Friday, 14 December 2018

Congratulations to Prof. Dr. Mieth on his Goldene Promotion

This week we celebrated Prof. Dr. Dietmar Mieths 50th anniversary of his doctorate. The event took place at the catholic faculty of the University of Würzburg - the place where Dietmar Mieth received his doctorate 50 years ago.
The celebrating was accompanied by a guest lecture held by Dietmar Mieth on Meister Eckharts thoughts as a theologist.

Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Giulia Pedrucci gives a working paper on 'Breastfeeding “in Couple:”Interpretations of Votive Statuettes from Ancient Latium and Southern Etruria of a Breastfeeding Woman with a Man and of Two Women Breastfeeding'

This article investigates an uncommon type of ex-voto that represents a breastfeeding woman with a man or two women breastfeeding. This type of statuette has been found only in ancient Latium and Southern Italy and has never been studied in its entirety. Taking into consideration a number of variables (mothering; biological link; social status; cultural aspects; place of provenance [urban and non-urban spaces]; public or private spheres; kind of deities and, if applicable, rituals performed to honor them; other kinds of votives), the article will attempt to reconstruct the performance of religious practices that involved the offering of these votives. It is argued that offspring were at the core of family life in an extended way and that these votive items were used by family members –– not only the mother –– to communicate with religious entities about issues concerning infants and their wellness. In this regard, breastfeeding is crucial.

Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Tullio Viola is going to present a working paper on 'Articulate Reason and Its Elusive Background. Notes on the Late Royce’s Reading of Peirce'

This article is my contribution to a collection of papers on Hans Joas’s book Die Macht des Heiligen which is currently being edited by Bettina Hollstein, Matthias Jung, Wolfgang Knöbl and Magnus Schlette (forthcoming 2019). I take my cue from the second Chapter of Joas’s book, which examines the philosophy of religion of William James against the backdrop of Josiah Royce’s semiotic criticism of it. I then focus in particular on the source of Royce’s semiotic insights, namely Charles S. Peirce. My overall claim is that, while Royce succeeds in bringing to the fore Peirce’s sophisticated understanding of reason as an interpretive and semiotic faculty, it fails to do full justice to Peirce’s remarks about what we might call the inarticulate and experiential ground out of which articulation unfolds. I try to draw some implications from this reading that touch both on Joas’s interpretation of Royce and on the more general question of the relation between experience and articulation from a pragmatist angle.

Monday, 10 December 2018

Eleonore Schulz gives a working paper on 'Thomas Freykirch - Benedikt Maria Werkmeister's Free Investigations on the Infallibility of the Catholic Church'

The paper introduces a writing by the Catholic theologian Benedikt Maria Werkmeister. It was published anonymously in 1792 under the title "Thomas Freykirch; or free investigations on the infallibility of the Catholic Church ". Based on historical critique and the law of reason Werkmeister refutes the infallibility of the church and advocates the primacy of the state. He raises the question of the form and function of religion and church in bourgeois society, the conditions of development of beliefs, and the position and function of theologians in society. His use of the concept of freedom makes his answers to these questions very clear. In his perception of bourgeois society and the bourgeois state as a new, overarching unity the church has to adapt by permanent perfection based on free competition of beliefs. Accordingly, he also sees the old clergy doomed to decline and therefore secures his position as a theologian in the new bourgeois elite by advocating the legal monopoly of the state. In his conception of church and religion he tries like many of his fellow enlightenment theologians to harmonize the constraints of civic life and the human need for freedom.

Friday, 7 December 2018

Luca Pellarin is going to present a working paper on 'First Impressions of Overbeck. An introductory “portrait”'

Since Franz C. Overbeck (1837-1905) is a new subject of study for me, the aim of this paper is to provide the reader and myself with an introduction to him. Because of the nature of this work as closely resembling a draft, this text will not be included in my final dissertation. It consists of some collected material, which I tried to shape. The main “plot” is accompanied by the German theologian’s words on the meaning of life. The paper ends therefore with the English translation of a passage of Overbeck, which was written between 1902 and 1905.

