Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Performing Bodies (eds Jutta Vinzent and Christopher M. Wojtulewicz)

Soon to appear:

What is time, what is space and how do they relate to each other? Even to pose these questions is to presume their existence, says Meister Eckhart in his Commentary on Exodus, from where he then develops his own view on the subject. Although far from having become mainstream, his redefinition of time as presentiality and space as noncategorical creativity had an enormous influence throughout history, particularly in the arts. In this thematic volume the contributors explore the concepts of time and space in Eckhart’s thought, situating these historically, philosophically, theologically, and culturally, whilst also focusing on their interpretation in art works, particularly by the American-Korean performance and video artist Taery Kim (b. 1988) who refers explicitly to Eckhart. Kim advances the questions ‘what is time?’ and ‘what is space?’ as embodied questions in her performances and video installations, thus exploring Eckhart and inquiring into the ways we can think about our relationships, as embodied subjects, to the vagrancies and bindings of time and space now. Drawing together artists, art historians, theologians, and philosophers, as well as building on existing scholarship, this volume provides the first lengthy discussion of spatio-temporality in Eckhart’s writings, highlighting Eckhart’s relationship to performance art, and the works of Kim.
Order the book here

Bettina Hollstein on 'Pragmatic business ethics - the case of corruption'

Here the abstract of her workshop paper:

Based on the systematic considerations for a pragmatic social and economic ethics in her habilitation thesis ("Understanding voluntary work") her new project is to develop elements of a pragmatic business ethics. For this end, there will be an emphasis on action theory and emotions, embodiment, creativity, routines, situations, patterns of interpretation and collective narrations. These considerations are to be developed on the basis of specific cases of business ethics where corruption is a key element, as corruption has become a topic of attention in the public over the last twenty years.

Monday, 30 November 2015

Gordon Richard speaks about 'Mithras between Persia and Rome'

Abstract of today's workshop paper:

The Iranian origin of the Roman cult of Mithras, once a fact, is now generally regarded as a mere shibboleth. A LAR-inspired approach, however, cannot aim in historicist spirit to adjudicate such issues, but focuses rather on the fact of appropriation itself. What value did the idea of ‘Persia’ have for the efforts of the small-time leaders (‘religious providers’, in Weberian terms, ‘mystagogues’) of religious associations configuring a deity named Mithras, invictus Mithras, Sol invictus Mithras …? As a ‘Persian’ deity whose cult first appears in the West c.80-100 CE, Mithras slipped into a complex frame already prepared by Classical, Hellenistic and Roman discourses of ‘intra-cultural connectivity’, by virtue of which the figure could shift effortlessly between Us and Them. ‘Persianism’ provided such small-time ‘mystagogues’ with the codes for specific experiences, forms of embodiment, expressive media they required to provide interesting religious experiences in implicit competition with other similar agents of the holy.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Portrait of Italian Jewish Life (1800s-1930s) - edited and published by edited by Tullia Catalan, Cristiana Facchini

Cristiana Facchini also published in the recent issue of Quest the article:

Six Authors in Search of a Narrative

Luigi Luzzatti
Luigi Luzzatti (1841-1927)
Fondazione CDEC, Photographic Archive, Giorgio Sacerdoti’s Collection.

“Few Italian political men are so well known, at least outside the Peninsula, as Luigi Luzzatti. At home his untiring political, economic and scientific activity and his long parliamentary career have kept him constantly in the public eye. Abroad he is known because he negotiated important commercial treatises and represented Italy at international congresses, while his writings have had the honor of being translated into several languages. […] He is the most encyclopedic man of the Kingdom.” more here

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Hella Dietz publishes monograph on Polish Opposition Movements

Dr Hella Dietz, former Fellow of the Max Weber College and winner of the "Prize of the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland" published her monograph on Polish opposition movements with the publisher Campus Verlag (Polnischer Protest: Zur pragmatistischen Fundierung von Theorien sozialen Wandels).  
The study examines two Polish protest movements, Solidarnosc and the lesser-known Workers' Defence Committee (KOR), and shows alleged paradoxes of Polish society. In her monograph, published in the series "Theory and Society" („Theorie und Gesellschaft“), she bases her research on sociological theories of American pragmatism and the protests and human rights research.
Dr Dietz is currently Research Associate at the Institute of Sociology at the University of Göttingen. Her research interests include theories of action, American pragmatism, theories of social movements, critical theory, the sociology of emotions, the European Studies and research on human rights. Her Habilitation project revolves around the essence of narrative sociology. From 2003 to 2007 she received a scholarship from the Study Foundation Klaus Murmann of the Foundation of German Business, and then spend another year as Gastkollegiatin at the Max Weber College, Erfurt. For her dissertation, entitled "From the opposition of values ​​to the values ​​of the opposition - a pragmatist reconstruction of civil society opposition in Poland" (Von der Opposition der Werte zu den Werten der Opposition – eine pragmatistische Rekonstruktion der zivilgesellschaftlichen Opposition in Polen), which she completed in September 2007, she was awarded the 3rd prize of the "Prize of the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland" for promoting outstanding innovative dissertations. This prize is awarded for studies of Polish history and culture of nationwide outstanding dissertations and master's theses in the humanities and social sciences since 2012. Her new monograph on the Polish protest is a revised and expanded version of this thesis.

