Story Street is a One-Way Street
Concluding Thoughts on Cultural Entanglement and Historical Narration
Der Aufsatz resümiert knapp die Ergebnisse der Tagung zu transkulturellen Ver- und Entflechtungen im euro-mediterranen Raum des Mittelalters. Er widmet sich dann der Frage, wie Prozesse kultureller Ver- und Entflechtung historisch narrativ vermittelt werden können und hebt auf der Basis der Aufsätze des Bandes Techniken nicht-teleologischen Erzählens hervor.
The following article provides some concluding considerations on the conference, its papers and discussions and, furthermore, approaches the issue of historical narratives and narration. The contributions to this volume give an insight into the wide range of topics transcultural studies are concerned with – what they have in common is a global perspective and an emphasis on dynamics in a multi-centric world. Thus, research on entanglement in medieval times dissociates itself from overarching grand narratives such as a Euro-centric modernization theory or the ‘Rise of the West’. Although these narratives are much criticised, it is hard or even impossible to falsify or erase them. As a consequence, the danger of interference remains. This contribution touches upon the general nature, inherent benefits and downsides of meta-narratives and stresses the necessity to either modify existing large-scale frameworks or to create alternatives without only reiterating or rewriting older ones. Moreover, it reflects on the merits of historical narration as such, which, as an indispensable tool of historical meaning-making and with heterogeneous audiences in mind, deserves greater attention. The complexity of long-term historical processes of transformation requires forms of historical story-telling which avoid linear, teleological old-to-new structures but instead emphasize the episodic nature of changes and constellations of diversity and ambiguity. Promising ways which are used effectively in this volume are, for example, three-part narrative patterns and a focus on single, material objects.