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DFG-Projekt zu frankokaribischen Literaturen

Transatlantische Ideenzirkulation und -transformation:
Die Wirkung der Aufklärung in den neueren frankokaribischen Literaturen

Prof. Dr. Ralph Ludwig hat das DFG-Projekt gemeinsam mit den Bremer Kolleginnen Prof. Dr. Gisela Febel     und PD Dr. Natascha Ueckmann     eingeworben (Bewilligungsschreiben Februar 2017); die Laufzeit beträgt zunächst drei Jahre. Die Forschungen sollen in enger Verbindung der Universitäten Halle und Bremen mit der Sorbonne (Paris) und der Université des Antilles (Martinique, Guadeloupe) betrieben werden.

The basic assumption may be summarised as follows: the effects of the European Enlightenment transcend the boundaries of Europe and have a decisive influence on the political and cultural development of colonial and post-colonial societies. However, Enlightenment ideas were, and are, not simply adopted without changes; rather, the transfer, modification and circulation of these concepts has lead until today to specific selections, adaptations and transformations, which we want to analyse in recent and contemporary Franco-Caribbean literature. Initially, the Enlightenment unfolded its revolutionary potential in the decolonization movements since the early 19th century, but it also had lasting effects in the modes of thought and the literatures of the late 20th and early 21th centuries, which have not yet been examined in this light. The project will pursue this protracted, ambivalent impact of the European Enlightenment in the imaginaire of Franco-Caribbean literatures. We will focus on the last two decades, in which a re-import of Caribbean cultural theories, epistemes and literatures into Europe can be observed, which potentially leads to a re-evaluation of the Enlightenment. Three questions guide our analyses:

1 To what extent does contemporary Franco-Caribbean literature formulate neo-Enlightenment concepts?

2 Which elements determine these neo-Enlightenment epistemes?

3 Which are the repercussions in Europe of an Enlightenment thathas been transformed in this way?

Our work is based on a concept of the European Enlightenment which foregrounds the relevant epistemic formations and anthropological modes of thought. Thus, in the transcontinental relationship between Europe and the Caribbean, new models of universal humanity and cosmopolitanism take centre stage. Moreover, the dynamics of epistemology as a semantic of evidence and clarity with their specific transformations, the epistemic formations, modes of archiving and syncretistic and magical forms of religious belief in the narratives as well as their relationship to the Enlightenment will also be key concerns of the research project. Since the scope of transfer modes of Enlightenment thought cannot be restricted exclusively to a transport of ideas we also want to examine the diffusion of concepts and ideas into linguistic practice, as well as into the structures of representation in terms of speech, and writing, in order to bring to the surface the partly conceptual and partly subconscious effects of the Enlightenment. On the level of language, the influences range from naming and quoting the Lumières to the lexical and semantic, or intertextual, dimension to, finally, the discursive formations of the encyclopaedic archiving, the referential and associative structures and the Creole deferrals and subversions created of a mature hybrid idiom that has come into itself. This approach makes an interdisciplinary cooperation of literature, linguistic and cultural studies absolutely vital.

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