Universiteit Leiden

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Research programme

Modern and Contemporary (1800−Present)

This research cluster centres on regional, national, and global intersections and interactions between a variety of artistic expressions and society. It focuses not only on objects (artistic, literary, cinematic, and medial), but also on practices (aesthetic, political, and cultural).

Contact
Ernst van Alphen

Our Modern and Contemporary research cluster takes the late eighteenth century as its starting point, and centres on artistic and cultural practices, especially art, literature, and modern visual and oral media (such as photography, radio, film, theatre, street performances, and new media art). Our research connects these expressions to the socio-cultural and political developments that are relevant when investigating the production of meaning. We see our objects of study as influenced by their historical context, and as active, influencing forces themselves. Modernity, postmodernity, postcolonialism, globalisation, and transnationalism: all these terms allude to the constant transformation of our current era.

With this in sight, Modern and Contemporary cluster focuses on regional, national, and global intersections and interactions between different artistic practices and media: between ‘high’ and popular culture (with a clear accent on the ‘high’) and between textual and visual culture, in a variety of societal and scholarly domains. Research in this cluster unfolds along four strands, which are embodied by different research groups: 1) The Global Challenges of Cultural Memory, Trauma, and Identity,  2) Globalization and the Politics of Translation, 3) Remediation and Intermediality, and 4) Politics and Aesthetics.

LUCAS offers an especially fruitful environment for interdisciplinary collaboration; members engage with a range of fields, and frequently integrate interdisciplinary approaches into their research and teaching. Scholars affiliated with the Modern and Contemporary cluster at LUCAS not only address queries and concepts orbiting the role of the arts in the modern era, but maintain a high public profile: members participate in several national research schools, and are frequently asked to participate in civil debates and act as jury members for public prizes.

Connection with other research

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