Hosted by the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
Presented by Sebastian Conrad
The late nineteenth century witnessed the formation of international norms, as the world was unified, from flags and postal stamps to passports, border control, sporting events and workers’ rights. They were accompanied by global standards, ranging from the meter and world time to the gold standard and international law. There is now an extended literature on these subjects. What is much less addressed, however, is that standardization went well beyond the measureable, the tangible, and the legally accountable. The pressures of global integration had homogenizing effects outside of the material sphere, and they provided incentives for historical actors to claim commensurability also in areas that resisted formal standardization. This was even true in a field – beauty – that seemed so stubbornly particular and irreducibly local that it appeared to defy any kind of abstraction. In this talk, I will use the example of two architectural historians – one from Bengal, the other from Japan – to show how a global standard of beauty emerged that was both universal in reach, but at the same time highly specific in the way in which it was employed.
Nov 26, 2017 | 08:00 PM - 11:00 PM
Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin