College of Fellows

Events Archive

2024

7 – 8 February 2024
WS "Kenosis and Its Ethics in a Contemporary and Intercultural Perspective"

Workshop "Kenosis and Its Ethics in a Contemporary and Intercultural Perspective"
7–8 February 2024, University of Tübingen
Organisation: Dr Norihito Nakamura, PD Dr Niels Weidtmann

Theme:
Today, we humans are living in excesses: Information, population, production, and consumption surpass any previous point in our long human history and the global movement of people, goods, and money still continues to escalate. Since the 19th century, each nation state has devoted itself to increasing its own wealth in imperialistic competition, and educated people to conform to that nationalistic discipline. However, suffering from multiple crises, our global society seeks for a new life-form completely different from our previous one, which could be grounded not in growth and triumph, but in reducing and discarding. In other words, we need an alternative “weak” image of the human being capable of humility and negation, rather than a “strong” image of the human being oriented toward growth and overcoming.
What, then, is this “weak” ethical way of life? In this workshop, we aim to explore this ideal through the concept of “kenosis.” Kenosis is derived from the words of the Bible in the Letter to the Philippians, and refers to the act of humility in which Jesus renounced his immortality and eternity, and dared to die in the form of a slave. In the field of theology, since Luther, this has been variously considered as an important motif underlying the “theology of the cross,” which emphasizes the finitude of God rather than the “theology of glory,” which emphasizes the omnipotence of God.

Since the late 20th century, when we became more aware of the environmental crisis, the threat of nuclear war, the negative consequences of colonialism, and gender inequality throughout human history, this concept of kenosis has been widely considered in relation to contemporary issues beyond the narrow confines of Christian theology. (I) For example, within theology or religious studies, Salie McFague (1933-2019) focused on kenosis as an ethical way of life to critique contemporary consumerism and proposed the kenotic Christianity as the new figure of religion in climate change. (II) In the field of contemporary philosophy, Gianni Vattimo (1936- ) placed kenosis at the center of “weak thought,” his own project to criticize metaphysics. Emmanuel Levinas and Hans Jonas also observed the possibility of a dialogue between Christianity and Judaism within the concept of kenosis. (III) From an intercultural perspective, Japanese philosophy of the latter half of the 20th century can also serve as a point of inquiry. For example, Kazoh Kitamori (1919-98), one of the leading theologians of postwar Japan, seriously reflected on the catastrophes in Hiroshima and Nagasaki and thoroughly criticized conventional Christianity from the standpoint of “theology of the cross.” Kitamori drew inspiration from the Kyoto School, particularly his teachers Keiji Nishitani and Hajime Tanabe. His influential work, The Pain of God (1946), is said to have influenced Jürgen Moltmann, credited with sparking the contemporary renaissance of kenosis. This narrative reveals the practice of a philosophical dialogue between Christianity and Buddhism, as well as between the West and the East. 

What kenosis teaches us is that, to survive this crisis, we must learn to give up, abandon, be unable, rather than to gain, triumph or overcome. Such a message is not only actual but also traditional. In this workshop, conducted in collaboration with scholars from diverse fields and nations, we strive to investigate contemporary challenges from a foundational vantage point, employing the dialectic of orthodoxy and innovation. Consequently, might not the ideals of kenosis empower us to illuminate the essence of past philosophies and religions in a novel light, contextualized within the milieu of the contemporary crisis? Moreover, could this novel interpretation not also unite philosophers hailing from diverse cultural spheres and disciplines within the same hermeneutic horizon, thereby catalyzing the conceptualization of an alternative and ethical mode of existence?

View the detailed program here

7 February 2024
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Stefano Floris and Dr Riccardo Marin

Dr Stefano Floris (Institute of Biblical Archaeology)
"History of a Punic city, seen from its Tophet: a Sardinian perspective"

Abstract
Child incineration sanctuaries, conventionally known as “Tophet”, are typical of some of the most important central Mediterranean Phoenician colonies. Due to the varied nature of the sources available for their study (e.g., literary, epigraphic, archaeological, bioarchaeological), such sanctuaries constitute a fascinating topic, ideal for the implementation of an interdisciplinary research method aimed at reconstructing the complex ritual actions performed at these sites.
Central to the present talk was the "city" value of the Tophet. These religious institutions played a fundamental role in the lives of the cities where they were placed. As a rule, the activity of the Tophet is centuries old and knows no interruption, from the city's foundation until its end, usually coinciding with the gradual integration of the Punic community within the Roman system.
Thus, the Tophet archaeological contexts are a privileged and fundamental source for the study not only of religious beliefs and practices but also of the history of their Punic cities.


Bionote
After studying Archaeology at the University of Bologna, Stefano Floris earned his doctorate at Ca' Foscari University, Venice, with a thesis on Tharros’ Tophet. He participated in archaeological missions in Sardinia, Armenia, Tunisia, and Lebanon and he is co-director of the “Tophet of Bithia Archaeological Project” led by Ca' Foscari University, Venice. Since June 2022 he has been a Humboldt postdoc fellow at the University of Tübingen. His research focuses on Phoenician burial customs between the Levant and the central Mediterranean.

 

Dr Riccardo Marin (Tübingen AI Center)
"Connecting the (Digital) Dots: Studying relations in 3D geometries for human virtualization"

Abstract 
Geometry surrounds our lives, and we recognize ourselves as part of the 3D world. While we intuitively interact with it, the study of geometry has tickled scholars since the dawn of civilization. The advent of computers opened dramatic opportunities like the simulation of surgeons, assisted architecture design, or navigating imaginary limitless universes. It’s not surprising that, as human beings, we reserve to ourselves an important spot in geometry studies. Modern technologies can acquire, digitize, and imitate human appearance at a stage that is indistinguishable from reality. The industry has a substantial bet on this: embodying ourselves in a blended experience between real and digital worlds promises to change our perceptions and how we relate to each other. To this end, tools to establish analogies between geometrical data (and hence human bodies) are crucial: deciding what is similar, what is different, or, namely, what is in correspondence are fundamental research questions to complete our understanding.

Bionote
Riccardo Marin has obtained his PhD in Computer Science at the University of Verona. He has been a Post Doctoral researcher at Sapienza University of Rome, and now at the AI Center of the University of Tübingen in the Real Virtual Humans Group. He is a Member of the ELLIS Society, a Humboldt Fellow, and is now funded by a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Individual Fellowship. His research focuses on 3D Shape Analysis, Geometric Deep Learning, and Virtual Humans.

6 February 2024
Global Encounters Lecture
Junior-Professor Dr Jacky Kosgei

Junior-Professor Dr Jacky Kosgei 
"Decanonisation Research Methodologies: Working with Oral, Non-Europhone Texts"

Abstract
Ngugi wa Thiong’o argued that the lower esteem with which oral material was historically treated became ‘the basis for expelling some cultures from history and complex thoughts, consigning them to a place in hell’. Moving beyond this much discussed albeit inconclusive debate on the tension between orality and literacy, this talk took a more productive path, asking, what happens to theories of community formation when previously hidden, ignored, and suppressed oral knowledge is unearthed? Taking as a case in point the history of Fort Jesus in Mombasa, Jacky Kosgei thought about the implications of such a project, showing the theoretical and narrative possibilities that reside in an attempt to re-figure the colonial archive. The aim was to make manifest the constellation of ideas, truths, and realities that emerge when new perspectives are brought to light. 


Bionote
Jacky Kosgei is a junior professor of Global Epistemologies at University of Tübingen in Germany. Her interdisciplinary research which is located at the intersection of Atlantic & Indian Ocean literary, cultural, historical and anthropological studies, explores African and Afrodiasporic connections from the 15th century to the present. 

6 February 2024
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi

Professor Dr Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi (Philosophy, University of Abuja, Nigeria):
"The Ala Earth Ethics and Its Potentials"

Abstract
The focus of this presentation was on how the notion of environment can lead to additional ethical thoughts that serves but goes beyond the environmental good. Ala is an environmental ethics in the Igbo-African world. Ugwuanyi's claim is that the extant ethical theories and principles have some challenges which can be overcome through an engagement with the ethical views that are embedded in the notion of Ala. He began by mapping out some challenges in extant theories and practices of ethics which he considers to be exclusivist, conflicting, alienating and fundamentalist. Then he explained the conflict of virtues that arise from this scenario and how the notion of ethics harboured by Ala has the potential to lead to a different ethical orientation and outcome. He explored the four principles embedded in Ala namely-peace, power, authority and morality-suggesting how they provide grounds for a fresh ethical thought. He characterized these as comprehensive ethics that makes harmony and equilibrium core ethical principles and how this minimizes the challenges offered by extant ethical theories and principles. To achieve these objectives he: revisited some challenges of extant ethical beliefs and principles;(ii) revisited some challenges of extant ethical beliefs and principles; (iii) articulated the Ala belief and the ethics emanating therefrom;(iv) explained how Ala amounts to an environmental ethics with wider and deeper ethical value;(v) elaborated this with wider potentials of Ala Earth ethics.

Bio
Lawrence Ogbo Ugwuanyi, Ph.D is a Professor of African Philosophy and Thought at University of Abuja (since 2011). He is the current Head of Department of Philosophy and Director, Centre for the Mobilization of Stakeholders of the University of Abuja. He is the founder, Centre for Critical Thinking and Resourceful Research in Africa (www.cectraafrica.org) devoted to African Self-understanding. He has 30 years teaching experience in Nigeria, Zimbabwe and The Gambia. Formerly, Visiting Scholar, University of South Africa (2005); Visiting Associate Professor, Great Zimbabwe University, Masvingo-Zimbabwe (2014); Fellow: Institute for Advanced Studies in Humanities (IASH), University of Edinburgh (2021); Visiting Scholar Centre of African Studies,  University of Cambridge (2023); Fellow: Multidisciplinary Environmental Studies in Humanities (MESH), University of Cologne, Germany(2023). Professor Ugwuanyi has 60 academic publications. He is published in South African Journal of Philosophy, Religions, Theoria, Southern Journal of Philosophy, African and Asian Studies and Revista de Estudios Africanos. His research seeks to uncover, discover and recover the relevance and autonomy of African thought scheme and he brings this to engage issues of environment; humour, ethics and modernity.

1 February 2024
Lunch Talk
Dr Hyunjin Kim

Dr Hyunjin Kim
"Acetate to Protein: Conversion of Simple Chemicals to Feeding the World"

Abstract
Edible microbial biomass, known as single-cell protein (SCP), is a promising alternative to conventional food sources. However, most commercially available products use plant-derived sugars as a substrate to produce SCP, which does not circumvent traditional agriculture. Using the simple organic compound acetate to cultivate SCP is a promising alternative. Some technologies recently emerged for converting carbon dioxide and renewable power via hydrogen gas into acetate, supporting the circular economy. In a recent proof-of-concept study, the two-stage power-to-protein (P2P) process, our lab could show microbial protein production from the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae with biologically converted acetate as a sole carbon source. This study focuses on increasing the applicability of SCP production from acetate by optimizing the second stage process by growing yeast with high protein content and good nutritional profiles that are harmless for human consumption.

Bio
Hyunjin Kim ist working as a postdoc in the Environmental Biotechnology Group at the University of Tübingen with a Humboldt fellowship. Her research topic is developing processes for making valuable products (such as fuels, chemicals, and protein) from waste materials. She received her Ph.D. from Hanyang University, Seoul, South Korea, working on the chain elongation process for producing caproic acid from useless biomass. She is currently researching protein production from acetate that is produced by fixing carbon dioxide with renewable energy.

24 January 2024
Lunch Talk
Dr Marika Pulkkinen

Marika Pulkkinen:
"Slut-Shaming – Ancient and Modern: Sexual Slander, Shame, and Honor in the Biblical Texts"

Abstract
Shame and honor dynamics is sometimes attached to the societies which are not viewed as cherishing equal rights to all genders. Moreover, there is a tendency to label crimes occurring in certain ethnic and religious contexts in which women are victims of their conjugal partners or family members stemming from honor and shame dynamics. In this vein, they are labelled as “crimes of honor,” whereas the domestic violence occurring in the context of religious and ethnic majority in Western societies is more often labelled as “crimes of passion.” In this presentation, I will problematize the distinction between the “crimes of honor” and the “crimes of passion” by comparing the biblical texts depicting legal sanctions for women suspected of illicit sexual acts to contemporary legal studies in which women are victims of conjugal and family violence. In addition, I will compare the ancient textual material to contemporary examples in which hate speech using sex vocabulary (so-called slut-shaming) is utilized to belittle and marginalize the others.

Bio
Marika Pulkkinen holds a PhD in Theology in the field of Biblical Studies (June 2020, University of Helsinki). Her current project Evoking Shame, Honor, Desire, and Disgust through Vocabulary of Sex Work in the Ancient Jewish Sources and in the New Testament applies perspectives of emotion studies to examine the affect-laden vocabulary of sex work in the biblical texts. In Tübingen, as a visiting scholar, she works as an associate member of the ERC-project QaSLA and as a Fellow of the Center for Religion, Culture and Society.

23 January 2024
Global Encounters Lecture
Dr Eva Falaschi

Dr Eva Falaschi
"Natural Histories in a Global Perspective. Pliny, Oviedo and America: An Ancient Encyclopaedia as a Model to Transfer and Transmit Knowledge
"

Abstract
When the Europeans reached America in 1492, Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia (c. AD 70) was, in Europe, the model for describing nature. How did it influence the first descriptions of the nature of America published in Europe? I will investigate the dynamics of transferring knowledge from the American to the European continent, by focusing on the works by Gonzalo Fernández de Oviedo y Valdés (1476- 1557), who was one of the first Europeans who went to America and wrote about it. In particular, I will ask to what extent characteristic Plinian methods of acquiring and transmitting knowledge (including autopsy, use of local sources, anecdotal narrations, selection and organization of information, aesthetic and religious values of nature, concepts of wonder and otherness) shaped the standards, structures, concepts, and methods that made the knowledge of the nature of America accessible to the European, Latin-influenced culture in the early modern period.

Bio
Eva Falaschi holds a diploma and Ph.D. in archaeology from the Scuola Normale Superiore of Pisa and a Master of Arts in Classics from the University of Pisa. From 2014 to 2020, she was a research fellow at the Scuola Normale, working on the reception of Greek art in Roman Imperial literature and, in particular, in Pliny the Elder’s Naturalis Historia. Between 2021 and 2022, her project on art treatises and artists’ biographies in ancient times was funded by the Center for Hellenic Studies (Harvard University), the James Loeb Gesellschaft / Zentralinstitut für Kunstgeschichte (München), and the Getty Research Institute. Her Global Encounters research aims at a historical analysis of global knowledge formation. It examines the impact of Pliny the Elder's Naturalis Historia (c. AD 70) on the understanding and global transmission of America’s natural history in the 16th century. 

23 January 2024
GIP Lecture
Prof Dr Angela Roothaan

Prof. Dr. Angela Roothaan, Philosophy (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, The Netherlands): 
„The Dynamic Web We Live In: Bantu Philosophy as Phenomenology of Human-Nature Relations”

Abstract

In the much-disputed classic Bantu Philosophy (1945/6), Placide Tempels attempted to critically describe our human being-in-the-world as he understood it from his Congolese interlocutors. To this end he connected the conceptual framework of Bantu languages, rooted in Bantu Life-worlds, to a Flemish-Dutch conceptual framework, rooted in Latin scholastic tradition and modern European phenomenology. As the quote shows, he was aware of the dangers of such a work. He deemed it necessary, however, to a) make Europeans take African thinking seriously, and b) to rethink human-nature relations. 

I will clarify Tempels' contribution to an African eco-phenomenology by
(i)     discussing letters of Tempels that clarify how Bantu Philosophy should transform static conceptions of being, dominant in scholastic catholic philosophy, into a dynamic and wholistic conception of being as identical with force; 
(ii)     demonstrating how the French and English translations of Bantu Philosophy obscured key conceptual choices Tempels made to this end. 

The first point will show Tempels Bantu Philosophy to be part of a wider movement of the 1930sand 1940s among catholic philosophers, to adopt concepts from existential philosophy and phenomenology to rethink ontology from the experience of a situated being that participates in this being (“Dasein”).
The second will show a way out of the thicket of transiation / interpretation issues around Bantu Philosophy. The two moves should help to understand Tempels' translated Bantu conceptions as African eco-phenomenological understanding of human-nature relations. For this understanding he choses the image of the spider's web, which transports any movement that occurs in one of the threads through the whole web, as key metaphor.

 

About

Angela Roothaan is Associate Professor at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Having a background in continental philosophy, she published on a wide range of subjects such as Philosophy of Nature, Spirit Ontologies, Value Ethics and (early) Modem Philosophy, before turning to African and lntercultural Philosophy. She now supervises multiple PhD projects in these fields. In 2019 she initiated the Dutch Research Network African lntercultural Philosophy and the Bantu Philosophy project, that functions as an international scholarly network for exchange of research findings and sources regarding the 1945/6 work Bantu Philosophy by Placide Tempels. Angela connected her research into Philosophy of Nature and Spirit Ontologies in her book lndigenous, Modern and Postcolonial Relations to Nature. Negotiating the Environment (Routledge 2019). Most recently she published Bantoe-filosofie, the 1946 Dutch original version of Bantu Philosophy, in freshly updated Dutch and with an introduction and explanatory footnotes (Noordboek 2023). She now works on an annotated critical edition of the same work for a global readership (in collaboration with Pius Mosima). She also co-edited (with Bolaji Bateye, Mahmoud Masaeli and Louise M Oller) two volumes in the field of African Philosophy: Beauty in African Thought. Critical Perspectives on the Western ldea of Development and Well-Being in African Philosophy. lnsights for a Global Ethics of Development (both Rowman & Littlefield 2023). To bring philosophy out of the ivory tower, Angela also keeps a blog: http://angelaroothaan.wordpress.com

22 January 2024
Lecture
Professor Dr Fabian Heubel

Professor Dr Fabian Heubel (Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan / Gastprofessor, Institut für Philosophie, FU Berlin):
„Weg und Sein. Das erste Kapitel des Lǎozǐ (Laotse) transkulturell gelesen“

Abstract
Ausgangspunkt für die Erörterung der ersten Kapitel (im Folgenden Lǎozǐ 1 genannt) ist ein Übersetzungsvorschlag von mir, den ich Rohübersetzung nenne. Diese ist insofern mehr als eine Interlinearversion, als ich versuche, nicht nur philologisch möglichst nahe am chinesischen Text zu bleiben, sondern auch einen sprachlich überzeugenden Text anzustreben. Dass er auf den ersten Blick sprachlich eingängig ist, kann allerdings nicht erwartet werden. Daran schließt sich ein Übersetzungskommentar an, in dem meine Übersetzung immer wieder dadurch erläutere, dass ich sie mit anderen Übersetzungen in Beziehung setze (Teil II). In diesem Teil geht es immer wieder um die Schwierigkeit, für das Buch Lǎozǐ eine philosophisch-literarische Übersetzungssprache zu finden, die einem anderen Anfang in der Auseinandersetzung mit diesem Buch im Deutschen zugutekommen kann. Teil III nähert sich einer solchen Auseinandersetzung an, indem einerseits Aspekte der langen Geschichte chinesischer Kommentare und Interpretationen systematisch einbezogen werden und andererseits ein besonderes Augenmerk auf die transkulturelle Verschränkung chinesischer und deutscher Gegenwartsphilosophie gelegt wird.  Beispielhaft konzentriere ich mich auf das Verhältnis zweier herausragender Philosophen des 20. Jahrhunderts: Móu Zōngsān 牟宗三 und Martin Heidegger. Dafür bringe ich den Kommentar von Móu Zōngsān zu Lǎozǐ 1 mit Heideggers Übersetzung und Neudeutung vorsokratischen Denkens zusammen. 

Bio
Fabian Heubel is Research Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan (R.O.C). Before that he has been professor at the Institute for Philosophy of National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (R.O.C) and adjunct professor at the Tainan National University of the Arts. He has taught at several Chinese universities as well as Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main and Freie Universität Berlin. Currently he is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Philosophy of Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
His research is on transcultural philosophy, contemporary Confucianism, Zhuangzi, Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Critical Theory, Frankfurt School of Philosophy, Taiwan Studies, Jullien, Foucault, Nancy, Heidegger and Hölderlin.

10 January 2024
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Asia Kalinichenko and Dr Smith Babiaka

Dr Asia Kalinichenko (Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry)
"Food safety and quality assessment using gas sensors and chemometrics: the edible oils case"

Abstract
This lecture was dedicated to the project on the development of alternative sensor-based methods for analyzing food quality and safety, with a focus on the case of edible oils. 
The production of vegetable oils and fats is the one of the largest and fastest-growing sectors of the global food market. The contemporary speeds and production volumes necessitate a reconsideration of traditional analytical chemistry approaches to perform more effective monitoring of edible oil quality and safety at all stages of the entire food supply chain. The implementation of new sensor-based methods will facilitate fast and efficient analyses without the need for chemical reagents and solvents. In addition, deep machine learning algorithms, incorporating elements of artificial intelligence, combined with SMOX sensors featuring various operation modes, can process data sources to suggest optimized sensor array for targeted gas analytes, as well as enhance the sensitivity and selectivity of methods based on cross-selective sensors. 
The simplicity and affordability of these innovative methods, based on micro gas sensors, make them suitable for application in various settings, including small enterprises, large mills, and regulatory authority labs.

Bionote
Currently, Asia Kalinichenko is a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry of Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen, supported by a fellowship from Philipp Schwartz-Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. Additionally, she holds the position of associate professor at the Department of Foodstuff Expertise at the National University of Food Technology (NUFT) in Kyiv, Ukraine.  
In 2011 she received a B.Eng. degree at the Faculty of Chemistry at Oles Honchar Dnipro National University, Ukraine, followed by an M.Tech. degree from NUFT in 2012. In 2021, she defended her Ph.D. in Analytical Chemistry. Her research interest focuses on gas sensors and their application for food analysis, food chemistry, data mining and deep machine learning in chemistry. 

 

Dr Smith Babiaka (Interfaculty Institute of Microbiology and Infection Medicine)
"Natural Product-Based Discovery of Novel Lead Compounds From Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystems"

Abstract
Natural products (NPs) are known to be a rich source of novel drug leads with unique mechanisms of action. The African continent with Cameroon inclusive has a rich biodiversity with a long history of the use of medicinal plants in the treatment of diseases. Plants and marine sponges have been extracted and analyzed for centuries for medicinal purposes. Several interesting NPs have been isolated from these living organisms and screened against a series of neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) which burdens the population. This lecture will focus on the valorisation of NPs from African medicinal plants, isolation, structure elucidation, and bioactivity testing of compounds against a series of NTDs. He also intends to use molecular modelling to explain the structure-activity relationship of some potent compounds isolated from plant species. Next, he would conclude by using molecular networking with GNPS to identify natural products from marine sponges collected off the west coast of Africa.


Bionote
Smith B. Babiaka is a Lecturer at the Department of Chemistry at the University of Buea where he was awarded a PhD in Chemistry in March 2019. Since June 2022, he is a Georg Forster Alexander von Humboldt and Georg Forster-Bayer Research Fellow. He is working in the research group of Prof. Dr. Heike Brötz-Oesterhelt and Dr. Chambers C. Hughes at the University of Tübingen. He has been awarded the ARISE Intra-ACP mobility grant, AGNES junior research grant, MINESUP research grant, ACS best poster ward among others. His previous research has been focused on natural product drug discovery of novel lead compounds from nature. He is a member of ACS, RSC, EFMS-YSN & INPST and others. He is a reviewer of manuscripts from Phytochemistry, Frontiers in Natural Products, ChemBioChem, and Natural Product Research and others. He has about thirty-two peer-reviewed journal publications. 

2023

13 – 15 December 2023
WS "Eco-phenomenology: Exploring Eco-phenomenological Concepts and Theories from and for Africa’s Ecological Lifeworld"

Workshop "Eco-phenomenology: Exploring Eco-phenomenological Concepts and Theories from and for Africa’s Ecological Lifeworld"

Organisation: Dr Abiodun Afolabi, Dr Niels Weidtmann

Theme:
The specific concern of phenomenology is to redirect our consciousness towards what is there in experience. It seeks to understand the fundamental structures of subjective experience in the world. However, its pioneers only make scanty theorizations of human’s experience in, and with, the natural environment. Only recently have scholars begun to apply the classical phenomenological thoughts of Edmund Husserl, Martin Heidegger, Husserl, Merleau-Ponty and Emmanuel Levinas to address environmental issues like climate change that our world is facing (see Brown and Toadvine 2003; Peeters et al., 2015; Edelglass, 2020; Booth, 2021). The result is the beginning of a new discipline: Eco-phenomenology. 
The engagement of human’s experience in, and with, the natural environment and how the natural world (including its constituent species) shows up for them is central to eco-phenomenology. David Wood, one of the foremost eco-phenomenologists posits that eco-phenomenology can be thought of as a hybridization of phenomenological ecology and ecological phenomenology (Wood, 2019: 14). The sense here is that eco-phenomenology adopts the methods and insights of phenomenology and, at the same time, uses these methods, concepts, and insights for studying the interrelationship between organism and the world in its metaphysical and axiological dimensions.   
Despite the recent wave of eco-phenomenology, there is a surprising need for abundant eco-phenomenological perspectives from the African continent whose situated experiences are often connected to the flora and fauna of the natural environment. Of course, it is not the case that African philosophers do not adopt phenomenology as a method in their research. Many African scholars have used phenomenological approaches to reflect on the lived experiences of Africans to examine how such lived experiences can promote better awareness of their challenges and aid a meaningful response to these challenges (John Sanni, 2019: 2). However, such attempts have been common to theorizing socio-political realities (see Olivier 2023) but very sparse in addressing Africa’s socio-ecological experience (Rootaan, 2019) even now when human ecological consciousness needs to be taken seriously.
Although many African Scholars have reflected on Africa’s ecological crisis from ethical and socio-political standpoint (see Munrove 2009; Behrens 2014; Metz 2015; Kelbessa 2018; Fayemi 2016; Chimakonam 2017; Etieyibo 2017 and 2023; Chemhuru 2019; Ogude and Mushonga 2023; Samuel 2023), a vacuum is yet to be filled by applying phenomenology to the environmental crisis in Africa. This overlooked intellectual space is the focus of this workshop. It is expected at this workshop that both classical and contemporary phenomenological theories will be interpreted and engaged without eschewing analysis of the African social, political, and historical structures which imbue ecological experiences with intersubjective meaning-complexes that are necessary for philosophical understanding. This workshop aims to use eco-phenomenology to analyze African environment or nature-related problems in a bid to contribute important insights that would direct and infuse the habits of thought and action in the everyday lives of African people towards a transformative eco-consciousness.

