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Project Schlehe/Uike-Bormann

Staging Historical Lifeworlds in Theme- and Culture-Parks: Reflections of 'Self' and 'Other' in Asia and Europe

 

Popular Western images of 'the Other', especially of 'the Orient', as well as Asian countries' images of 'the West' seem to be very powerful today. The study of theme- and culture-parks allows to analyze, at the interface of cultures of knowledge and entertainment, how 'own' (national and regional) and 'alien' (exotic) history and culture is being staged.

We ask how far structures of belief and experience, through which cultural difference is explained, displayed and codified, are being (re)produced through such historical stagings.

Comprehensive fieldwork will be conducted (for the first time) in Indonesia, Japan and Germany. Its focus will be on park visitors' and other relevant protagonists' perspectives and practices. This allows to elaborate local meanings and political strategies behind those alleged same global manifestations of popular stagings of history.
Questions regarding the relationship of entertainment and education and the interdependency of academic science and popular representations of history (here: in parks, partly merging into museums) as well as a critical, contextual consideration of the modes of representation of 'the Other' connect this project with the research group's other projects. The ethnological project makes a contribution to the research group by adding the dimension of actual cultural globalisation.
 

Project Director: Judith Schlehe (Ethnology)
Assistants: Michiko Uike-Bormann (Ethnology); Student Assistants: Ikuko Oda and Maya Shimoda

 

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