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Nathan Alexander presents a working paper on 'The Curse of Race Prejudice': A History of the Concept of 'Race Prejudice' in American Life'

This article will form an early chapter of my book project, "The Meanings of 'Racism': A History of the Concept." In the article, I discuss the history of the concept "race prejudice" in American history and explore some of the counter-intuitive ways it has been used. The most straightforward sense of this idea was to protest against those whites who seemingly held pre-conceived and wrongheaded views of black people and who justified slavery or segregation on these grounds. But the concept could also be deployed by those whites who wished to reinforce the racial status quo, by appealing to unconquerable “prejudices” which existed between the races that made interracial harmony forever impossible. In the article, I also suggest how the notion of "race prejudice" located the responsibility for racial inequality within the psychology of individuals. To fight racial inequality then was simply a matter of correcting erroneous thinking. The naivete of this approach would become clearer in the twentieth century, when people began to consider the institutional or structural factors that contributed to racial inequality.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

Markus Schulz gives a working paper on 'Reclaiming Futures: Some Initial Considerations'

This paper connects the fields of social theory and future studies with a focus on transformative knowledge and contentious politics. It explores how implicit assumptions and explicit conceptualizations shape sociology’s ability to address the future. It argues that sociology was geared
since its inception toward the collective reflection of not only present or past conditions of social existence but also of possibilities for change. While deterministic and expertocratic closures limited its potential, shifting epistemological, institutional, and social constellations allow the expansion, evasion, and re-emergence of open and contestable future orientations.

Monday, 3 December 2018

Britta Richter is going to present a working paper on 'Identifying interpretations of meaning in life: religious beliefs and connectedness as a category of meaning'

My dissertation project aims to contribute to the development of a cultural theology of Lebenssinndeutung (interpretation of lifemeaning) as suggested by the theologian Wilhelm Gräb. In a Grounded Theory approach a 6-dimensional-model of „Connectedness“ was developed which allows to identify subjective constructions of life meaning by qualitative inquiry. 
The study’s objective is a typology of a variety of types of connectedness. It suggests a new approach to the study of religion in which the antagonistic semantic of religious and non-religious worldview is left behind to foster a comprising differentia specifica of a religious mode of being in the world: connectedness.

Emiliano Urciuoli presents a working paper on 'Citification of Religion: What Is It?'

Aim of this paper is to propose a serviceable analytical distinction between ‘urbanization’ and ‘citification’ of religion as two sets of processes and states of affairs concerning the role of religion/s in city-spaces. Inspired by both religious studies and political theory, this distinction is pivotal for my ongoing research on early Christ religion as an ‘urban religion’. In order to justify the differentiation at issue, I will first embark on a brief ‘world tour’ across a constellation of topics related to the deep history of both religion and urbanism as cross-cultural, deep-rooted, and inextricably related strategies of handling, enhancing, and buying into human sociality. Browsing a century and a half of narratives on the rise of the earliest cities, I will show that religion plays a rather standard and visibly one-sided role in the scholarly plots of urbanization. A different story needs to be told. Thus, once discussed a specific use of the verb ‘to citify’ in contemporary religious studies, I will sketch out the short and highly idiosyncratic history of the term ‘citification’ as a technical category. Lastly, I will illustrate how I intend to use the formula ‘citification of religion’ for re-describing the urban history of early Christ religion according to a different perspective and agenda. Some final reflections on the comparative character of the concept will conclude the paper.

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Meelis Friedenthal presents a working paper on 'Political, philosophical and theological background(of the Swedish Universities)'

The general aim of the project is to give an overview of the intellectual tradition of the universities of Uppsala, Tartu, Turku, Greifswald and Lund that all fell into the boundaries of the Swedish Empire (1611-1721). The main sources for the study are the disputations that were presented both for examination and for obtaining an academic degree in the universities and the sources that were cited in these disputations. Taking the ideas about soul and immaterial substances as a starting point the project is going explore the intellectual developments in the Swedish universities of the 17th century and compare these to the developments in the German cultural space, mainly looking at a) the reception of new philosophical ideas; b) connection between pneumatology and discussion about witchcraft and magic; c) attitudes towards Pietism.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Qian Zhao is going to present a working paper on 'Empirical Research of Moral Background in China’s Business Ethics Education'

There are two levels of business ethical research. One is the behavioral level, about moral and immoral behavior/practices. The other one is the normative level. According to Abend(2014), there should be a third level, the moral background study. The moral background supports, facilitates, and enables behavioral and normative levels of morality. 
In this chapter, I would like use moral background theory as an empirical tool to examine business ethicists’ work in top Chinese business schools and try to reveal their different types of moral background. It can reveal the different path of the comprehensive evolution of business ethics education in China since 2000 as well as how moral background changes along with socioeconomic transition.

Juhi Tyagi gives a working paper on 'Radical politics: Organizational Structures and Networks of the Poor'

This paper focuses on radical organising by the poor. Unlike workers in mass production, who by their location in the economic system, possess leverage, how can the poor make demands of institutions over which they possess no structural power? Using the case of the armed insurgency in India, I find that areas of sustained radical networks of the poor emerged from specific organisational formations on the ground. I elaborate each of these organisational structures that emerge, tying them to the crucial aspect of relatively autonomy in the functioning of peasant groups of poor in the village.