The Workshop speakers explored, among others, the following questions:
•    In what ways has the African environmental lived experiences provoke or promote attitudes of eco-dissonance, eco-disjunction, and eco-affectivity?
•    Are there peculiar emotional and felt significance of our relations with the more-than-human world in Africa?
•    How can we phenomenologically reconstruct the African environmental relations using eco-relational concepts that are co-adaptively engaging as well as attentive to Africa’s socio-ecological contexts?
•    How does the African experience of a particular place reveal essential experiential qualities of environmental relations?
•    Are there phenomenological theories from Africa that can help promote human-animal relational awareness?
•    What are the normative implications of adopting eco-phenomenology for addressing African environmental crisis with reference to environmental justice and environmental sustainability?

View a detailed program here.  

13 December 2023
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Tetjana Midjana and Professor Raluca Rădulescu

The lectures were held in German.

Dr Tetjana Midjana (Institut für allgemeine Rhetorik)
"Die Kriegsrhetorik von Wolodymyr Selenskyj und Wladimir Putin und ihre besonderen Merkmale"

Abstract
Der aktuelle Krieg gegen die Ukraine ist nicht nur ein Vernichtungs- sondern auch ein Informationskrieg. Um gegen den russischen Propagandaterror Widerstand zu leisten, wendet sich der ukrainische Präsident Wolodymyr Selenskyj mit täglichen Videoansprachen an sein Volk sowie an die Parlamente und Menschen verschiedener Länder, um den Zusammenhalt der Welt gegen den Aggressor zu stärken. Selenskyjs Reden in Kriegszeiten scheinen sich durch einen hohen persuasiven Charakter auszuzeichnen, denn sie zeigen große mediale Wirkung. Hier lautet die rhetorikanalytische Frage: Was macht diese Reden so wirksam? Das gleiche öffentliche und wissenschaftliche Interesse gilt den Kriegsreden von Russlands Präsidenten Putin, weil es sich um die Reden des Aggressors handelt. Die Textsortenkategorie „Rede“, als Beratungs-, Gerichts- und Lobrede, kommt aus der Rhetorik. Diese in Europa nur in Tübingen mit einem Universitätsinstitut vertretene Wissenschaft bietet das beste Instrumentarium für die Analyse der Kriegsreden, deren Besonderheit darin besteht, jede Kriegsrede als Handlungsinstrument zu untersuchen. Unter rhetoriktheoretischer Perspektive ist die Realisierung von persuasiven Strategien der beiden Protagonisten zentral.


Bionote
Tetiana Midjana studied German language and literature at the University of Lviv (Ukraine). From 1999 to 2004 she was a PhD student with Professor Joachim Knape at the Institute for Rhetoric at the University of Tübingen and completed her doctorate on the topic of "Periphrase". Since 2005 she has been a lecturer at the Department of German Philology at the University of Lviv. Since 1 April 2022, she has been a research associate at the Institute for Rhetoric. The project is funded by the University of Tübingen and the Philipp Schwartz Initiative of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.

 

 

Prof. Raluca Rădulescu (Deutsches Seminar)
"Koloniale Seefahrten in der deutschen Literatur"

Abstract
Seefahrt und Kolonisation sind Phänomene, die in der deutschen Geschichte und Literatur 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts in gegenseitiger Potenzierung zum Ausdruck kommen. Auf ihren Seefahrten müssen die literarischen Figuren nicht nur politische, sondern auch kulturelle Grenzen durchqueren und überwinden. So bietet sich die hohe See als Projektionsfläche europäischer Eroberungsphantasien an, welche die ganze Welt in Anspruch nehmen und somit alle Grenzen zu überschreiten begehren. Doch auf der Seefahrt muss der Einzelne sowie das Kollektiv auf unerwartete Hindernisse und somit an Grenzen stoßen – seien es widrige Naturverhältnisse, Seuchen, aber auch unberechenbare Begegnungen mit kulturell Anderen – die Pläne und Vorstellungen einer Revision unterziehen.
So liefern Meer und Meerfahrt im kolonialen Zusammenhang den Anlass zu einer ästhetischen und ferner hermeneutischen Herausforderung der Bejahung, Hinterfragung oder Kritik überlieferter europäischer Bilder und Expansionsvorstellungen. 
Die Seegeschichten lassen darüber hinaus einen Diskurs der fließenden nationalen und kulturellen Grenzen entstehen, was in der maritimen Globalisierung schon ab der Antike aufkommt und heute (auch im Kontext der Flüchtlingsströme und deren Seenöte und Schiffbrüche) einen ausgeprägten Aktualitätsbezug aufweist. 


Bionote
Raluca Rădulescu is Professor of Intercultural German Studies at the Institute of Germanic Languages and Literatures at the University of Bucharest (Romania). Her research interests are: intercultural literature, exile literature, migration literature, cultural theory, modernist poetry, and intermediality. She currently is a Fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation with a project on colonial sea voyages in German-language literature of the 19th and 20th centuries.

12 December 2023
Global Encounters Lecture
"The genetic footprint of racial and gender hierarchies"

Dr Àlex Mas-Sandoval
"The genetic footprint of racial and gender hierarchies"

Abstract:
Most American populations descend from indigenous Americans, European colonisers and sub-Saharan African slaves. However, the admixture process resulting from the colonisation of the Americas is constrained by socioeconomic and cultural stratification. 
By analysing the DNA fragments of each individual that are inherited from each of these three ancestral populations, we quantify how much the mating has not been random related to the genetic ancestry proportions of males and females.
In this way, we reconstruct how interactions between racial and gender hierarchies shaped population stratification since the colonisation of the Americas. We challenge the oversimplified understanding that mestizaje reduces population stratification: a high degree of mixture cannot translate into a decrease in inequality if it occurs with strongly gendered patterns. Finally, we analyse the role of racialised phenotypes in stratifying the population beyond the effect of socioeconomic stratification. 
Overall, we show how social stratification leaves a footprint in the genetic structure of human populations and how, by studying it, we can reconstruct the evolution of inequalities throughout human history.

Bionote:
Àlex Mas-Sandoval is a population geneticist that studies how evolutionary processes driven by social structure and cultural changes impact the genetic diversity of populations. He got his PhD at the Institut de Biologia Evolutiva (UPF), in Barcelona, and at the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, in Porto Alegre. There he focused on the reconstruction of the precolonial demographic history from admixed populations of Brazil. Then, during a Postdoc at Imperial College London, he studied how social hierarchies constrain the mating patterns and the admixture dynamics of the populations of the Americas. As a postdoctoral researcher at Università di Bologna, he is focused on understanding the socioeconomic factors that drive assortative mating in these populations.

Dr. Mas-Sandoval is currently a short-term visiting researcher at Universität Tübingen in the framework of the Global Encounters platform, aiming to disentangle how social inequalities and population stratification have impacted a wide range of populations across time and space.

7 December 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Gregor Paul

Professor Dr Gregor Paul (Karlsruher Instituts für Technologie):
„Sind nicht alle Menschen Menschen? Ziele, Methoden und Inhalte Interkultureller Philosophie“

(Lecture held in German language)

Abstract:
With the exception of cultural fundamentalists, hardly anyone doubts that there is nothing that connects all cultures or could ultimately unite them, since all cultures are also the work of man. And hardly anyone accepts cultural imperialism. Hardly anyone wants Eurocentrism or sinocentrism.  But as important as such general explanations are for any kind of intercultural philosophy, they require extensive and detailed development. It is about stating precisely, unambiguously, and in a manageable way how to avoid mistakes and achieve goals. How can cultural similarities and differences be identified and explained? Which similarities and differences are important? Which ones are not? And why are they important or not? Above all: What can be inferred, indeed learned, from such statements and explanations?

How is the highest goal of any intercultural engagement, a non-violent intercultural understanding, to be realized? In other words: the goal of establishing a culture that embraces all of humanity, maintains peace and respects human rights, without neglecting the legitimate claims of individual cultures to preserve their distinctiveness?

The lecture focused on methods that allow for universal hypotheses. They were illustrated by examples from the philosophy of human dignity and human rights. The explanations were based, among others, on the "Introduction to Intercultural Philosophy" (WBG 2008) and "Philosophy in the History of China" (Bochum: Project-Verlag 2022).

Bio:
You can read more about Professor Dr Gregor Paul here.

6 December 2023
Lunch Talk
Dr Ponni Arasu

"TamilThanmai: A historical Ethnography of caste and gender in public political lives in Tamil Nadu, India"

Abstract:
This work is a historical ethnography of Sulur, a town in Coimbatore district of Tamilnadu, India. Through in-depth interviews and archives, both personal and public, of textual and visual sources, Ponni Arasu has evolved an analytical framework from which to understand everyday public political lives. With a focus on the 1950s to 70s, before the consolidation of state power and political discourses in Tamil Nadu, she traced public politics from the perspective of the everyday lives of its ordinary members, all of whom are men. Based on this narrative she has identified elements of what she terms TamilThanmai. TamilThanmai, as she proposes, is a historically grounded analytical framework which describes the essence of public political lives that provided a way of being and sense of self for all those who lived it. Her research is a historical ethnography of and through TamilThanmai. Her work analyses the past rigorously with all its complexity in order to imagine and play a role in creating an egalitarian and just society in the future. 

Bio:
Dr Ponni Arasu is a feminist researcher, historian, activist, legal practitioner, translator and theatre artist hailing from Chennai and currently based in Batticaloa, Sri Lanka. She is trained in History at the University of Delhi, the Jawaharlal Nehru University and the University of Toronto. Her academic work is on historical ethnographies of contemporary India, with specific focus on social movements such as the Dravidian movement and the women's movement(s). Her PhD research has led her to propose a theoretical framework and methodology called TamilThanmai. She has done research in India and Sri Lanka on the realities of those marginalised on the grounds of their gender, sexuality, caste, class, language, labour, ability, ethnicity, religion etc. for the past twenty years. Her research emerges from and feeds back into movements for social change that she is a part of. She has taught entire courses and guest lectures in the disciplines of history, South Asian studies, Tamil studies, women and gender studies, Caribbean studies and anthropology at the University of Toronto - Canada, University of Minnesota - USA, University of Tubingen - Germany, the University of Jaffna in Sri Lanka, the Tata Institute of Social Studies, Azim Premji University and the University of Pune in India. She has been evolving pedagogic methods of teaching the history and contemporary realities of Sri Lanka with a focus on rigorous research methodology and critical thinking in non-formal and yet consistent teaching spaces to Tamil-speaking students from all over Sri Lanka. This has taken the form of the “Ezhuval: for young women and social change” that she has designed and co-teaches, hosted at the Church of the American Ceylon Mission, Batticaloa. For the past three years she has undertaken research projects in Sri Lanka including on women farmers' collectives; lives and movements for change of women living with disabilities in eastern Sri Lanka; the present realities of LGBTQIA+ individuals and on the status of sex workers. She has produced theatre work with collaborators in India and Sri Lanka on a range of issues which are grounded in using the arts to further the important process of making realities of the marginalised visible and accessible to all. Ponni is also a trained expressive arts therapist practicing primarily in Tamil among women and queer folks from marginalised communities in India and Sri Lanka. She is the Arts and Catalyst Fellowship holder for 2023 at the Studio for Movement Arts and Therapies in Bangalore. She is currently a Global Encounters fellow at the Department of Social and Cultural Anthropology at the University of Tubingen pursuing research on the life of the goddess Mariamman among descendants of largely Dalit indentured workers in Port of Spain, Trinidad and among rural communities in Tamilnadu. She hopes to bring her proposed concept of TamilThanmai as theory and method to this work.

22 November 2023
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Keyvan Allahyari and Dr Laurie Atkinson

Dr Keyvan Allahyari (Englisches Seminar)
"Abdulrazak Gurnah's Oceanic Border Thinking"

Abstract
In this talk, Dr Keyvan Allahari explores the Nobel Laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah’s novel By the Sea (2001) as a critique of the normative understanding of the border as having a singular, prohibitive function for the refugee, and instead reads it as a call to register the border as a moving and permeable formation. What he calls oceanic border thinking conveys Gurnah’s optic into the imbrication of littoral and land zones, and the effect of proliferation of biopolitical technologies associated with various iterations of colonial and postcolonial bordering, including partitioning, arbitrary detention, deportation and expulsion. Oceanic border thinking enables one’s sense of the world not only in water but onwards into the land, whether it is in Africa, England, and continental Europe. This method helps exploring how cartographic, literary and imaginative conceptions of border as observed from the Indian Ocean, bears the potential to trouble easy categorisations of borders and the histories associated with them.

Bionote
Dr Keyvan Allahyari (PhD, Melbourne 2019) is Postdoctoral Humboldt Fellow at the University of Tübingen and the University of Potsdam, and the incoming Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Oslo, Norway. He is the author of Peter Carey: The making of a Global Novelist (Palgrave 2023). His articles have appeared in Journal of Postcolonial WritingJournal of Commonwealth Literature (forthcoming), ARIEL (forthcoming), The Cambridge Companion to the Australian NovelAustralian Humanities ReviewAntipodesJournal of Australian Studies, and JASAL


Dr Laurie Atkinson (Englisches Seminar)
"Co-Creativity in Early English Literary Print"

Abstract
Who were the makers of English literature before Shakespeare? And why don’t we talk about them? There were myriad agents involved in the production and consumption of English literary texts during the first decades of printing in England: the patrons, printers, booksellers, et al. who mediated between, and collaborated with, the author and the reader. The collaborative energy which characterised literary production was harnessed in this period to convince an expanding and diversifying readership of the value of new literary texts in English, but it contradicts the post-Romantic notion of the sovereign author as the unmediated and sole source of a text. This talk examines the hugely popular collaborative collection, A Mirror for Magistrates (1559), together with earlier English literary publications, as evidence for the diverse, interactive, but today too often ignored literary agents that made them. It shows how different agencies were emphasised or obscured depending on their perceived vendible qualities and makes a case for the importance of co-creativity to the formation of English literature as we know it today.

Bio note
Laurie Atkinson completed his PhD at Durham University in 2021. He afterwards provided research as an MHRA Postdoctoral Research Associate for the new Cambridge University Press edition of the complete works of Geoffrey Chaucer. Laurie is now a Humboldt Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Tübingen, where he works on early English literary print. His monograph, Ideas of Authorship in the English and Scottish Dream Vision: Skelton, Dunbar, Hawes, Douglas, is scheduled for publication with Boydell & Brewer in March 2024.

9 November 2023
Science & Innovation Days
Professor Lynne Tirell

Professor Lynne Tirrell (University of Connecticut): "Toxic Speech: Resisting Extremist Rhetoric"
Lecture by Professor Lynne Tirrell (University of Connecticut) as part of the Science&Innovation Days at the University of Tübignen, followed by a panel discussion with Dr Rolf Frankenberger (University of Tübingen, Institute for Research on Right-Wing Extremism) and Felix Steinbrenner (Stabsstelle "Demokratie stärken!", Landeszentrale für politische Bildung Baden-Württemberg).

Lecture abstract:
Speech can be toxic in many ways, to many degrees, and it can cause a variety of different harms. This talk focused on the toxic dimensions of right-wing extremist rhetoric, for two purposes. First, to understand its mechanisms, and second to identify ways to resist and promote resistance. The approach focused on discursive practices rather than one-off speech acts, emphasizing patterns of speech that enact norms shaping how we treat each other, how well we can thrive, and we function as citizens. When a society is besieged by the drumbeat of hate in everyday speech and in political pronouncements, what can the average citizen do? This question was explored together, with a clear eye on what is at stake.

Also check out this event here: www.sidays.com/events/toxische-sprache

#SIDays23
"Resilienz. Gemeinsam arbeiten wir dran."

 

6–10 November 2023
Symposium "Nature" in Buddhism and Christianity

Symposium: "Nature" in Buddhism and Christianity

Organised by JDK (Japanese-German Cultural Institute in Kyoto, Japan); EKŌ-Haus der Japanischen Kultur e.V.in Düsseldorf; CoF (College of Fellows - Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies at the University of Tübingen). The event was financially supported by the BDK (Bukkyô-Dendô-Kyôkai) Foundation.

Abstract:
The dialogue between the world religions as well as the exchange of their experiences and thoughts are becoming increasingly important for a mutual and better understanding of these world religions. The concept of "nature" is considered to be a starting point where this dialogue can be initiated in philosophical-religious terms. This concept has not always been handed down in a unanimous understanding within the exegetics of Buddhism and Christianity. It will therefore emerge in a comparative consideration of the two religions or in the encounter of the two as a touchstone against which a genuine confrontation can be attempted. Moreover, the concept of nature today must also be related back to the "problem" of the environment, to which the religions in question are committed in their own way. Through the dialogues of the world religions on the concept of nature, therefore, and not least, each side of the conversation will be prompted to understand itself in a different light.

Read more about the Symposium here.

31 October 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Masatake Shinohara

Professor Masatake Shinohara (Kyoto University):
 "An Undecided Dimension of Depth: On the Question of the Place in the Thought of Kitaro Nishida"

Abstract:
In this lecture, Professor Masatake Shinohara attempted a certain kind of address to the dimension of depth that exceeds our present possibilities, the dimension that remains hidden all along. Such dimension belongs to the place in which we always already find ourselves but simultaneously transcends our conscious grasp. Thus, in its concern with the ontological ground upon which the human artifice as the condition for human existence has been built, this presentation tried to problematize the idea that the place where humans are emplaced is solid and stabilized. In contrast to the common understanding that the human condition is sustained as solid and durable, Professor Masatake Shinohara proposed that we are now challenged with the realization of the radical uncertainty that is always just underfoot. 

In this respect, the work of Japanese philosopher Kitaro Nishida (1870-1945), one of the founders of the modern Japanese philosophical tradition of thought, can be reformulated in its formulation of the question concerning the dimension of depth that is rooted within the profound vastness of place. Yet, Nishida also characterizes the place as that which is not merely external to the self but determines the mode of existence of the self. By way of the engagement with the thought of Nishida, she proceeded with a question of place that is characterized as the contradictory dimension that is not merely external to the self but is not continuous with the self. First of all, the place within which the self is emplaced is characterized as the hidden dimension that is expected to be revealed at the depth of the active self. This is also a dimension of alterity that simultaneously embraces and transcends the self who inhabits it. More specifically, the place as the dimension of alterity can be understood in the interest of the earthly dimension that environs humans but is irreducible to the human artifice.  Thus, being uncontained by the boundaries that constitute the realm of the human artifice for the everyday life, it would be assumed to go beyond the limited horizon of everyday experience in a way that announces the possible futural dimension in which the imaginal form of coexistence among humans would emerge.

27 October 2023
Semester Opening
Jan Willem Duyvendak

Guest Lecture by Professor Jan Willem Duyvendak (Director of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study, Amsterdam)
"The Return of the Native. Navigating between nostalgic nativism and hopeful liberalism"

At the beginning of the winter term we invited all international fellows and interested university members to the College of Fellows semester opening event. Duyvendak, building on his co-authored new book The Return of the Native (Oxford University Press, 2023), explored the extraordinary rise of nativism in liberal settings, paying particular attention to nativist narratives that intertwine islamophobia, racism, populism and nostalgia. He discussed the rise of nativism in France, the US and the Netherlands, focusing on striking similarities and small differences.

Following the guest lecture, Professor Dorothee Kimmich (Tübingen) and Professor Boris Nieswand (Tübingen) joined Professor Duyvendak on the podium for a discussion, and the College of Fellows presented its programme and activities it offers to international fellows. The concluding reception offered the opportunity to exchange and network with other Fellows and scholars from Tübingen over drinks.

 

About Jan Willem Duyvendak:
Jan Willem Duyvendak is Distinguished Research Professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam (UvA). Since 2018, he is also director of the Netherlands Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and Social Sciences at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (NIAS-KNAW). In 2021, he was elected member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and in 2022 of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
More information here: www.jwduyvendak.nl 

25 October 2023: Public Lecture by Rita Felski: "How Not To Talk About Experience"

Professor Rita Felski:
Public Lecture "How not to talk about Experience"

The College of Fellows cordially invited the public and all university members to join the public evening lecture by Prof. Rita Felski. The lecture was held in English.

Abstract:
Why do standard textbooks of literary theory avoid the concept of experience? And why is the turn to literary experience now an accelerating trend? This talk looks to recent German theory, especially Hartmut Rosa’s account of the phenomenology and sociology of resonance, as a resource for literary critics interested in rethinking experience in relational and worldly terms.

About Professor Rita Felski:
Rita Felski is John-Stewart-Bryan-Professor of English at the University of Virginia and Niels-Bohr-Professor at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). She is a leading scholar in the fields of aesthetics, literary theory and cultural studies, feminist theory, modernism, and postmodernism, and has been influential in such areas as the development of postcriticism and the discussion of Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory (ANT) in literary studies.
Felski has published The Limits of Critique, Beyond Feminist Aesthetics, The Gender of Modernity, Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture, Literature After Feminism, the Blackwell Manifesto Uses of Literature, and Rethinking Tragedy, among others, and is a former editor of New Literary History. The Limits of Critique, in particular, has been widely reviewed and discussed. Felski raises comparable topics in the anthology she co-edited with Elizabeth Anker, Critique and Postcritique. Hooked: Art and Attachment, which explores how and why works of art captivate us, was published in 2020. Felski has recently begun work on a book project about the new Frankfurt School and its significance for literary studies.

23 – 26 October 2023: New Horizons Workshop with Rita Felski: "Postcritique, Recognition, Life World"

Professor Rita Felski
"Postcritique, Recognition, Life World"

“Rather than taking it for granted that a work gains its meaning in relation to a historical or political context that is being assumed by the critic, why not insist on its potential to transform what counts as a relevant context?”
(Rita Felski)

Abstract:

The "postcritical turn" within literary and cultural studies has initiated a major turn in the practice of critique, offering new ways of reading, methodology and criticism which foreground emotion and affect in the reader's experience, and which generally redirect the attention to aesthetic dimensions in the reception and interpretation of a text. As such, postcritique is relevant beyond the boundaries of literary criticicm addressing pressing issues across the humanities.

The workshop "Postcritique, Recognition, Life World" (23-26 October 2023, Tübingen) will enable discussions with Rita Felski, one of the major proponents of postcritique, building on her recent scholarly work. Pieces of Rita Felski’s current work will be circulated and are expected to be read in advance by the participants. Consisting of three sessions, the workshop will open with a session on theoretical and methodological aspects; a second session builds on a chapter on ‘Recognition’ and on Didier Eribon’s Returning to Reims (published in New Literary History) and a third session discusses a chapter on ‘Life World’ and on Magda Szabo’s The Door. Along the following and other questions, the workshop will explore aspects and implications of Felski's concepts: What theoretical impulses can be derived from her re-orientation in critical and creative vocabularies? How does her recent work further develop the theoretical field of postcritique? Can the notions of ‘Recognition’ and ‘Life World’ serve as a reconfiguration of ‘post-critical’ concepts and forms of reading and interpretation? How do such reconfigurations contribute to theoretical shifts within current debates in the humanities?

Program:

    Mon, 23 October, 4:00-7:00 p.m.:
    Opening session with an introductory input by Rita Felski, followed by a discussion on theory basics
    Tue, 24 October, 4:00-7:00 p.m.:
    Presentation by Rita Felski, followed by a discussion on the topic of "Recognition"
    Wed, 25 October, 7:00 p.m.:
    Public lecture by Rita Felski titled "How Not To Talk About Experience"
    Thu, 26 October, 4:00-7:00 p.m.:
    Presentation by Rita Felski and discussion on the topic of "Life World" with further invited guests and a wrap-up of the topics. The discussion of research questions and topics from related fields was particularly welcome, and references to the participants' own projects were explicitly encouraged.
The workshop was held in English.

About Professor Rita Felski:
Rita Felski is John-Stewart-Bryan-Professor of English at the University of Virginia and Niels-Bohr-Professor at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). She is a leading scholar in the fields of aesthetics, literary theory and cultural studies, feminist theory, modernism, and postmodernism, and has been influential in such areas as the development of postcriticism and the discussion of Bruno Latour's Actor-Network Theory (ANT) in literary studies.
Felski has published The Limits of Critique, Beyond Feminist Aesthetics, The Gender of Modernity, Doing Time: Feminist Theory and Postmodern Culture, Literature After Feminism, the Blackwell Manifesto Uses of Literature, and Rethinking Tragedy, among others, and is a former editor of New Literary History. The Limits of Critique, in particular, has been widely reviewed and discussed. Felski raises comparable topics in the anthology she co-edited with Elizabeth Anker, Critique and Postcritique. Hooked: Art and Attachment, which explores how and why works of art captivate us, was published in 2020. Felski has recently begun work on a book project about the new Frankfurt School and its significance for literary studies.

13 - 14 October 2023
Rombach Conference
"Strukturphilosophie im Widerstreit. Phänomenologische, historische und interkulturelle Perspektiven"

13 — 14 October 2023
Neue Aula, Room 236
(Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, Tübingen)

More information and a detailed program can be downloaded here

28 September 2023
Public Lecture
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

Abstract: 
In his lecture, Eduardo Viveiros de Castro  presented his scholarly work, which has set decisive impulses in anthropology and cultural theory. His concept of perspectivism, which is closely linked to the concept of “multinaturalism”, proved to be particularly stimulating for anthropological theory. 
Contrary to Western conceptualisations of naturalism, which regard nature as the objectively given, in Amerindian mythology humanity is the premise from which all kinds of animals, plants and things in their diversity emerge. This inwardly persisting human condition is common to all beings, whereas the bodily condition conveys different perspectives on the world: “non-humans see things [the same way] as ‘people’. But the things that they see are different” (Viveiros de Castro 1998). Thus, differences between species are due to their physical dispositions, while personhood is common to all living things, which is described by Viveiros de Castro as “multinaturalism”, a concept that is both irreducible to the distinction between nature and culture and transversal to the opposition of relativism and universalism. Assuming different natures, it is in a sense antithetical to the Western concept of multiculturalism, which assumes only one nature and different cultures.
This notion of multinaturalism implies a ‘cosmopolitical’ view, which Viveiros de Castro describes as follows: “What we could call the natural world, or “world” for short, is for Amazonian peoples a multiplicity of intricately connected multiplicities. Animal species and other species are conceived as so many kinds of people or peoples, that is, as political entities. […] What we call the environment is for them a society of societies, an international arena, a cosmopoliteia.” (Déborah Danowski and Eduardo Viveiros de Castro’s 2015)

 

26 – 30 September 2023
Masterclass
Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

Masterclass "Anthropology of Perspectivism"
with Eduardo Viveiros de Castro

With his relational concepts such as "perspectivism" or "multinaturalism", Eduardo Viveiros de Castro has significantly influenced current research trends within anthropology currently grouped under the label of the so-called ‘ontological turn’. At the same time, the reception of his work goes far beyond the boundaries of his discipline, gaining importance in philosophy, psychoanalysis, political theory, archaeology, multispecies studies, and literary and cultural studies.

