Redefining the Region

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Regional identity is a hot topic. Renewed interest in the region can partly be seen as a response to immigration and globalisation, and is often fanned by populism. Scholarship on regionalism in the nineteenth and early twentieth century has interpreted the popularity of representations of the regions, such as local colour writing, as an expression of emergent nationalisms.

Yet what such interpretations overlook is that regionalism is also fundamentally a transnational phenomenon. Typical local colour themes, imagery, and narratives circulated around and beyond Europe. Moreover, through reprints in periodicals, foreign editions, and translations, local colour writers and their publishers catered to international audiences, while they sometimes also engaged with issues of migration and cosmopolitanism in positive ways.


Prof. Marguérite Corporaal (

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Project ID: VI.C.181.026

Twitter: @NWORegion

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Cultural Representations of the Region in Transnational Contexts, c. 1840-1940

Wednesday 11 January-Friday 13 January 2023 Radboud University, Nijmegen, the Netherlands

We invite contributors to engage with the topic of this conference from a variety of disciplines, and across all expressive media. The focus of this conference is specifically on the way regions were represented in cultural media in transnational contexts: the emphasis is therefore not on political or geographic dimensions or definitions of regionalism, but rather on its cultural imagination and conceptualisations.

For more information, see below:


Redefining the Region examines the transnational dimensions of local colour in the long nineteenth century. Across five subprojects comprising a range of unique case studies, the researchers analyse media representations of regions and local colour fiction in European and transatlantic frameworks. Charting the circulation of texts and images as well as the international proliferation of genre conventions, the project will redefine our understanding of the region and its intersections with multiculturalism and globalisation.

The project shows how local colour influenced identity and community formation on several scales, from the local to the transnational. As such, it will enhance our understanding of cultural transfer and of the role of diasporic communities in cultural production and identity formation. These results will be shared in various forms, including a database of local colour material, educational resources, and a virtual exhibition.

Bengt Nordenberg, “Cottage Interior Scene” (1864)

Bengt Nordenberg, “Cottage Interior Scene” (1864)