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Across Literary and Linguistic Diversities

Essays on Comparative Literature

Edited By Goethe Society of India, Madhu Sahni and Mazumdar Shaswati

Comparative literary studies face new challenges today in a world marked by the migration of people, languages, ideas and texts across diverse and increasingly porous borders. The field is restricted by conventional notions of comparativism born in the era of nationalism and colonialism. However, scholars are now provoked to rethink these notions as a result of the social, economic and political forces that drive the contemporary world, which simultaneously draw it into an ever tighter global network and create new, or reassert persisting, lines of division.
What are the conceptual and methodological questions that must engage our attention if comparativism, as recent debates suggest, has to revive its critical potential and chart afresh the future of literary studies? The essays in this volume attempt to rethink comparison in this context through theoretical reflections and concrete comparative analyses. They investigate similarities and differences, connections and references, across diverse literary and linguistic cultures in Indian, German and other European literatures.
This volume is the 2014 Yearbook of the Goethe Society of India.
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Myths of culture: Notes on theory and practice of transculturality

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← 30 | 31 → DOROTHEE KIMMICH

Die im Moment gängige Kritik am Multikulturalismus zielt hauptsächlich – dies wird erst auf den zweiten Blick deutlich – auf islamische Einwanderer; wobei unterstellt wird, dass eine mangelnde Integration von Einwanderern aus islamischen Ländern zu sozialen, zu politischen und zu ‚kulturellen‘ Problemen führen würde. Die Kritik verbirgt also eine kulturalistisch motivierte Wertedebatte. ‚Die deutsche Leitkultur‘ wird schließlich an keiner Stelle gegen Internationalisierung oder gar den vielgerühmten ‚Kosmopolitismus‘ verteidigt, sondern es geht um einen im eigenen Land ausgetragenen ‚Clash of Civilizations‘. Die Frage, inwiefern Kulturkonflikte überhaupt alle kulturell bedingt sind, wird dabei nicht wirklich gestellt. Die Vorstellung eines Kulturkonflikts bleibt diffus, aber trotzdem selbstverständlich. Ich behaupte, dass dies wesentlich an einem Konzept von kultureller Identität liegt, dem ein mythisches Modell zugrunde liegt. Die Auseinandersetzung mit solchen modernen Mythen findet sich in der modernen Kulturkritik, aber auch – und zwar viel häufiger als meist angenommen – in der Literatur.

‘The multicultural approach has failed, utterly failed.’ These are Angela Merkel’s words of October 16, 2010 when seconding Horst Seehofer’s idea that ‘we as the Christian Democratic Union defend the German Leitkultur [‘leading’ or ‘guiding’ culture] and disapprove of the multicultural approach – multiculturalism is dead!’

A Seven-Point Action Plan was supposed to replace the notion of multiculturalism by specifying the ideas of a German Leitkultur. Accordingly, ← 31 | 32 → it says in the plan that the goal is to foster integration, in the sense of ‘living together,...

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