The Masterclass was open to doctoral students from all disciplines, who had the opportunity to personally discuss Eduardo Viveiros de Castro's theoretical contributions with him, and also to present their own research and exchange ideas within the group.

The Masterclass was part of the focus group Interdisciplinary Anthropology and all detailed information can be found here

20 July 2023
Lunch Talk
Dr Eleonora Bedin

Dr Eleonora Bedin (Teaching@Tuebingen Fellow, Institute of Classical Archaeology, University of Tuebingen, Germany)
"The Ancient Mediterranean as a Global Stage: Tracing the Mother Goddess Across Borders"

Abstract:
The Ancient Mediterranean, characterized by interconnected shores and extensive networks, served as a vibrant global stage where diverse people, cultures, ideas, and religious beliefs converged. However, globalization in the region was not solely driven by mobility but also influenced by the Mediterranean’s geography, climate, and maritime sphere, which played a pivotal role in defining the characteristics of cults and deities.
The lecture delved into the intricate web of connections and interactions that spanned the Mediterranean region from the Bronze Age until the Hellenistic period, with a particular emphasis on the transmission and pervasive presence of the mother goddess archetype across borders. Drawing from mythological texts, epigraphic sources, and archaeological evidence, it traced the journey of the mother goddess from the Near East to the West, examining the mechanisms through which her cult spread, and her dependence from the human experience of the Mediterranean region.
Overall, this research contributes to our understanding of the complex dynamics between globalization, regional influences, and the worship of deities in the ancient Mediterranean. By examining the long durée of the mother goddess's journey and the cultural factors that shaped her worship, it provides a deeper insight into this significant historical era.

Bio:
Eleonora Bedin is a Teaching@Tuebingen Fellow at the Institute of Classical Archaeology, University of Tuebingen. With a strong emphasis on cultural identities and globalization in the Ancient Mediterranean world, Eleonora's research centers around exploring the dynamics of connectivity, religious patterns, and adaptation strategies. Her primary area of expertise lies in the Southern Levant, with a particular focus on Hellenistic Palestine. In her scholarly pursuits, she employs a multidisciplinary approach that incorporates various fields of study, including anthropology, epigraphy, archaeology, and literary culture. By integrating these diverse perspectives, she strives to gain a comprehensive understanding of the socio-cultural dynamics and historical transformations within the ancient world.

19 July 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Kwok-ying LAU

Professor Dr Kwok-ying LAU (The Chinese University of Hongkong):
"Cultural Flesh and Intercultural Phenomenology: Theory and Practice"

Abstract:
In contrast to Eurocentric conceptions of philosophy, the author explained in what sense and in what way his apprenticeship and practice of philosophy in Hong Kong since the very beginning is an intercultural affair: serious philosophical practice is necessarily a matter of intercultural understanding. Not satisfied with Derrida’s deconstruction of the Eurocentric pretention of Husserl’s Idea of philosophy as “pure theoria”, the author tried to make sense of the intercultural nature of contemporary philosophical practice by the concept of “interworld” (“inter-monde”) suggested by Merleau-Ponty. The paper also explained the necessity of intercultural understanding in the establishment of philosophical truth. It went on to explain the relevance of the concept of flesh (la chair, 肌膚存在 ) and cultural flesh, proposed by the present author, in providing the ontological basis of the inter-world and inter-cultural understanding. The paper also highlighted some of the results of the author’s research in intercultural understanding in philosophy from the phenomenological approach, published in his 2016 book Phenomenology and Intercultural Understanding. Toward a New Cultural Flesh (Springer), with which the author was awarded the Edward Goodwin Ballard Prize in Phenomenology for the best book in phenomenology by the Center for Advanced Research in Phenomenology, USA, 2019.

18 July 2023
Global Encounters Lecture
"‘Buen Vivir’ as an uchronic political horizon"

Dr René Alberto Ramírez Gallegos (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México):
"‘Buen Vivir’ as an uchronic political horizon"

Abstract:
After a long and broadly participative constituent process, in 2008, Ecuador approved a new political Constitution where Buen Vivir or Sumak Kawsay was established as a social priority. The research contends that mainstream theories of well-being are insufficient to translate this social endeavor into practice, thus the need to establish a specific epistemic framework for the concept of Buen Vivir outlined in the Andean country. The research proposes the political socioecology of life as a theoretical, methodological, and empirical framework to examine, interpret, and dispute the realization of Buen Vivir in Ecuador. For this purpose, based on a critique that exposes the limitations of using money as an evaluator of well-being, the research applies the metric “time for a good life” as the unit of analysis. The measurement of time “well lived” has the advantage of being an ambivalent indicator; it is both empirical-factual and prescriptive-desiderative: it accounts for a fact and reveals a desire. The research shows how time well lived is characterized by the production and enjoyment of relational goods, a concept that allows us to address time distribution focusing on the time of existence / life; the time dedicated to the good life; the concentration or inequality of time well lived; geography and the time of time well-lived; the macro structuring of time for good life; the temporality of the Pachamama (nature’s sumak kawsay); and the impact of time on satisfaction with life. The conference ended by proposing a uchronic agenda for the good life.

10 – 14 July 2023
Deutsch-französisches Doktorandenkolleg
Neue kritische Theorien und dezentralizierte Epistemologien / Nouvelles théories critiques et epistémologies décentrées

Workshop within the framework of the Franco-German Doctoral Program „Neue kritische Theorien und dezentralizierte Epistemologien / Nouvelles théories critiques et epistémologies décentrées“
The PhD program is a collaborative initiative between the Universities of Tübingen and Toulouse that aims to confront European philosophical epistemology with recent currents in critical world theory (postcolonial and decolonial studies, intercultural philosophy, gender studies, cultural studies, philosophy of culture, and ecological studies). The last DFDK workshop took place in Toulouse:

Datum: 1014 July 2023
Ort: Université Toulouse II Jean Jaurès

3 – 7 July 2023
CIVIS Workshop
Language and Identity in an Intercultural Perspective

Workshop in the framework of the CIVIS Blended Intensive Programmes "Language and Identity in an Intercultural Perspective"
3 – 7 July 2023
Alte Aula, Münzgasse 30, Tübingen
(closed event for the participants of the CIVIS BIP)

You can find the Programme to download here.

29 June 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Ali Asghar Mosleh

Professor Ali Asghar Mosleh:
"Human and the Future of 'the Earth'"
 

Abstract:
The present Research will focus on the relation between human and the Earth in terms of their physical/natural and theoretical/metaphorical aspects. Subsequently, two kinds of reactions are introduced, to what is now called the perils to, and crises of the Earth. To comprehend and confront the Earth in the contemporary world is essentially technical/scientific, whereas philosophers comprehend the Earth and its relation to human on another level, by the grasp they have on mankind's fundaments of life. With reference to notions of a few philosophers, particularly Nietzsche's and Heidegger's, and to opinions of some contemporary scientists about the future of the Earth, the present research explores the gaps and challenges between philosophical attitude and technical attitude. The main purpose of this study is to encourage reflection on the future of the Earth by relying on philosophical methods and traditions, and also to stimulate cooperation in discussions and controversies surrounding the topic. The desired end is the reconciliation of opposing orientations and to propose an intercultural treatment for the future of the Earth.


Bio
Ali Asghar Mosleh is professor of philosophy at Allameh Tabataba'i University, Teheran, with a focus on philosophy of culture. Mosleh holds the presidency of The Iranian Society of Intercultural Philosophy (ISIPH) and the Research Institute for Contemporary Culture at Institute for Humanities and Cultural Studies.

29 June 2023
Lunch Talk
Dr Ramona-Elena Irimia

Dr Ramona-Elena Irimia:
"Using herbaria to track biological invasions and plant response to climate change – a case study of Japanese knotweed"

Abstract:
Biological invasions are among the most serious threats to biodiversity because they disrupt ecosystem processes and function. However, biological invasions are also large unplanned experiments across spatial and temporal scales that enable us to observe evolution in the wild and address many key aspects of global change. Herbarium records offer an excellent opportunity to examine the temporal and spatial characteristics of plant invasions since many of these invasions occurred during the past two-three centuries and are well documented in museum collections. These collections are a vast repository of botanical metadata including plant functional traits, phenology, plant-herbivore and plant-disease interactions and genetic data, allowing to model past processes and gain insights into the species responses to environmental and anthropogenic perturbations. Species of the genus Reynoutria (Japanese knotweed) are among the world’s worst invasive weeds. Native to SE Asia, they were introduced around the world ca. 180 years ago as garden ornamentals and later became highly invasive in Europe and North America. In this project, we genotyped hundreds of herbarium specimens of Japanese knotweed from the native and invasive range to reconstruct the species’ invasion history and evolutionary changes associated with invasiveness. We also measured spatiotemporal variation in leaf functional traits and leaf chemical defenses against herbivores. The findings will provide a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms that contribute to the invasion success of this species complex and potentially identify appropriate strategies for containment.


Bio
Ramona-Elena Irimia is a plant evolutionary ecologist at the Institute of Evolution and Ecology at University of Tübingen. Her work focuses on understanding ecological and evolutionary processes underlying species adaptation to changing environments. She uses invasive species as study systems and a combination of field, common garden experiments and genomics to investigate species resilience to climate change, invasive abilities and adaptive potential across native and introduced ranges. Recently, she started to explore historical DNA from museum collections to study the evolutionary history of invasive Japanese knotweed.

27 June 2023
Global Encounters Lecture
Junior Professor Dr Carola Lorea

Junior Professor Dr Carola Lorea:
"Covid Demons, Corona Goddesses and Online Rituals: Pandemic Research Modalities on a Post-secular Virus"

Abstract:
Viral contagion, a social relationship acting between bodies and across national borders, is a dramatic instantiation of global encounters. Thinking with a virus and its representations in diverse cosmologies, we developed CoronAsur: a collective research project that takes a global health crisis as a starting point to develop new forms of international collaborations that can democratize the scholarship on religion and disease and decenter Western narratives of Covid-19.
How does the digitization of ritual gatherings impact lived religion? In which ways has the enforcement of hygienic and ‘social distancing’ protocols changed the aesthetic, affective and material dimensions of religious communities? How are the mutual shapings of religion and society unfolding during a pandemic and in a post-pandemic world?
CoronAsur: Asian Religions in the Covidian Age is about to be released as a fully open access “phygital” volume that follows the documentation and analysis of the abrupt societal shifts triggered by the pandemic to understand current and future pandemic times, while revealing further avenues for research on religion that have opened up in the Covidian age.
The project founders and editors discussed transformations in religious communities’ engagements with media, spaces, and moral and political economies, documenting the dynamic range of ways the pandemic shaped, and was shaped by, religious people and their

Speakers:
Carola E. Lorea, Editor and Founder of CoronAsur, PI of the research project “Religion Going Viral”
(Junior professor of Rethinking Global Religion at the University of Tübingen)

Emily Zoe Hertzman, Editor
(Research fellow at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore)

Natalie Lang, Editor
(Research fellow at the Centre for Modern Indian Studies, University of Göttingen)

Erica M. Larson, Editor
(Research fellow in the Religion and Globalisation Cluster at the Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore)

20 – 22 June 2023
Conference
"Discourses of Unity in Ireland and Europe"

Conference: "Discourses of Unity in Ireland and Europe"

Organisation:
Professor Maurice Fitzpatrick (Visiting Professor in Irish Studies during the winter term 2022/23) and the Chair for English Literatures from the 18th Century to the present at the University of Tübingen

In this conference, a number of keynote lectures by renowned speakers from Ireland and the US analyzed the current situation in the wake of Brexit and recent historical developments: the conference panels brought together scholars from the Irish Studies community in Germany to discuss literary and cultural manifestations of Discourses of Unity.

The conference was held in English, and was accompanied by two exhibitions in German: "Irland und die Geburt Europas" and "Into Europe: Irland und die EU". Both exhibitions were accessible at the conference venue during the breaks (Coffee/Lunch).

Read the detailed programme here: "Discourses of Unity in Ireland and Europe"

16 June 2023
Film Screening „Grenzräume“
Hermílio Santos

"Boarder Spaces" (Grenzräume)
16 June, 06:00 pm, Kino Atelier

The documentary "Border Spaces" deals with borders and border spaces in Brazil and accompanies different people who describe their experiences with and at borders. The film is based on the research project "The Social Construction of Border Zones", coordinated by Hermílio Santos. This study seeks to identify perspectives of different actors who "make" borders in everyday practice and work at three Brazilian borders - the borders in the south with Argentina and Uruguay; in the Midwest, in the border area with Bolivia and Paraguay, Corumbá region; and in the north, on the border with Bolivia and Peru, in the Brasileia and Assis Brasil region, in Acre, a region marked by immigration from Haiti and several African countries.

The documentary brings together different perspectives: of those involved in border control, such as members of the federal police, army, police or Internal Revenue Service; of those who use borders for criminal activities such as drug smuggling and are imprisoned as a result of these illegal activities; of those who produce agricultural products in border regions; and the perspectives of members of the indigenous population who settled in these border areas before the colonization of Brazilian territory by the Portuguese. 

Following the film screening, director Hermílio Santos will introduce some of the research findings and discuss the experiences and perspectives presented in the documentary.

 

About the director Hermílio Santos
Hermílio Santos (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) is a sociologist and professor of the Graduate Program in Social Sciences at the School of Humanities at his home university. Santos has been president of the Research Committee "Biography and Society" of the International Sociological Association since 2018. He worked as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Film and Screen at the University of Cambridge in 2022. 

In 2023, he is the first visiting professor of the Tübingen CAPES Lectureship Program, which is based on a cooperation between the Brazilian funding organization CAPES and the University of Tübingen; Santos is hosted by the Baden-Württemberg Center for Brazil and Latin America and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global South Studies (ICGSS). Santos will present his academic work and film productions in various formats, which address topics such as violence, adolescence, borders, slavery, and gas and oil production platforms.

15 June 2023
Film Screening "Infância Falada"
Hermílio Santos

"Infância Falada" (Stories about Transformation through Dialogue)
 

In "Infância Falada," Hermílio Santos accompanies social projects in the Brazilian states of Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Ceará, Pernambuco and Minas Gerais to find out how children try to change the environment of constant violence into which they are born. The film is based on research coordinated by Hermílio Santos, whose results reveal an intense experience of violence among children in these urban areas.

"Infância Falada" introduces various social projects which, in different ways, promote dialogue among children and with children and youth as an alternative to violence in everyday life. These are moving stories of boys and girls who have taught their families to resolve conflicts through dialogue, and who dream of bringing peace to their neighborhoods through peaceful communication and behavior. The final message is an optimistic scenario of this dialogue led by children and youth.

The research and film were funded by the Bernard van Leer Foundation to obtain data on the violence faced by children in precarious urban conditions in Brazil. The results are used in projects by governments and social non-governmental organizations to improve children's living conditions.

 

About the director Hermílio Santos
Hermílio Santos (Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) is a sociologist and professor of the Graduate Program in Social Sciences at the School of Humanities at his home university. Santos has been president of the Research Committee "Biography and Society" of the International Sociological Association since 2018. He worked as a visiting scholar at the Centre for Film and Screen at the University of Cambridge in 2022. 

In 2023, he is the first visiting professor of the Tübingen CAPES Lectureship Program, which is based on a cooperation between the Brazilian funding organization CAPES and the University of Tübingen; Santos is hosted by the Baden-Württemberg Center for Brazil and Latin America and the Interdisciplinary Centre for Global South Studies (ICGSS). Santos will present his academic work and film productions in various formats, which address topics such as violence, adolescence, borders, slavery, and gas and oil production platforms.

9 May 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Fabian Heubel

Professor Dr Fabian Heubel (Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan / Visiting Professor, Institut für Philosophie, FU Berlin, Germany):
“Being Between: Comparative and Transcultural Philosophy”


Abstract:
This essay argues that comparative and transcultural philosophy are interdependent, and so opting for only one of the two is an impossibility. The comparative approach persists as long as we distinguish identities and make differences. As long as people do not speak only one language, the need to move between different languages and to translate, and thus the need to relate and compare different possibilities of philosophical articulation, will remain. Any attempt to free oneself from the problem of cultural identity is doomed to failure, as it leads to further entrapment in the very same problem. Comparative philosophy works with more or less fixed identities, transcultural philosophy transforms them and thereby creates new identities. Those two approaches combined constitute what I call intercultural philosophy. 
In this essay I try to explain the relation between comparative and transcultural philosophy by connecting François Jullien’s “comparative” and Martin Heidegger’s “transcultural” understanding of “Being” (Sein) and “Between” (Zwischen). In part 1 I argue that by turning Between and Being into opposing paradigms of Chinese and Greek thinking, respectively, Jullien causes both to become more or less fixed representatives of different cultural identities within a comparative framework: Greek thinking ossifies into traditional metaphysics, and Chinese thinking ossifies into the non-metaphysical thinking of immanence. Part 2 argues that Heidegger takes a decisively different direction. He explores the Between in Being, and even makes an attempt to think of Being as Between. Heidegger’s invocation of “Greekdom” is undoubtedly Eurocentric. But, ironically, Heidegger’s “Greek thinking” is less Eurocentric than Jullien’s “Chinese thinking”, because he discovers the “Chinese” Between in the midst of “Greek” Being. Part 3 touches upon the task of speaking about European philosophy in Chinese terms. While modern Chinese philosophers frequently speak about Chinese philosophy in European terms, Heidegger’s work points to the possibility of speaking about European philosophy in Chinese terms. Because Jullien and Heidegger both connect Greek and Chinese thought, it seems to me that the discussion of their different approaches is helpful in clarifying perspectives for intercultural philosophy between China and Europe.


Bio:
Fabian Heubel is Research Fellow at the Institute of Chinese Literature and Philosophy, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan (R.O.C). Before that he has been professor at the Institute for Philosophy of National Sun Yat-sen University, Kaohsiung, Taiwan (R.O.C) and adjunct professor at the Tainan National University of the Arts. He has taught at several Chinese universities as well as Goethe-University Frankfurt/Main and Freie Universität Berlin. Currently he is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for Philosophy of Freie Universität Berlin, Germany.
His research is on transcultural philosophy, contemporary Confucianism, Zhuangzi, Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, Critical Theory, Frankfurt School of Philosophy, Taiwan Studies, Jullien, Foucault, Nancy, Heidegger and Hölderlin.

5 May 2023
Fellow Life
Orphic Elegy: Poetry and Music Performance

A poetic and musical journey with Orpheus – the archetypal poet, musician and magus – from antiquity to the present day, from the enchantment of animals to ecological crisis

Poetry:   Luke Fischer
Violin:   Hong Yu Wong
Lute:      Niels Pfeffer

Orphic Elegy was a performance that alternated between music for violin and lute and readings of the five-part poem ‘Orphic Elegy’. This mythopoetic and philosophical poem reimagines the legends and teachings of Orpheus and travels from scenes in antiquity of Orpheus enchanting animals with his song and suffering dismemberment by the maenads, to the revival of Orphism in the Renaissance, to the atrocities of the twentieth century and the current period of ecological crisis and mass extinction. ‘Orphic Elegy’ is the opening poem of Luke Fischer’s book A Gamble for my Daughter (Vagabond Press, 2022); part of the poem also appears in Best of Australian Poems (2022).

Biographies:
Luke Fischer is a prize-winning poet and philosopher from Sydney, Australia. Fischer’s various books include the poetry collections A Gamble for my Daughter (Vagabond Press, 2022), A Personal History of Vision (UWAP, 2017) and Paths of Flight (Black Pepper, 2013), and the monograph The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the ‘New Poems’ (Bloomsbury, 2015). He is an honorary associate of the University of Sydney. www.lukefischer.net

Hong Yu Wong is a philosopher and musician. He is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Tübingen and Head of the Philosophy of Neuroscience Group at the Centre for Integrative Neuroscience. He studies the baroque violin with Mónika Toth, Richard Gwilt, Rachel Podger, and Simon Standage. He also does research on the philosophy of music and on musical cognition. With his friends, a mix of professional musicians and academics, he founded an early music ensemble, the Tractatus Musico-Philosophicus.

Niels Pfeffer studied guitar, lute, harpsichord, and basso continuo in Stuttgart, Freiburg, The Hague, and Basel. In 2021, he began his PhD and started working as a research assistant at the University of Tübingen. Niels teaches continuo and theorbo, while also serving as a harpsichord accompanist at the University of Music Stuttgart. He has been successful in numerous competitions and has performed with various baroque ensembles, such as La Cetra, Capricornus Consort, and the Bach-Stiftung St. Gallen.

4 May 2023
Global Encounters Lecture
Dr Ritu Vij

Dr Ritu Vij:
"De-Pathologizing Precarity"

Abstract
Figurations of precarity encompass multiple and conflicting registers of thought and feeling. Abjection, melancholia, resilience, or utopic lines of flight from the depredations of capitalism provide recognizable markers of the “age of precarity.” These conflicting figurations, however, carry shared pathologized mappings of precarity. Paradoxically, these mappings appear in the shifting terrain of reparative redress itself, in efforts to de-pathologize precarity. Converging on a disparate selection of cinematic images, art-work and literary texts on precarity in contemporary India, this paper explores the antinomies of a reparative aesthetics. I focus on Anamika Haksar’s Ghode ko Jalebi  Khilane Le Ja Riya Hoon, (Taking the Horse to Eat Jalebis),  Arundhati Roy’s Ministry of Utmost Happiness and ‘slum art’ produced in Dharavi, Mumbai, now in worldwide circulation, as recent attempts to de-pathologize precarity. A principal aim of this exercise is to tease out the challenge of untangling precarity’s imbrication as concept and form with modernity writ large.

Bio: 
Dr Ritu Vij is Senior Lecturer in International Relations at the University of Aberdeen. Her primary areas of research and teaching are in political economy and international political theory. In the past few years, her intellectual engagements circle principally around the question and problem of precarity in the Global South, specifically the problem of recuperating precarity as an aesthetic form of life. She has explored heterotopias of homelessness through work produced by artists and rough sleepers in Tokyo, cinematic narratives of precarity in Japan and, more recently, responded, to aesthetic modes of ‘Precarious Writings’. Her current work, a book project, focuses on Dharavi, a shantytown in Mumbai, India, and its aesthetic production and circulation in the international. She is widely published in these areas. Among the publications most relevant to her talk on ‘De-Pathologizing Precarity’ are ‘The Global Subject of Precarity’ in Globalizations 2019, and an edited volume Precarity and International Relations, Palgrave 2021.

3 – 4 May 2023
International Research Symposium
Figurations of the Precarious

International Research Symposium Figurations of the Precarious: New Directions in Global South Studies

On May 3rd and 4th, the ICGSS organised an International Research Symposium on “Figurations of the Precarious – New Directions in Global South Studies” in cooperation with the College of Fellows. It prepared the cooperation with the ICGSS's international partners in the running up to the Grant Bid for the Research Training Group “Figurations of the Precarious in the Global South” and continued a cycle of activities with our 2023 CAPES Chair Prof. Hermílio Pereira dos Santos Filho (PUCRS). The symposium included two key note lectures by Hermílio Santos and Dr Ritu Vij (Aberdeen), the latter in the framework of the Global Encounters Lecture Series.

27 April 2023
Panel Discussion
Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education

Cross-Cultural Perspectives on Leadership in Higher Education

Leadership in higher education takes different forms and addresses an array of stakeholders – students, academics, alumni, university management, administrators, third-party funders, governmental institutions etc., and presents itself as a diverse and growing field of inner – and interinstitutional careers.

The panel discussion on “Leadership in Higher Education” convened cross-cultural perspectives on higher education leadership and focused on challenges and opportunities facing leaders in both the United States and Germany.

Panelists were:
Professor Frankie Augustin (South Carolina HBCU), Dr Courtney Dorrol (Furman University), Professor Dr Janet Ward (Yale)

Moderated by:
Professor Dr Astrid Franke (Tübingen)

21 April 2023
Semester Opening
Hermílio Santos

Hermílio Santos (Pontifícia Universidade do Rio Grande do Sul (PUC-RS), Brazil) is the first visiting professor of the CAPES Tübingen lectureship programme based on a partnership between the Brazilian funding agency CAPES and the University of Tübingen. At our semester opening, he will present his academic work and film productions in which he deals with violence, childhood, adolescence, borders, public policy, and the experiences of different generations of indigenous women in the south of Brazil. 
The semester opening also offers the opportunity to network with other fellows and scholars based at Tübingen University, and you will get to know the College of Fellows team and offers for international fellows currently based in Tübingen.

18 April 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Eric Nelson

Professor Eric Nelson, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology:
"Daoist wuwei in the Anthropocene"

Abstract:
Wei wu wei 為無為 has been interpreted as indifference and inaction, minimalism and adaptability, and responsive resonance and releasement. Despite the depoliticization of wuwei as a mystical state, a flexible knack, or a reflexive flow, its early meaning was ethical, political, and social. In the Daodejing 道德經, wuwei concerns the art of rulership and the ways in which peoples and things “anarchically” organize and nourish themselves. “Nature” (ziran 自然) consists of the interactive self-patterning and participatory self-ordering of the myriad things (wanwu 萬物) correlated with wuwei and the shared nourishing of life (yangsheng 養生). Daoism has been criticized as opposing action vs. inaction, complexity vs. simplicity, culture vs. naturalness, hierarchical society vs. “primitive” freedom and equality. Its point is participatory relationality: it fosters simplicity in complexity, naturalness in culture, responsive attunement in activity, and reciprocal self-ordering. Daoist wuwei concerns the appropriate uses of things and technologies, indicating an alternative response to the Anthropocene.

