How to Cite

Troelenberg, Eva-Maria, Schankweiler, Kerstin and Messner, Anna Sophia (Eds.): Reading Objects in the Contact Zone, Heidelberg: Heidelberg University Publishing, 2021 (Heidelberg Studies on Transculturality, Volume 9).


ISBN 978-3-96822-049-9 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-96822-050-5 (Hardcover)
ISBN 978-3-96822-051-2 (Softcover)




Eva-Maria Troelenberg, Kerstin Schankweiler, Anna Sophia Messner (Eds.)

Reading Objects in the Contact Zone

The cultural effects of globalization constitute one of the most important challenges for the discipline of art history today. The aim of this publication is to take a critical look at art historical narratives. Based on transcultural object biographies, the volume brings together analyses of objects and images that circulate in transcultural contact zones: their histories of origin, circulation and perception slice through space and time. The histories of these objects and images thus demonstrate in exemplary fashion how knowledge and understanding can be generated, communicated or also challenged in cultural contact zones. Hence, the publication is designed as a methodological contribution to a transcultural art and cultural history. It is also conceived as an instrument for teaching and contains a critical-discursive glossary of key-terms that combines theory and practice of transcultural art history.

Eva-Maria Troelenberg is professor for modern and contemporary art history at Utrecht University. She was head of the Max-Planck-Research Group “Objects in the Contact Zone—The Cross-Cultural Lives of Things” at Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz—Max-Planck-Institut from 2011 to 2018. She has taught the history of Islamic art, modern global art history and transcultural museum history at the Universities of Vienna and Heidelberg and as a visiting professor at LMU Munich and University of Zürich, and she was a research fellow at the Munich Centre for Global History.

Kerstin Schankweiler is Professor for Visual Studies in a Global Context at the Institute for Art and Music, Technische Universität Dresden. She is co-editor of the online review journal “Kunstform” and a member of the Scientific Network “Cultures of Aesthetic Resistance”.  Her research interests focus on Digital Image Cultures, Contemporary Art from Africa, Art History and Postcolonial Theory, Art History in a Global Context.

Anna Sophia Messner is scientific staff member at the Institute für Art History at Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München where she was a PhD candidate from 2011-2020. From 2015 to 2018 she was doctoral fellow at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz—Max-Planck-Institut. Her research focus includes modern and contemporary art in a global context, Jewish art and historiography, visual culture of Israel and Palestine, history and theory of photography, art history and postcolonial theory.


Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Eva-Maria Troelenberg, Kerstin Schankweiler, Anna Sophia Messner
An Introduction
Part I: Economies of Photo-Objects
Anna Sophia Messner
A Suitcase as Photo Archive
Katharina Upmeyer
Lee Miller’s Photograph as Surrealist Contact Zone
Erin Hyde Nolan
Translations of a Portrait of Abdülhamid II
Elahe Helbig
A Photograph of Mozaffar al-Din Mirza from an Italian Mission to Persia
Part II: Utility and Representation
Theodore Van Loan
A Pair of Wooden Doors at the Museum of Islamic Art in Cairo
Maria Sobotka
A Water Basin from Mosul in Berlin
Matthias Weiß
Part III: Building Transcultural Modernity
Sonja Hull
Staging the Nation-Building Process of Israel
Cristiana Strava
Michel Écochard’s 8 by 8 Meter Housing Grid, Hay Mohammadi, Casablanca
Part IV: Displaying Stories in the Contact Zone
Eva-Maria Troelenberg
A Lunar Sample Display in Al Ain, Abu Dhabi
Alison Boyd
Curating Formalism, Primitivism, and Democracy
Westrey Page
Empathy and Rock Painting Facsimiles in the New York Museum of Modern Art
Lea Mönninghoff
Emily Jacir’s "stazione" (2008–2009)
Part V: Figurative Objects, Trajectories, and Valuations
Frederika Tevebring
Travel across Disciplines
Kerstin Schankweiler
"Gou" by Akati Ekplékendo
Part VI: Iconographies of Encounter and Translation
Lisa Heese
The Encounter between a Classicist and an Islamic Artwork
Emily Neumeier
Cultural Mobility on the Periphery of Empire
Part VII: Perceptions between Image and Text
Sria Chatterjee
A Satirical Picture
Tom Young
The "Behar Amateur Lithographic Scrapbooks"
Isabella Krayer
Elias Canetti’s "The Voices of Marrakesh"
Key Terms