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Abstracts 11 (2012), Nr. 1

English Abstracts

Sven Trakulhun : Kulturwandel durch Anpassung? Matteo Ricci und die Jesuitenmission in China, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

The encounter of Jesuit clerics with Chinese culture during the 17th and 18th century belongs to the most remarkable episodes of cross-cultural exchange between early modern Asia and early modern Europe. The article focuses on the Italian missionary Matteo Ricci who played a key role as initiator of these intercultural communication processes. Today, the Jesuit mission in China is above all considered as exemplary not only because it points out European impact on China, but also (especially with reference to religious discourses) since it uncovers cultural transfer likewise in the opposite direction. The religious dialogs between Chinese Confucians and European Jesuits actually spawned syncretistic forms of Christian belief which also included elements of Confucian thinking. By means of that, the Jesuit China mission became theologically controversial in Europe. Dogmatic objections on the part of rival Catholic orders lead then (one may assume necessarily) to the so called Chinese Rites Controversy which in the 18th century ended this exceptional missionary initiative.


Antje Flüchter : Pater Pierre Martin - ein „Brahmane aus dem Norden“. Jesuitische Grenzgänger in Südindien um die Wende zum 18. Jahrhundert, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

The scope of the French Jesuit mission in early modern South India lay for the most part outside of the French trading company's sphere of interest. Hence, the Patres had to adapt even more to the setting of their environment (accommodation) and thus became 'border crossers'. Their acting was documented in miscellaneous letter corpora. The article examines what kind of borders the missionaries could transgress in these accounts, and how the Jesuits thereby positioned themselves. Four types of borders are identified: the way of life (1), moral and ethics (2), the social border (3), and religion (4). The prerogative of determining the first three of the above-mentioned was held by the Indian elites. They constructed the border between Europeans and Indians. As opposed to the contrast between Christian and Non-Christian, this border could and actually had to be crossed to ensure a successful mission. This apportionment of a European identity indicates on the one hand that its relevance must be historicised, and on the other hand that mission not always has to be perceived as a manner of civilization.


Nadine Amsler : Der 'Ferne Westen' – mit chinesisch-christlichen Augen gesehen. Aloysius Fan Shouyi (1682-1753) als Mittler zwischen China und Italien, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

From the second half of the 17th century onwards, the early modern Catholic mission provided many Chinese with the opportunity to visit Europe in the retinue of a missionary. However, most of the Chinese travel companions barely were put on records. An exception to this was Aloysius Fan Shouyi. In the early 18th century he was living in Italy for about ten years where he joined the Jesuit order. After his return to China, he composed a travelogue at the Chinese authorities' behest. The present article shows on the one hand that very different institutions acted on Fan's account, notably the Society of Jesus and the Chinese authorities. Despite this, his individual perception is still traceable to a certain extent. On the other hand this paper specifically aims at Fan's 'hybrid' Chinese-Christian biography, emphasizing that it strongly altered his own perspective.


Martin Stuber : Vom Simmental bis Spitzbergen. Albrecht von Haller als europäischer Vermittler regionaler Kultur und Ökonomie, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

Albrecht von Haller saw the usefulness of travelling, including the composition of travelogues, in educating people by means of broadening their horizon, and beyond that in the comparison and transfer of regional forms of acquisitioning nature. In these two dimensions Haller's manifold activity as a facilitator became manifest, notably as a poet of the Alps, as a key figure in the globalizing transfer of plants, and as a reviewer of travelogues and landscape accounts. Since his first journey to the Alps, he unified in his person the idealizing glance on this foreign culture with an inquiring mind probing the unknown nature. Particularly regarding the transfer of cultivated plants, nature and culture were closely intermingled as the exchange of seeds, roots and seedlings was just one aspect of it, the practices and expertises of the regional culture and economy formed yet another very important one.


Miriam Wallraven : Reiseliteratur als Kontaktzone und Schreibort: Lady Mary Wortley Montagu als Mittlerin zwischen den Kulturen, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

With her Turkish Embassy Letters Lady Mary Wortley Montagu (1689-1762) established herself in different respects as a 'border crosser' and intermediary. First of all, she has to be seen as a border crosser between genres, notably between fact and fictionalization. Furthermore, due to her own textual positioning, she emerges as a border crosser between gender norms. This again shapes her perception of the 'extraneous' and of her own culture. While that way she offers her European readers new insights into the life in the orient beyond stereotyped perceptions, her letters yet also create new demarcations, among other things by a discursive Europeanization of the orient. The overcoming of cultural borders as well as the drawing up of new demarcations both occur in the stress field between the 'contact zone', which relocates Montagu into the precise field of perception, and the place of writing, where cognition is being framed discursively and where the literary conditionality of cross-cultural intermediation is being leaded.


Claudia Opitz-Belakhal : Der „arabophile“ Carsten Niebuhr. Über emotionale und andere Grenzüberschreitungen im „glücklichen Arabien“, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

Between 1761 and 1767, the North German mathematician and land measurer Carsten Niebuhr (1733-1815) travelled by order of the King of Denmark together with a group of scientists through the Arabian Peninsula. From there he brought extensive research findings and accounts with him. Contemporary geographers and philologists rated these as absolutely pioneering, which made for Niebuhr's splendid reputation. While recent academic research focuses on the question in how far his portrayals are impartial or rather 'orientalistic' (as defined by E. Said), the contemporaries thought of Niebuhr more as being 'arabophile', as his son, the historian Reinhold Niebuhr, passed it on in a biographical sketch. Based on this presentation of Niebuhr, the article raises the question what kind of emotions his experiences of travelling and transgression accompanied, and how a special emotional attachment of the explorer to his by then unknown and alien object of investigation might be explained. In this connection, the concept of 'inner acculturation' plays a significant role. Hereby the traveller could enable himself emotionally and cognitively to look without fear at the 'extraneous' and to overstep cultural borders. In the end, an extensive disdain of feelings and strong emotions, which were accredited only to the ragtag or the inexperienced (pilgrim-)voyagers, crystallized in favour of a 'real friendship'. This 'real friendship' connected Niebuhr in terms of the enlightened concept of the 'respublica litteraria' with (socially advantaged) Arabs thirsty for knowledge and open minded towards foreigners and science, i.e. Arabs he and his companions encountered on their journey.


Joachim Eibach : Tasten und Testen: Alexander von Humboldt im Urwald, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

Within the era of the scientification of travelling Alexander von Humboldt's journey through America (1799-1804) takes up a central position. Modern academic research as well as Humboldt's contemporaries accompany each other in describing him as a confident personality, be it in a colonialist narrative as a discoverer of vintage style, be it as a humanistic cosmopolitan. Gazing at Humboldt's texts from the contact zone during his voyage yet reveals an irritated, fascinated and often disoriented researcher-ego feeling its way through the coppice of foreign cultures. In doing so, Humboldt communicates with the natives as directly and forthrightly as possible. His observations trigger self-reflection. He criticizes European stereotypes of America and gives different viewpoints a try. For him, the command of language yields evidence of the natives being capable of developing at least some sort of culture. Having said that, he considers 'civilizing' them by adopting European languages. In spite of his unequivocally European starting points, Humboldt neither searches in America for the fundamental 'Other' nor does he insist upon difference. He regards the natives of the Orinoko River and the Andes – like the Europeans – as human beings.


Johannes Stephan : Wie man die anderen verstehen soll und wie man über sie schreiben kann. Der Paris-Bericht Rifā’a aṭ-Ṭahṭāwīs (1801-1873) als vielseitige Vermittlung von ‘Kultur’, in: zeitenblicke 11 (2012), Nr. 1.

The essay on hand presents a certain reading of the much debated Paris account of Rifāʿa aṭ-Ṭahṭāwī. Disagreeing with the assumption Ṭahṭāwī would simply have travelled from one culture into another, the paper wants to explain how one might be able to discover an own concept of 'culture' in this Egyptian's text. It is shown that particularly his handling of the French concept of civilization suggests a plural understanding of culture. This is confirmed by the fact that the text displays those dimensions of the concept of culture which can also be reconstructed out of European intellectual history as a whole: culture as a distinct lifestyle, as a characterizing definition of social development, and as a creative or even artistic activity.

Erstellt von: RedaktionZB
Zuletzt verändert: 2012-11-08 09:22 AM