Short Bio:
Eric S. Nelson is Professor of Philosophy at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. He has published on Chinese, German, Jewish, and intercultural philosophy. He is the author of Heidegger and Dao: Things, Nothingness, Freedom (Bloomsbury, 2023), Daoism and Environmental Philosophy (Routledge, 2020), Levinas, Adorno, and the Ethics of the Material Other (SUNY Press, 2020), and Chinese and Buddhist Philosophy in Early Twentieth-Century German Thought (Bloomsbury, 2017).

30 – 31 March 2023
Intercultural Studies
Engaging Sustainability

Workshop im Rahmen der Focus Group 'Intercultural Studies'
Organisation: Dr Olusegun Samuel

Abstract:
The question of sustainability has received attention in both academic and public domains. What is sustainability and how can we bring it about? With the hope of contributing to the existing understanding of and solutions to sustainability concerns, this workshop aimed to investigate and engage two important aspects of the question.

The first concerns theoretical-conceptual issues about sustainability. A theory is a lens through which we view, understand, and interpret our experiences. How we understand sustainability, for example, would influence the method we choose to achieve it. Given that a theory provides the justifications for our gaze and the reasons underlying our method and practices, scholars have raised the importance of developing a new theoretical lens that would provide a better understanding of sustainability. Many scholars, including Robert Bullard, J. Baird Callicott, Val Plumwood, Workineh Kelbessa, and Mogobe Ramose, challenge the dominant theoretical orientations (economic, religious, and political) about sustainability that place more emphasis on humanity, ignoring other beings and ecosystems. Holmes Rolston III and Richard Routley call for ‘a new environmental ethics’, which not only incorporates nonhumanity within our environmental-ethical gaze but also emphasizes the need for their continued existence. There is a concern that anthropocentric foci not only misrepresent the place of other beings but also hinder a plausible sustainability agenda. But how do we transcend anthropocentrism in a way that is possible for humanity to realize sustainability?

This workshop engaged theoretical problems about sustainability, including how we should understand sustainability, the roles of ethics and ontology in sustainability thinking, and methodological issues in framing sustainability. It looked at questions such as: Are there approaches to sustainability from the global South that challenges existing western conceptions? What valuable lessons do they offer?

The second involves practical human issues undermining sustainability. Increasing literature and debates on sustainability have identified political disagreements as core to negotiating positive change in how people use the environment they share with others. Irmelin GramHanssen et al, for example, have drawn attention to the conflict between indigenous communities and their colonizers, thereby emphasizing how oppressive structures shape and impact sustainability plans. These structures manifest in various ways, including colonialism, racism, genderism, and speciesism, which all threaten those in the weaker group. This reflects the hegemonic dominance of a people, class, gender, and species over another. While there are solutions in the literature and public policies to these problems, this workshop will investigate how we might build what Felix Wagner and Marcus Andreas describe as a culture of sustainability that does not merely incorporate the economic, social, ecological, and cultural aspects of life but also disrupts the antagonistic hierarchies and privileges in an illuminating way. This workshop considered works that speak to practical sustainability issues, including solutions to environmental colonialism, injustice, speciesism, gender gap, and cultural apathy to non-anthropocentric practices. Considering sustainability from both theoretical and practical perspectives would help enrich our engagement with socio-ecological problems.

23 – 24 March 2023
Intercultural Studies
Religions in Global Encounters: Traditions and Ideologies

Organisation: Dr Abbed Kanoor

Keynote speakers: 
Mark J. Sedgwick, Angus Nicholls, Patrick McGuinness

Workshop abstract: 
The development of cultural anthropology and the rise of cultural studies are signs of a global introspection, as if the memory of the world is involved in a state of retrospection instead of generating metaphysical systems. This turning point has rightly been called a „cultural turn” with devastating consequences: launching the debate on multiculturalism, transculturality and interculturality on the one hand and opening up the horizon of global studies, world philosophies and critical de- & postcolonial approaches on the other.‬‬‬

The Zeitgeist of the 1990s gave the impression that ideologies had been erased from mental maps and that “the end of history” had been reached; the era of liberal or social democracies would be the future of the world and the only remaining problem would be the compatibility of cultures, values and lifestyles. But after 30 years, a fundamental question should be asked: why, despite the growing global commitment to cultural openness, is the rise of ideologies such as chauvinistic nationalism, institutional racism and religious fundamentalisms stronger than before? Or to put the question more clearly: why does the age of multiculturalism go hand in hand with the revival of hard ideologies and the return of archaic forms of hatred, exclusion and rage? 

Ideologies arise when cultural canons are obsolete, when world-visions become broken mirrors and the res religiosa finds no equivalent. The consequence is the essential paradox of ideology: it is the subjectivation of the totality insofar as it excludes the permanent search for intersubjective truth (and this makes it different from culture, which envelops the subject in the totality of a relation to the world as a whole). But the same process leads to the de-totalizing vision of truth, which manifests itself in the egocentric consciousness cut off from reality. The ideologized mind, dispossessed of its symbols, seeks to reinvest itself in secularized ideas.

23 February 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Mathias Obert

Proffessor Dr Mathias Obert, National Sun Yat-Sen University Taiwan:
„Als Phänomenologe unterwegs in japanischen Gärten“

This GIP Lecture took place online. You can find a link to the full recording in our Mediathek.

8 February 2023
Humboldt Lectures
Professor Han-luen Kantzer Komlin and Dr Diana Liao

Professor Han-luen Kantzer Komline (Protestant Theology)
Title: The Idea of the New in Early Christian Thought

Abstract:
For many contemporary people, new is better than old as surely as fresh is better than stale.  In ancient times, however, these values were not assumed in the same way.  Rather, the tendency was just the opposite.  “Older is better,” a popular saying went.  Perhaps unsurprisingly, then, the popular imagination suggests a vision of the early Christians—the “fathers of the church,” as they are sometimes called—as stodgy traditionalists who nervously fanned away any fresh winds of change that happened to blow in their direction.
Yet a closer look begins to erode these caricatures.  Just as contemporary societies and social groups can exhibit a powerful sense of nostalgia, ancient societies and groups were much more complex, multifaceted, and ambivalent in their assessments of novelty than we might at first tend to assume.  This lecture will present some of this complexity as displayed among early Christians as they sought to articulate and defend the innovative character of their faith.

Bio:
Han-luen Kantzer Komline is Associate Professor of Church History and Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan, USA and the author of Augustine on the Will: A Theological Account (Oxford University Press, 2020).  Her research focuses on early Christian theology, with many of her publications focusing on Augustine or his relationship to other thinkers, ranging from Ambrose and Cyprian to Karl Barth and Marilynne Robinson. Professor Volker Drecoll is her host as she pursues her research here in Tübingen.


Dr Diana Liao (Biology)
Title: Vocal Flexibility in Crows

Abstract:
Understanding how human speech evolved is an enormously difficult problem. One approach to doing so is via the comparative method - investigating the vocal behaviors and associated mechanisms of extant animals. In addition to studying closely related species as a means to reconstruct our own evolutionary history, we can also examine the capabilities of much more distant relatives. Currently, I study crows - corvid songbirds - who have departed from the human lineage over 300 million years ago but still demonstrate striking abilities to flexibly learn and produce complex vocalizations. Songbirds possess a highly-specialized set of brain nuclei - collectively known as the song system - that is integral to how juveniles learn to sing from a tutor. In addition to song, I am interested in other cognitive aspects of flexible vocal behaviors and will present results on two projects - one demonstrating the crow's vocal control over the number of calls they make and the other on their capabilities to grasp recursive sequences.

Bio:
Dr Diana Liao is interested in the evolution of complex cognitive and social behaviors using the comparative approach. She first got interested in cognitive neuroscience during her bachelor studies at Johns Hopkins University. She then did a doctorate at Princeton University studying vocal interactions and development in marmoset monkeys. For her postdoc, she switched animal species and traveled to Germany on a Humboldt fellowship to study the complex vocal capabilities of crows at the University of Tübingen.

7 February 2023
Global Encounters Lecture
Dr Abbed Kanoor

Dr Abbed Kanoor (Global Encounters Fellow):
"Return of Ideologies - A Critical Analysis in the Light of Intercultural Phenomenology"

Abstract:
The cultural turn is, at the philosophical level, correlated with the fragmentation of all ontologies that we have been witnessing for the last two centuries and which leads to the rejection of monolithic blocks of beliefs. However, we are not entirely free from the resonant power of cultural ontologies. Cultures are visible features of an invisible process of sense-constitution, often overlooked in representational approaches. Cultures claim a total understanding of the world, but when their claims are deprived of recognition, they can be vulnerable to alternative forms of totality, i.e. ideologies. This may explain why, despite the growing global commitment to cultural openness, we are facing a new rise of ideologies such as chauvinistic nationalism and religious fundamentalisms. Intercultural phenomenology is a possible approach to better understand the meaning and consequences of the fragmentation of all ontologies with the aim of searching a third possibility beyond culturalism and traditionalism.

31 January 2023
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Daisuke Kamei

Winter Semester 2023/23

Professor Dr Daisuke Kamei (Ritsumeikan University Kyoto, Japan): 
"Jacques Derrida and Shūzō Kuki: On Contingency and Event"

Abstract:
I would like to do an attempt of comparative consideration between Japanese philosopher Shūzō Kuki (1888-1941) and French philosopher Jacques Derrida (1930-2004). In his essay titled "Metaphysical Time"(1931), Kuki says that "the once-only and infinite life is worth living". In my view, this apparently paradoxical term "the once-only and infinite" expresses the core of the time theory of Kuki. On the other hand, Derrida uses a similar expression. For example, he says, "the event cannot appear to be an event, when it appears, unless it is already repeatable in its very uniqueness", that is, he proposes the "idea of uniqueness as immediately iterable" (in his essay in 1997, "A Certain Impossible Possibility of Saying the Event"). It seems that these two formulations share something in common in the fact that both have the same philosophical task to think at the same time the singular uniqueness and the infinite iterability.

How can we bring these two formulations together? Although both have different shades of meaning, couldn't we argue that the two correspond to one another very profoundly? I would like to make clear the measurable proximity between the philosophy of Kuki and the thinking of Derrida. For this purpose, I would like to make a correlation between Kuki's contingency theory in his book The Problem of Contingency (1935) and Derrida's thinking of the event, which is also no other than the thinking of contingency.

26 January 2023
Lunch Talk
Professor Mohammed Ech-Cheikh

Professor Mohammed Ech-Cheikh (University Hassan II, Marokko):
"Would we need to re-read classical Arab philosophers?"

Abstract:
The time when philosophical thought was approached from a single point of view is over. With the increasing interactions of the contemporary world and the emerging movement of transcultural philosophy, the time has come for a multi-perspective reading of philosophical thought. Both Western philosophical traditions (continental and Anglo-Saxon) and non-Western ones are beginning to learn from each other and to interchange. Arab philosophical traditions are no exception. Should we re-read these Arab philosophical traditions? If yes, then Why? What can be interesting and inspiring in these traditions? Can they bring us some lessons of wisdom, humility and serenity at a time when postmodern man is beginning to worry about his future?

11 January 2023
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Francesco Padovani and Professor Dalia Nassar

Dr Francesco Padovani (Classical Philology)
Title: Rethinking the Platonic Dialogue in the Early Imperial Age: The Case of Plutarch

Abstract:
Plutarch was the most eminent writer of Platonic dialogues of his time; nonetheless, only scarce critical attention has been devoted to his relationship with the Platonic model. In the Early Imperial Age, Plato represents a dynamic model for the development of further formal, stylistic and philosophical innovations, which are enhanced by the hybridity of the Platonic dialogue as a literary genre. Plutarch’s renewal of the Platonic model concerns crucial aspects of the dialogue, i.e. the role of the author, the characterization of the main figures, the settings, the hybridization with other literary genres. The literary aspect, as well as the relationship with the Second Sophistic and the Middle-Platonism represent the core of the research. A more general question concerning the adaptation of the Socratic ‘democratic’ model to the elitist Greco-Roman society of Plutarch’s time belongs nonetheless to the context of this project and has to be taken into consideration.

Bio:
Francesco Padovani (Verona, 1989) has obtained his PhD in Ancient Greek Literature and Philology at the Scuola Normale Superiore di Pisa in Italy, with a dissertation about the etymologies of the divine names in Plutarch’s works. His research interests cross the boundaries between literature, philosophy and ancient religious studies, focusing mainly on Plutarch of Chaeronaea, Plato and the history of Platonism. In the last few years, he has also intensively explored the fields of classical reception studies and literary theory.


Professor Dalia Nassar (Philosophy)
Title: From Romantic Empiricism to the Embodied History of Trees

Abstract:
The aim of this talk is to develop a picture of trees and of the ways in which they challenge some of our most basic biological and ethical concepts. Beginning with an account of my recent book, "Romantic Empiricism," I explicate how this research led me to the study of plants, and trees in particular, and go on to articulate the character of trees, homing in on the ways in which trees "embody" their history and environment, and how environments are themselves expressions of their trees. I conclude by considering the implications of these insights for our understanding of life, the environment, and ethics.

Bio:
Dalia Nassar is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Sydney. Her research sits at the intersection of environmental philosophy, aesthetics, and the history of German philosophy. She is the author of two books including, most recently, Romantic Empiricism: Nature, Art, and Ecology from Herder to Humboldt (Oxford, 2022), and editor of several books, including an anthology of works by women philosophers in the long nineteenth century.

2022

16 December 2022
Global Encounters Lecture
Dr Salah Punathil

"National Borders among Families: Intimate Citizenship and Removal in India"

Fr, 16 December 2022, 4.00 pm
Großer Senat, Neue Aula
(Geschwister Scholl Platz Tübingen)

Abstract:
A new National Register of Citizens in 2019 saw the listing of 1.9 million people as illegal migrants in India’s northeast state of Assam before the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed in the same year. However, little has been said about the practices prevalent in Assam, where Bengali-speaking population have faced detection, detention and ‘deportability’ for at least the past two decades. While the prevalent discourse revolves around how illegal migrants acquire citizenship rights crossing the border between India and Bangladesh, this work sheds light into intimate citizenship and the process of removal in India.  By using ethnographic insights, the paper aims to explore two interrelated themes. First, it looks at how family itself becomes a quintessential unit of defining citizenship in the policies of the state and how it affects and irregularizes the citizenship status of individuals. Secondly, it shows how citizenship policies and bureaucratic interventions produce mixed families having both Indians and alleged Bangladeshis at their home, leading to an intense crisis in their life. Mixed-status families then live in continuous vulnerability and anxiety with the constant fear of family members being separated, detained and deported.

15 December 2022
GIP Lecture
Aurélie Névot

Aurélie Névot (CNRS, linCS):
„From Tianxia to Tianxia-ism“

Abstract:
Tianxia is a central concept of classical Chinese philosophy. Literally translated, it means "everything under heaven". Among other aspects, it refers to the political ideal of a world order. ZHAO Tingyang has taken up this aspect of Tianxia in a book published in 2016 and it has since been translated into numerous languages with the aim of "realistically depicting the idealistic concept of Tianxia" in order to make it interesting for the present. ZHAO attaches particular importance to the fact that Tianxia is an integrative, world-wide order that "knows no outside". Unlike the political philosophy of the West, which in its view draws on nation-state concepts and must therefore always seek a balance, Tianxia is able to ensure peace and security for all solely by emanating from the world. According to Zhao, the concept of Tianxia originated in the 11th and 10th centuries BC, driven primarily by the Duke of Zhou. Elements of Daoism, Moism, Guan-zi, Confucius, and Xun-zi have been incorporated into the philosophy of Tianxia. ZHAO complements it with individual moments of liberal political philosophy.

In the four-lecture sequence of the GIP lectures, the concept of Tianxia and in particular ZHAO's adaptation of this concept to modern political philosophy was critically discussed.

14 December 2022
Humboldt Lectures
Professor Sabine Wilke and Dr Qi Li

Professor Sabine Wilke (German Studies)
Title: Human-Nonhuman Interactions in Recent German Performances

Abstract:
Every late spring since 1951, the Vienna Theater Festival brings performers from around the world to Vienna for an opportunity to share recent developments in performance styles. Equally amazing and transformative, on June 1, 2017, a scholarly symposium on animal music took place at the university in Linz. Both of these cross-species performances probe the limits of our common understanding of how performance space works, who is supposed to inhabit it, what the interaction is like between performers and audience members, and what it means to perform in the first place. They blur the boundaries between the realms of humans, animals, and machines by focusing on the radical idea of how these realms could work together.

Bio:
Sabine Wilke is the Joff Hanauer Distinguished Professor in Western Civilization and Professor of German at the University of Washington. Her research and teaching interests include modern German literature and culture, intellectual history and theory, cultural and visual studies, and the environmental humanities. She has written books and articles on body constructions in modern German literature and culture, German unification, the history of German film and theater, German colonialism, and the German environmental imagination.


Dr Qi Li (Plant Genetics)
Title: Molecular Mechanisms Underlying Lateral Shoot Formation during Maize Embryogenesis

Abstract:
Cereal grains provide ~50% of calories consumed by humans and livestock. With the population growing, there are urgent demands for increasing yield and improving nutrient quality of cereal grains. The oil-stored embryo has become an attractive target for crop improvement. Comprising a shoot/root meristematic axis that develops into all organs in the plant, the embryo also received considerable attention of geneticists. Studies in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana have dissected mechanisms underlying development of the dicot embryo coupling with a transiently filled endosperm. This knowledge is, however, not directly transferable to embryogenesis in the monocot grasses. Not only are the two classes of embryos morphologically diverse, the developmental processes establishing the embryonic axis are distinct. Aiming to coordinate a heavy load of nutrient transfer from endosperm to embryo in cereal grains, the monocotyledon (aka scutellum) needs to be developed nearby the endosperm, which separates endosperm and the embryonic shoot-root axis initiated at the opposite face. In this talk, I will introduce our present investigations into regulatory mechanisms underlying formation of this adaxial-abaxial polarity characteristic for the monocot embryo. Insights gained allow a comparative understanding of embryogenesis and can facilitate improvement of key agricultural traits.

Bio:
I’m a geneticist solely using maize/corn as the study organism. Before wandering in the corn field of Tübingen as a Humboldt research fellow, I got my bachelor degree in China Agricultural University, Beijing and my PhD in CAS Center for Excellence in Molecular Plant Sciences, Shanghai. Now I’m obsessed with exploring molecular mechanisms of essential developmental processes in cereals.

12 December 2022
Workshop
Self-control: Interdisciplinary Perspectives

Workshop "Self-control: Interdisciplinary Perspectives"

Organisation: Prof. Dr. Hong Yu Wong

Abstract:
Self-control is a core human capacity allowing us to regulate and manage our emotional and cognitive lives in the face of temptations, impulses and environmental changes. This workshop will look at self-control from the perspectives of philosophy and the brain and cognitive sciences, exploring notions of conflict, difficulty, and inhibition and their implications for everyday life, morality, and society.

Programme:
2.00 pm – 3.15 pm
David Dignath (Psychology, University of Tübingen) & the Conflict Network Group:
"Towards a unified framework of conflict-driven control"

Are all conflicts, in essence, the same? In the trolley dilemma, a hallmark moral conflict, people decide whether to intervene in order to save people’s lives. In intertemporal choice, a hallmark self-control conflict, people choose between immediate and delayed reward. In the Stroop task, a hallmark cognitive conflict, people distinguish between relevant and irrelevant information. If these conflicts are essentially different, psychology would need distinct theories to account for each of them. However, if there is a common essence to these and other conflicts, capturing it in a single framework would be desirable, as it could inspire the development of a comprehensive theory of human action. On the one hand, it makes intuitive sense to argue for the similarity of most or all types of conflicts. By definition, all conflicts share the same underlying structure; they inherently involve some form of incongruency that needs to be resolved before an action can be taken. Also, in different research areas, the process of conflict resolution has been conceptualized similarly, as a two-step process (i.e., first detecting the conflict, then exerting control). On the other hand, the differences between different types conflicts are too glaring to disregard. Some conflicts are more complex, requiring people to consider many parameters (e.g., current needs, potential consequences, relative value of the options); other conflicts are simpler. Some conflicts take milliseconds to resolve; others may take days or weeks. Whereas seemingly contradictory, both perspectives have merit. Yet, this state of affairs poses a problem. If there were only similarities, the idea of a unified conflict framework would be almost trivial. If there were only differences, a unified conflict framework would not be feasible to begin with. The coexistence of clear similarities and glaring differences, however, leaves us with no answer to the question of whether a single conflict framework is viable. In this talk, I will use insights from both perspectives, to develop a framework that conceptualizes conflict in a way that can be applied across domains.

3.30 pm – 4.45 pm
Malte Hendrickx (Philosophy and Cognitive Science, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor USA):
"What is Difficulty?"
This paper introduces a novel account of difficulty resting on the cognitive science based notion of executive demand. The account is domain-general, normative, and firmly situated in a well-established empirical literature. Two arguments for analyzing difficulty through a lens of executive processing are proposed. The account is applied to a host of philosophical debates that invoke difficulty. I show how the proposed account uniquely sheds light on theories of learning, skilled action, the nature of expertise, the nature of achievements, the nature of demandingness, and issues in moral responsibility.

5.00 pm – 6.15 pm
Gregor Hochstetter (Philosophy, University of Tübingen):
"Inhibition and Action Control"
The aim of my talk is to consider whether and how inhibition plays a constitutive role for agency and action control. My talk falls into three parts. First, I shall suggest that everyday agency partly consists in the capacity to automatically coordinate perceptual input and action output. Call this a stimulus-response capacity. Second, I shall show that inhibition is crucial for everyday agency. For this purpose I shall consider the case of an agent that merely possesses such an S-R capacity but no inhibitory control. As I shall show agents without inhibition lack the ability to detach themselves from their environment. This is supported by various pathologies such as utilization behavior. Third, I shall suggest that cognitive science provides some understanding of the structure and function of the capacity for inhibition that makes further degrees of action control and detachment from the environment possible.

30 November 2022
Lunch Talk
Dr Florian Wimmers

Dr Florian Wimmers:
"Hey Google, directions to immune protection. Combining lab- and AI-based methods to map out the immune system"

30 November 2022, 12.00 pm (sharp/s.t.!)
ZMBP, room 4U09
(Center for Plant Molecular Biology/Zentrum für Molekularbiologie der Pflanzen)
Auf der Morgenstelle 32, Tübingen

Abstract:
The emergence of Omics technologies enables scientists to construct highly precise maps of the biological processes inside our bodies. Like Google Maps, these maps can be layered to offer insights at multiple regulatory levels allowing researchers to gain comprehensive system-wide insights on diseases. This talk will look at examples of how these multi-omics maps are used to study infectious diseases and vaccines. 

Read more about Florian Wimmers and his project here.

 

22 November 2022
Global Encounter Lecture
Dr Carlos Nazario Mora Duro

“Migration for love, education and work. An approach to the recent Mexican migration to Germany“

22 November 2022, 6.00 pm
Großer Senat, Neue Aula
(Geschwister Scholl Platz, Tübingen)
followed by a small reception in the Kleiner Senat
 

Abstract
This talk reflects on recent Mexican migration to Germany which, according to recent data, reached 18,015 individuals in 2019, although some claim that the actual figure is likely to be around 25,000. The topic is relevant to understanding the experiences of minority migrants from the South (of the Americas) to the global North before and after the onset of the pandemic and its social effects. Although this population movement is often classified as "desired migration," using common strategies such as educational, labour and love integration, it is clear that migrants face some challenges in the process. Some experiences of (d)emancipation, disqualification, and narratives of successful integration will therefore be highlighted in the structural dimension of life, as well as in the self-representation of individuals during this part of their life trajectory.

17 November 2022
GIP Lecture
Dr Georg Stenger

Professor Georg Stenger (University of Vienna)
"Some phenomenologically instructed requests to Zhao Tingyang's concept of 'Tianxia'"

Abstract:
In my contribution, I would like to go into more detail on some of the prerequisites, basic terms and forms of understanding that my colleague Prof. Zhao Tingyang developed using the time-honoured "Tanxia" concept. Above all, I would like to emphasize that Zhao's analyzes make an important contribution to the question of our understanding of the "world" insofar as it is global and system-wide. However, whether and to what extent this global approach does not itself represent a renewed infusion of a "universalization of particularity" is to be explained in more detail with my inquiries, which tend more or rudimentary towards "intercultural" and "post- and decolonial" questions.

Inspired by the phenomenological research tradition, my analyzes are primarily aimed at the respective constitutional processes that can show "how something becomes what" as what it can be understood and is able to convince in the first place. To this end, I would like to critically question the following problem areas addressed by Zhao Tingyang: 
1) What does "methodology" mean when "Tianxia" – the topic or subject of the research itself - is used "as methodology"? 
2) How do "the order of coexistential" and "relational rationality" relate to each other? 
3) Who is speaking and from what location when a “world without an outside” is presupposed? 
4) How does the inner structure of a "system logic" assumed throughout the book relate to those parameters "mutual benefit" on the one hand and "virtue" on the other hand, which are said to be dependent on "mutual rescue"?
5) How does the “one world”- approach with its inclusion paradigm relate to that aspect of the “diversity of the world” resp. of the worlds" to each other, which as such should be "protected"?
6) If the "Tianxia" term - however traditional - has already produced those great concepts of Daoism, Confucianism, Neo-Confucianism and others that have established themselves primarily in China - especially with regard to their different ways, nuances, systematics, historical Formations, etc. - what should then be special about the author's approach - unless he merely reports on a history of thought and life in China that wants to be understood as "all-encompassing"? In other words, what is the key to propagating “the world as a political subject” (cf. Introduction, Chapter 1), in which not only ethos and ethics, custom and morals, individuals, families, clans, countries, etc. are taken into account? Where are the “rights” of the individual and the citizen, which, as we know at least since H. Arendt, are the first to (co-)found and concretely implement the “political space”? The “entitlement to rights” makes people human, very concrete, real. As important as “rites” are, which are constitutively inscribed in every legal procedure and thereby draw attention to the necessary mutually owed and shown respect, they still prove to be life-world “dwellings” of previous or future legal claims. Generally speaking: "Harmony" necessarily requires "disharmony" in order to be able to create "becoming" from "mere being".
The topos of a new "world politics" often used by Zhao could, in contrast to its sole return to the venerable "Tianxia", lead to what I believe to be a deeper challenge, according to which the respective claims of the different worlds of thought and life become aware of each other. A future world policy would then not only have to take a much stronger look at the sometimes very different self-images and the concepts associated with them, it would also result in the intercultural approaches and, as a result, post- and decolonial forms of thought and theories mentioned at the beginning . Not to mention that the comprehensive concept of "nature" required a readjustment of the connection between culture, nature and humanity, if only because of the impending "climate catastrophe".

