In: KulturPoetik 2001, Heft 1


Manfred Engel


Kulturwissenschaft – Literaturwissenschaft als Kulturwissenschaft – Kulturgeschichtliche Literaturwissenschaft




The essay examines the different institutional levels at which a cultural turn is discussed in Germany today: Culture Studies (Kulturwissenschaften) can be used as a new term for the humanities or as the name of a new discipline, culture-orientated literary studies (or cultural poetics) can stand for a new and entirely reformed paradigm of literary studies or for nothing more (or less!) than a new set of questions and methods to supplement current critical practice. Secondly, the most influential schools of cultural poetics are presented and discussed (esp. discourse analysis, new historicism, cultural studies, and a German tradition of anthropological literary criticism). Finally some important desiderata of the study of cultural poetics are named: a working definition of culture, a clarification of the role and position of literature within the cultural system, and operative solutions for practical problems of trans-disciplinary studies and their application to literature.