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Save the Date "Meister-Eckhart-Tage Erfurt" next June

In June 2019 the "Meister-Eckhart-Tage" will take place in Erfurt.   

Highlights are a workshop on "Stories and legends about Meister Eckhart", conducted by Prof. Dietmar Mieth, a dance theater in the Barfüßerruine, a bike ride on the Meister-Eckhart-Radpilgerweg and a musical reading with Martina Gedeck and Unio Mystica. 
 More information about the program will be published:

Monday, 19 November 2018

Arthur Bueno is going to present a working paper on 'Capital, Desire, and Neurasthenia'

This paper reflects on the affective implications of capitalist forms of life by exploring the affinities between Karl Marx’s Capital and Georg Simmel’s writings on money and modern culture. Such an endeavor rests on the assumption that, as stated by a contemporary reviewer of The Philosophy of Money, many of Simmel’s arguments “read like a translation of Marx’s economic discussions into the language of psychology.” In line with this, I suggest that Simmel’s phenomenologically precise description of modern forms of life can be interpreted as a consistent analysis of the affective implications of commodity fetishism. More precisely, this paper develops the idea that money – in particular when it attains the form of capital – is an embodiment of pure, self-referential desire. Contrary to what is often stated regarding the first chapters of The Philosophy of Money, this does not mean that Simmel’s account relies on a merely subjective theory of value, as in orthodox economics. Rather, such a conception of money and capital as pure desire can only be based on a value theory that is at once pre-subjective, subjective, intersubjective and objective. In the context of this systematic reconstruction, some of the most defining features of affective experience in modernity come to appear as expressions of what Simmel, following the psychology of his time, called neurasthenia, i.e. a continuous oscillation between feelings of hyperesthesia and anesthesia.

Friday, 16 November 2018

Enno Friedrich presents a working paper on 'Ven. Fort. carm. 9, 6-7 – an interpretative commentary'

The paper consists of an interpretative commentary of two poems (which are possibly in fact one ‚unit‘). In these poems the self-styling of the poet plays a major role. I am trying to show that the poet is styling his poetic I as a ‚bad‘ or irreverent poet to a certain extent, while showing off his poetic skills at the same time. He makes his poem lightly puzzling for the recipient and thus more interesting.

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Sanam Roohi gives a working paper on 'Multi-scalar approach to transnational political activism: Bring Babu Back Campaign and the 2014 Election in Andhra'

After a prolonged political impasse following the death of its chief minister within months of being elected in 2009, the state of Andhra Pradesh had plunged into deep political uncertainties. Multiple changes in the leadership, the breaking up of the ruling party, the ultimate bifurcation of the state after a protracted agitation and the imminent loss of the capital city to the newly carved state of Telangana exacerbated these uncertainties in the state. Simmering caste and regional contestations came out to the fore reverberating amongst the stratified Telugu diaspora in the US as well. Therefore, 2014 was a crucial election year for the state, as it held the promise of bringing some stability. The ‘Bring Babu Back’ campaign–a political campaign to lead the Telugu Desam party and its leader Chandra Babu Naidu to victory – emerged within this backdrop. Narrativized through the language of ‘need for change’, ‘risk’ of ‘irreversible loss’ and a call to act with ‘urgency’ brought hundreds of engineers from Andhra and the USA together to fight for ‘stability’ and ‘development’ of the truncated state. Joining causes with the national election that year that used similar rhetoric, the campaign converged and diverged in different ways. Using multi-scalar approach as a methodological and empirical tool, the paper analyses how the regional, national and transnational intersected in creating a political discourse that culminated in a successful transnational political mobilization. Moreover, it allows us to grasp how the campaign was refashioned and articulated to suit itself to a caste inflected and globally connected Andhra, while strategically aligning itself to national political discourse.

Dietamr Mieth presents a working paper on 'The "heart" as a metaphorical-real speech within Meister Eckharts work'

Meister Eckhart is known as an author who enriches mysticism but is at the same time very intellectual/rational. Philosophers seem to present another Eckhart than those who read him spiritually.  The connection between both approaches is given by Eckhart himself: the “heart” is the real embodiment of rational thinking and it is the center of his metaphorical language concerning the presence of God in the soul. Eckhart’s preaching in High-Middle German integrates real and metaporical  considerations, but for him the metaphors represent the reality insofar as God’s reality is the true agent. In the colloquium the rich and different aspects of Eckhart’s preaching from ‘heart to heart’ will be investigated