AuthorHowell, James Ford
AdvisorMartinson, Steven D.
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis dissertation focuses on a paradigm shift that is taking place within the field of cultural memory studies. Recently, several scholars from around the world have focused on the possibility of transcultural memory and the transcultural construction of meaning. My research offers a constructive addition to the current theory, namely that transcultural memory is not as broad and universal as many understand. To support this argument, I have taken the Alexander von Humboldt reception history within the United States and Germany to demonstrate that transcultural memory coalesces around specific memory sites that are mutually constructed among cultures for a common purpose. I show that in the years following German reunification, the U.S.-American and German textual representation, use, and understanding of Alexander von Humboldt have come to be practically identical. I go on to posit that it is in such specific instances that transcultural memory is created, and not through a supposedly universal and transnational remembrance of historical events. My research clarifies certain concepts and elements regarding the turn to the transcultural in recent memory studies in that it demands a much more specific and concrete understanding of the processes at work in meaning making in an interconnected and globalized world. In order to show such a shared transcultural understanding, I have collected and studied all published materials regarding Alexander von Humboldt in the United States and Germany since the year 1990. In this way, my dissertation serves not only to support my central thesis regarding the constitution of transcultural memory, it also functions as a detailed textual survey of Humboldt within the two cultures over the last twenty-five years.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Transcultural German Studies