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Research The Groningen Research Institute for the Study of Culture (ICOG) Research Research centres Research Centre for Arts in Society Theme groups

Cultural Transfer Studies in the Humanities

The main focus of this theme group is the importance of cultural transfer in a variety of fields, such as the field of ‘World literature’ or ‘European literature’, transnational literary history or sociology of literature. One of the research topics lines within this theme group is the study of the “construction” of minor and mixed language communities as (emerging) transnational and transcultural space. In focusing on the intricate interplay between national, transnational and regional literatures, the research will explore the significant tension found between the local, subnational and global levels, at which language and cultural politics tend to operate as inclusive and exclusive forces.

The theme group has initiated several projects, amongst others the NWO funded Added Value Grant project ‘Gedeelde literatuur’ (Shared Literature, 2015-2016), the Summer School ‘Transmitting and Writing New Identities' (2014-2022) and the U4 Cultural Transfer Theme group that has currently joined the European University Alliance Enlight. Within the context of the Summer School and the U4 collaboration the theme group works internationally and is currently expanding the international network. The theme group aims to apply for funds and PhD projects, for example joint PhDs within the U4 or with other international partners such as the Departent of Foreign Languages and Translation Studies of the Sichuan University.

Project showcase

The Summer School 'Transmitting and Writing New Identities' was organised from 2014 until 2022 and attracted students from across the globe. It examined the function and meaning of cultural transfer as an important tool to build up sustainable societies. Special attention was paid to minorities and migrants. The concepts of cultural transfer as well as the various definitions of ‘minorities’ and ‘migrants’ were discussed and historically and politically contextualized.

The study of cultural transfer and transmission is a relatively new research line within the broader context of literary history and cultural studies. The U4 network Cultural Transfer Research includes researchers of different backgrounds and expertise. It aims to build an EU-network in cultural transfer studies and to initiate research and collaboration by organizing workshops once a year and preparing applications for EU-funding. Workshops were organized in Groningen (2014), Uppsala (2015), Ghent (2016), and Göttingen (2019). Within Enlight, the network has been extended and with new partners workshops and a conference were organised in Tartu (2021/2022) and Galway (2022).

Involved researchers


book cover

Studies on Cultural Transfer & Transmission (Series editor Petra Broomans), 9 volumes.

The Dynamics and Contexts of Cultural Transfers (eds. Margaretha Fahlgren and Anna Williams), Uppsala, 2017.

Border Crossings, Rites of Passage, and Liminal Experiences in Contemporary Literature. Special issue DiGeSt , Journal of Diversity and Gender Studies (eds. Sara Van den Bossche and Sophie Wennerscheid), Vol. 5, nr. 2, 2018.

Last modified:24 January 2024 09.51 a.m.