9 November 2022
Humboldt Lecture
Dr Daniel Weiss and Dr Sofie Schiødt

Dr Daniel Weiss (Faculty of Protestant Theology)
Title: Revisiting Early Jewish-Christian Relations

Abstract:
What is the early history of conflict between Judaism and Christianity? Already in Christian texts from the second and third centuries, one finds a negative attitude expressed toward ‘Judaism.’  Scholars have frequently assumed that rabbinic Judaism viewed followers of Jesus in an equally negative way during this same time period.
However, third-century rabbinic texts do not express an inherently negative attitude towards Jesus-followers.  Many topics associated with the Jesus-movement do not appear to have evoked negative responses for the authors of the rabbinic texts -- including topics such as claims that the messiah has already come; the idea of calling someone ‘son of God’; and the ways the Synoptic Gospels criticize the Pharisees. Assumptions of a mutual, two-way hostility between Judaism and Christianity during this time period need to be fundamentally rethought.

Bio:
Daniel H. Weiss is Polonsky-Coexist Senior Lecturer in Jewish Studies, Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. He is the author of Paradox and the Prophets: Hermann Cohen and the Indirect Communication of Religion (2012) and Modern Jewish Philosophy and the Politics of Divine Violence (forthcoming 2023), among other publications, and co-editor of multiple books, including Scripture and Violence (2020). Actively involved in the Cambridge Interfaith Programme, he is a recent recipient of a Humboldt Research Fellowship for Experienced Researchers.

Dr Sofie Schiødt (Institute for Ancient Near Eastern Studies (IANES))
Title: Medical Practice in Ancient Egypt: Who, What, and How?


Abstract:
In this talk, I will discuss how medicine was practiced in ancient Egypt through the overarching questions of who, what, and how. That is, who was the healer in ancient Egypt, and who was the patient? What form did healing methods take, and what disease conceptualizations and explanatory models lay behind these? And finally, how was healing performed? What kind of actions were integral to the healing process?

The only tangible evidence for the practice of medicine in ancient Egypt is a relatively small corpus of some 20–40 texts spanning almost 2000 years. Because these texts only describe certain aspects of the medical practice, it leaves many questions unanswered. In this talk, I attempt to shed light on some of the more obscure parts of the practice in order to provide a more holistic representation of the ancient science.

Bio:
Sofie Schiødt obtained her PhD degree in Egyptology from the University of Copenhagen in 2021 with the preliminary text edition of an ancient Egyptian medical papyrus. Since then, she has been employed as a postdoc at the University of Copenhagen, generously funded by the Carlsberg Foundation and the Edubba Foundation. Schiødt’s main research interests lie in ancient Egyptian medicine and magic, science and technology, and social history.

27 – 28 October 2022
Workshop
Intercultural Philosophy and Decolonial Thinking

Workshop "Intercultural Philosophy and Decolonial Thinking"

27–28 October 2022
Neuphilologicum (Wilhelmstraße 50, 72074 Tübingen)
room 215

The workshop shed light on the relationship between intercultural philosophy and decolonial thought and aimed to promote exchange between these two fields of research.
The workshop will took place on ZOOM.

The workshop was organized as part of the Franco-German Doctoral Program.

26 October 2022
Fellow Lunch Talk
Associate Professor Martin Porr

Abstract

Lunch Talk with Associate Professor Martin Porr (University of Western Australia, Archaeology/Centre for Rock Art Research + Management):

“The German Ethnographic Expeditions to the Kimberley, Northwest Australia. A Collaborative Assessment of Research History, the Interpretation of Australian Aboriginal Heritage, and Digital Repatriation”


Abstract:
Historical ethnographic collections continue to be increasingly important for Indigenous communities today. However, the processes of repatriation and efforts to make materials in overseas institutions accessible to Traditional Owners can be a long and challenging process. These aspects are the focus of a current project that is jointly coordinated by researchers from the University of Western Australia and the Frobenius Institute (Frankfurt am Main, Germany) in collaboration with three Aboriginal Corporations.
This presentation will provide a brief overview of some preliminary results from the initial collaborative assessment of the ethnographic materials from the German expeditions to the Northwest Kimberley (Western Australia) in 1938 and 1955. These expeditions were conducted by the Institut für Kulturmorphologie (now Frobenius Institute, Frankfurt am Main) and the then Museum für Völkerkunde (Munich). The project draws on unpublished archival materials in Germany (photos, drawings, sketches, reproductions of rock art images, personal notebooks), published books and papers and the direct input from members of the relevant Australian Indigenous communities. As such, the project is a case study of critical research history and anthropo¬logical knowledge production with similarly great significance to the participating Aboriginal partners and the archival institutions in Germany.


Martin Porr was our Fellow in Focus in October. Read more about him here

20 October 2022
GIP Lecture
Stephen Angle

Stephen Angle (Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT):
“The Limits of Tianxia”

Abstract:
Tianxia ist ein zentraler Begriff der klassischen chinesischen Philosophie. Wörtlich übersetzt bedeutet er „Alles unter dem Himmel“. Neben anderen Aspekten bezeichnet er das politische Ideal einer Weltordnung. ZHAO Tingyang hat diesen Aspekt des Tianxia in einem 2016 erschienen und seither in zahlreiche Sprachen übersetzten Buch aufgegriffen mit dem Ziel, das „idealistische Konzept des Tianxia realistisch darzustellen“, um es für die Gegenwart interessant zu machen. ZHAO legt besonderen Wert darauf, dass es sich beim Tianxia um eine integrative, die gesamte Welt umfassende Ordnung handelt, die „kein Außen kennt“. Anders als die politische Philosophie des Westens, die seiner Ansicht nach auf nationalstaatliche Konzepte zurückgreift und deshalb immer einen Ausgleich suchen muss, vermag das Tianxia Frieden und Sicherheit für alle allein dadurch zu gewährleisten, dass es von der Welt ausgeht. Zhao zufolge entstand das Konzept des Tianxia im 11. und 10. Jahrhundert vor unserer Zeit, angetrieben vor allem durch den Herzog von Zhou. In die Philosophie des Tianxia sind Elemente des Daoism, Moism, Guan-zi, Confucius, and Xun-zi eingeflossen. ZHAO ergänzt sie durch einzelne Momente liberaler politischer Philosophie.

In der vierteiligen Vorlesungsreihe der GIP-Lectures wird der Begriff Tianxia und insbesondere Zhaos Anpassung dieses Begriffs an die moderne politische Philosophie gewürdigt und kritisch diskutiert.

28 – 29 September 2022
Postdoc Days 2022

The College of Fellows participated in the Postdoc Days 2022, informing participants about its work and role as a university-based Institute for Advanced Studies.

The Graduate Academy and the Research Funding Office, in cooperation with the faculties and central supporting structures, have put together a diverse program with virtual and in-person meetings. The CoF will be present with an information stand at the "Get together" in the "Alte Aula" on 28 September.We are looking forward to meeting you!

22 September 2022
GIP Lecture
ZHAO Tingyang

ZHAO Tingyang:
"The maze of Tianxia: all under heaven
"

Abstract:
Tianxia is a central concept in classical Chinese philosophy. Literally translated, it means "everything under heaven". Among other aspects, it denotes the political ideal of a world order. ZHAO Tingyang has taken up this aspect of tianxia in a book published in 2016 and since translated into numerous languages, with the aim of "realistically presenting the idealistic concept of tianxia" to make it interesting for the present. Zhao places particular emphasis on the fact that tianxia is an integrative order that encompasses the entire world and "knows no outside". Unlike the political philosophy of the West, which in his view resorts to nation-state concepts and must therefore always seek to balance different interests, tianxia is able to ensure peace and security for all simply by starting from the world. According to Zhao, the concept of tianxia emerged in the 11th and 10th centuries before our time, driven primarily by the Duke of Zhou. The philosophy of tianxia incorporates elements of Daoism, Moism, Guan-zi, Confucius, and Xun-zi. Zhao complements them with individual moments of liberal political philosophy.

In the four-lecture sequence of the SIP-lectures, the concept of Tianxia and in particular Zhao's adaptation of this concept to modern political philosophy will be appreciated and critically discussed.

19 – 21 September 2022
Workshop
Language and Foreignness: An Intercultural Perspective

Neue Aula, room 236
Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, Tübingen

Organisation: Madalina Guzun

How can we define a foreign language? And how does learning a foreign language change the way in which we experience what we call our “own”? Language as the mother tongue is the place of familiarity, it is a place of belonging. What changes, then, when we make a step out of this familiarity? From a philosophical point of view, and enabling intercultural dialogue, this international workshop discusses what kind of displacement a foreign language may imply. 

Full workshop abstract

Workshop programme

1 – 3 September 2022
Workshop
Indigenous Forms of Ownership in the Context of Extractivism and the Anthropocene: Ethnologic Comparisons from South America

University of Tübingen
Keplerstraße 2, room 003

Organiser: Juan Rivera

Abstract

This workshop intends to test one of the conditions present in the main answers that have been proposed to the question of how to conceptualise those indigenous worlds that interrupt the so-called “one-world world”. This condition requires that we, as ethnographers, seek to take a position of symmetric openness to the conceptual conditions we are confronted to in the field, allowing them to inflect our own conceptual tools. Such requirement will become the main methodological feature of this workshop, whose pursuit will focus on discovering – and comparing – different indigenous forms and relations of ownership in South America. Converging on the ethnography of indigenous life-projects, the workshop will explore Amerindian “relational ontologies” contrasting them to those worlds where humans own objects as property.

In order to analyse possible Amerindian alternatives to the extractivist ruination of the Anthropocene and produce reciprocally illuminating studies of how South American indigenous peoples’ relationships with things could be conceptualised (or not) as “ownership”, this workshop will explore the following issues:

●      The main principles and the undecidabilities around which human/non-human interactions and ownership forms play out in the South American regions where the participants have conducted their own fieldworks.

●      The comparative test of the possible inseparability, as previous ethnographic insights seem to suggest, between South American ownership forms and their practices and idioms of “care”, “nurture”, "mastery", among other concepts.

●      The ways in which indigenous life-projects, sustained by the particular ownership forms explored in the workshop, could illuminate so far invisible or ignored indigenous worldings. More specifically, the workshop participants will explore the entanglements of these worldings with the asymmetrical national politics and ideologies predominant in South American contexts saturated by the life ruination of neoliberal extractivism and developmentalism.

●      The distinct ways in which these ownership forms contest (obliging us to redefine) previous conceptualisations of “relational ontologies” usually labelled as a search for a “good life” based on “offerings” to (and “respect” toward) “sacred” earth beings (such as “Mother Earth”) which are taken, in current political narratives, as an alternative to the regional consequences of the so-called Anthropocene.

●      Finally, how do explorations of indigenous “relational ontologies” and ownership forms relate to the realm of the legal and notions of property or rights currently in use in South American countries?

Programme

The workshop is open for participation, please send an email to jjriveraandiaspam prevention@gmail.com.

 

Event review

From September 1 - 3, 2022, a group of 12 Americanists from different parts of the world (Europe, North America and South America) gathered in Tübingen to discuss the theme "Indigenous Forms of Ownership in the Context of Extractivism and the Anthropocene: Ethnologic Comparisons from South America". The presented papers were mutually enlightening, as participants approached the theme from different perspectives; historical, linguistic, ethnologic and (in most cases) ethnographic ones. The central question was: what does it mean to own something among South American indigenous communities? Converging on the ethnography of indigenous life-projects, the workshop explored Amerindian “relational ontologies” contrasting them to those worlds where humans own objects as property. In order to analyse possible Amerindian alternatives to the extractivist ruination of the Anthropocene and produce reciprocally illuminating studies of how South American indigenous peoples’ relationships with things could be conceptualised (or not) as “ownership”, the participants explored the following issues:

- The principles around which human/non-human interactions and ownership forms play out in the Andean and Amazonian regions.
- The apparent inseparability between Andean and Amazonian ownership forms and their practices and idioms of “care”, “nurture”, "mastery" and "familiarizing predation".
- The ways in which Andean and Amazonian life-projects sustained by particular ownership forms could illuminate so far ignored indigenous worldings.
- The entanglements of indigenous worldings with the asymmetrical national politics and ideologies predominant in South American countries saturated by the life ruination of neoliberal extractivism and developmentalism such as Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia, Peru, Brazil and Venezuela.
- The distinct ways in which ownership forms contest previous conceptualisations of “relational ontologies” usually labelled as a search for a “good life” based on “offerings” to and “respect” toward “sacred” earth beings.

The fruitful and informative proceedings will be the base of a collection of chapters to be published either in a collective volume or in a peer-review journal´s special issue.

2 – 6 August 2022
Philosophies of Technology in Intercultural Perspective

A summer school beyond disciplinary boundaries with Yuk Hui

2–6 August 2021

The international workshop could not take place due to the current travel restrictions. Instead, there was held a discussion session with Prof. Yuk Hui's most recent book "Art and Cosmotechnics".


“Philosophies of Technology in Intercultural Perspective”

A workshop beyond disciplinary boundaries with Yuk Hui

The CIIS of Tübingen University in collaboration with the Society for Intercultural Philosophy (GIP) is organizing an international workshop on Philosophies of Technologies at the University of Tübingen, Germany. The workshop is open to doctoral students in philosophy, sociology, social anthropology, history, art history, literature, but also technical studies and other related subjects. Applications are welcome from all over the world.

Date: 02. - 06. August 2021, 18 Uhr c.t.
Venue: CIIS, University of Tübingen, Germany
Application Deadline: April 15th, 2020
Organization: Dr. Niels Weidtmann and Fernando Wirtz, University of Tübingen, Germany

Topic “Philosophies of Technology in Intercultural Perspective”

In Western philosophy, technology is understood in such a way that humans make use of the laws of nature for creating cultural artefacts, i.e. that humans copy the functionality of nature. In this way, humans have gained a set of instruments that enables them to decouple their cultural development from biological evolution. At the same time, this has led to an instrumental understanding of nature that has recently come under increasing criticism.
There has been a trend within different disciplines like anthropology, ethnology and archeology that acknowledges this point and seeks to rehabilitate non-Western cosmologies. Authors worth mentioning here are Bernard Stiegler, Philippe Descola, Bruno Latour, Donna Haraway and Eduardo Batalha Viveiros de Castro.  One author who particularly works in this direction is Yuk Hui. In his book The Question Concerning Technology in China (2017), he proposes to break with the functional Western concept of technology using the idea of ‘cosmotechnics’, which he preliminary outlines as “the unification between the cosmic order and the moral order through technical activities” (2017, 19). Is it possible to think of a notion of technology able to overcome the discontinuities between nature and culture? Departing from the aforementioned definition, Hui points out that in Chinese philosophy (at least until the 19th century), the notion of a ‘technical object’ (qi, 器) is always subordinate to the cosmological and moral order of Dao (道). In this way Chinese thought understands nature as being primarily moral. By carefully reconstructing Chinese sources and its different schools Hui is able to deliver an alternative genealogy of technology and, in doing so, an alternative concept for it.
Far from arguing in favour of cultural particularism, this strategy rather encourages further research about the discursive practices through which problems regarding technology become manifest. In this sense, as Hui writes, “cosmotechnics proposes that we reapproach the question of modernity by reinventing the self and technology at the same time, giving priority to the moral and the ethical” (2017, 290). This should not mean that there are no cosmotechnics in the West at all. On the contrary, what this concept implies is that the Western understanding of technology should be seized as one of multiple cosmotechnics and that we should rehabilitate the moral dimension of ontology. Therefore, Hui’s goal does not consist in returning to ancient and more authentic forms of mediation, but to destigmatize the role of cultural pluralism within philosophical debates. His focus on technology seems to provide fruitful ground for an intercultural dialogue.

Organisation

The purpose of this workshop adheres to the above and promotes a dialogue among PhD candidates interested in the task of thinking philosophies of technology beyond the Western tradition, transgressing and problematizing at the same time the categories of nature and culture themselves. In doing so, this workshop will explore new theoretical and practical approaches to address challenges posed by the Anthropocene. 
Morning sessions will be given by Professor Dr. Yuk Hui. Participants must present a 15-minute paper during afternoon sessions that critically discusses one of the themes and/or questions of the summer school. Engagement with current research questions and issues are particularly welcome as well as connections with current PhD projects.
There will be additional keynotes at the evening.

Biographies

Yuk Hui is associate professor of philosophy of technology and media at the School of Creative Media, City University of Hong Kong. Previous to that, he taught at the Bauhaus University in Weimar and at the institute of philosophy of the Leuphana University Lüneburg where he also wrote his habilitation thesis. Since 2015 he has been a visiting professor of philosophy and technology (with qualification of PhD supervision) at the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, where he co-teaches a master class with Bernard Stiegler every year. He is initiator of the Research Network for Philosophy and Technology, an international network which facilitates researches and collaborations on philosophy and technology; and jury member of the Berggruen Prize for Philosophy and Culture. Hui is author of On the Existence of Digital Objects (2016), The Question Concerning Technology in China. An Essay in Cosmotechnics (Urbanomic, 2017), and Recursivity and Contingency (2019), and forthcoming Art and Cosmotechnics.

Niels Weidtmann is President of the Society for Intercultural Philosophy and Director of the College of Fellows - Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies at the University of Tübingen. Niels does research in intercultural philosophy, phenomenology, hermeneutics and philosophical anthropology. Niels has held a guest professorship at the University of Vienna in 2016. He is author of a couple of books and has published a wide range of articles. He is president of the Society of Intercultural Philosophy.

Fernando Wirtz has studied Philosophy at the University of Buenos Aires. He has written his dissertation on Schelling and Creutzer at the University of Tübingen. Intercultural Philosophy, Global South Studies, Japanese Philosophy, German Idealism. He currently is Research Assistant at the College of Fellows - Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies, University of Tubingen.

29 – 30 July 2022
CIVIS Workshop
Language and Identity

CIVIS Workshop "Language and Identity", Tübingen, civis.eu/de/civis-courses/phd-workshop-language-and-identity-in-the-intercultural-encounter (closed event for the international participants of the CIVIS workshop) - Programme

25 – 29 July 2022
CIVIS Workshop
The Actuality of Belonging - Global Perspectives

Final workshop of the CIVIS Blended learning courses "The Actuality of Belonging - Global Perspectives" (2nd edition), Tübingen (event for the international participants of the blended learning course).

You can find further informationen about the Workshop on the CIVIS-Webpage.

26 July 2022
Global Encounters Lecture
Junior Professor Dr Riccarda Flemmer

26 July 2022, 6.00 pm
Großer Senat, Neue Aula (Geschwister-Scholl-Platz, Tübingen)

Abstract:
Rights of Nature (RoN) denotes nature’s inherent right to exist and flourish. Inspired by indigenous ontologies, RoN have seen the recognition of rivers, mountains and forests as living beings in Latin America, former British colonies and inspired a fast-growing political movement worldwide. RoN’s transformative promise is a new mind set respecting human as well as non-human living beings as agents and to tackle one of the most pressing issues we are facing today: the emancipatory transformation of destructive and deeply unjust anthropocentric development models. This talk gives an innovative perspective on socio-environmental conflicts by (re)conceptualising them within the framework of ‘ontological politics’. Scaling-up insights on indigenous peoples’ understandings of nature and how these are mobilised in resistance to projects of resource extraction, development or conservation imposed on their territories, the lecture concludes with a research agenda that explores the potential of RoN in the Global South as well as in global climate activism to yield legal and institutional models for more sustainable and just human–nature relations.

21 – 22 July 2022
International Colloqium
Belonging and Returning to the African Community

View the Colloquium programme here.

Organisers
Jonathan O. Chimakonam and Niels Weidtmann

Synopsis
What does it mean to belong and to return? Two African thinkers, Pantaleon Iroegbu and Amilcar Cabral have engaged with the two concepts, respectively. While Iroegbu sees belonging as a metaphysical and ethical act of identity construction and solidarity, Cabral thinks of returning as a psychological and epistemological processes of healing and regeneration. Both are forms of philosophical journeys and lean on some ethical principles that distinguish authentic from inauthentic attempts. The framing of these concepts by the two African thinkers mentioned earlier offers great philosophical insight into what, otherwise, might appear ordinary. To belong and to return to the African community are thus not ordinary physical activities. They are metaphysical, epistemological, psychological and ethical journeys. Considered under decoloniality and interculturality, this colloquium calls for a creative, inclusive, yet critical discussions on the concepts of ‘belonging’ and ‘returning’ to the African community. What does this intellectual journey mean for different people, Africans and non-Africans alike? What does it mean for migrants, homeless, poor, victims of injustice and violence? And what prospect does it portend for us all as citizens of the world divided by borders?


Review of the Colloquium
On July 21 and 22, 2022, scholars of African and intercultural philosophies gathered from different parts of the world to discuss the theme: Belonging and Returning to the African Community: Decolonial and Intercultural Perspectives. The event was deeply enlightening, as delegates approached the theme from different perspectives. The central question was: what does it mean to belong and to return to an African community? Considered under decoloniality and interculturality, delegates called for a creative, inclusive, yet critical discussions on the concepts of ‘belonging’ and ‘returning’ to the African community. What does this journey mean for different people, Africans and non-Africans alike? What does it mean for migrants, homeless, poor, victims of injustice and violence? And what prospect does it portend for us all as citizens of the world divided by borders? These questions elicited informed and novel ideas on the theme and main concepts of the workshop. Jonathan O Chimakonam traces the historical development of the concept of belongingness with specific focus on the contributions of the Calabar School, a leading philosophical movement in Africa based at the University of Calabar, Nigeria. Susanne Goumegou and Luis Nana deploy literary criticism, using Léonora Miano’s novel to examine forms of return and integration in some African communities. Bernard Matolino discusses the implications of belonging or returning to a disrupted community, which many parts of Africa have become. Bado Ndoye critically looks at what it means to belong to Africa. He argues that “when it comes to identity and belonging, personal and collective history are certainly the most important things”. Olajumoke Akiode discusses gender, identity and belonging to a community. For her, “African identity is multidimensional and evolving while the community is multi-layered, overlapping and interdependent.  The claim to belong therefore requires in-depth understanding of what was, what is and what can be (re)constructed to which one can claim and stand in solidarity”. Aribiah Attoe negotiates ubuntu and conversationalism, two important concepts in African philosophy to map the existential context of Africa/Africans today. He deploys conversationalism as a better strategy for framing ideas of inclusion that can characterise belonging to an African community today. Simon Makwinja looks at the dilemma between modernity and tradition in the framing of belonging and returning in today’s Africa facing “increased globalisation and global mobility of persons”, which “has created some kind of identity crisis”. And Samuel Olusegun takes inspiration from Ubuntu to map the concept and practise of belongingness in the environment. The workshop was informative and made a rich contribution to knowledge. (Jonathan O. Chimakonam)

20 July 2022
Fellow Lunch Talk
Dr Sarah Lohmann

Lunch Talk with Sarah Lohmann: “Utopian Chronotopes and the Feminist Utopia as Critical Thought Experiment

Abstract:
Literary utopias tend to occupy an uneasy space between fiction and abstract social planning, and have historically been criticised on both counts. In my paper, I will be employing a third path of analysis, that of treating utopian novels as literary-philosophical thought experiments within the genre of science fiction, in order to make a case for an analysis of their success in terms their basic structural configuration around Bakhtinian chronotopes. In particular, I will juxtapose what I term the ‘homeostatic chronotope’ of the traditional utopia with the ‘complexity chronotope’ of the critical feminist utopia of the 1970s. Having presented my terms, I will briefly analyse Joanna Russ’s The Female Man, Marge Piercy’s Woman on the Edge of Time and Ursula K Le Guin’s The Dispossessed as examples of thought experiments that fundamentally function as self-organising and self-optimising complex adaptive systems on both the societal and the narrative level as chronotopes. Finally, I will explore some of the implications of complexity theory as providing frameworks for sustainable utopian systems in non-literary contexts, and how it might provide some inspiration in our current period of global crisis and reconfiguration.

19 July 2022
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Adoulou N. Bitan

Prof Dr Adoulou N. Bitan: "Muntu in Crisis and the Critique of (Western) Philosophy"

Abstract:
Published in 1977 (but translated into English only in 2014), Muntu in Crisis is undoubtedly Fabien Eboussi Boulaga’s most famous philosophical essay. As such, it has had a long-lasting influence on debates on African philosophy, especially in the 1980s. One of Eboussi Boulaga’s main theses in this book is that “philosophy is an attribute of power,” and in particular of Western power, which must be put at the service of African emancipation. The author argues that this is only possible through the transfunctionalization of philosophy, i.e., the process by which this discipline is brought to signify elsewhere and differently. Therefore, the Muntu’s effort to submit (Western) philosophy to their needs, requires in the first place the critique of this discipline, by which it must be cured of its domination content when it comes to its relationship with the indigenous, the subjugated and the colonized. The entire Muntu in Crisis can thus be considered as Eboussi Boulaga’s own attempt to engage the critique of (Western) philosophy.

I would like, on the one hand, to show how, i.e., under which categories, this enterprise is conducted by the author. On the other hand, I am interested in questioning the results obtained by the book from the perspective of what I am entitled to consider the methodological standpoints of Eboussi Boulaga’s reflection.

Bio:
Adoulou N. Bitang holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Douala (Cameroon), with a dissertation on modern and contemporary art in the light of the thought of the German philosopher Theodor W. Adorno. His publications have appeared in Controverses, the philosophy journal of the École Normale Supérieure of Libreville, Potentia, the philosophy journal of the Center Ahmes, and Raison Ardente. Adoulou is currently Joint Fellow-in-Residence at the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics and the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research at Harvard University (USA). He is working on two books about the philosophical legacies of Marcien Towa and Fabien Eboussi Boulaga and has recently been appointed as guest editor of a special issue of the Journal of Comparative Literature and Aesthetics on African Philosophy.