Contact: PD Dr. Bettina Hollstein (bettina.hollstein@uni-erfurt.de)

Dietmar Mieth on "Perfectioning and Bettering Human Beings"

Yesterday, the working paper by Dietmar Mieth on "Perfectioning and Bettering Human Beings" has been discussed at the Max Weber Center, Erfurt.

Here the abstract:

In the tradition of the Christian religion we find a lot of ambivalent perspectives within ethics. These traditions often demonstrate a teleological concept of the world. The dream of perfection is always present, but mainly restricted to the individual concept of life even if this concept is often generalized. How does religious teleology respond to the technical teleology of the modern world? The technical teleology has developed without recognizing or feeling the finitude as a (positive) condition of humans. Nevertheless we have in the sciences traces of religious options. On the other side the covenant with God's teleology is replaced by the secular covenant of modern societies with science, technic and economy. In contrast to the different forms of cooperation between religious motifs and technical development religious traditions often opt for against methods of enhancement and ideas of transhumanism. The objections are often coming from arguments against an attitude of “playing God”. History shows that these objections are often not justified. But even within these ambivalent objections one may find insights which make sense in an actual ethical debate: as “principles of precaution” and feelings for the limits of human finitude. One question of a critical theory of religion is whether we can find just and good insights even as part of a wrong position and decision (pace T.W.Adorno).

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Veit Rosenberger: Divine Diets: Food and Drink of the Early Monks

Today, Veit Rosenberger is presenting his paper on 'Divine Diets: Food and Drink of the Early Monks'
Here follows his abstract:
Late Antiquity offered a significant variety of monastic lifestyles. On the one hand, there were the ideal monks like Antony (as described by Athanasius) or the ascetics following the rules set up by Benedict and/or his forerunners. On the other hand, a large number of monks lived on their own, without rule or abbot, like the Sarabaites mentioned in the Regula Benedicti. Whereas it was, as we know from Augustinus, no problem to give up sexuality, eating and drinking formed a lifelong challenge, because the body simply needed food and drink on a regular basis. Therefore, notices about the diet and fasting practices reflect a number of conflicts of the early monks: inter alia the limits of personal choice, competition with other ascetics, personal closeness to God, and the concept of heresy. 

Thursday, 5 November 2015

New issue of 'Religion in the Roman Empire (RRE)' published

The new issue of the journal, a publication based at the Max-Weber-Centre, Religion in the Roman Empire has been published, Volume 1, Number 2, 2015.

The issue contains:

Rubina Raja, Lara Weiss, The Role of Objects: Meanings, Situations and Interaction; pp. 137-147(11)
Richard Gordon, 
Showing the Gods the Way: Curse-tablets as Deictic Persuasion; pp. 148-180(33)
Ioanna Patera, 
Objects as Substitutes in Ancient Greek Ritual; pp. 181-200(20)
Andreas Kropp, 
The Tyche of Berytus: A Phoenician Goddess on Civic Coinage; pp. 201-218(18)
Hallie G. Meredith, 
Engaging Mourners and Maintaining Unity: Third and Fourth Century Gold-Glass Roundels from Roman Catacombs; pp. 219-241(23)
Alison Cooley, 
Multiple Meanings in the Sanctuary of the Magna Mater at Ostia; pp. 242-262(21)
Drew Wilburn, 
Inscribed Ostrich Eggs at Berenike and Materiality in Ritual Performance; pp. 263-285(23)

The electronic access you will find here. 

Veronika Hoffmann on 'Thinking about Religious Doubt: First Attempts and Clarifications'

Veronika Hoffmann is going to speak on 11 November 2015 (10:15am) at the Max-Weber-Center, Erfurt, on 'Thinking about Religious Doubt: First Attempts and Clarifications'

Abstract: Traditional Christian theology connects faith with certainty. Religious doubt poses a serious threat to faith and is thus viewed as highly problematic. Contemporary theological positions tend to question this kind of connection. Alternative views understand religious doubt as safeguarding faith against fundamentalistic tendencies or as a helpful tool for the purification of faith. The research project explores these conceptual changes regarding religious doubt. It uses Charles Taylor´s concept of a „secular age“ as a diagnostic tool to connect the theological debate with cultural changes.



