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Professor Korte | Projects

GRK 2571:  Empires: Dynamic Change, Temporality and Post-Imperial Orders

The project of this Research Training Group is to understand the complexity of imperial temporalities and their representation, reflection, resonance, and manipulation in periods of accelerated imperial change and in post-imperial contexts. Innovation will be expected from the perspective of imperial temporalities, as empires have so far been characterised mainly in terms of political and spatial phenomena. Moreover, instead of aiming at imperial syntheses or selected microanalyses, this RTG will focus on an intermediary analytical level along three main lines of research: temporalities involved in a) the transformation of imperial space, b) imperial economies, and c) imperial institutions and normative structures. The interdisciplinary collaboration of historians with scholars from literary studies, sociology and political science encourages historical research linked through their joint perspective on the politics of imperial time structures and their representation in literature and other media. The research of the RTG will demonstrate how empires, in regard to their spatial, economic, institutional, and normative aspects, create their own temporalities and temporal horizons, and will establish that imperial pasts are important resources in periods of accelerated transformationand in post-imperial constellations. 

Popular History in Victorian Magazines Database (PHVM)

Periodicals were an essential part of, and reflected all aspects of Victorian culture, including the Victorians' interest in the past. The Popular History in Victorian Magazines Database (PHVM) derives from a project on popular presentations of history in Victorian magazines:

"Histories for the Many: Historical Lifeworlds in Victorian Family, Women's and Children's Periodicals" – "Geschichte(n) für viele: Historische Lebenswelten in Familien-, Frauen- und Kinderzeitschriften des viktorianischen England" (KO 1195/15-1) in the context of the Research Group DFG FOR 875 "History in Popular Cultures of Knowledge" – "Historische Lebenswelten in populären Wissenskulturen der Gegenwart".

The database presents results from a content analysis of five Victorian magazines from different sectors of the periodicals market – All the Year Round, The Leisure Hour, The Englishwoman's Domestic Magazine, The Ladies' Treasury, and The Boy's Own Magazine – for the years 1860, 1865 and 1870. It makes visible some of their common trends and significant differences. It thus indicates that mid-Victorian popular historical culture was marked by both mainstream interests and significant internal diversification.

Korte, Barbara and Doris Lechner. Popular History in Victorian Magazines Database. University Library at University of Freiburg, 2014.

Figurations of Poverty in the Literary Field of Contemporary Britain

Poverty is a topic of high social relevance and visibility. Literature is a medium through which poverty can be articulated and which adds to a social imaginary of poverty. This project will look at the specific roles of literary texts and their modes of representing contemporary attitudes and discourses on poverty. The corpus under scrutiny will consist mostly of novels and (auto)biographical texts; especially the latter have recently become an important 'poverty genre'. The specific approach of this project lies in its use of the methods of literary and cultural studies to examine a broad spectrum of the literary field: 'high' but well-circulated literature as well as popular 'lesser' genres (crime fiction, historical fiction, science fiction and fantasy as well as misery memoirs). Due to the British book market's distinctly internationalised nature, the project will not only look into books by British authors but also international ones that have been present on the British book market from the mid-1990s onwards, that is, bestsellers or books which have been discussed and/or reviewed widely and thus have a high potential of affecting the social imaginary of poverty. These texts will be analysed with regard to form, content, their circulation as well as to specific strengths and limitations of depicting and negotiating poverty in various literary forms. Moreover, this project aims to formulate a theoretical model of the role of literature and literary studies within the field of poverty studies and within society today.

History in Popular Cultures of Knowledge

At the turn of the 21st century, the popular representation of history has reached a heyday worldwide. This project analyses current popularisation of the historical and pre-historical past on the basis of several case studies and aims to develop an interdisciplinary theory that will help to describe and interpret the phenomenon. There will be major emphasis on the socio-cultural functions of popular historical knowledge, its contents and media. It is a major assumption of this project that knowledge about history is not merely the result of intentional dissemination but rather a product of the informal distribution of popular cultural commodities. At the present time, the dissemination of historical information is characterised by a strong emphasis on an everyday-culture approach: the past is processed in a way that it makes history relevant for the context of the recipient and brings it to life. The disciplines involved in this project are history, archaeology, British and American literary and cultural studies, ethnology as well as media pedagogy.

DFG FOR 875 "Historische Lebenswelten in populären Wissenskulturen der Gegenwart"

The War Correspondent in Britain: Crimean War to the War in Iraq

The point of departure for this project is the current debate about war coverage sparked by the embedded reporting during the war in Iraq 2003. It assumes a historical perspective on both self-conception and external perception of the war correspondent as maintained in British culture from the mid-19th century until today. This culture offers a particularly rich fund of sources: not only has Britain been involved in many armed conflicts, but it also has a reputation for being a nation with a particularly large newspaper reading public and a significant tradition in war correspondence. The present project regards the war correspondent as a specifically human agent for the mediation of war experiences: reporters are seen as agents that experience, interpret and present war with their senses and their intellect, even in the age of long-distance media and weapons. They create meaning with all their faculties, i.e. they are involved with the body, the intellect, their emotions and their conscience. The research is based on fictional representations of war correspondents in novels and films. Furthermore, it takes account of texts by correspondents themselves (autobiographical texts and reports), which are distinguished by a dimension of self-reflection. The analysis adopts a (cultural-)anthropological approach and employs among others the analytical instruments of literary studies.

Projects related to the cultural memory of the First World War in British Culture in the context of SFB 437 "Kriegserfahrungen. Krieg und Gesellschaft in der Neuzeit", Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen.

Online course Basics of English Studies, created within the scope of the programme 'Innovation der Lehre' of the State Department of Science and Education Baden-Württemberg.

Research project on Black and Asian British film with Dr. Claudia Sternberg, funded by Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (1999–2002).

TABB – Tübingen Archive of Black British Film and Television