9/11 as Cultural Turning Point

The events of Sept. 11th undoubtedly mark a turning point in aesthetic and theoretical discourses in the West. The socio-political shift which provoked the attacks is reflected in a direct or indirect form in the development of art and theory. Not only were representations of violence challenged by the everyday image and traumatic experience of terror, but theoretical models of thought had to be renegotiated. Thus 9/11 is not necessarily explicitly thematized in art or theory. It is much more likely that the date is passed over in silence, evaded, or dealt with at the subliminal level. Yet the direct and coded explorations of 9/11 have in common that they signify a break for artistic as well as for theoretical discourses. At any rate, this is how the new forms of negotiating violence and terror in the artistic realm (literature, film, music) can be understood.

In theoretical discourses, there is a rethinking of intercultural and postcolonial communication: Theories of consensual culture such as hybridity are being put into question by controversial models such as the hitherto oft dismissed and seemingly old-fashioned “clash of civilizations” (Huntington). The aim of this project is to reveal the coded, altered modes of thought and then in a second step make visible the artistic and theoretical manifestations of the Western and Muslim worlds.

Term of Project: October 2007-Ongoing

Project Members:
Junior Prof. Sandra Poppe (Comparative Literature)
Dr. Thorsten Schüller (Romance Studies)
Dr. Sascha Seiler (Comparative Literature)


SCHÜLLER, THORSTEN/ SEILER, SASCHA (Ed.) (2010): Von Zäsuren und Ereignissen. Historische Einschnitte und ihre mediale Verarbeitung. Bielefeld, 278 P.

Poppe, Sandra/ Thorsten Schüller/ Sascha Seiler (Ed.) (2009): 9/11 als kulturelle Zäsur. Repräsentationen des 11. September 2001 in kulturellen Diskursen, Literatur und visuellen Medien. Bielefeld. 341 P.