Universität KonstanzExzellenzcluster: Kulturelle Grundlagen von Integration

Full Professorship in Cultural Theory and Methodology

Prof. Kirsten Mahlke

The combination of textual studies with cultural and social theory is at the core of the research projects to be carried out under the auspices of the new Full Professorship in Cultural Theory.

The reduction of the concept of literature to self-sufficient works of art (in language) will be opposed just as consistently as the isolated negotiation of one “culture”, the domain of which is to be distinguished from that of “society”. Instead attention will be focused on the reciprocal implications of the terms. Literature, according to the basic premise of this research, is a form of social self-observation and self-description, but one with distinctive medial presuppositions, semiotic conditions and aesthetic spaces. Conversely, society remains dependent on aesthetic regimes and emblematic understandings. Without practices of cultural semiosis such as literature – inasmuch as it offers itself as an instance for mediation and a resource for fiction – there is no social formation which can justify itself and remain negotiable.