"Otherness? Towards an Intercultural Literary Anthropology"

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Erhard Reckwitz

(Universit├Ąt Duisburg-Essen)

"Otherness? Towards an Intercultural Literary Anthropology"


Paper presented at:

Intercultural Humanism: Challenges, Experiences, Visions, Strategies

10-11 September 2010, Christ Church College, Oxford


Convened by The Berendel Foundation in association with the Modern European History Research Centre, University of Oxford


Abstract: The first encounter between colonizer and colonized, or between Europeans and so-called savages, has frequently given rise to the anthropological question as to what constitutes our humanity, and whether the strange peoples encountered are to be accorded full human status. Literary fiction abounds in numerous presentations of such encounters, thereby providing its own imaginative input to the field of anthropology. The texts selected will be used to show how they either tend to unwittingly undermine their own anthropological assumptions or, alternatively, how they consciously deconstruct notions of European superiority.


Short Bio: Erhard Reckwitz is Professor of English at Essen Universitysince 1992, specializing in South African literature, post-colonial studies, modern/ postmodern literature and literary theory. He is also the editor of the series African Literatures in English; and founder/director of the Southern African Studies Centre at Essen University. For the last six years he has been Dean of Humanities at the University of Duisburg-Essen, which was created by the merger of the previous universities of Duisburg and Essen.



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