07 July 2022
CIN Dialogue
Love in Culture and the Brain

Documentation:
Download the review in the Schwäbisches Tagblatt here.

Download the CIN Dialogue 2022 brochure here.

Follow-up report:
A post-event report is available here.

Audio:
You can listen to the dialogue here.
 

Abstract:
The concept of "love" and romantic relationships are the subject of not only psychological and sociological research, but also neuroscientific research. Neuroscience explores the neurobiological and genetic underpinnings of love and the mechanisms on which our social behavior is based. Neuroscientists even claim that the neurological foundation of love is one of the phenomena that are best understood. From both disciplinary perspectives, sociology and neuroscience, we can therefore expect current answers to the question of what an appropriately complex description of the concept of "love" can look like.

So what is "love, and what do love and partnership mean today? Can we choose love, or are we victims of love? Can romantic and parental love be described differently? Is there a cultural influence on love itself, or just on the way we seek and show it? 

How has the concept of love changed in recent years – especially in the age of the Internet, where dating platforms have become a central place for initiating romantic contacts? Can sociological findings that state a change in concepts of love be associated with different types of neuronal processing? Why do individuals differ in their attachment to a partner? How strong is the genetic influence on an individual's ability to love? How much does life experience affect a person's ability to love? And can neuroscientists and sociologists learn from each other what they should be looking for when exploring what love means today?

These are some of the questions we will discuss with sociologist Eva Illouz and neuroscientist Larry Young. The discussion will be moderated by science journalist Alison Abbott.

01 July 2022
Husserl Lecture
Professor Dr Sophie Loidolt

Watch the video of Professor Loidolt's Husserl Lecture here.


Abstract

What does it mean to be in public, to appear and to act? The existential significance of public spaces and encounters has become clear to us in the last two years of the pandemic, especially through withdrawal experiences. But even in the years before, classical concepts of the public sphere and privacy had been put to the test theoretically and practically, insofar as they rearrange and hybridize themselves through advancing technologization and economization. All these are contemporary experiences and moments of crisis of the public sphere – a crisis that requires a phenomenological reflection in the Husserl sense, on primordial foundation, processes of meaning and types of experience of the public.

In the Husserl Lecture, basic lines of a "phenomenology of the public" are developed in recourse to the rich phenomenological-hermeneutic tradition. It is conceived as a methodically reflected analysis of structures of experience, existence, and appearance, as well as the constitution of reality. In addition to the essential characteristics of the commonality and visibility of what appears in public space, anonymity and exposure, accessibility and exclusion, participation and distance, as well as modes of dispute and judgment as experiential and social types of the public are in question. In this way, beyond mere psychological state shots, it is possible to open up how worlds, public, private and above all hybrid worlds constitute, er- and are lived, how ambivalences with regard to the appearance of the world, self and others emerge and how successful and failing experiences of the public can come about as a result.

30 June 2022
Lunch Talk
Juan Rivera

Abstract:
What is land? what is a river? What is the nature of earth, water, and how could they be inextricably related to both danger and pleasure? How do they become indispensable for diverse compositions of the worlds?

This convivial talk would tried to describe how people from other latitudes and environments conceive non-human entities that surround them. Current issues of the Anthropocene, a Latin American writer and Amerindian mythology and ritual music come together to offer a possible storytelling for evaluating how to survive in a damaged planet otherwise.

28 June 2022
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Alena Rettová

28 June 2022, 07:00 PM
Professor Dr Alena Rettová, Professor of African and Afrophone Philosophies, University of Bayreuth:
"To be or not to be: Towards an African philosophy of the nonhuman"

Abstract:
Greek philosophy, in the thought of pre-Socratic philosophers, started with a keen interest in the nonhuman - a notion that was later subsumed under the category of "being" and became the object of "natural philosophy". Contemporary theorizations of the nonhuman, equally, operate with the notion of "being"; the nonhuman is studied in the branch of philosophy called "onto-logy", most recently in "object-oriented ontology".
Yet, philosophers have pointed out the fact that the very concept of "being" is derived from the grammar of Indo-European languages, where "to be" has a truly universal application for all kinds of linking of words and concepts. It may thus be misleading to operate with "being" in the study of non-European philosophers. The observation was voiced particularly strongly by African philosophers or by linguists working with African languages. Émile Benveniste (1958) points out the absence of a unifying verb of "being" in Ewe and suggests that the ontology of Aristotle does not work in that language. Kwasi Wiredu makes a similar argument, about the notion of "existential being", on the basis of Akan; he famously advocates for the translation exercise to stop African philosophers from developing "ontological fantasies" (1980: 35), or concepts that are mere peculiarities of the English language. Paulin Hountondji (1982) rehearses Benveniste´s argument and demonstrates how Alexis Kagame repeated the "error" of Aristotle, of using the specifities of a language to build an ontology. Finally, Souleymane Bachir Diagne (2019) draws on both Beneviste and Kagame to put forward an argument about the linguistic determinations of philosophy and about the critical role of translation to avoid the limitations of specific languages and establishes a "lateral universalism" in philosophy.
What happens if we consider these critical arguments about “being” in the context of a philosophy of the nonhuman? How do we identify and approach the nonhuman in the absence of an “ontology”? What epistemological and ethical implications does such an alternative setup of a philosophy of the nonhuman have? These are questions that the lecture articulates, following a review of some of the key arguments about language in African philosophy. It will draw on precolonial texts in African languages to analyse examples of the conceptualization of the nonhuman; these conceptualizations are free of the influence of ontology as engrained in European philosophical thought and offer exciting perspectives on the nonhuman within non-European (and non-Eurocentric) philosophical frameworks. The lecture will further consider how these conceptualizations could be, or already have been, used to develop a philosophy of the nonhuman that addresses topical concerns of the present day.

Short bio:
Alena Rettová is Professor of African and Afrophone Philosophies at the University of Bayreuth, Germany, where she leads an ERC-funded project on “Philosophy and Genre: Creating a Textual Basis for African Philosophy”. Her publications include African Philosophy: History, Trends, Problems (2001); Afrophone Philosophies: Reality and Challenge (2007); Chanter l’existence: La poésie de Sando Marteau et ses horizons philosophiques (2013); We Hold on to the Word of Lizard. A Small Anthology of Zimbabwean Ndebele Writing (ed. and transl., 2004); and Critical Conversations in African Philosophy: Asixoxe - Let's Talk (ed. with Benedetta Lanfranchi and Miriam Pahl, 2022).

30 May – 03 June 2022
The Comparative Anthropology of Worlding
Philippe Descola

Venue: College of Fellows, University of Tübingen, Germany

Organization: Niels Weidtmann, University of Tübingen, Germany

Topic

“The comparative anthropology of worlding”

Anthropologist Philippe Descola says of himself that he was ill-prepared for the field work for which he lived with the Achuar in Ecuador in the 1980s. Poorly prepared, however, not because of his own failings, but because of the self-evident way in which he took for granted the distinction between nature and culture at that time - a distinction which anthropology has always worked with and which had hardly ever been seriously questioned until then. The matter-of-course nature of this distinction, however, not only prevented (and still prevents) a genuine understanding of societies such as that of the Achuar, but also suggests a fatal misunderstanding of these societies. Since nature and culture cannot be easily separated in their case, they are called “primitive peoples”, who still remain in the prehistoric and pre-cultural stage of human development. Descola points out that such a description is completely mistaken. Instead of being trapped in their immediate natural environment, the Achuar recognise in most animals and plants their own personalities with whom they can communicate at least rudimentarily and whose interests they must respect. The nature-culture-border does not carry here.

Committed to the descriptive method of anthropology, Descola pleads to discard any form of ontological preconception when visiting foreign societies. The different life-worlds are not adequately understood if they are merely classified as different cultural interpretations of “the” one nature. Instead, the life-worlds, for their part, first establish the ontology and thus also the understanding of man and the world that corresponds to them. Descola summarizes this with the term “worlding”. He names four different forms of such worlding: naturalism, animism, totemism, and analogism. The ontology of naturalism, which is generally assumed by modern sciences, is on an equal footing with the other forms. Which ontology is valid is determined by the life-world, but not does a presupposed ontology give the correct understanding of the life-world.

In political terms, Descola opens up new possibilities for linking the rights of nature not only to the resource requirements of man. But how is it possible to give non-humans access to the political sphere? What does that mean with respect to current debates on climate change and conservation? A philosophical difficulty that arises from Descola's work can be summarized in the question of the possibility of plural ontologies. How do we escape the arbitrariness of relativism without simply assuming a universalism again? Furthermore, are there other forms of worlding besides those pointed out by Descola? Shall we conceive them as four completely separate categories to describe the continuities and discontinuities between humans and non-humans? Or are they rather something like Weberian ideal types – useful for thinking, but hard to turn into iron boxes?

These and other questions have been explored in the Workshop.

Organisation

This workshop enabled discussions with Philippe Descola about his ideas and contributions across several themes. It was be of interest to participants from a wide range of disciplines. There was be an opening session on day one. Day two to four consisted of an initial overview paper by Professor Descola, which was  followed by participant contributions and discussions. The school ended with a closing session and a wrap-up of topics on day five. Participants were also invited to attend a public lecture by Philippe Descola during the week.

Participants presented a 15-minute paper that critically discussed one of the themes and/or questions of the workshop. Engagement with current research questions and issues were particularly welcome as well as connections with current PhD projects.
This workshop was open to doctoral students from all disciplines.

Applicants had to supply the following documents:

  • Application form
  • CV (2 pages max)
  • 300-word expression of interest
  • Paper title and 300-word abstract

1 June 2022
Summer Lecture
Philippe Descola

In his lecture, Descola focused on the "multiple births” of naturalism, pointing towards aspects of naturalistic thinking inherent already in ancient thought. At the same time, he sketched the unique historical emergence of naturalism in modern (natural) science as a way of tackling the rich yet ‘chaotic’ relations of analogism. While outlining differences between the ontologies, Descola also touched upon common features. In particular, he highlighted transitions between analogist and naturalist knowledge, which both share the notion that singularities can be linked in networks of multiple relationships, as mixed entities with intrinsic differences. He thus provided a framework both for understanding the emergence of scientific thought in Europe as one decisive form of worlding, as well as for an understanding of naturalism’s formative influences on the world in which we live today. Even if Descola rejects an all too simple alternative, as to think of a way out of the naturalist mode of worlding, his comparative insights call for a rethinking of strict dichotomies within the ontology of naturalism, especially those of nature and culture, and of humans and non-humans.

Descola’s well-attended Summer Lecture was the first large event organised by the College of Fellows, officially inaugurated in April 2022 as a platform for interdisciplinary research and networking among international research fellows at the University of Tübingen. The lecture was accompanied by a five-day workshop (30 May – 3 June) for international PhD students, who discussed Descola’s work with him, and explored its theoretical applications and stimulating potentials in their own contributions across several desciplines. Both events have been part of the activities of the Focus Group “Interdisciplinary Anthropology” at the College of Fellows.

You can find more information here.

19 April 2022
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Edwin Etieyibo

Professor Dr Edwin Etieyibo:
The Marriage of the ‘I’ and ’We’

Abstract:
Depending on who and what is being married, marriage can be an important event and a beautiful thing. William Blake, one of the foremost Romantic poets is famous in the book, “The Marriage of Heaven and Hell” for attempting to marry the “energetic creators” (hell) and the “rational organizers” (heaven) in a unified vision of the cosmos. In this talk, and inspired by Blake, I aim to preside over the marriage of the “I” or an I mode of being and a “We” or a We mode of being — a marriage that is fostered by some of the elements of social contract theory which, I argue, provide for the possibility of a rational self in community. Because this marriage attempts to demonstrate the prospect of a union of individualism (a predominantly Western/liberal ontological outlook) and non-individualism (a predominantly non-Western/communalistic ontological outlook), it potentially positions itself as a self-effacing and commune-inducing worldview that could be deployed to resolve the renowned and notorious dispute between radical communitarianism and moderate communitarianism.

11 – 12 April 2022
New Critical Theories and Decentralized Epistemologies

German-French Doctoral College
"New Critical Theories and Decentralized Epistemologies"

Doctoral College of the Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès and the University of Tübingen
Head of the Programme: Professor Dr Dorothee Kimmich

The Focus Group "Intercultural Studies" participated on the the design of the program.

For more information go to: https://uni-tuebingen.de/de/226905

You can find the flyer here.

8 March 2022
GIP Lecture
Dr Gabriele Münnix-Osthoff

Dr Gabriele Münnix-Osthoff:
"Is Intercultural Communication Possible? On the Difficulty of Adequate Trans-Lations."

Abstract:
In this lecture languages are seen as different perspectives of seeing the world, and in order to improve intercultural understanding, one should not rely on interpretors or translation programmes which deliver ready made transformations into the world of our own own language structures. This does not prevent language imperialisms and the conviction that our own way of thinking and speaking is universal. Rather should one strive to know more about other possibilities of seeing the world in other languages, in order to complete one’s own views. Intercultural communication can only be succesfull if other ways of seing the world are not leveled and neglected, but respected and seriously taken into account.

 

10 – 11 February 2022
Workshop
Alltäglichkeit und Medialität in Japan

Traditionell sind die Philosophen die Subjekte der Philosophie. Sie sind diejenigen, die philosophische Theorien formulieren. Es hat jedoch viele Versuche gegeben, mit dieser Idee zu brechen und andere mögliche Subjekte der Philosophie in Betracht zu ziehen. Können „normale Menschen“ Philosophie betreiben? Oder können „normale Menschen“ Wissen produzieren? Gibt es eine Philosophie der Massen? Wenn ja, wie wird sie ausgedrückt? Wie nutzt sie Technik und Medien?

Ziel dieses Workshops war es, die Begriffe „Gemeinsinn“, „Alltäglichkeit“ und „Medien“ (bzw. Mittel) interkulturell zu hinterfragen. Zu diesem Zweck wurden die Texte von Miki Kiyoshi, Tosaka Jun, Nakai Masakazu und Nakamura Yūjirō verwendet. Diese Autoren haben nicht versucht, den gesunden Menschenverstand des Status quo zu rehabilitieren, sondern im Gegenteil, den Gemeinsinn der Massen zu denken. Zu diesem Zweck konzentrierten sie sich auf die Massenmedien: die Zeitung und den Film. Diese in Japan entstandene Medienphilosophie kann nützlich sein, um eine Reihe von Fragen von aktueller Relevanz zu beantworten: Wie ist es möglich, eine interkulturelle Medienphilosophie zu denken? Inwieweit kann das Alltägliche revolutionär sein? Welche Rolle spielen Medien und Maschinen in der aktuellen philosophischen Debatte?

Seit den 1930er-Jahren gab es in Japan einige Autoren, die versuchten, die philosophische Kraft des Gemeinsinnes zu retten. Wie Gramsci mit seinem buon senso oder Lefevre mit seinem Begriff der quotidiennté versuchten diese japanischen Philosophen, Formen der Erkenntnis der Wirklichkeit „von unten“ zu erforschen. Miki Kiyoshi postulierte eine Grunderfahrung (kisokeiken), nämlich die körperliche Erfahrung des In-der-Welt-Seins. Für Miki war diese Erfahrung historisch und manifestierte sich in der Praxis und in der Erfahrung des Proletariats. Für Tosaka Jun, einen Kollegen von Miki an der Universität Kyoto, war das Prinzip der historischen Zeit weder in der subjektiven Zeit der Phänomenologie noch in der objektiven, rationalisierten Zeit der Wissenschaft zu suchen. Das Prinzip der historischen Zeit sei vielmehr in dem zu finden, was er „Alltäglichkeit“ (nichijōsei) nannte. Diese Alltäglichkeit war die situierte Zeitlichkeit des Arbeiters, die sich nach den Bedürfnissen seines Arbeitstages richtete. Miki und Tosaka beschränkten sich jedoch nicht darauf, über diese Begriffe abstrakt nachzudenken. Sie suchten nach anderen Wegen, Philosophie im Einklang mit ihren Theorien zu betreiben. Auf diese Weise haben sie beide Journalismus betrieben. Tosaka wiederum theoretisiert ebenfalls über die Bedeutung des Films.

Ein anderer Autor jener Zeit, Nakai Masakazu, war ebenfalls ein sehr wichtiger Filmtheoretiker. Für ihn bot der Film ein Mittel, durch das die Massen ihre Gefühle ausdrücken konnten. Die Erfahrung der Maschine war für ihn das „Mittel“ (mitteru), das dies ermöglichte, denn während eines Films sind es die Zuschauer, die die aktive Aufgabe haben, die Szenen und Schnitte in ihrem Kopf zu vereinen. Abschließend sei noch der Fall von Nakamura Yūjirō zu erwähnen. Obwohl Nakamura hauptsächlich in der Nachkriegszeit schrieb, wurde er stark von Miki, Tosaka und Nakai beeinflusst. Im Gegensatz zu Miki und Tosaka kehrt Nakamura zum aristotelischen Sinn des gesunden Menschenverstands als koinē aisthēsis zurück. Der gesunde Menschenverstand in seiner idealen Funktion ist für Nakamura das, was das Gesamtbild in den Blick nimmt und spontan auf die sich ständig verändernden Anforderungen der realen Welt und ihrer konkreten Situationen antwortet.

Während des Workshops wurde eine Auswahl von Texten dieser Autoren gemeinsam diskutiert und kommentiert. Die Diskussion begann mit einem Impuls von einem der Teilnehmenden. Am Ende eines jeden Tages gab es außerdem einen speziellen Vortrag. Die Veranstaltung fand auf Deutsch und Englisch statt.

9 February 2022
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Carolina Carrasco Pulido and Dr Rodolfo Palomo-Briones

Dr Carolina Carrasco Pulido (Biophysics):
"Studying DNA-Rad52 Interaction at the Single Molecule Level"

Abstract
Single-molecule biophysics combines molecular biology, physics and engineering sciences in an attempt to overcome the limitations from averaging in bulk assays. Single-molecule techniques provide useful molecular information related to structure, dynamics and function of proteins that is usually hidden in ensemble-averaged measurements. Some single-molecule techniques provide the unique ability to apply forces to DNA-protein complexes and analyze their mechanical response. Proper DNA repair is essential for cell survival and prevention of carcinogenesis. Therefore, cells possess robust mechanisms to repair DNA breaks that involve DNA manipulation by proteins. A key step of the homologous recombination mechanism is DNA annealing that is promoted by single-strand annealing proteins mediating the formation of base-pairs between complementary single-stranded DNA regions. To address how human Rad52 interacts with DNA to perform the annealing, I use a state-of-the-art Optical Tweezers setup where a single DNA molecule is mechanically stretched by performing force spectroscopy. We observed the formation of DNA-Rad52 filaments as highly stable structures where a binding mechanism by protein intercalation is proposed.

Bio
Carolina Carrasco studied Physics at the University of Granada. Because of her interest in the field of single-molecule biophysics, she moved to Madrid to obtain her PhD in Physics at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid by studying the mechanical response of single viruses upon deformation with Atomic Force Microscopy. After that, she extended her expertise to the Magnetic Tweezers technique at the National Centre of Biotechnology (CNB-CSIC) at Madrid. Her research is focused on understanding DNA repair and replication by motor proteins at the single-molecule level. Understanding the molecular mechanisms of nanomachines is important for molecular biology and medicine because they are involved in cellular repair pathways of which defects are associated with human disease. Currently, she enjoys a Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers to study DNA-protein mechanisms by using Optical Tweezers at the Cellular Nanoscience Department in the ZMBP, Tübingen University.

 

Dr Rodolfo Palomo-Briones (Geosciences):
"Production of Biofuels and Feedstocks with Anaerobic Microbiomes"

Abstract
Anaerobic technologies are a near carbon-neutral alternative for the production of fuels and chemical feedstocks of the future. Part of the interest in such technologies comes from the possibility of valorizing carbohydrate-rich residues such as lignocellulosic hydrolysates, wastewater, cheese whey, etc. On one hand, biofuels (e.g., biohydrogen) can be produced through the so-called dark fermentation, which leads to H2 and short-chain carboxylates production from carbohydrates. On the other hand, chain elongation could be coupled to the first process to take advantage of partially oxidized byproducts produced in dark fermentation to produce medium-chain carboxylates (MCC) with higher and wider market value. The direct use of carbohydrates to produce MCC is also possible. In any case, the complete comprehension of the processes and the strategies to control the microbial pathways is a pending task, especially in open culture microbiomes. In this talk, I will give an overview of the bioprocesses leading to H2 and MCC from carbohydrates, as well as the studied strategies to better understand and control them.

Bio
I studied Biochemical Engineering from 2006 to 2010 at the Instituto Tecnológico de Morelia (Morelia, Mexico). In 2010, I did an internship at the Laboratorio de Investigación en Procesos Avanzados de Tratamiento de Aguas (UNAM, Mexico), where I did my thesis on microbial fuel cells obtaining my bachelor degree in 2011. Afterward, I began my master studies at the Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (IPICYT), where I investigated the methanol biofiltration coupled to heterologous proteins production. Derived from that work, I obtained my master’s degree in 2013. From 2013 to 2014, I worked as an associate researcher in a project aiming to assess wastewater reuse in gold mining activities (San Luis Potosi, Mexico). Then, from 2015 to 2018, I conducted my doctoral studies at IPICYT about microbial communities in dark fermentative reactors. With such work, I obtained my doctoral degree in 2018. In 2021, I was granted a Georg Forster Research Fellowship to investigate the chain elongation process at the University of Tübingen.

8 February 2022
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Maria Jimena Solé

Professor Dr Maria Jimena Solé:
"The Early Reception of Fichte in Latin America: Juan Bautista Alberdi"

Abstract:
I will introduce and outline the concept of ‘ecological phenomenology’ that Maria Heim and I developed in the study of classical Indian texts: On the one side, it is a method of analytically describing experience, in which the context always matters and determines the way we can absorb a text’s particular set of descriptions. ‘Context’ in this methodological sense includes: the genre with its literary conventions and lexical registers, the stated purposes of the text, and the narrative or other locating devices by which the significance of the textual passages in question is foregrounded. Ecology here is hermeneutic, and permits shifts of scope and
constitution. On the other, it is  a philosophy of the nature of experience  intrinsically bodily in nature. Here, ecological phenomenology argues that the analysis of the bodily manifestation of subjectivity is always dependent on context. ‘Context’ in this philosophical sense includes: material constituents of the objective body whose boundaries and features vary, ambient features of the sensory range, affective artefacts in the environment, norms of conduct, and the dynamics of social identity. Making some intercultural comparisons with certain strands in the Western Phenomenological traditions, I will suggest that ecological phenomenology allows for the emergence of a conception of bodily being that could engage fruitfully with post-Cartesian ideas about the body in Phenomenology.

 

12 January 2022
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Nicolas De Maeyer and Dr Roberta Locatelli

Dr Nicolas De Maeyer (Theology):
"The Construction of Patristic Authority in the Middle Ages: the 'Sermones ad populum' of Augustine of Hippo"

Abstract
It is generally acknowledged that the writings of the Latin Church Fathers (4th-8th centuries) had a tremendous impact on the development of Christian society and European intellectual life during the Middle Ages. However, it is usually forgotten that the main vehicle for the transmission and reception of the Church Fathers’ thinking were not so much their doctrinal treatises (such as Augustine’s City of God or Gregory the Great’s Morals on the Book of Job) but rather the many thousands of sermons and homilies which they preached to their congregations during diverse liturgical occasions and which, once written down, started circulating in collections, disseminated via thousands of Medieval manuscripts. Unlike doctrinal treatises, which were read only by the intellectual elite of the time, sermons had a large and diversified audience, thus effectively serving as the ‘mass media’ of the Middle Ages.

This presentation analyses the Medieval transmission and reception of the sermons of Augustine of Hippo (354-430), in order to show how these texts shaped and influenced the image of Augustine as an authoritative writer and thinker in the Middle Ages. Several case studies will demonstrate how the circulation, adaptation, combination, and interpretation of Augustinian sermons in the manuscripts reflect and determine the Medieval reception of Augustine, while also illustrating the challenges that philologists encounter when they attempt to reconstruct the Medieval transmission of texts and ideas.

Bio
Nicolas De Maeyer studied Classical and German philology at the University of Leuven, and received his PhD in Latin Literature from the same university (2019), with a dissertation on the Venerable Bede’s Pauline commentary. He is currently postdoctoral researcher at the universities of Leuven and Tübingen, with a project on Augustine of Hippo’s Sermones de diuersis. His field of research is the transmission and reception of Patristic literature in Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the works of Augustine of Hippo, (pseudo-)Augustinian sermons, Patristic florilegia, Latin homiliaries, and the reconstruction of Medieval libraries. For the Series Latina of the Corpus Christianorum (Brepols Publishers), he is preparing an edition of Bede’s Pauline commentary and of Augustine’s Sermones de diuersis.
 

Dr Roberta Locatelli (Philosophy):
"The Puzzle of Colour and the Perspectival Nature of Perception"

Abstract
Colours are puzzling. On the one hand, they strike us as properties of physical objects around us, objects that exist independently of us perceiving them. On the other hand, colours seem inextricably tied to perception: different species perceive them different—and what is it for something to be (let’s say) red, if not the fact that it appears that way to some perceiver? While both intuitions are individually compelling, they are in tension. Accordingly, most metaphysical accounts of colours resolve to accommodate only one of the two intuitions, while trying to convince us that it is okay to relinquish the other. The problem of colour seems so intractable because philosophy has for so long assumed that perception is like a transparent window onto the world. This poses unreasonable and unattainable constraints on what it is for a property to be objective, namely that it is conveyed to us without any ‘filter’. Replacing this assumption with a model of perception that takes seriously its perspectival nature holds the key to solving the puzzle of colour.

Bio
Roberta Locatelli is an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow at the philosophy department of the University of Tübingen. Before that, she was a postdoctoral DAAD PRIME Fellow at the same department. She earned her doctorate from the University of Warwick and the University Paris-1. She works in the philosophy of mind & psychology, with a specific focus on the philosophy of perception, and on the metaphysics of colour and other observational properties.

2021

11 – 13 December 2021
Workshop
Alienation, Independence and Liberation in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

This Online-Workshop was organised by the former fellow Dr Elise Coquereau-Saouma.

