Comparative Aesthetics and Indonesian Islamic Critiques of Modernity Amongst the Ruins of Area Studies


Nau’s project examines the historical constellation of Area Studies and Cultural Studies as, respectively, post-WWII and post-Cold War fields of knowledge emblematic of the transformation of a world order from a system of sovereign nation-states to one of global and transnational systems and phenomena. The displacement of the concept of the nation-state in the discourse of both fields, marked by a rhetoric of crisis and the loss of an integrative concept of the political, has not yet resolved the antagonism between them.

Through the emerging field of transcultural, or comparative aesthetics, Nau engages his own field of Southeast Asian Studies at the intersection of language, culture, and the state, contending that the valuation of cultural production, specifically, in a variety of modern texts and literature, is decisively a project of locating political subjects in the narrative of a putative emerging world order.

Far from suggesting a retreat from large scale manifestations of culture and language that Area Studies maintains as its domain, nor from Cultural Studies’ concern with presence, authenticity and critique, Nau's research suggests that a viable synthesis of these fields can take place within a comparative framework of analysis that considers both emerging and historically conditioned communities of judgement as the primary arbiters of political and aesthetic value.

  • Exzellenzcluster
Weitere Informationen
Laufzeit: 01.02.2008 – 31.12.2010