This award recognizes sociologists who have made outstanding contributions to the history of sociology throughout their career, or who have made ground breaking innovations or produced significant bodies of scholarly work in the history of sociology.
Members of the committee this year were:
  • Grégoire Mallard, Graduate Institute for International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland [chair]
  • Donald N. Levine, University of Chicago
  • Edward A. Tiryakian, Duke University
 The recipient of the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award is:
Hans Joas, University of Chicago and former director of the Max-Weber-Center, Erfurt

Tuesday, 3 November 2015

Philippe-Louis Vien: The magnificent training: Walter Bagehot and Max Weber on Parliamentary politics

Between the hagiographies following the wake of Marianne Weber’s Lebensbild, Mommsen’s Wegbereiter thesis, and the works of those, indirectly writing against the first two receptions, who see in him an insightful political scientist, Max Weber’s political thought is the object of three massively different interpretations. With the help of Pocock’s theory of political language I intend to shed lights on the English influences of Weber’s conception of modern politics. In this I follow the intuitions of Günther Roth in his Work on “Weber The Would-beEnglishman”. But where his writings are based on the economic history of Weber’s extended family, I want to investigate the structure of his political thoughts as to reveal how Weber’s political ideas, if often described as unique and extraordinary in the German context of his time, are based on interrogations and themes that would appear as common for late-Victorians. In order to identify the common tensions upon which a shared political language is articulated, I compare Weber’s writing on politics with those of two iconic Victorian political authors, namely Walter Bagehot and John Stuart Mill. From their (I) historiography, to their conception of the parliamentary institutions, be it their roles as tools of State administration (II) or in their influence on the political education of the nation (III), or in their relation to (IV) Statesmanship, what reveals itself is a common conception of modern politics, a common view on the necessity of strong parliamentary institutions in modern states, and a common adherence to the short lived brand of agonistic liberalism.
Vien's paper given at the Max-Weber-Kolleg on 2nd November 2015 is the first real attempt at outlining some of the intuitions I have about the influence of Victorian political thoughts on Weber’ own one. Build upon the specific conception of Statesmanship that derives from Victorian parlamentarianism, the content of this text will most probably find its place in what is projected as the 7th chapter of Vien's PhD thesis. In its present form, this text is no chapter yet. In the hope of publishing it as a scholarly paper, he decided to concentrate his argumentation exclusively on Bagehot and Weber, and completely leave aside John Stuart Mill from the discussion. Aside from the validity of its demonstration, the main element concerned with in this paper is the sequencing of its arguments, or, if one may say, its stratégie d’exposition. One can see two ways of writing down such a piece. The first one is a theme-by-theme approach, proposing both authors’ views on a specific theme in a joint section and presenting my different themes in succession. The second option is to brush two distinct and separate overall pictures of my authors’ thoughts and comparing these two portraits. One can see how a theme-by-theme approach allows for a more detailed analysis of the subjects at hand, but one fears it detaches the reader from the overall picture, making it hard for him to recognize the comprehensive thought system he is being presented with. Vien opted for the second option, first presenting an author’s thought and then the other’s, but he would be really interested in the reader's views on all of that. 

Rahul Parson speaks on "Towards Indic Idioms of the Individual: Tolerance, (Im)partiality, and Individualization in two Jain Intellectual Lineage"

His paper given today discusses some preliminary observations about how difference, impartiality, and the figure of the individual operate in the works of four Jain thinkers. I look at two intellectual lineages to get a sense of how the typology of the individual or vyakti embodies, refracts, and transmits religious and philosophical views (darśana). The individual’s intentions, partiality, environment, and position on the spiritual Stufensytem (guṇasthāna) informs how a religious teaching manifests. This is part of a broader discussion about religious variation, difference, and accommodation in Indic religions. The individual is at the center of this discussion of ‘tolerance’ because some Jain thinkers posit that religious difference is the product of individualized religious variation. In the recognition of historically constant and reoccurring unique vyaktis (individual, manifestation, expression), these thinkers reconciled the singularity of essential religious truth with the multitude of views regarding what that truth could be. The vyakti, as a typology, is a figure who allows for variety without being at variance with Jainism. While these Jain thinkers use the figure of vyakti and variation for different agendas, they all evince a qualified accommodation and recognition of difference, which emerges from a core Jain philosophical principle of non-absolutism.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Space, Place and Migration in Modern Art - Jutta Vinzent delivers the Salek Minc Lecture on August 7, 2015 at the Lawrence Wilson Art Gallery, University of Western Australia

Jutta Vinzent delivers the Salek Minc Lecture (2015)

This year’s Salek Minc Lecture was held in conjunction with the exhibition Elise Blumann: An Émigré Artist in Western Australia, 1938–1948 (11 July–19 September 2015) and presented by Dr. Jutta Vinzent, Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Art and Visual Culture at the University of Birmingham, UK, and Research Fellow at the Max Weber Centre for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies at the University of Erfurt, Germany. The lecture can be watched here.

The Lecture:
Thank you very much for having invited me. I'm delighted to be here, and again, thank you for the introduction and I'm humbled and I hope I can deliver.The Lecture:
                     This lecture is indeed held in honor of Salek Minc, a medical practitioner who also published a series of articles on the relationship between medicine and culture. Being a cardiologist, he felt that unresolved emotions suppressed by normed behavior induced tensions, which may form medical problems such as heart disease. For him, contemplation and immersion in art could help resolve such tensions. His view may have been influenced by his own life experiences.
                     Similarly, to many of those mentioned today, he was a Jewish émigré from the 1930s. According to Sally Quinn, who curated and wrote the catalogue for the exhibition Bauhaus on the Swan: Elise Blumann, An Émigré Artist in Western Australia, 1938-1948, Minc also knew Elise Blumann personally in the 1940s through émigré gatherings in Paris.
                     Born in the Russian town of Siedlce, which is today in Poland, in 1905 ... I've brought you a picture of Salek Minc, which is unfortunately small. Minc also knew Elise personally. He was born in 1905, as you can see. Minc started medicine in Italy, graduating in 1925 to become a specialist physician.
                     In 1935, the same year in which National Socialist Germany introduced the so-called Nuremberg Laws defining Jews by ways and not belief, he left for the UK, [00:02:00] where he then joined a tourist vessel as a ship surgeon. Arriving in Perth in 1940, there he continued his passion from the 1920s, namely collecting and promoting the arts.
                     It is thanks to him and the kind invitation of Sally Quinn that I have been able to travel from Germany to Perth to be here today and speak about Space, Place and Migration in Modern Art. That's the exhibition and exhibition catalog for this exhibition in which we are placed, and this is what I'm going to talk about.
                     During the 1930s, thousands of refugees left Nazi Germany. Many went to Britain, so that London became a haven for modern art. It was also in London that "Circle: An International Survey of Constructive Art" was published, a key book on modern art with contributions from leading avant-garde artists. Edited by Naum Gabo, Ben Nicholson and Leslie Martin, the publication dealt foremost with the topic of space, namely in sculpture, painting, architecture and also in design.

                     This lecture will consider these conceptions of space in the 1930s and asks how such interest was reflective of migrants’ experiences of changing places and expanding spaces. It will argue that space was a feature relevant beyond a mere formalist analysis that may stretch to the formulation as I offer to you, which I have termed provisionally as spatial art history. Continue

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Space, Place and Migration in Modern Art - Jutta Vinzent gives the Salek Minc Lecture 2015

Space, Place and Migration in Modern Art During the 1930s thousands of refugees left Nazi Germany; many went to Britain, so that London became a haven for modern art. It was also in London that Circle: An International Survey of Constructive Art (1937) was published, a major book with contributions from leading avant-garde artists. Edited by Naum Gabo, Ben Nicholson and Leslie Martin, the publication dealt foremost with the topic of space, namely in sculpture, painting, architecture and also in design. This paper will consider conceptions of space in the 1930s and asks how such interest was reflective of migrants’ experiences of changing places and expanding spaces. It will argue that space, different from other Formalist aspects, was a feature relevant beyond a mere Formalist analysis that may stretch to the formulation of a Spatial Art History.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Dorit Messlin: On a typology of religious individualisation

The paper to be given (7.7.2015 at the MWK) presents several typological reflections and methodical concepts which can be used for researching and reconstructing religious individualisation. This begs the question of what purpose a typology of religious individualisation serves and what purpose it should serve in the context of the Kollegforschergruppe (KFG) research programme. Presumably due to the heterogeneous nature of the fields of research, it is not possible to determine a single definition of religious individualisation; therefore a potential emphasis is placed on the further theoretical profiling of the concept of entanglement as a methodical point of the KFG research programme. In addition, typological criteria will be discussed which are deemed particularly relevant for the analysis of figures and dynamics of religious individualisation. Some examples will be used to illustrate these (the Jesuit and moral theologian Baltasar Gracián, 1601-1658).

