Revising the Mono-Cultural Nation-State Paradigm: An Introduction to Transcultural Perspectives.

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... 6 Braun-Holzinger focuses in particular on the representations of Suheans but also provides a general overview of the iconographic depiction of foreigners in art from the reigns of Ashurnasirpal II and Shalmaneser III. 7 Recent scholarship on the role of architecture, display, and elite consumption in constituting political hegemony in Assyria and the Levant include Winter 1993; Thomason 2016Thomason [2005; Osborne 2012, andFeldman 2015. 8 Comparative works that highlight the range of approaches to diversity in empire include Sinopoli 2001;Hoerder 2003;Cooper and Burbank 2010;Pitts 2010, andLavan et al. 2016. For studies of specific empires, see the examples cited in the main body of the paper. ...
Recent studies of cultural interaction in the Assyrian empire have focused on the process of assimilation and the production of alterity. In this article, I argue that Assyrian royal rhetoric goes beyond emphasizing simple difference, instead using depictions of cultural diversity to demonstrate the truly universal nature of the empire. I elucidate this rhetoric by comparison the world fairs of the 19th and early 20th-centuries. These fairs advanced European imperialism by allowing visitors to explore the vast extent of empire. I argue that the enumeration of exotic tribute in Assyrian texts and the iconographic depiction of foreigners on reliefs similarly served to concretize Assyrian power. Unlike modern European empires, however, Assyrians did not consider ethnicity to be constitutive of citizenship. Thus, while the Assyrian approach to diversity was certainly instrumentalizing, it was also inclusive of cultural difference. In this respect, the Assyrian understanding of human diversity shares much in common with the way the empire treated other types of difference, ranging from topographic variation to biodiversity. From the imperial vantage point, each of these elements had the potential to be tamed in a way that highlighted the control of the king over the four quarters of the world.
This article introduces the concept of transculturation of collective memory and the politics of memory in the Polish-German borderland. The role of the 1990 German reunification in that process is studied using the example of the Lubusz region. Reunification made it possible for cooperation between local governments, associations and individuals, which – consequently – led to the creation of a new, trans-border collective memory.
Muslim Arab Sudanese in Cairo have played a fundamental role in Egyptian history and society during many centuries of close relations between Egypt and Sudan. Although the government and official press describes them as "brothers" in a united Nile Valley, recent political developments in Egypt have underscored the precarious legal status of Sudanese in Cairo. Neither citizens nor foreigners, they are in an uncertain position, created in part through an unusual ethnic discourse which does not draw principally on obvious characteristics of difference. This rich ethnographic study shows instead that Sudanese ethnic identity is created from deeply held social values, especially those concerning gender and propriety, shared by Sudanese and Egyptian communities. The resulting ethnic identity is ambiguous and flexible, allowing Sudanese to voice their frustrations and make claims for their own uniqueness while acknowledging the identity that they share with the dominant Egyptian community.
The year 1492 has long divided the study of Sephardic culture into two distinct periods, before and after the expulsion of Jews from Spain. David A. Wacks examines the works of Sephardic writers from the 13th to the 16th centuries and shows that this literature was shaped by two interwoven experiences of diaspora: First from the Biblical homeland Zion and later from the ancestral hostland, Sefarad. Jewish in Spain and Spanish abroad, these writers negotiated Jewish, Spanish, and diasporic idioms to produce a uniquely Sephardic perspective. Wacks brings Diaspora Studies into dialogue with medieval and early modern Sephardic literature for the first time.
Multiculturalism has long been linked to calls for tolerance of cultural diversity, but today many observers are subjecting the concept to close scrutiny. After the political upheavals of 1968, the commitment to multiculturalism was perceived as a liberal manifesto, but in the post-9/11 era, it is under attack for its relativizing, particularist, and essentializing implications. The essays in this collection offer a nuanced analysis of the multifaceted cultural experience of Central Europe under the late Habsburg monarchy and beyond. The authors examine how culturally coded social spaces can be described and understood historically without adopting categories formerly employed to justify the definition and separation of groups into nations, ethnicities, or homogeneous cultures. As we consider the issues of multiculturalism today, this volume offers new approaches to understanding multiculturalism in Central Europe freed of the effects of politically exploited concepts of social spaces. © 2014 Johannes Feichtinger and Gary B. Cohen. All rights reserved.
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