Research Network "Virtuality and Materiality"
Taking approaches drawn from cultural studies and particularly from new cultural history, the network Virtuality and Materiality is dedicated to an interdisciplinary historically and anthropologically focused understanding of the interdependencies between virtual and material realities. Virtuality and materiality do not form an irreconcilable, binary opposition; rather, in our view, it is their productive interaction that produces the texture of meanings from which “realities” are made.
We assume that people generate culture in ever new processes of negotiation in the interplay of virtuality and materiality: Be it because cultural imprints are only ideationally available and order, filter, or shape human perceptions of the physical world, or, on the other hand, these ordering performances in everyday interaction with materiality decisively shape virtually generated ideas.
We proceed from the hypothesis that the mechanisms of productive entanglement of materiality and virtuality become particularly evident in times of intensified change, which are often experienced as times of crisis. Therefore, we are interested in two periods of fundamental transformations: the transition from the Middle Ages to the early modern period and the changes of the late 20th and early 21st century.
The aim of our network is to conduct cross-cultural, interdisciplinary research on reciprocal interaction between materiality and virtuality and the associated fields of conflict. Our methodological goal is to develop methods and tools for working with material and immaterial sources, to generate innovations in disciplinary engagement with virtual research data, and to develop models for testing the usability of these configurations.
Interdisziplinäres Zentrum für Mittelalter und Frühneuzeit