Friday, 3 July 2015

Anna-Katharina Rieger's paper: 'Material Limits: The Rock Scarp at Caesarea Philippi (Mount Hermon) as Liminal Line in the Communication with the Gods' (discussed on on Monday, 6.7.2015, 2:30pm)

Anna-Katharina Rieger

In antiquity, space as the natural and cultural environment of individuals and groups is embedded on the one hand in a globalised world due to trading networks, extending empires or warfare. On the other hand, mobility of persons in daily life as well as in a life cycle was limited and spatial experiences range on a micro-regional scale: Social, gender, age or economic and professional reasons might enhance (nomads, military, merchants, administrators, men, prime-aged) or diminishing (farmers, women, old/children) the range of activity that persons or groups had.  In this dual context of the regional and the global character of experiences, the question of lived ancient religion comes into play in so far as the action range influences the religious activities and experiences a person or group could conduct and gain. Thus, the study aims at questioning the dichotomies of “regional/global”, “indigenous/Graeco-roman”, “sacred/profane” by focusing on the actual religious environment persons and groups could experience: Location, layout and architectural design as well as objects enlivening shared sacred spaces differed depending on the physical space people lived in and their group affiliation. Especially sacred places in the Roman Near East, in short a region of intraregional crossroads and religious variety, allows for investigating scales, range, mobility, appropriation and interaction by different agents in and of shared sacred spaces, embracing the impacts of spaces on persons and vice versa.  The study approaches sacred contexts in the Roman Near East by crossing borders in terms of life styles and regions as well as by encompassing different material evidence, such as architecture, epigraphy, artifacts and landscape features, connectivity and the group specific relations, the places are embedded in. Religious activities and their spatial setting, handed over to group members or younger generations as customs form a religious body of imprinted memories, articulated in rituals, their interpretation, reassertion, amalgamation or situational transformation reflected in their materiality. In the physically distinguished regions of Kyrrhestike, Hauran (Syria) and Mount Hermon (Libanon/Israel/Syria), often looked at separately, the layout of shared sacred spaces, their material environment and the persons and social networks interacting in these places will be contextualized and compared in order to open up a perspective on how spaces as environment of religious life (from a single niche to sumptuous temples or open sacred spaces) were used situationally, how they were enlivened by objects, thus creating the setting and counterpart of any activity, and who frequented them, integrating to these spaces the ways of communication and experiences of ancient individuals as agents of religion.
The paper is planned as contribution to the volume Borders, edited by Annette Weissenrieder, which brings New Testament scholars, archaeologist, egyptologists and ancient historians together. It dwells again on the cave-sanctuary of Caesarea Philippi, which I presented with a first look to it in my last Kolloquium (and on two more occasions, so that some of you already know what it is about). What I try here, is a closer look on the rock-face and the niches and inscriptions, looking for the strategies of dedicants, how to communicate with the divine powers, how to overcome the border between the human and the divine. From the point of view of the LAR-approach, the paper tries somehow to disassemble known material, in seemingly “clear” contexts (cave sanctuary, Galiliean background, etc., Graeco-Roman city surrounding), and to assemble them freshly with a close look to their contents and contexts, and infer from them to the practices and religious demands they are part of or embedded in.  I would be interested in comments on: Structure of the paper, redundancies? Modern concepts (medium) – ancient material? More material, other places to enforce the argument?  - and will be happy about any other criticism, comments or ideas.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Rubina Raja and Joerg Ruepke publish 'A Companion to the Archaeology of Religion in the Ancient World'

                                                Rubina Raja (Editor), Joerg Reupke (Editor)

ISBN: 978-1-4443-5000-5
520 pages, 2015, Wiley-Blackwell

The publication of A Companion to the Archaeology of Religion in the Ancient World presents a comprehensive overview of a wide range of topics relating to the practices, expressions, and interactions of religion in antiquity, primarily in the Greco-Roman world. As the below features will underline, it is a product of the close cooperation between the editors at the Max Weber Center, University of Erfurt, one of the leading research institutes in Lived Ancient Religion, together with colleagues from around the world, covering a broad range of disciplines.
The Companion covers
• Features readings that focus on religious experience and expression in the ancient world rather than solely on religious belief
• Places a strong emphasis on domestic and individual religious practice
• Represents the first time that the concept of “lived religion” is applied to the ancient history of religion and archaeology of religion
• Includes cutting-edge data taken from top contemporary researchers and theorists in the field
• Examines a large variety of themes and religious traditions across a wide geographical area and chronological span
• Written to appeal equally to archaeologists and historians of religion

The editors:
Rubina Raja is Professor of Classical Archaeology at Aarhus University, Denmark. She has published widely on religious identities in the eastern Roman provinces, and is editor of the series Contextualising the Sacred, Lived Ancient Religion, and Palmyrenske Studier. She is the author of the monograph Urban Development and Regional Identity in the Eastern Roman Provinces, 50 BC – AD 250: Aphrodisias, Ephesos, Athens, Gerasa. She is currently working on a monograph on the religious life of the Tetrapolis region.
Jörg Rüpke is Professor of History of Religion at the University of Erfurt, Germany and director of the ERC Research Group “Lived Ancient Religion.” His books include Domi militiae (1990); Rituals in Ink (2004); Religion and Law in Classical and Christian Rome (2006); (ed.) A Companion to Roman Religion (Wiley-Blackwell, 2007); Religion of the 

Collective burnout? An interview between Richard David Precht und Hartmut Rosa

A fascinating and intensive dialogue, almost like a halt in the reflection about our present state of affairs - contrary almost to the topic of the debate - of almost three quarters of an hour about growth - speed and innovation (if you don't go back, as one can do).

