Perspectives on Liminality & Transgression

KQB Studio 1, Mariannenplatz 2, 10997 Berlin Map
Tickets: 5 € / 10 € day pass


13:00 15:00

Three short lectures will shed light on liminality and transgression from cultural anthropological, postcolonial, and feminist perspectives, and discuss their socio-political potentials.

Andreas L. Hofbauer discusses the origin of both terms from ethnological and anthropological discourses of the late 19th and early 20th century. Drawing on the theories of thinkers such as Victor Turner, Arnold van Gennep, Marcel Mauss, Michel Maffesoli—as well as the latest findings in paleoanthropology, archaeology, and history, such as by Ian Hodder and David Wengrow—he inquires into the changing notions of the roles of intoxication, ecstasy, and celebration as vehicles for breaking out of hierarchical control and of the transition from cult to culture. In doing so, he questions the often-expressed assertion that such a breakthrough is impossible.

Since the nineteenth century, medicine and science have been perceived as monolithic tools for domination, inextricably linked to Europe’s imperial expansion into the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. To that end, nineteenth-and twentieth-century colonialism resulted in medical and scientific materials from North Africa residing in European archives, institutes, and museums, thus hardening racial boundaries and imbricating coercive medical and scientific archives. Edna Bonhomme presents "Wayward Archives and Decolonial Fabulations," a paper which examines how non-elite postcolonial subjects functioned as mediators, co-producers, and resistors of these colonial dynamics in medicine and science. At the same time, it will consider how Arab/Islamic and traditional knowledge were integrated into global epistemologies of medicine and science. Emerging from a point of decolonial and anti-colonial methodology, this paper will articulate the conditions of possibility for how these artefacts, knowledge systems, and people undergo a series of cross-cultural exchanges undergo colonial and postcolonial contexts. More specifically, it will investigate the production and circulation of science, highlight the dynamism of “traditional” science, and the syncretism of knowledge traditions.

Why does Georges Bataille, philosopher laureate of transgression, claim to “think like a girl?” Why does Gilles Deleuze propose a process of “becoming-minor” stating that “it all begins with the young woman?” These are but two examples of attempts to evoke practices of diminution and reduction of subjecthood which unfolded in 20th century philosophy—often following traditions of mystical askesis. But why and for whom is it desirable to be a liminal subject? Why does the girl embody this ideal? And what do the girls have to say about that? With the help of Lewis Carroll’s Alice and Chris Kraus’ anorexics, Nadine Hartmann wants to understand where the girl stands in the zone of sexual difference and what phantasies of escaping gender identity she conjures.


Andreas L. Hofbauer[AT]

Andreas L. Hofbauer is a philosopher, psycho-historian, and author, who in various books and numerous essays recurrently addresses socio-economic aspects of political science. He is co-editor of Schriften zur Verkehrswissenschaft. He has translated several books by Jason Schwartz, Momus, Jeremy Bentham as well as work by Thomas De Quincey, Marshall Sahlins, Tom McCarthy, and Slavoj Žižek, inter alia.

Nadine Hartmann[DE]

Nadine Hartmann is a cultural theorist working in the field of psychoanalysis and feminist philosophy. She wrote her dissertation on philosophy and the girl in post- Nietzschean theories and has published articles on the work of Georges Bataille, Jacques Lacan, and Luce Irigaray. 

Lisa Andergassen[DE]

Lisa Andergassen is a lecturer, academic researcher, and writer (for Zeit Online, Aperture Online, and others) based in Berlin. Since 2019 she has been pursuing a PhD project in Cultural Studies on the figure of the self-objectifying woman. She has co-edited the essay collections "Neue Perspektiven auf Pornografie und Gesellschaft"(2014) and "Raumdeutung. Zur Wiederkehr des 3D-Films” (2012).

Edna Bonhomme[DE]

Edna Bonhomme is a curator, researcher, and writer whose work interrogates the archaeologies of colonial science, embodiment, and surveillance. She co-created “Decolonization in Action,” a podcast series that explores the ways that decoloniality is understood and put into practice by artists, researchers, and activists.

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