Harsha Ram (University of California, Berkeley) held this lecture on “The Scale of Global Modernisms: Imperial, Regional, National, Local” during the Annual Conference “Global Modernisms: Contiguities, Infrastructures and Aesthetics”, 5 - 7 November 2015, at the Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. The Conference was organized by the Forum Transregionale Studien and the Max Weber Stiftung in cooperation with the Haus der Kulturen der Welt and convened by Art Histories and Aesthetic Practices.
In this lecture Harsha Ram seeks to examine both core/periphery and circulatory models of world modernism, while insisting on the local (urban) and the transregional as alternative models by which to conceive modernist cultural practice. He focuses on the city of Tiflis (Tbilisi) in “Russian” Transcaucasia during the Russian revolution. With the collapse of the Russian, Habsburg and Ottoman empires, the peoples of the South Caucasus were able briefly to overcome their peripheral status, insisting at once on political emancipation and cultural modernization while tapping into older regional legacies that predate the modern world system.