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Anouk Madörin, Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss, ...: CONSTELLATIONS
(p. 261 – 274)
  • cosmopolitics
  • politics
  • art
  • art theory
  • globalization

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Anouk Madörin

is a lecturer at the University of Potsdam and former doctoral fellow of the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms. Her PhD project “Shadow archives” traces the colonial legacies of contemporary border and surveillance technologies from the colonies to the European refugee crisis. She was a visiting student at NYU’s Graduate Center for Social and Cultural Analysis with a scholarship granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation and a visiting scholar at the Department of Media, Music, Communication and Cultural Studies at Macquarie University in Sydney.

Sara Morais dos Santos Bruss

is a postdoctoral researcher at the TU Dresden’s GenderConceptGroup in the project Digital Gender. As a former member of the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms, she conducted her PhD on digital acts of solidarity, producing an analysis of feminist strategies to re-embody the digital. Her current research focuses on automated structures of inequality and identity in the digital, reviewing historical oppression and globalized cultures through feminist epistemologies of science, technology and society.

Mariya Nikolova

is a doctoral candidate at the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms with a joint PhD fellowship between Potsdam University and University of New South Wales (Australia). She received a Masters degree in Transnational Literature, Theatre and Film at the University of Bremen, and a Bachelor degree in English-Speaking Cultures and Political Science at the University of Bremen and Birmingham City University. Mariya has worked as an interpreter for women affected by HIV at the Bremer Public Health Department and as the coordinator for the Volunteer, English and Youth Zones Departments of the Bulgarian Youth and Children Parliament. Mariya’s research revolves around Critical Theory and Experimental Literature. Her dissertation investigates tropes of futurity embedded in the American avant-garde canon. Mariya’s non-academic engagements include performance art and photography.

Jens Temmen

is a postdoctoral researcher at the Obama Institute for Transnational American Studies at the University of Mainz (Germany) and a member of the “Young Academy” of the Academy of Sciences and Literature in Mainz. As part of his PhD-fellowship with the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms at the University of 283 Potsdam, Jens wrote a thesis on “The Territorialities of U.S. Imperialism(s),” which was published with Universitätsverlag Winter (2020). His thesis analyzes conflicting discourses of sovereignty, jurisdiction, and territory negotiated in US legal and Indigenous life writing texts in the contexts of the North American continent and the Pacific. He is also co-editor of an anthology titled Across Currents: Connections between Atlantic and (Trans)Pacific Studies (London: Routledge, 2018) as well as co-editor of a special forum of the Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS) on American Territorialities. His postdoctoral research project employs an ecocritical and posthumanist lens to look at representations of the future of extraterrestrial human life in contemporary US literature and culture.

Anna von Rath

lives in Berlin, where she works as a freelance cultural event organizer, and social justice and diversity trainer. She is one of the founding editors of poco. lit., an online platform for postcolonial literatures in the widest sense. In 2019, she submitted her doctoral thesis “Afropolitan Encounters: Literature and Activism in London and Berlin” as part of the RTG minor cosmopolitanisms at the University of Potsdam. Anna has published on Afropolitanism, postcolonial ecocriticism and travel narratives. She regularly writes for about Germany’s colonial history and its contemporary repercussions.

Heinrich Wilke

studied English and Philosophy at the University of Tübingen and the University of Connecticut, graduating with a Staatsexamen (i.e., teaching degree) and an M.A. in English Literatures and Cultures. From 2016 to 2019, he was doctoral fellow in the DFG-funded RTG minor cosmopolitanisms at Potsdam University, where he is currently employed as a lecturer. In his dissertation, he researches the plantation system of the colonial Caribbean from around 1650 to 1800, under the supervision of Lars Eckstein and Marcus Boon (York University, Toronto). The project focuses on monoculture as a decidedly capitalist form of cultivation, inquiring into its economic and ecological presuppositions, such as enslaved labour and deforestation, as well as its sedimentation in the form of texts. To this end, he interprets anglophone and francophone writings of various genres, from plantation manuals and travel writing to letters, poetry, and political proclamations, from an eco-Marxist perspective.
Zairong Xiang (ed.): minor cosmopolitan

Cosmopolitanism is a theory about how to live together. The earliest formulation of cosmopolitanism in the West could be dated to as early as the fourth century BCE in ancient Greece by Diogenes, who famously said that he was a “citizen of the world – kosmopolitês,” an idea later picked up by Immanuel Kant, the German philosopher who proposed a philosophy of a world of “perpetual peace.” When cosmopolitanism first emerged as a political idea for modernity in the European Enlightenment, the project embraced the liberal promises of a globalizing economy, yet remained oblivious to, and even complicit with, capitalism, slavery and colonialism. It centered on the male, bourgeois, and white liberal subject, irrespective of the ongoing disenfranchisement, dehumanization, and extermination of its Others.


At the dawn of the 21st century, and in the wake of rapid globalization however, academics, politicians and other pundits enthusiastically declared cosmopolitanism to be no longer just a philosophical ideal, but a real, existing fact. Across the globe, they argued, people were increasingly thinking and feeling beyond the nation, considering themselves citizens of the world. Meanwhile, the global ecological crisis worsens, fascism with different outfits returns in many places of the world, the repression of women, sexual, racial, class and other minorities on a global scale persists; the so called “refugee crisis” inundates the mediascape and political spectacle. Not much of those cosmopolitan promises have left it seems. Perhaps precisely because of this, however, it seems to be an absolute necessity for scholars, activists, and artists today to face the complexities and promises cosmopolitanism has raised although not adequately answered. What has happened to the cosmopolitan promise, and who betrayed it?


“Minor cosmopolitanisms” wishes to challenge the underlying premises of ‘major’ cosmopolitanism without letting go of the unfulfilled emancipatory potential of the concept at large. It wants to rethink cosmopolitanisms in the plural, and trace multiple origins and trajectories of cosmopolitan thought from across the globe. Regarding cosmopolitanisms as emerging through diverse locally, historically and politically specific practices, minor cosmopolitanisms are predicated on difference without abandoning the quest for a shared vision of conviviality and justice. It seeks to answer: how to live at once with our difference and shared struggle? How to think our complicity with even those we most resist? Who sustains the world’s flourishing despite all this?