Topic

‘Freedom’ in modern and contemporary Indian philosophy in English can have two different meanings. One is metaphysical and universal. It describes a state of being to be reached, often called ‘(transcendental) liberation’ or ‘mokṣa’. The other is political and inter-personal or social. It implies a freedom of action, an inter-personal process that often requires negotiation within society, or political struggles. During the freedom movement in India, it was discussed as ‘svarāj’ (self-rule, independence), famously known from Mahatma Gandhi. Yet the borders between a metaphysical, or spiritual/religious sense of freedom, and a political or social one, are difficult to trace in contemporary Indian philosophy.

Mahatma Gandhi’s or Aurobindo’s political struggles are at the same time spiritual, with particular reinterpretations of Advaita. In academic philosophy, the ‘svarāj in Ideas’ of Krishna Chandra Bhattacharyya, addressed to his students, pled for extending the political struggle to an intellectual one against “cultural subjection”. Independence is correlated to freedom in thinking. In his Studies in Philosophy, ‘freedom’ is described as one Absolute, detailed in a gradual detachment from all objectivities, toward the absolute subjectivity. Even though in the twentieth century freedom is located within the boundary of knowledge, and even though there are not specific ritualistic Hindu references, ‘freedom’ also has a universal, transcendental, spiritual connotation, as the highest state to be reached in an inner realization of the Absolute.

In a way, Krishna Chandra Bhattacharyya expresses a persisting plurality and subtle intermingling of the quest for ‘freedom’ in contemporary Indian philosophy: Is freedom a political svarāj, in which case it ought to be reached with others in the socio-political realm, or is freedom the way to reach inwardly an absolute state of liberation from the world of alienation that others cause? Even if it is socio-politically, is independence also not a struggle against alienation, namely a quest for independence from Others (colonial rulers), and in which case is this independence also a liberation from a world? Is realizing one’s own inward liberation a way to recognize the unity of all, or an exclusion of all those we leave behind?

In modern and contemporary India, responses vary: they question the socio-political formation of the idea of freedom in relation with colonization, the inclusivity of Brahmanical metaphysics and the secularization of mokṣa, and in relation with existentialism, the relation to alienation and inter-subjectivity, namely the role of Others in the realization of freedom. Highlighting the diversity and continuity of the concepts of freedom in Indian philosophies, and the newness that the political context and the contacts with non-Indian philosophies brought to the concept, this workshop questions the relation between freedom(s) and Others, svarāj and mokṣa, and the intricacies between metaphysics and politics.

Programme

11.12.2021

Central European Time: 14:00 - 17:30

India Standard Time: 18:30 - 22:00

Israel Standard Time: 15:00 - 18:30

Eastern Standard Time: 08:00 - 11:30

14:00 - 14:20

Elise Coquereau-Saouma, Universität Tübingen (Germany):
Introduction: Freedom 'from' or freedom 'with' Others?

14:20 - 15:00

Mrinal Kaul, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (India):
Thinking Soteriologically Through Nation - The Case of Amṛtavāgbhava (1903-1982 CE)

15:00 - 15:40

Pawel Odyniec, Karlstad University (Sweden):
The Future of the Past: K. C. Bhattacharyya and the Retrieval of Classical Indian Philosophy

15:50 - 16:30

Dmitry Shevchenko, Ashoka University (India), The Hebrew University (Israel):
The Indefinite as Freedom in K.C. Bhattacharyya's Philosophy

16:30 - 17:30

Nalini Bhushan & Jay Garfield, Smith College (USA):
The Freedom in Subject as Freedom: How KC Bhattacharyya’s Understanding of Vedānta Informs His Magnum Opus

13.12.2021

Central European Time: 14:00 - 17:30

India Standard Time: 18:30 - 22:00

Israel Standard Time: 15:00 - 18:30

Eastern Standard Time: 08:00 - 11:30

14:00 - 14:40

A. Raghuramaraju, Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati (India):

How the present of modernity-colonialism forced enslaved Indians to scout for resources for freedom in the Past: Balagangadhar Tilak and Bhagavad Gita                                                                

14:40 - 15:20

Muzaffar Ali, Savitribai Phule Pune University (India):

Svaraj, Swadeshi, and Samvada: Understanding Freedom in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

15:30 - 16:10

James Madaio, Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic):
On Ramchandra Gandhi

16:10 - 16:50

Daniel Raveh, Tel-Aviv University (Israel)

From Others? With Others? Why not Both? Daya Krishna on Freedom

16:50 General Discussion & Questions

10 December 2021
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad

Professor Dr Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad:
"Ecological Phenomenology: bodiliness and the study of experience in Classical Indian texts"

Abstract:
I will introduce and outline the concept of ‘ecological phenomenology’ that Maria Heim and I developed in the study of classical Indian texts: On the one side, it is a method of analytically describing experience, in which the context always matters and determines the way we can absorb a text’s particular set of descriptions. ‘Context’ in this methodological sense includes: the genre with its literary conventions and lexical registers, the stated purposes of the text, and the narrative or other locating devices by which the significance of the textual passages in question is foregrounded. Ecology here is hermeneutic, and permits shifts of scope and constitution. On the other, it is  a philosophy of the nature of experience  intrinsically bodily in nature. Here, ecological phenomenology argues that the analysis of the bodily manifestation of subjectivity is always dependent on context. ‘Context’ in this philosophical sense includes: material constituents of the objective body whose boundaries and features vary, ambient features of the sensory range, affective artefacts in the environment, norms of conduct, and the dynamics of social identity. Making some intercultural comparisons with certain strands in the Western Phenomenological traditions, I will suggest that ecological phenomenology allows for the emergence of a conception of bodily being that could engage fruitfully with post-Cartesian ideas about the body in Phenomenology.

8 December 2021
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Cristóbal Pagán Cánovas and Dr Sourabh Nampalliwar

Dr Cristóbal Pagán Cánovas (Linguistics):
"Modeling the Multimodal Flow of Human Communication: Big Data and Novel Quantitative Approaches"

Abstract
How should we model the daunting complexity of human communication? This talk explores new answers to this question through two ongoing studies, which I am developing with Professor Harald Baayen from Tübingen. The first is on the semantics of speech and gesture using generalized additive models, a statistical method particularly suitable for dealing with highly variable data, such as those of oral conversations. The data are extracted from the Red Hen Lab’s NewsScape Library, which allows us to analyze multiple videos of people uttering exactly the same words. The second study uses machine-learning techniques based on the idea of discriminative learning, in order to create a model that can associate chunks of an oral poetic performance with appropriate meanings, without introducing any knowledge about linguistic patterns such as words, phrases, or morphemes. The theoretical proposal that I am exploring suggests a holistic view of the communicative signal as a multimodal flow of low-level features (articulatory, gestural, acoustic, etc.) that anchor meaning directly on action, with no need of intermediate, discrete units in the mind.

Worried about the technicalities? Don’t be: I will strive to make this meaningful for Humanists with a minimal data science background, and vice versa.

Bio
Cristóbal Pagán Cánovas is a Ramón y Cajal Assistant Professor at the English Department, University of Murcia, an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in Quantitative Linguistics, University of Tübingen, and a member of the International Distributed Little Red Hen Lab™. He works on cognition and poetics, conceptual integration, 4E cognition, time across language and the arts, oral poetry, and multimodal communication.
 

Dr Sourabh Nampalliwar (Physics):
"Shining X-rays on the Nature of Gravity"

Abstract
Einstein’s theory has been the standard theory of gravity for nearly a century. However, it suffers from certain shortcomings which has motivated the search for alternatives to Einstein's theory. The possibility to test these alternatives around black holes has become possible very recently with advances in experimental techniques. In particular, X-rays from black hole neighborhoods carry a strong imprint of the nature of gravity around black holes. In this talk, I will first draw a simple picture of this experimental technique. Using this simple picture, I will then describe what we know so far about the nature of gravity around black holes and what we expect to find in the future.

Bio
I am a theoretical astrophysicist working mostly on black holes. I received my Ph.D. from the University of Texas in San Antonio, USA. Before joining the group in Tübingen, I was a postdoc in Shanghai. I explore different ways of looking at signals from black hole neighborhoods and using that signal to learn the nature of physical reality.

3 December 2021
Workshop
Young Researchers Workshop of the Society for Intercultural Philosophy

1st Young GiP Workshop: "Thinking for Oneself?"

This online workshop was organized by our Fellow Dr Fernando Wirtz and Dr Carina Pape

At the first Young Researchers Workshop of the Society for Intercultural Philosophy, young intercultural philosophers will briefly present their individual projects.


Christian Sinn

School teachers are mainly executors who depend on theoretical results. They do not have time nor the will for proper theory production, and their main task is the imposition of knowledge

These are common suppositions about teachers not only by society but also by academics. Opposed to this external attribution, the investigations of the Grupo de la Historia de la Práctica Pedagogica have shown a variety of differing self-attributions. During the 70s’, teachers and educational workers uncovered a different intellectual and political self-attribution, as empowered active constructors of social and political life. By framing this different teacher role as an activist of life (militante de la vida), Contreras & Murcia have analysed the political interpretation of Colombian teachers in the social movement. Colombian teachers fought for political and social recognition of their knowledge and expertise, mainly incarnated in a right to theorise themselves and to co-decide on educational politics. In the workshop I will present two fundamental approaches I have found on Colombian teacher roles in relation to Claudia Brunner’s concept of undoing epistemic violence.
 

Alessio Gerola
Beyond control: philosophical and ethical implications of biomimicry

Biomimicry is a contemporary design approach that takes nature as source of inspiration for technological innovation. Besides biomimicry, other bio-inspired approaches exist, such as biomimetics and bionics. Their interests and scope lean closer to those of engineering than to those of ecology. This situation creates a fundamental ambiguity within bio-inspired approaches. While biomimicry aims at more sustainable and bio-inclusive design, biomimetics and bionics seem to imply a more subtle form of exploitation of nature. In the context of the Anthropocene, such ambiguity raises questions about the possible forms of our planetary futures. If nature is supposed to inspire not only our technologies but also our ecological ethos, what kind of relationship with nature can we imagine in order to shape a more sustainable future? I will briefly explore potential directions in which Japanese philosophers such as Nishida Kitaro can help us addressing this question.
 

Sakine Mohamadi Bozorg
A Historical Investigation into the “Emersion” or “Problematization” of Critical Thinking in Iranian Modernity

The discussion of modernity in Iran and its various dimensions has been a significant issue in recent Iranian academic and intellectual debates. The variety of research questions and approaches stemming from these debates address subject areas such as political modernity, social modernity, modernization, and the discussion of development. They have also produced plentiful attempts to provide different readings of historiography and the definition of modernity. However, most of these studies are based on Occidental modern philosophy, with Iranian scholars attempting to formulate Iranian modernity based on the ideas of Foucault, Habermas, Giddens, and others. My project investigates theoretical dimensions and philosophical concepts in modern Iranian thought. For this purpose, I will question of the concept of critique and the characteristics of critical thinking. I focus on a specific contemporary Persian literary genre, namely Persian travelogues.

3 December 2021
1st Young GiP Workshop: Thinking for Oneself?

1st Young GiP Workshop: Thinking for Oneself?

3 Dec 2021, 9:00 am – 11:00 pm (CET)
Organisation: Dr Fernando Wirtz and Dr Carina Pape

At the first Young Researchers Workshop of the Society for Intercultural Philosophy, young intercultural philosophers briefly presented their individual projects:

 

Christian Sinn
School teachers are mainly executors who depend on theoretical results. They do not have time nor the will for proper theory production, and their main task is the imposition of knowledge

These are common suppositions about teachers not only by society but also by academics. Opposed to this external attribution, the investigations of the Grupo de la Historia de la Práctica Pedagogica have shown a variety of differing self-attributions. During the 70s’, teachers and educational workers uncovered a different intellectual and political self-attribution, as empowered active constructors of social and political life. By framing this different teacher role as an activist of life (militante de la vida), Contreras & Murcia have analysed the political interpretation of Colombian teachers in the social movement. Colombian teachers fought for political and social recognition of their knowledge and expertise, mainly incarnated in a right to theorise themselves and to co-decide on educational politics. In the workshop I will present two fundamental approaches I have found on Colombian teacher roles in relation to Claudia Brunner’s concept of undoing epistemic violence.
 

Alessio Gerola
Beyond control: philosophical and ethical implications of biomimicry

Biomimicry is a contemporary design approach that takes nature as source of inspiration for technological innovation. Besides biomimicry, other bio-inspired approaches exist, such as biomimetics and bionics. Their interests and scope lean closer to those of engineering than to those of ecology. This situation creates a fundamental ambiguity within bio-inspired approaches. While biomimicry aims at more sustainable and bio-inclusive design, biomimetics and bionics seem to imply a more subtle form of exploitation of nature. In the context of the Anthropocene, such ambiguity raises questions about the possible forms of our planetary futures. If nature is supposed to inspire not only our technologies but also our ecological ethos, what kind of relationship with nature can we imagine in order to shape a more sustainable future? I will briefly explore potential directions in which Japanese philosophers such as Nishida Kitaro can help us addressing this question.
 

Sakine Mohamadi Bozorg
A Historical Investigation into the “Emersion” or “Problematization” of Critical Thinking in Iranian Modernity

The discussion of modernity in Iran and its various dimensions has been a significant issue in recent Iranian academic and intellectual debates. The variety of research questions and approaches stemming from these debates address subject areas such as political modernity, social modernity, modernization, and the discussion of development. They have also produced plentiful attempts to provide different readings of historiography and the definition of modernity. However, most of these studies are based on Occidental modern philosophy, with Iranian scholars attempting to formulate Iranian modernity based on the ideas of Foucault, Habermas, Giddens, and others. My project investigates theoretical dimensions and philosophical concepts in modern Iranian thought. For this purpose, I will question of the concept of critique and the characteristics of critical thinking. I focus on a specific contemporary Persian literary genre, namely Persian travelogues.

20 November 2021
Guest Lecture
Professor Dr Ryosuke Ohashi

18 November 2021
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Bhagat Oinam

Professor Dr Bhagat Oinam:
"Can there Be a Phenomenological Study Of Indigenous Philosophy?"

Abstract:
The title of the talk can be deconstructed through a set of 2 questions (1) can we have a phenomenological reading of indigenous thoughts, and (2) can there be an indigenous philosophy at all?

Taking a position that there is not one but many philosophies, based on differences in civilizational/cultural lives, languages, and belief systems, it is quite obvious that there are multiple ways of philosophizing.

Considering that indigenous thoughts are built upon an embedded world where selfhood is collectively shaped, it will be an interesting exercise to examine if phenomenological approaches can meaningfully engage with an unique ontology. Further, if descriptive ontology can provide meaningful reading of the indigenous thought, perhaps the idea of an indigenous philosophy can be put forward. A historical reading of animism and its possible alternatives may pave the path towards a discourse of indigenous philosophy.

About the Person: https://www.jnu.ac.in/content/bhagatoinam

12 – 13 November 2021
Workshop
Métissage: Its Philosophical Claim and Interrogation

This hybrid workshop was organized by our Intercultural Fellow Dr Abbed Kanoor.

Languages: German, French, English

As François Laplantine (anthropologist) and Alexis Nouss (linguist) in their book Le métissage (1997) hinted at the richness of  this term in its historical (Mediterranean, Latin  America), linguistic (translation, creolization), cultural (Andalusia, Renaissance) and philosophical (Nietzsche, Bruno, Erasmus) aspects, they were in fact tracking the  Zeitgeist of late 1990s at the interface between cultural anthropology and philosophy with a fundamental question: what would a thinking look like that begins in medias res, instead of metaphysical quest for foundations or pursuing a systematic philosophy of principles? Their promising attempt – resulted later in their jointly published lexicon
Métissages. De Arcimboldo à Zombi  (2001) –  was not only in resonance with Serge Gruzinski’s major anthropological study in La pensée métisse (1999), but also deeply inspired by the specific philosophical era in French thought scene after 1960s (Deleuze and Derrida).

20 years later, there are rather concepts such as “interculturality”, “transculturality”, “global history”, “decolonization” and “globalization” in the foreground of cultural debates. The challenge is however still the same: how does philosophy relate to our cultural actuality? Does it play a methodological role i.e. preparing the theoretical frame of theories of culture? Does it react to it through a critical examination of the canonical historiography of philosophy and forms of thought? Evidently. There is however, in addition, the philosophical claim of cultural phenomena which has to be taken into account, that is when the cultural “in-between” opens the door to philosophical assessments; namely  both 1) when the descriptive approach of cultural anthropology to the phenomena of métissage leads to philosophical interrogations concerning the philosophy itself in its self-reflection, and 2) when thematizing the métissage in a phenomenological aspect involves the philosophical consideration of the lived experience expressed in literature, art  and narration of bodies engaged in this situation in a lively interaction with other disciplines such as anthropology, sociology, cultural and literary studies.

Apart from the cultural anthropological debates around this term in the French speaking context, its thematization in the context of German-speaking intercultural philosophy  could serve the following dual goal: i) reviving the theoretical discussion about the métissage in a new interdisciplinary framework delimiting it from concepts such as “mixture”, “hybridity” and “synchronism” ; ii) contributing to the philosophical examination of the moment “inter-” through the complex concept of métissage which interrogates the limits of models such as assimilation and integration.

11 – 13 November 2021
Workshop
Alienation, Independence and Liberation in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

This online workshop was organized by our former Fellow in Intercultural Studies Dr. Elise Coquereau-Saouma.

Topic

‘Freedom’ in modern and contemporary Indian philosophy in English can have two different meanings. One is metaphysical and universal. It describes a state of being to be reached, often called ‘(transcendental) liberation’ or ‘mokṣa’. The other is political and inter-personal or social. It implies a freedom of action, an inter-personal process that often requires negotiation within society, or political struggles. During the freedom movement in India, it was discussed as ‘svarāj’ (self-rule, independence), famously known from Mahatma Gandhi. Yet the borders between a metaphysical, or spiritual/religious sense of freedom, and a political or social one, are difficult to trace in contemporary Indian philosophy.

Mahatma Gandhi’s or Aurobindo’s political struggles are at the same time spiritual, with particular reinterpretations of Advaita. In academic philosophy, the ‘svarāj in Ideas’ of Krishna Chandra Bhattacharyya, addressed to his students, pled for extending the political struggle to an intellectual one against “cultural subjection”. Independence is correlated to freedom in thinking. In his Studies in Philosophy, ‘freedom’ is described as one Absolute, detailed in a gradual detachment from all objectivities, toward the absolute subjectivity. Even though in the twentieth century freedom is located within the boundary of knowledge, and even though there are not specific ritualistic Hindu references, ‘freedom’ also has a universal, transcendental, spiritual connotation, as the highest state to be reached in an inner realization of the Absolute.

In a way, Krishna Chandra Bhattacharyya expresses a persisting plurality and subtle intermingling of the quest for ‘freedom’ in contemporary Indian philosophy: Is freedom a political svarāj, in which case it ought to be reached with others in the socio-political realm, or is freedom the way to reach inwardly an absolute state of liberation from the world of alienation that others cause? Even if it is socio-politically, is independence also not a struggle against alienation, namely a quest for independence from Others (colonial rulers), and in which case is this independence also a liberation from a world? Is realizing one’s own inward liberation a way to recognize the unity of all, or an exclusion of all those we leave behind?

In modern and contemporary India, responses vary: they question the socio-political formation of the idea of freedom in relation with colonization, the inclusivity of Brahmanical metaphysics and the secularization of mokṣa, and in relation with existentialism, the relation to alienation and inter-subjectivity, namely the role of Others in the realization of freedom. Highlighting the diversity and continuity of the concepts of freedom in Indian philosophies, and the newness that the political context and the contacts with non-Indian philosophies brought to the concept, this workshop questions the relation between freedom(s) and Others, svarāj and mokṣa, and the intricacies between metaphysics and politics.

Program

11 December 2021

Central European Time: 14:00 - 17:30

India Standard Time: 18:30 - 22:00

Israel Standard Time: 15:00 - 18:30

Eastern Standard Time: 08:00 - 11:30

14:00 - 14:20

Elise Coquereau-Saouma, Universität Tübingen (Germany):
Introduction: Freedom 'from' or freedom 'with' Others?

14:20 - 15:00

Mrinal Kaul, Indian Institute of Technology, Mumbai (India):
Thinking Soteriologically Through Nation - The Case of Amṛtavāgbhava (1903-1982 CE)

15:00 - 15:40

Pawel Odyniec, Karlstad University (Sweden):
The Future of the Past: K. C. Bhattacharyya and the Retrieval of Classical Indian Philosophy

15:50 - 16:30

Dmitry Shevchenko, Ashoka University (India), The Hebrew University (Israel):
The Indefinite as Freedom in K.C. Bhattacharyya's Philosophy

16:30 - 17:30

Nalini Bhushan & Jay Garfield, Smith College (USA):
The Freedom in Subject as Freedom: How KC Bhattacharyya’s Understanding of Vedānta Informs His Magnum Opus

13 December 2021

Central European Time: 14:00 - 17:30

India Standard Time: 18:30 - 22:00

Israel Standard Time: 15:00 - 18:30

Eastern Standard Time: 08:00 - 11:30

14:00 - 14:40

A. Raghuramaraju, Indian Institute of Technology, Tirupati (India):

How the present of modernity-colonialism forced enslaved Indians to scout for resources for freedom in the Past: Balagangadhar Tilak and Bhagavad Gita                                                                

14:40 - 15:20

Muzaffar Ali, Savitribai Phule Pune University (India):

Svaraj, Swadeshi, and Samvada: Understanding Freedom in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

15:30 - 16:10

James Madaio, Czech Academy of Sciences (Czech Republic):
On Ramchandra Gandhi

16:10 - 16:50

Daniel Raveh, Tel-Aviv University (Israel)

From Others? With Others? Why not Both? Daya Krishna on Freedom

16:50 - General Discussion & Questions

10 November 2021
Humboldt Lectures
Dr Melissa Jane Johnston and Dr Horácio Santana Viera

Dr Melissa Jane Johnston (Neuroscience):
"Tempus Fugit: Interval Timing in Crows"

Abstract
The ability to accurately perceive time is critical for many complex cognitive abilities in both human and non-human species, including birds. While some cognitive abilities relate to time in a broad sense, such as episodic memory (when an event happened) and future planning (allocat-ing time), others, such as decision-making, require the ability to flexibly apply temporal infor-mation for goal-directed behaviour, such as temporal discounting, sunk–cost, and delayed grati-fication. For these behaviours, decision-making often depends on internally monitoring time over a period of seconds or minutes, an ability known as “interval timing”. Several bird species demonstrate sophisticated interval timing in their decision-making behaviours, however investi-gation into the neural mechanisms in such species is severely lacking. A putative candidate re-gion for interval timing in birds is the associative endbrain area termed the ‘nidopallium cau-dolaterale’ (NCL) which has been linked to high-level cognition in birds and is thought to be the avian analogue of the mammalian prefrontal cortex. The goal of the current research is to ex-plore the behavioural and neuronal representations of interval timing in the NCL in crows (Cor-vus corone), a bird renowned for its impressive cognitive skills. The overarching hypothesis of the current proposal is that the distinctly developed avian endbrain without a layered pallium adopts similar physiological solutions as mammals to common computational problems in pro-cessing time intervals.

Bio
Melissa (Millie) Johnston did her Bachelor of Science majoring in psychology at the University of Otago (Dunedin, News Zealand) from 2011–2013. Staying at Otago, she then completed her Master of Science (2014–2015) and doctorate in the Department of Psychology (2016–2019). Her postgraduate research focused on various brain regions involved in higher order cognition (e.g., working memory) in pigeons. During her doctorate, she was awarded an Elman Poole Travelling Scholarship to support her during her research visit at Ruhr Universität Bochum where she worked with jackdaws. Since completing her doctorate, Millie has worked as a postdoctoral researcher and is now a Humboldt Fellow at Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen, where she investigates timing behaviour in crows.
 

Dr Horácio Santana Vieira (Physics):
"Perturbations, Heun Functions and Quasispectrum in Black Holes Physics"

Abstract
Theoretical studies concerning the physical processes which occur in the spacetime surrounding black holes and compact objects can help us to understand the physics of these interesting objects predicted by the theory of general relativity. Among them, we should mention the investigation of the Hawking radiation, Casimir effects, the scattering of particles and waves, quasinormal modes, quasibound states, dynamics and stability, and gravitational waves sources. The investigation of all these physical processes involves finding the solution of differential equations, such as the Klein-Gordon, Dirac, Maxwell, Teukolsky, Hamilton-Jacobi, geodesic, and field equations, in the backgrounds under consideration. The exact analytical solutions for these equations are often obtained by using a class of very general functions in mathematical physics, namely, the Heun functions, which during last decades, have gained increasing importance. This can be verified by the large number of applications they have in different areas of physics and mathematics. Usually, without the use of these functions, it is not possible, in general, to find an exact analytical solution valid in the entire spacetime.

Bio
As a Master and Ph.D. Student at Federal University of Paraíba (João Pessoa/Brazil), I focused my studies on the interaction of quantum systems with gravitational fields. As a Visiting Ph.D. Student at Tufts University (Medford/USA), I worked on the quantum fluctuations of the spacetime geometry and its signature in the gravitational waves. As a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow at University of Tübingen (Tübingen/Germany), I devoted my research to study the resonant frequencies related to the quasibound states of different quantum fields interacting with the gravitational fields generated by a class of black hole solutions. Therefore, my field of study is Physical Sciences, in which my main research line is Gravitational Physics and Cosmology, in particular Quantum Gravity and Quantum Cosmology, whose subfield of study is Theoretical and Mathematical Physics.

25 October 2021
GIP Lecture
Dr phil habil Zhuofei Wang

Dr phil habil Zhuofei Wang:
"Athmosphärenesthetik aus interkultureller Perspektive"

Abstract:
Zhuofei Wang geht in ihrem Vortrag der Frage nach, wie sich die ursprünglich aus der europäischen Denktradition stammende Disziplin der Ästhetik zu einer zeitgemäßen und interkulturell orientierten Ästhetik transformieren lässt, um die außereuropäischen Traditionen mit einbeziehen zu können. Ausgehend davon führt Wang das jüngst entwickelte ästhetische Konzept der Atmosphäre ein, um hier zu vermitteln. Anhand von verschiedenen anschaulichen Beispielen beschreibt sie, wie sich durch das Konzept der Atmosphäre das ästhetische Denken jenseits von Begriffen wie Schönheit für andere Traditionen und Fragestellungen öffnen lässt. Auf dieser Grundlage plädiert sie für eine interkulturell ausgerichtete Ästhetik, die sich von einem herkömmlichen ästhetischen Essentialismus befreit.

Zur Person: https://www.uni-hildesheim.de/fb2/institute/philosophie/team/dr-zhuofei-wang/

14 – 16 October 2021
Workshop
Shifting Orders: Belonging in Transition

Belonging is an increasingly questionable concept in the 21st century, in which human society is becoming more and more global. Societies are becoming more diverse, national allegiances are being challenged by modern labor migration as well as by flight and poverty migration, and traditional ties seem to be generally dissolving. At the same time, a new need for belonging is emerging. Do the phenomena of globalization and belonging contradict each other? Or are we challenged today to rethink belonging at all?

The topic of the workshop takes up a number of research questions that are currently being widely discussed in many humanities and social sciences. The question of the lines of belonging along which increasingly globalized societies are structured is a key issue everywhere. The different perspectives and emphases of the individual disciplines not only complement each other, but also productively challenge each other.

"Belonging" is explained in English dictionaries as "to have a proper place". Thus, the term opens up perspectives on space, on "one's own" and on property, which one possesses quite concretely. "Property is an institution that simultaneously constitutes a thing-relationship and a socialrelationship" and also forms a particular form of self-relationship. Owning movable things - in the narrower sense "belongings" - or land does not only mean that one can freely dispose of them, generate income from them, resell them, and exclude others from them. Rather, ownership, selfworth, recognition, and even identity enter into a far-reaching alliance in modern societies: The modern subject is one who owns what he or she uses or needs, or, to put it another way, only those are sovereign subjects who own what they use and need.

Property guarantees power of disposal, right of exclusion, participation and belonging. These rights are protected by modern states and are considered fundamental rights of freedom. The protection of property and the freedom to own are not value-neutral regulations, but are based on normative principles.

This is followed by questions about the justice of distribution or about formats of distribution and belonging. Increasingly discussed today are concepts of distribution and belonging in terms of the - historical and contemporary - "commons": tangible and intangible resources are referred to as commons. These include air and water, of course, but today also access to education, knowledge and information. In principle, they can be used by all members of a community and thus combine a specific type of "belonging" with a particular type of "affiliation."

Belonging and Property

If one follows the suggestion that modern orders can be recognized by the fact that they can no longer hide their contingency, the view becomes free for the reactions that this provokes. Without being backed up by metaphysics any longer, the rational bipeds step onto the stage - and intervene in the course of events. Through the exchange of signs we create orders, give structures to the social world. We establish relationships and draw boundaries; we erect symbolic orders, regulate proximity and distance, and tie belonging to certain conditions. None of this is harmless, no gesture neutral.

And all of this happens without our being able to claim extramundane authority for it. What we call "reality" owes itself to perpetual classifications and categorizations. Orders of belonging must be examined within this horizon - that is, those social practices through which recognition, entitlement and participation, resources and capitals are allocated. In this context, the triad of race, class and gender comes into view. But it does not stop there. Other categories must also be taken into account and examined in their interplay.

These processes of negotiation are rarely conducted cooperatively and consensually; it is less likely that they are conducted violently. Because these struggles do not stop at the borders of the nation state, it is also important to look at the power relations that have developed between the Global North and the Global South.

Belonging to the World and Situatedness

When we think of belonging, we first think of something like a connecting and often correspondingly binding relationship. A person belongs to a group, a thing belongs to someone's property. When we describe belonging in this way, the moment of not-belonging is already included. It is true that what belongs to another is by no means unaffected by this form of relationship, but on the contrary can be decisively determined by it, for better or for worse. And yet, there is no identity; that which belongs exists in its essence independently of the respective form of belonging, and could therefore also not belong (or belong to something else).

Differently with regard to the belonging to the world. One cannot not belong to the world, this is true for persons as well as for things. But what then still means belonging? If there is nothing beyond belonging to the world, then the distance described above is lost in relation to the world, then the belonging person or thing has no being in itself independent of the world. Belonging to the world is therefore constitutive for everything that exists. However, the world itself, to which we all belong, does not exist beyond our belonging to it either. World as such does not exist. The analysis of belonging to the world therefore shows that what belongs and what it belongs to are mutually constitutive of each other and only emerge from the process of belonging itself. This, however, does not describe a special case of belonging, but instead captures a basic feature of every form of belonging.

Reflecting on this basic feature of belonging allows for a critical analysis of numerous entrenched forms of belonging (claims to ownership as well as self-understandings) that are no longer specifically performed and lived. An exciting question arises about the situatedness of belonging. "Belonging" does not exist in general; there are only concrete and temporary processes of belonging. In this we encounter something like the situatedness of world.

The Right of Belonging / Not-Belonging in the Global Encounter

That rights require belonging, i.e. that the validity of rights depends on their scope of application, to which one must belong, has been consensus at least since Hannah Arendt's critique of human rights. In her reading of Arendt, however, Judith Butler sharpens Arendt's critique once again when she rejects Arendt's talk of a pre-legal state of nature or of 'naked life' as a place or state of nonbelonging. For belonging and non-belonging are, according to Butler, equally the result of legal action. The assumption of a pre-legal non-belonging follows the logic of origin or founding narratives, which have a heuristic function and are usually oriented towards the deductive justification of a state, but do not describe historical processes - and cannot capture the complexity of globalization processes, migration and multiple belongings. Accordingly, not only does the question of the conditional relationship between law and belonging arise anew, but also that of the legal production of non-belonging.

The meaning of belonging, however, extends beyond the field of the juridical, since belonging also means a specific participation and being part of a group, which is expressed in social and cultural practices, ideas and narratives, and which is affectively justified and, if necessary, 'naturalized'. Belonging is accordingly more than just membership. It is part of and participates in (collective) processes of subjectivation. In view of the conditional relationship between law and non-belonging, the question arises, especially in the context of globalization, migration and multiple belonging, what role law plays in (collective) processes of subjectivation, how it relies on narratives, ideas and practices of socio-cultural and socio-historical belonging in its production of legal belonging and non-belonging, which it selects and communicates in order to establish belonging/nonbelonging.

Belonging, Emplacement, Home

In this section we want to explore the question of the human being's sense of place. One of the central traits of human belonging is linked to emplacement, in the questions of where we come from, where we live and dwell, where we stay. The question is most likely to arise when we find ourselves in unfamiliar, alienating places, such as when we are forced to stay in a hospital for an extended period of time, or in an alienating part of town where there is a sense that we do not belong. Nevertheless, the question of where one feels one belongs cannot be answered easily. Places of belonging, the positive localization of human beings, turns out to be complex and differentiated. Are places to be understood territorially, geographically? Or can they rather be traced back to the human being's sense of meaning? Should places be thought of at all only starting from the belonging to it, so that localization is to be understood actively - as a finding or creating of places?

It is in human habitation that the need for localization is most pronounced. However, dwelling is often temporary, i.e., temporal. What does it mean to dwell? Does it refer to human establishments or does it existentially define human beings? Is dwelling to be understood starting from habits (habitus)? Does dwelling presuppose familiarity? And what does it mean to feel at home?

The question of home arises especially with reference to the refugee and migration issue. Is home interchangeable? Can a new homeland be found or created? Or is home to be questioned as such at all, overtaken by today's mobility and globality? Beyond the frequent political misuse of the term homeland, especially in the refugee question, does homeland still have carrying power with reference to the belonging of the individual?

Religion and Belonging

Forms of religious belonging vary widely across the globe, depending on tradition and religious community. Of particular interest in the context of the conference is the change in the understanding of belonging and of attribution processes that can be observed in various social contexts in recent decades, not least as a result of the increasing religious pluralization of many societies. The congruence between official and self-identified affiliation, religious practice and religious conviction is by no means (any longer) given; nor does official nonaffiliation imply a lack of practice and conviction. Rather, even in Jewish, Islamic, and Christian societies, there are increasingly multiple affiliations, practices, and convictions that are more situationally oriented than defined exclusively by a particular religious community. The academic debates here discuss concepts of "believing without belonging" (Grace Davie) as well as "believing in belonging" (Abby Day) for Europe and North America. Thereby, "believing" is increasingly interpreted in the sense of a performative self-identification with regard to social relations. The link between religious and social belonging is particularly relevant in migration contexts, in which, for example, religious practice as confirmation of an ethnic identity can, on the one hand, become more significant for the individual than in the home country, and on the other hand, can hinder integration.

Little consideration has been given to non-Christian societies, such as those in East Asia, where intentional religious affiliation is largely irrelevant, but Buddhist or Shinto practice (in the case of Japan) is integrated as a matter of course into individual life courses and into the consciousness of national belonging. Given the diversity of conceptions of religious belonging, the question arises of how the relevance and forms of religious belonging change in religiously and ethnically plural societies.

4 – 8 October 2021
CIVIS Summer School
The Relevance of Belonging – Global Perspectives

28 September 2021
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Michaela Ott

Professor Dr Michaela Ott (Professorin für ästhetische Theorien HFBK Hamburg):
"From dualistic to dividual concepts of culture. A history of the entwining of European-African-Antillan cultural understandings"

Abstract:
In order to highlight the interdependencies of supposedly individual cultures, the article aims at a reconstruction of the coinage, transfer and translation of the term ‘culture’ in the European-African-Antillan context from the 1940s up to today. Since it has become obvious that all cultural processes are intertwined with elements of different background, the cultural constitution can no longer be adequately described by discursive opposites such as Black vs. White, European vs. African and so forth. The argument therefore goes that the cultural composition needs adequate new terms and that the old term of the ‘individual’ should be replaced by the new term ‘dividuation’ which underlines the processuality, intermixing and mutual participation of all cultural entities. It moves from cultural theories of Leo Frobenius, Jean-Paul Sartre and Leopold Sédar Senghor to arguments of Edouard Glissant, Achille Mbembe, Gilles Deleuze and ‘African’ filmmakers such as Jean-Pierre Bekolo, Jean-Marie Teno and others.

Professor Ott is professor of aesthetic theories at HFBK Hamburg/Germany; research topics: poststructualist philosophy, aesthetics of film and art, theories of space, affection and dividuation, of artistic knowledge and (post)colonial concerns, African and Arab films. Member of the research cluster “African Multiple”, University Bayreuth/Germany. English publications: Timing of Affect. Epistemologies of Affection, ed. with M.-L. Angerer and Bernd Bösel (Zurich: diaphanes, 2014); Dividuations. Theories of participation (London/New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2018).

20 July 2021
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Franz Gmainer-Pranzl

Professor Dr Franz Gmainer-Pranzl (Leiter des Zentrums Theologie Interkulturell, Universität Salzburg):
"Kann Religion Polylog? Chancen und Grenzen der theologischen Rezeption interkultureller Philosophie"

Abstract:
Polyloge bringen die Überzeugung und Haltung interkulturellen Philosophierens auf besondere Weise zur Geltung: vorurteilslos, kommunikativ und argumentativ Beiträge aus unterschiedlichen kulturellen Traditionen miteinander ins Gespräch zu bringen. Ob sich auch Menschen mit religiösen Überzeugungen auf solche Polyloge einlassen können und wollen, ist umstritten – und auf jeden Fall ein Thema theologischer Forschung, die sich ernsthaft mit Fragen interkulturellen Philosophierens auseinandersetzt. Diese Spannung zwischen religiösen Wahrheits- und Heilsansprüchen einerseits und polylogem Philosophieren andererseits sowie die Möglichkeiten und Grenzer einer theologischen Rezeption interkultureller Philosophie werden im Vortrag thematisiert.

Franz Gmainer-Pranzl ist Professor und Leiter des Zentrum Theologie Interkulturell und Studium der Religionen an der Katholisch-Theologischen Fakultät der Universität Salzburg.

13 July 2021
Phenomenological Colloquium
Fundamentalanthropologie als kritische Phänomenologie

PD Dr Thorsten Streubel, FU Berlin:
„Fundamentalanthropologie als kritische Phänomenologie“
13 July 2021, 06:00 PM

Fürstenzimmer

Abstract
Fundamentalanthropologie als kritische Phänomenologie

Das Ziel der „Fundamentalanthropologie“ genannten Disziplin ist es, den Zielgegenstand der Phänomenologie und Philosophie begrifflich neu und umfassend zu bestimmen. Die Fundamentalanthropologie fragt zwar mit Kant: „Was ist der Mensch?“ Doch sie versteht unter ‚Mensch‘ nicht „Homo sapiens“ oder „Dasein“ oder „animal rationale“ (im traditionellen Sinne), sondern lediglich ein formales X und damit zunächst ein völlig unbestimmtes, erst noch zu bestimmendes „begrifflich Allgemeines“ (Spezies/Eidos). Indem sie den methodischen Ausgang vom individuellen Da- und Sosein des Philosophierenden nimmt (= Ausgangsgegenstand), um von hier aus mittels eidetischer Variation erkennend zum Eidos ‚Mensch‘ aufzusteigen, kann sie einen materialen Begriff des Menschen („Anthropos“) erarbeiten, der diesen weder auf seine organismische Körperlichkeit noch auf seine Geistigkeit, weder auf seine Mundanität noch auf seine Transzendentalität reduziert. Der Mensch ist daher in Wahrheit auch nicht primär ein transzendentales Subjekt oder eine transzendentale Monade (Husserl), wenngleich das Transzendentale durchaus einen Teil seines Seins definiert. Die Fundamentalanthropologie fasst den Menschen primär als mundanes, transzendentales und transphänomenales Lebewesen und damit als eine eigentümliche und generische Lebensform; und sie bestreitet damit zugleich, dass der Begriff eines transzendentalen Subjekts überhaupt ein „Konkretum“ (Husserl) oder ein konkretes Seiendes bezeichnen kann. Es gibt in diesem Sinne keine transzendentalen Subjekte, sondern nur Lebensformen, die Bewusstsein aktualisieren können und sich so selbst anschaulich in einer Umwelt repräsentieren können.

Die Fundamentalanthropologie lässt sich als höhere Synthese aus Daseinsontologie, Philosophischer Anthropologie und (kantischer und husserlscher) Transzendentalphilosophie begreifen. Gleichwohl versteht sie sich nicht als Konkurrenz zur Philosophischen Anthropologie, sondern als deren Fundierung. Auch ist die Fundamentalanthropologie nicht ‚Erste Philosophie‘, insofern sie selbst eine Erkenntnistheorie der philosophischen Erkenntnis (Aletheiologie) zur Voraussetzung hat, die sie als möglich ausweist. Sie ist vielmehr das Scharnier oder die Brücke zwischen der Selbstkritik der philosophischen Erkenntnis und den sonstigen Teildisziplinen der Philosophie.

30 June 2021
GIP Lecture
Dr Elise Coquereau-Saouma

 Dr Elise Coquereau-Saouma:
"Philosophical Disagreements and Plurality of Voices: Rethinking the Rules of Debates in Contemporary India"

Abstract:
 

13 – 14 May 2021
The Structure of Conversational Thinking: Applications of Conversational Thinking

Fellowship Colloquium 
"The Structure of Conversational Thinking: Applications of Conversational Thinking"

Organisation: Dr Jonathan Chimakonam Okeke

Programme overview

6 May 2021
Guest Lecture
Professor Dr Alexis Nouss

Recht auf Exil. Der Migrant als politisches Subjekt

Vortrag von Alexis Nouss, Professor der Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Literaturwissenschaft der Universität Aix-Marseille und Inhaber des Lehrstuhls „Exil und Migration“  am Collège d’études mondiales (FMSH, Paris).

Nach eingehenden Überlegungen im Rahmen der Nuit des idées zum Thema „Die Welt danach: zusammen oder getrennt?“ hält das Deutsch-Französische Kulturinstitut Tübingen an der Zusammenarbeit mit dem Center for Interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies der Universität Tübingen (Link https://uni-tuebingen.de/einrichtungen/zentrale-einrichtungen/center-for-interdisciplinary-and-intercultural-studies/ciis/ ) fest. Dafür lädt es den Philosophen Alexis Nouss zu einer Diskussion über das Thema „Verschmelzung verschiedener Kulturen“ ein. Dr. Abbed Kanoor vom CIIS wird die Diskussion anleiten.

Die Einwanderungsphänomene erreichen eine ganz neue Weite und haben europa- und weltweit schwere gesellschaftliche Krisen zur Folge. Aus diesem Grund ist es wichtig die Analysen zu erneuern, indem auf die Kondition der Emigrierten eingegangen wird.  Wenn die aktuellen Gespräche aus dem Einwanderer eine eigene Figur macht, die nur Zahlen und Statistiken nährt, radieren diese sein Erlebtes und sein Durchlebtes, seine Hoffnungen und seine Leiden aus. Nun ist der Einwanderer aber erst mal Emigrant, Träger dieses Titels einer eigenen mehrdeutigen Identität und einer Erfahrung von eigener Mehrdeutigkeit. Den Einwanderer als Emigrierten zu verstehen, wird erlauben, ihn besser aufzunehmen und, anstatt eines geschwächten Asylrechts, Fundamente eines Exilrechts zu skizzieren.

Alexis Nuselovici (NOUSS) ist Professor für Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft an der Universität Aix-Marseille, nachdem er zuvor an der Universität Cardiff und an der Universität von Montreal gelehrt hat. Er war als Gastdozent in Brasilien, der Türkei, Spanien und Frankreich tätig. Er ist Mitglied in mehreren internationalen Forschungsteams. Er gründete die Forschungsgruppe POEXIL in Kanada und die Cardiff Research Group on the Politics of Translating in Großbritannien. Er leitet die Gruppe Transpositions des Centre interdisciplinaire d'études littéraires (CIELAM) an der Universität Aix-Marseille und hat den Lehrstuhl für Exil und Migration am College of World Studies (Fondation Maison des Sciences de l'Homme, Paris) inne.  Zu seinen Forschungs- und Studiengebieten gehören Übersetzungsstudien, die Erfahrung des Exils, die europäische Kultur, die Literatur des Zeugnisses, die Probleme von Menschen gemischter Rasse und die Ästhetik der Moderne. Zu seinen Werken gehören:  Plädoyer für eine mestizische Welt, 2005; Paul Celan. Paul Celan's Places of Displacement, 2010; The Condition of the Exile, 2015. Sein neues Werk : Droit d'exil. Pour une politisation de la question migratoire précédé de Covidexil, Paris, Editions MIX., 2021.

Dr. Abbed Kanoor Center for interdisciplinary and Intercultural Studies Universität Tübingen.

Abbed Kanoor hat an den Universitäten Paris IV La Sorbonne und Bergische Universität Wuppertal promoviert. Er arbeitet zur Zeit an der Universität Tübingen und in Collège international de philosophie (Paris). Seine Forschungsschwerpunkte sind deutsche und französische Phänomenologie, Philosophie der Interkulturalität, philosophische Anthropologie und Kulturphilosophie.

In seinem aktuellen Forschungsprojekt „Zwischen. Über die Erfahrung der interkulturellen Situation“ arbeitet er an einer phänomenologischen Herangehensweise an Interkulturalität und damit verbunden an einem philosophischen Annährungsversuch an die Frage nach der interkulturellen Identität.

27 April 2021
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Jean-Christophe Goddard

Professor Dr Jean-Christophe Goddard:
"La pensée politique d'Eboussi Boulaga centre Amérique Latine et Afrique"

Abstract:

(In French with Q&A in English/French)

Eboussi Boulaga ouvre Christianisme sans fétiche par un court chapitre consacré à la colonisation comme « extirpation », par référence aux campagnes d’Extirpation menées par les catholiques espagnols au 16ème siècle au Pérou, « le précédent latino-américain » aidant, dit Eboussi, « à comprendre la situation africaine ». L’Extirpation coloniale est triple. Elle est Extirpation du lieu, Extirpation de la relationnalité et Extirpation du futur. L’unité du territoire, de la capacité de construire des relations et de se rapporter de façon non téléologique, non linéaire et répétitive, au temps, est ce que consacre pour Eboussi le terme de « civilisation ». L’Extirpation est alors proprement, sous son triple aspect, « décivilisation ». Répétant, trois siècles après les extirpateurs du vice-roi du Pérou, l’inversion caractéristique de la politique d’Extirpation qui fait passer l’attachement aux relations concrètes, sensibles et intellectuelles, qui fondent la communauté pour une dépendance idolâtre, l’Extirpation coloniale en Afrique (et tout particulièrement au Cameroun) a pour unique intention et pour effet certain la mise en « crise » de la politique, c’est-à-dire son empêchement –l’altération et la dégradation de son domaine distinctif : celui de la conception et de la réalisation commune des projets par l’échange des idées et des paroles. Dans la mesure où la politique est, pour Eboussi, « ce qui donne valeur à la vie en commun », la forme coloniale du gouvernement des hommes, qui, appuyée sur cette inversion, dé-politise la politique, « sape jusqu’aux fondations de la politique » au cœur même de l’exercice politique, entraîne donc nécessairement avec elle une totale dépréciation de la vie commune – c’est-à-dire tout bonnement de la vie. Cette forme de gouvernement politique paradoxal, proprement anti-politique, repose en outre sur une conception de l’exercice du pouvoir comme guerre généralisée et permanente contre une population spécifiquement ennemie. L’anti-politique d’extirpation ne se contente pas, en effet, d’une simple confrontation avec l’infidélité chronique des gouvernés : elle contre-invente elle-même cette infidélité en vandalisant les solidarités qui structurent en profondeur la société qu’elle se soumet, en produisant, par l’incitation à la haine, par la séparation, par toutes sortes d’exactions, le pire régime de désordre et de violence qui soit. Elle organise ainsi elle-même la régression à l’état de nature pré-politique qu’elle déplore et qui justifie son intervention transcendante sous la seule forme d’une action répressive. De ce qui constitue la condition de possibilité du socius humain, à savoir l’évitement délibéré de toute conventionnalisation fixiste, de toute collectivisation coercitive, par un travail de constante différenciation, elle fait un chaos, « une mer de dissemblance » – une impossibilité de vivre ensemble.

23 March 2021
GIP Lecture
Dr Jonathan Chimakonam Okeke

Dr Jonathan Chimakonam Okeke:
"Overcoming the three Challenges of Intercultural Philosophy: A Conversational Approach"

Abstract:
In this talk, Okeke provided a conception of intercultural philosophy and contrasted it with that of comparative philosophy. He argued that whereas the goal of comparative philosophy is to ‘investigate the possibility of constructing a philosophical universal from cultural particulars’, that of intercultural philosophy should be to ‘open a collective vista, a path to new ideas informed by a realisation of mutual limitations in order to extend the frontiers of knowledge. He identified three prominent challenges that confront an intercultural philosopher and demonstrated how they could be addressed through the approach of Conversational Thinking.

11 February 2021
GIP Lecture
Dr Hora Zabarjadi Sar

Dr Hora Zabarjadi Sar:
"Islamic Feminism: The Iranian Narrative"

Abstract:
Islamic feminism speaks ‘in the name of’ women who refuse to choose between the ‘road to feminist emancipation’ and their ‘belonging’ to Islam as a culture and a religion. Islamic feminism is not only a ‘posture’ but a ‘performance’; a struggle that aims to surpass the ‘resistance identity’ to ‘project identity’ by actively engaging in a hermeneutical discourse with the Holy text as an embodied subject. Women’s hermeneutical engagement with the text will actualize those potential of the text that is abandoned and neglected by the patriarchal approach to it during the last 14 centuries. However, women’s participation in and support for the Islamist movement provokes strong responses from feminists across a broad range of the political spectrum. One of the most common reactions is the supposition that women Islamist supporters are pawns in a grand patriarchal plan, who, if freed from their bondage, would naturally express their instinctual abhorrence for the traditional Islamic mores used to enchain them.

While Afsane Najm Abadi, one of the prominent figures of Iranian feminism, believed that post-colonial discourse is an ‘inaccessible space’ for discussing about Iran, as the discourse of colonizer and colonized leaves no space for the ‘neither-nor’ zone, but others like Minoo Moallem and Ziba Mir-Hosseini discussed that both the translational discourse of the modernist and reformist Iranian elite from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and the Islamist Fundamentalist approach to gender in the post-revolutionary Iran were a reaction to the Western concept of civilization and the western account of Persia.

This presentation aims to reflect on the Islamic Feminism from an Iranian perspective and how certain historical moments led to the realization of Iranian Muslim woman’s identity, fighting simultaneously two entangled battles against colonial discourse of a civilizing mission of West and patriarchal representation of religious identity. Although, Islamic Feminism is not the only feminist movement that is traceable in Iranian modern history, by providing an historical overview, I will discuss that the Iranian approach to Islamic Feminism is a part of a more profound political and religious movement that is known as ‘Islamic Reformism’.

21 January 2021
GIP Lecture
Professor Dr Barbara Schellhammer

Professor Dr Barbara Schellhammer:
"Zum Anspruch des Fremden im Denken"

Abstract:
Der Vortrag thematisierte den Anspruch des Fremden in der Philosophie. Ausgehend von der Klärung der Begriffe des "Anspruchs" und des "Fremden" ging Prof. Dr. Barbara Schellhammer der Frage nach, warum sich (nicht nur) das westliche Denken schwer tut mit Fremdem. Daran anknüpfend formulierte sie drei Thesen, wie das Philosophieren mit "Fremdheitsanspruch" gelingen könnte. Dies geschieht vor dem Hintergrund der Erfahrung des interkulturellen Philosophierens mit indigenen Menschen in Kanada.

19 January 2021
Phenomenological Colloquium
Unterwegs zur politischen Philosophie als alltägliche Praxis: Vom späten Foucault zum japanischen Konfuzianismus in der frühen Edo-Zeit

Prof Dr Tetsuri Kato, Nagoya/Universität Hildesheim:
„Unterwegs zur politischen Philosophie als alltägliche Praxis: Vom späten Foucault zum japanischen Konfuzianismus in der frühen Edo-Zeit“
19 January 2021, 06:00 PM

The lecture was held publicly. Additionally, there was a "Werkstattgespräch" with students.

2020

7 – 8 October 2020
Workshop
Belonging. Zugehörigkeiten im Wandel