directness of experience unmediated by the cultural filters. On the opposite, yet communicating pole, human relationships with animals – as well as human attempts of communicating through the exchange of animals across the cultural frontiers – will be explored as a complementary field of transcultural practice.
The program was composed by several synergistic paths or clusters of problems:
Dagnino, A., "Global Mobility, Transcultural Literature, and Multiple Modes of Modernity”, Transcultural Studies, 2/2013; http://journals.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/index.php/transcultural/article/view/9940/5432
Dagnino, A., Transcultural Writers and Novels in the Age of Global Mobility, Purdue University Press, 2015.
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia;
Deleuze, G., Guattari, F., A Thousand Plateaus;
Derrida, J., Khora; (English trans. included in: On the Name, Thomas Dutoit (ed.), Stanford University Press, 1995).
Epstein, M., "Transculture: A Broad Way Between Globalism and Multiculturalism", American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 68/2009; DOI: 10.1111/j.1536-7150.2008.00626.x
Epstein, M., The Transformative Humanities. A Manifesto, Blumsbury, 2012.
Gansterer, N. et al., Drawing a Hypothesis. Figures of Thought, Wien – New York, Springer, 2011.
Guattari, F., Schizoanalytic Cartographies, London, Bloomsbury, 2013.
Moretti, F., Graphs, Maps, Trees, Abstract Models for Literary History, London - New York, Verso, 2005.
(Further readings will be suggested during the seminar).