So lean back and listen to Richard David Precht (author of amongst other fictional and non-fictional books Who Am I – And If So, How Many? 2011 (German version published in 2007 and translated into 32 languages) and Hartmut Rosa (Director of the Max Weber Center, University of Erfurt).

A summary of his ideas in English was presented by Pierre Maillard on Europa Star:

“Run, run always faster, not to reach an objective, but to maintain the status quo, to simply remain in the same place.” The work of German philosopher and social theorist, Hartmut Rosa, entitled Beschleunigung – Die Veränderung der Zeitstrukturen in der Moderne [to be published in English by Columbia University Press in 2012], discusses this paradox. As the pace of material, economic, and cultural life becomes ever faster, as we have conquered the instantaneity of information exchange and acquired the possibility of travelling at speeds hitherto unimaginable, we have the impression that nothing is moving, that we are simply walking on a treadmill.
Rosa explains that for the first time in 250 years, people in the Occident today do not expect a better life for their children, but fear just the opposite, that their life will be more difficult. If we want to avoid things getting worse, we must, every year, run ever faster, increase our efforts, innovate even more. The current crisis in the euro zone is a fitting demonstration. Political actions no longer tend to create a better society—no one promises that to anyone—but focus rather on staving off crises, adapting as fast as possible in order to avoid the worst. While we do not cease to gain time, to accelerate the flow of money, the rhythm of production, the exchange of information, the movement of goods and people—while everyday we gain time over time—we still have the impression that there is less and less time, whether on a personal, social, economic, or political level.
It is this ambivalent logic created by the acceleration of time that Hartmut Rosa seeks to describe.
Rupture of the horizon
Hartmut Rosa does not discuss the nature of time itself, leaving this question to others who, since the dawn of history, have arrived at very different answers. [In passing, we cite the most famous response of them all, coming from Saint Augustine: “What then is time? If no one asks me, I know what it is. If I wish to explain it to him who asks, I do not know.”]
Rosa tries to understand the effects—the political, ethical, cultural, and social consequences—of the rupture that is produced between “classic” modernity, the modernity of “progress,” happening in a linear manner and directed towards a better time (whether it be capitalist or Marxist), and the “postmodernity”, in which time is no longer seen as a course moving towards a pre-determined objective, but as an instantaneous flux flowing towards a direction that remains uncertain. The idea of acceleration was born with modernity, but we can discern two great periods or two distinct sequences. As the above projection shows (Harvey, 1990), beginning in 1850 with the invention of the steam engine, the acceleration in transportation singularly reduced space, even gradually “annihilating” it. In this progressive conquest of space-time, the universal coordination of clocks played a central regulating role. [It was not by chance that Greenwich Mean Time, or GMT, was adopted for the first time in 1847 by the Railway Clearing House, before it spread out to the entire world.]
For examples of this radical transformation of space, we can simply look at our observations when we walk through a space that we can touch or feel, or travel in a car on a motorway where the passing space becomes no more than an abstraction, tracing out a line that we pass over as quickly as possible. For the passenger in an aeroplane, this abstraction of space becomes complete, since the trajectory is no longer calculated in miles but rather in hours. The person in the car or in the plane is, however, heading towards a horizon, towards a goal. In both cases, they are following a linear path of time.

Read more

For those who are interested in Rosa's work, click here.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

EUR 200.000 granted for the study of the early homiletic works of Johann Gottfried Herder

The Minister of State for culture and media together with the Fritz Thyssen Foundation have given an initial grant of EUR 200.000 to kickstart a new edition project at the Max Weber Center for Advanced Cultural and Social Studies of the University of Erfurt. The grant supports the editing of Johann Gottfried Herder's early homiletic works for the coming three years.
(Dr Dominik Fugger)

Herder (1744-1803) who spend a life time in Pastoral Ministry, started his theological career 1764 in Riga. The sermons held there until 1769 form the corpus of the new, historical-critical edition. "Herder was a passionate orator," explains project manager Dr Dominik Fugger, junior fellow at the Max Weber Center. "It's a strange as well as significant facet of the history of reception of one of the most important German classics that most of these texts have remained unedited and buried in the archives until today. We are pleased that we have been enabled to unearth the rich material in the next few years and to prepare it and make it available to research." In the framework of the project the Max Weber Center in the future will also act as the network platform for different directions of research in this area.

