"Wilde Dinge (Wild Things)" in Post-Colonial Perspective

In 2017, the academic publishing house "transcript" in Bielefeld published an anthology edited by Prof. Dr. Christina Threuter and Prof. Dr. Gerald Schröder, who also wrote the extensive introduction, entitled "Wilde Dinge in Kunst und Design. Aspekte der Alterität seit 1800 (Wild Things in Art and Design. Aspects of Alterity since 1800)". Thirteen chapters explore various facets of the aspect "wild" based on very different "things" from art and design. These include pictorial wallpaper, logos, album covers, furniture, interior designs and fashion, as well as paintings, photography, films, assemblage and installation art.

Especially when "wild" is attributed to ethnic "others", the authors approach the topic from a distinctly post-colonial perspective, i.e. looking critically at the history and enduring consequences of colonialism, deconstructing the Eurocentric view of the other and exposing hidden power structures such as racism and stereotyping. This approach aims to reveal foreignness as a classification principle in our own Western culture through images of "wild" in art and design. This is ultimately directed at the "strange in the familiar", at social and cultural manifestations of our own culture, such as in the ethnological necessary change of perspective or the anthropological turning point described by Karl Heinz Kohl. This perspective necessarily touches on the topic of otherness and on the other itself. Stephen Greenblatt used the turning point of the discovery of the other in conjunction with the history of colonization, i.e. the supposed discovery of non-European cultures. This point of view sees the other as the projection screen for our own desires and perceptions as well as a positive or negative image of modern subject formation or rather of our own social order. The term "wild" is thus a sign of intercultural thinking which is characterized by dichotomies and its currency can be traced back to colonial cultural discourse. Both types of thinking exploit the other. According to Waldenfels, this is an assimilation of the "other" that has led to a forced integration of the "other".

The anthology aims to be more than a repetitive explanation of stereotypical pictures and representations of "wild", the other, and the foreigner. It wants to start a discussion on the deeply embedded colonial cultural dichotomous thinking in our visual and material culture, to critically reflect on the conjunction of the other and ourselves and its roots in colonial racism.

Duration 2015-2017
Funded by Department of Design Trier University of Applied Sciences
Book cover "Wilde Dinge" (Wild Things)
Note: By clicking on the cover photo you will leave the homepage of the University of Applied Sciences Trier and get to the publisher's page. (Photo: Evelyn Fischer Löhn)

Project management:

Prof. Dr. Gerald Schröder
Prof. Dr. Gerald Schröder
Professor FB Gestaltung - FR Kommunikationsdesign


+49 651 8103-121


Paulusplatz | Building S | Room 13
Prof. Dr. Christina Threuter
Professorin FB Gestaltung - FR Modedesign


+49 651 8103-845
+49 651 8103-831


Irminenfreihof | Building Q | Room 34
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