Award for Monica Juneja: Transculturality Established as a Method

Monica Juneja | © Anna Echtenacher
Monica Juneja | © Anna Echtenacher

Heidelberg art historian Monica Juneja is being honoured for her lifelong academic achievements. She is to receive this year’s Meyer-Struckmann Prize, which is awarded by the Faculty of Arts and Humanities of Heinrich Heine University Düsseldorf (HHU) and acknowledges her accomplishments as an expert on Global Art History. "Prof. Juneja has established transculturality in the German-language region and internationally as a method and a subject going beyond Eurocentric categories," the faculty says about the academic, who has been teaching and doing research at Heidelberg University since 2009. The award comes with 20,000 euros and is granted annually for work on topics alternating between the humanities and social sciences.

A nationally and internationally recognised representative of Global Art History, Prof. Juneja is - not only in Germany - one of the most influential and most-cited theoreticians in the field of Transcultural Studies. "Monica Juneja has systematically embedded transcultural topics and methods in the field of humanities, and always from a visual and material-culture angle. The importance of her work reaches far beyond art history, however. She connects historical topics of global significance with currently relevant discourses," says Eva-Maria Troelenberg, Professor for Transcultural Studies at HHU’s Department of Art History. Prof. Juneja’s approach is applied, inter alia, in her studies on the conflictual interplay of art and the Christian, Islamic, Buddhist or Hindu religion, on the ambivalent role of memory and cultural heritage in postcolonial contexts or on artists’ responses to social challenges such as natural disasters, wars, climate change and forced migration.

Monica Juneja studied history, art history and political science in Delhi (India) and obtained her doctorate in 1985 at the French elite university School of Advanced Studies in the Social Sciences. She was then appointed professor at the University of Delhi. Research and teaching assignments as well as visiting professorships took her to Bielefeld, Halle a. d. Saale, Hanover, Vienna (Austria) and Emory University in Atlanta (USA). In 2009 Prof. Juneja accepted an appointment to the newly created Professorship for Global Art History - the first, and so far the only one of its kind in the German-language region. The professorship is located at the Heidelberg Centre for Transcultural Studies, which emerged from the Cluster of Excellence "Asia and Europe in a Global Context" at Heidelberg University and under the direction of Prof. Juneja has developed into one of the leading institutes in the field of Transcultural Studies. Sponsors like the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation or the Volkswagen Foundation have supported her research.

The Meyer-Struckmann Foundation finances science and research particularly in the field of cultural studies and the humanities, and awards the research prize worth 20,000 euros every year. The endowment comes from the estate of donor Fritz Meyer-Struckmann (1908-1984), a banker in Essen. The jury decides each year on the research area from which to select the prize-winner. The award ceremony for this year’s prize is to take place in November.




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