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New issue of "The Journal of Transcultural Studies" online



8 March 2021

The Journal of Transcultural Studies is a peer-reviewed, open-access journal committed to promoting research on transculturality. Launched in 2010, it is published by the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies (HCTS) and hosted by Heidelberg University´s publishing branch

The current issue of the Journal, titled “How We Work Together: Ethics, Histories, and Epistemologies of Artistic Collaboration,” is devoted to exploring the unfolding of collective art practices in a transcultural perspective. Guest-edited by
Dr. Franziska Koch, associate professor of
Global Art History at the HCTS, it features contributions by Katia Olalde, Haema Sivanesan, Theresa Deichert, Shao-Lan Hertel, and Paul Gladston.

In her introduction to the issue, “
Transculturation and Contemporary Artistic Collaboration: Pushing the Boundaries of Histories, Epistemologies, and Ethics,” Franziska Koch illustrates available critical frameworks for interpreting collaborative art projects. Her thorough reading provides an entry point into the different but intersecting topics that underpin the five contributions to the issue.

The thematic section opens with Katia Olalde’s contribution on “
Stitching Critical Citizenship during Mexico’s War on Drugs.” In discussing how notions of agency, community, and citizenship have been enacted in the context of a collaborative visual protest in Mexico, the piece draws attention to the practice of embodied collaboration as a commemorative and future-oriented intervention, while proposing a broader reflection on Indigeneity and decolonization.

Similar themes are at the core of Haema Sivanesan´s piece “
‘Unsettling’ the Picturing of the  Canadian Old-Growth Forest: Consent, Consultation, and (Re)conciliation in Leila Sujir’s Forest!,” which focuses on the expanded research-creation project of South Asian-Canadian artist Leila Sujir in the coastal forests of Vancouver Island (British  Columbia, Canada). The piece looks at the collaborative ethos and relational aesthetics informing Sujir´s work with the members of the local community, eventually showing how these enable the artist to formulate a new understanding of the forest.

Theresa Deichert’s “
Contested Sites, Contested Bodies: Post-3.11 Collaborations, Agency, and Metabolic Ecologies in Japanese Art” analyses two co-authored works produced in Japan in 2014 with the use of potentially radioactive components. Building on Bruno Latour’s actor-network theory, Jane Bennett’s vital materialism, and the ecological turn in contemporary art, Deichert engages with non-human agency as a significant part of the process of artistic collaboration.

Shao-Lan Hertel’s contribution on “
Deterritorializing Chinese Calligraphy: Wang Dongling and Martin  Wehmer’s Visual Dialogue (2010)” explores the aesthetic, art historical, and political tensions embedded in the collaborative work of German conceptual painter Martin Wehmer and Chinese calligrapher Wang Dongling. The author discerns the transcultural valence of this work of painting-cum-calligraphy and proposes a semiotic reading thereof.

At the closing, Paul Gladston proposes a transcultural reflection on “
ROCI China and the Prospects of ‘Post-West’ Contemporaneity.” The article traces the polylogical construction of contemporary Chinese art to the middle of the 1980s, with particular emphasis on Robert Rauschenberg’s ROCI China exhibition in 1985, which is considered a milestone for the internationalization of Chinese art in the Post-Mao era.

The current issue of The Journal of Transcultural Studies is available in open format
here. The journal archive can be accessed


Those interested in submitting a manuscript for publication in the journal can contact the editorial team: