Events Archiv


Alienation, Independence and Liberation in Contemporary Indian Philosophy

Dieser Online-Workshop wurde organisiert von unserem ehemaligen Fellow Dr. Elise Coquereau-Saouma.


‘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.



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


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

Colombian Teachers, Japanese Biomimetics & Persian Travelogues

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

Dieser Online-Workshop wurde organisiert von unserem Fellow Dr. Fernando Wirtz und 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.

Prof. Dr. Ryosuke Ohashi, "Schnitt-Wort, kire-ji, in der japanischen Dichtung"

Métissage: Its Philosophical Claim and Interrogation

Mehr Informationen über diesen Workshop

Dieser Hybrid-Workshop wurde organisiert von unserem 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.


"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.

CIVIS Summer School
"The Relevance of Belonging – Global Perspectives"

Prof. Dr. Alexis Nouss: "Recht auf Exil. Der Migrant als politisches Subjekt"

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 ) 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.


"Belonging. Zugehörigkeiten im Wandel"