Sites of mediation

RM 3: Site of Intellection – The sea. Experience, perception and representation around 1600

Directors: Prof. Susanna Burghartz (Basel), Prof. Christine Göttler (Berne)

In recent years, the ‘sea as a cultural contact zone’ has been attracting increasing attention among scholars in cultural studies. Proceeding from the most recent discussions in the literature, participants in the research module ‘Sites of Intellection’ will use the categories of ‘Experience’, ‘Perception’ and ‘Representation’ to address the sea as a multiple contact zone for early modern societies.

Taking up the experience of English and Dutch mariners in particular, the module will inquire first into how this experience of the maritime qualities of various ‘sea-spots’ was processed in different media of representation.

Second, the module is interested in the presence of water and the sea in artistic production in Antwerp, the associated self-fashioning in the city’s festival culture, the genre of ‘seascapes’ and ‘sea-pieces’ and their significance in the history of Antwerp after 1585 and the presence of the defining, and, after the fall of the city, also imperilled, world of maritime trade in Antwerp art collections. In this way, the dimension of experience and how people dealt with it is linked, in the concept of the ‘Site of Intellection’, with questions of representation as a form of both knowledge production and identity construction.

Individual projects: