Last Wednesday evening, Martin Puchner (Harvard University), Professor of Drama and of English and Comparative Literature, presented a preview of his new book-length project Introduction to the Arts and Humanities. The new introduction is a response to rapidly sinking enrollments in the humanities across the United States and a subsequent demand for a single introductory course covering all arts and humanities. The event took place via ZOOM and also with in-person participation in the KWI Garden Room.
During her moderation, Laura Bieger (Ruhr-Universität Bochum), Professor of American Studies, gave short explanations about Puchner’s previous publications, which he writes in the field of storytelling.
The focus of his new book will be the transmission of cultural objects and practices in different institutions of storage, for example, the Chauvet-Cave in southern France or the epic of Gilgamesh (more specifically, the Flood Tablet/Tablet XI).
Interruptions form the starting point of his presentations, which enable contact between the various cultures of different kinds through medial transmission. Visual enrichment from caves as time capsules to the cultural and historical transfer of climate catastrophes resulted in a wide-ranging consideration of synchronous and diachronic dependencies, which are inscribed in the objects as well as reflected in forms of narration and re-narration. The audience problematized aspects of generalizations and cultural appropriation, which complemented the book presentation and encouraged further thinking.
(Text: Nadine Henn)