Sunday, 7 June 2015

How to fight corruption in NGOs - New Fellowship in ethics of economics

Fighting corruption, sustainability and social standards are aims that are taken more and more serious by scholars and businesses. How such set of aims and norms are effective in practice is therefore a pressing question in the area of ethics of economics. PD Dr Bettina Hollstein, scholar in ethics of economis at the Max Weber Center, University of Erfurt, has been granted external funding to advertise for a new fellowship in this area.
The new fellow is planned to conduct research in various fields of ethics of economics using a pragmatic approach and look into NGOs practice with a particular interest in questions of corruption, environment and social standard violations. It is intended that the project provides the basis for further and broadened research in these areas which go beyond the NGO spectrum and also encompass any other form of business.
To initiate this research with a new fellowship, Dr Hollstein was given EUR162,000 over three years. 'Corruption is a major challenge for our society, a problem which we want to address with this fellowship', Professor Hartmut Rosa, Director of the Max Weber Center commented on the successful outcome of the grant application.

Dr. Bettina Hollstein
PD Dr. Bettina Hollstein
    Further information

    Wednesday, 27 May 2015

    Linien. RaumZeitliche Perspektiven: 8. Workshop der Erfurter RaumZeit-Gruppe in Kooperation mit dem Max-Weber-Kolleg der Universität Erfurt

    Datum: Donnerstag/Freitag, 18./19.Juni 2015
    Ort:      Seminarraum des Forschungszentrums Gotha der Universität Erfurt, Schloss Friedenstein/Pagenhaus, 99867 Gotha
    Jutta Vinzent, University of Birmingham / Max-Weber Kolleg Erfurt
    Sebastian Dorsch, Universität Erfurt
    Deadline: 13. Juni

    Im Mittelpunkt des 8. Workshops der Erfurter RaumZeit-Gruppe (ERZ), zum zweiten Mal in Kooperation mit dem Max-Weber-Kolleg der Universität Erfurt (MWK) sowie mit dem Forschungszentrum Gotha (FZG) und der „Laborgruppe Kulturtechniken“ (Erfurt/Weimar), stehen raum-zeitliche Perspektiven von Linien. Linien werden hier als Ausdrucksformen verstanden, die Einsichten in kulturtheoretische Phänomene ermöglichen und so über ihren bloßen Formgehalt hinausgehen. Damit will der Workshop die von Timothy Ingold eingeführte „anthropologische Archäologie der Linie“ weiterführen, indem er die multidisziplinäre Untersuchung von Linien auf deren raum-zeitliche Dimensionen ausrichtet.
    Linien, Linearitäten, das Lineare, aber auch deren Negation, das Nicht-Lineare sind als Alltagserfahrung und im Sprachgebrauch präsent; sie spiegeln und prägen auf vielschichtige Weise die raum-zeitliche Welt-Bild-Produktion. So ist es nicht verwunderlich, dass eine Reihe von Disziplinen mit und über Linien und angrenzende Phänomene arbeiten, von der Mathematik, Geographie und Informatik über die Künste und Philosophie bis hin zu zahlreichen Sozial- und Kulturwissenschaften. Linien wird oftmals ein räumlich und zeitlich ordnender Charakter zugeschrieben. Als Trenn- oder Grenzlinien haben sie vor allem im Poststrukturalismus Karriere gemacht und sind als differance in die Philosophiegeschichte eingegangen. Auch Netzwerkmodelle bestehen aus Linien, die sich in Knotenpunkten treffen, überschneiden und weiterbilden. Und wie steht es mit dem Verhältnis von Linien zu Punkten: Sind sie „nur“ eine Zusammensetzung von Punkten oder etwas essentiell anderes? Der britische Anthropologe Ingold sieht Linien als „point-to-point connector“ und in ihrer Geradlinigkeit die zentrale Ausdrucksform des Dynamischen und Progressiven der sog. Moderne, „only to be ruptured and fragmented by the dislocations of postmodernity“. In der „Time-Line“ (bspw. Rosenberg/Grafton, 2010) verbindet die Kartographie räumliche und zeitliche Perspektiven. Linien können aufzeichnen und etwas darstellen, was mehr als Linie ist, wie etwa die von Werner Haftmann kürzlich vorgestellte Schlangenlinie, der aufbauende und zerstörerische Kräfte zugeschrieben werden (posthum, 2014); fundamentaler passiert das bei jeder Zeichnung, aber auch bei Schriftzeichen, wo die Linie sogar hinter der Symbolhaftigkeit des Dargestellten zu verschwinden scheint (Butler/de Zegher, 2011). Linien haben aber auch „verleiblichte“ Dimensionen, wie es etwa Richard Long in seiner Land Art anstrebt (z.B. A Line Made by Walking, 1967). Deleuze und Foucault fordern über die Diskussion des gerissenen Fadens das Lineare grundsätzlich heraus (Deleuze/Foucault, 1977; für die Kunstgeschichte: Wulffen bzw. Stingelin, 2001).
    Mit multidisziplinären Perspektiven auf Linien, das Lineare und Nicht-Lineare lassen sich somit vielschichtig raum-zeitliche und ästhetische Dimensionen menschliches Handelns reflektieren (insofern ist der Workshop eine Fortführung und Konkretisierung der ersten gemeinsamen Veranstaltung im Sommersemester 2014). Der Workshop versucht nachzuspüren, ob und wie die Betrachtung von „Linien“ in verschiedenen Disziplinen kulturelle Phänomene erklären kann. Konkretisierend geht es uns dabei vor allem um raum-zeitliche Blickwinkel verschiedener Linientypen wie auch -merkmale, um dann auf kulturelle Bedeutung(szuweisung)en schließen zu können.

