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Huizinga/The Warburg Institute public lecture by Professor Sigrid Weigel: “Aby Warburg and the first Kulturwissenschaft (Cultural Science)” – 6 May 2022

Aby Warburg and the first Kulturwissenschaft (Cultural Science). Intellectual history around 1900 and its epistemic potential for today

A public lecture by Sigrid Weigel (Leibniz-Zentrum für Literatur und Kulturforschung, Berlin), in association with the Warburg Institute & Huizinga Institute Writing Retreat for PhD students in cultural history.

6 May 2022, 6:00PM-7.30PM CEST / 5:00PM – 6:30PM GMT+1


Today, the archive and library of Aby Warburg in London has evolved into a magnet for scholars and artist from all over the world. Not all of them know that his approach to Kulturwissenschaft was part of a fascinating intellectual constellation, emerging around 1900. First characterized by Walter Benjamin as a movement of a “new spirit of research”, the hallmark of which is “being at home in border areas (Grenzgebieten)” and engaged with boundary cases (Grenzfälle), the authors back then were geographically and institutionally scattered. Many of them from a Jewish context and operating at the margins of their disciplines or even outside university, they shared a new thinking-in transition and developed a concept of culture based on exchange, translation, and transformation. Their epistemology transgressed the conventional taxonomic order of knowledge, which diverge from methods and narratives that are based on chronology and typology and instead invented interesting figures of knowledge, such as ‘survival’ (Nachleben), ‘non-simultaneity’ (Ungleichzeitigkeit), ‘posteriority’ (Nachträglichkeit), ‘latency’ (Latenz), Now (Jetztzeit), threshold knowledge (Schwellenkunde), thinking space (Denkraum) etc.

Organised by the Huizinga Institute, Utrecht; the Warburg Institute, the Institute of Modern Languages Research, and the Institute of Historical Research (SAS, UoL).