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Writing the cosmopolitan imagination

Genre transactions in world-literary space

Is a bilateral research and reciprocal exchange programme between the English and German Departments at the University of Potsdam and the University of Delhi. Funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the University Grants Commission (UGC), the project spans a period of three and a half years from 2016 to 2019.

“Writing the cosmopolitan imagination: Genre transactions in world-literary space” conjoins three research themes that are crucially relevant in current literary, visual and cultural studies: It links the discussion of an emergent transnational ‘world literature’ or even 'world culture' with contemporary debates over cosmopolitanism, planetarity and global citizenship as well as with the recent turn towards genre as an inherently social aspect of literature, film, visual culture and other areas. By bringing these three dimensions together, the project aims to reassess and productively investigate in a sustained bilateral dialogue the ways in which culture contributes to the making and remaking of identities in the globalization process.


Under conditions of globalization, imagined communities have acquired transnational and cosmopolitan dimensions: As Pheng Cheah and Bruce Robbins have pointed out, people increasingly “think and feel beyond the nation”. They hence inhabit imagined worlds that exceed but certainly not fully supersede clear-cut national or local affiliations. The proposed project will take this observation as the starting point for collaborative international research of the role that literature, the arts and other forms of cultural meaning-making play in the bringing-forth of such transnational imagined worlds.

Regular features comprise

Individual research projects by PhD and postdoctoral researchers in English or German Studies

Reciprocal faculty members’ exchange including the teaching of seminars at the host university

Reciprocal students’ exchange

Summer and winter schools at both partner institutions