The Power of Things and the Flow of Cultural Transformations

Comprising lectures from the University of Heidelberg series “Asia and Europe in a Global Context,” this study aims to describe the role of artifacts, luxurious objects, and ideas in cultural processes from a wide range of disciplines—including art history, anthropology, literature, and cultural studies. Contending that material artifacts such as monuments, paintings, and manuscripts are signs of cultural self-definition even if they are integrated from far away, the examination explains how these objects have become embedded in the social and economic context as “natural,” indigenous things and how culture is in a perpetual state of becoming “colonized” by their familiarity. The selected essays demonstrate that this process is based on achieving a certain level of cultural identity, transferring objects into the languages of different contexts. Emphasizing how these forms of transgression demand a subtle adaptation, this compilation illustrates how the effort of integration assumes a translation in inner cultural self-understanding, an adaptation of knowledge, and the framing of objects in their new traditional context.

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About Giorgio Bertini

Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
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