    Donnerstag, 18.06.2015
    13.00 – 13.15          Begrüßung & Einleitung: Susanne Rau (Erfurt)
    13.15 – 14.00          Sektion 1: Gemeinsame Diskussion von Grundlagentexten
    Einführungen in die Texte: Jutta Vinzent (Birmingham / MWK Erfurt) & Sebastian Dorsch (Erfurt)
    14.00 – 15.30          Sektion 2: Karten-Linien, Krümmungen und Falten
                                  Moderation und Kommentar: Jörg Dünne (Erfurt)
    Iris Schröder (Gotha/Erfurt): Karten-Linien und die experimentellen Geometrien des Raumes in der thematischen Kartographie des 19. Jahrhunderts
    Angelika Seppi (Berlin): From curvature to fold – Lines of becoming between Leibniz and Deleuze
    15.30 – 16.00          Kaffeepause
    16.00 – 18.00          Sektion 3: Punkte und Schwellen
    Moderation und Kommentar: Sabine Schmolinsky (Erfurt)
    Till Boettger (Weimar): Schwellenräume – Linien für Wahrnehmung und Vorstellung
    Elisa Rieger (Graz): Marking Uncertainty – Von Punkten, Schmetterlingswahrnehmung und buddhistischer Erleuchtung
    Maren Sauermann (Darmstadt): Leben auf der Schwelle – Strategien und Praktiken der Normalisierung des Nicht-Linearen
    Möglichkeit zum (gemeinsamen) Abendessen

    Freitag, 19.06.2015
    9.00 – 10.30            Sektion 4: Linien in Literatur und Kunst des 19. Jahrhunderts
                                  Moderation und Kommentar: Karin Kröger (Erfurt)
    Barbara von Orelli (Zürich): E = mc2: Auch eine physikalische Gleichung bei Henry van de Velde?
    Jadwiga Kamola (Heidelberg): Das Monster oder die „perplexe“ Linie
    10.30 – 11.00          Kaffeepause
    11.00 – 12.30          Sektion 5: Linien in der Land Art und Skulptur des 20. Jahrhunderts
                                  Moderation und Kommentar: Christian Holtorf (Coburg)
    Samantha Schramm (Konstanz): Linien Sehen – Linien Denken: Ortsmarkierungen in der Land Art
    Edward A. Vazquez (Middlebury): Linear Reversals: Spatial
    Possibilities and Present Absences in Fred Sandback's Sculpture
    ab 12.30                 Abschlussdiskussion
    Kommentar und Moderation: Katharina Rieger (MWK Erfurt)
    Möglichkeit zum (gemeinsamen) Mittagessen

    Im Anschluss: Gelegenheit zum Besuch der Ausstellung Konkret in Thüringen, FORUM KONKRETE KUNST in Erfurt (8.5.-28.6.2015, Mi-So, 10-18 Uhr)
    Wir danken dem Forschungszentrum Gotha, dem Max-Weber Kolleg Erfurt sowie der Laborgruppe Kulturtechniken (Weimar/Erfurt) / Jörg Dünne herzlich für Ihre Unterstützung.

    Anmeldung bis zum 13. Juni erbeten unter:
    Sebastian Dorsch: sebastian.dorsch at uni-erfurt.de bzw. Jutta Vinzent: juttavinzent at gmail.com 

    Als Grundlage diskutieren wir Texte von Tim Ingold, Thomas Wulffen und Martin Stingelin. Die Zugangsdaten zu den Texten erhalten Sie nach Anmeldung.

    Homepage: https://www.uni-erfurt.de/philosophische-fakultaet/raumzeit-forschung/