Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Gábor Gángó presents a working paper on 'The Election Campaign of the Count Palatine Philipp Wilhelm von Neuburg for the Crown of Poland and the Genesis of Leibniz’s Specimen Polonorum'

This study is a chapter from my planned book on Leibniz on the Polish royal election in 1669. On the basis of extended research in the family archives of the German candidate for the Crown of Poland, I reconstruct the wider diplomatic context of Leibniz’s early political treatise. The surviving testimonies of the writing process not only enable us to define the time of the genesis of the treatise with more precision than it was before but they also challenge our belief on Leibniz’s exclusive authorship by testifying a close collaboration between the young Leibniz and his mentor and friend, the Baron Johann Christian von Boineburg.

Bettina Hollstein gives a working paper on 'Why do we criticize corruption and under which circumstances does criticism help?'

Corruption research often inquires into the motivations of corrupt actors and into the circumstances and institutional settings that promote corruption in order to find out how we can prevent corruption.
In my contribution, I want to reverse the perspective and to analyze what motivates the critique of corruption and what the circumstances and institutional settings are that help to make critique of corruption effective. I start with the assumption that the critique of social phenomena which are embedded in a society for a long time, and normalized by habitualization, is quite improbable. Therefore, I look at the elements and actors which are relevant to raising the awareness of corrupt practices. How can we explain the development of new interpretations of certain practices as corrupt and no longer as “normal”? Which situations and dynamics are relevant for institutional changes that change also the normal/regular interpretation of socially accepted norms? Why does whistleblowing become more and more accepted in specific contexts, while it is seen as a case of lack of loyalty in others?

Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Hannah Peacman is going to present a working paper on 'The "dybbuk" returns. Jewish traditions in philosophy. A systematic appraoch'

Hannah Peaceman presents the first part of the third chapter of her PhD-project on "Jewish traditions in philosophy in the 19th century and their potential for questions of political philosophy today". The chapter deals with the meaning of "Jewish" in the context of philosophy. The first question is, how the term can be defined without excluding contradictionary, changing and ambigous meanings. The second question is, where Jewish traditions in philosophy are usually located. The claim of the chapter is that Jewish traditions in philosophy can be found at the boarders of philosophy, "Jewish" serves as a characteristic of distinction. Vice versa, this text shows how the exclusion of Jewish traditions in philosophy relies on unphilosophic premises. Further, it argues that their lies a potential in these Jewish perspectives for a critical review of philosophical aspirations to universalism that is determined by exclusion of differences and contradictions. In this sense the "dybbuk" returns.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Petra Gümplová gives a working paper on 'Rights of Conquest, Discovery and Occupation, and the Freedom of the Seas and the Genealogy of Natural Resource Injustice'

This paper traces the origin of three traditional international law principles – the right of conquest, the right of discovery and occupation, and the freedom of the seas. It showed that the right of conquest was created to enable territorial conquest of Indian kingdoms in Latin America and their inclusion in the territorial realm of the absolutist sovereignty of the Spanish crown for the purpose of domination and accumulation of natural resources for the exclusive benefit of the sovereign and for the maintenance of his or her imperial rule. The right of discovery and occupation was reinvented to regulate permanent settlement of colonizers in discovered territories with scarce resources and to facilitate acquisition of the property rights in land for them, either by forceful expropriation (by contract, enclosure, or agricultural settlement) or by violent elimination of native occupants from the land (by displacement or genocide). The freedom of the seas principle, also one of the founding international law principles which established non-sovereign ocean space as the avenue of commerce, then enabled colonization of distant markets by semi-private chartered companies by imposing monopolistic trading relations defined by unequal exchange and coercion.

A conference is taking place at the Max Weber Kolleg on 'Religion and Urbanity: Theorising Mutual Formations'

                              Religion and Urbanity: Theorising Mutual Formations
                                   Erfurt, Augustinerkloster, 6 to 8 November 2018

Tuesday, 6th of November 2018
 14.00: Welcome and Introduction to the Conference by Susanne Rau, Rubina Raja and Jörg Rüpke

Panel 1 14.15-16.15
Chair: Rubina Raja
Susanne Rau: Urbanity
Jörg Rüpke: Religion and Urban Space
Anne Murphy: Which Urbanity? Secondary Urban Centres and their Attendant Religious Formations at the Border with the Rural
Respondent: Ulrike Freitag
Joint Discussion
16.15-16.30: Coffee Break

Panel 2 16.30-17.50
Chair: Asuman Lätzer-Lasar
Christopher Smith: What is Religious about Founding a City?
Emiliano Rubens Urciuoli: Citification of Religion: What is it?
Respondent: David Garbin
Joint Discussion
18.15: Dinner in the Council Chamber

Wednesday, 7th of November 2018

Panel 3 09.00-11.00
Chair: Martin Fuchs
Mar Griera/ Marian Burchardt: Religious Events and the Politics of Space in the Mediterranean City
Ranjeeta Dutta: Religious Interactions and Urban Configurations in a Temple Town of South India: the Case of Shrirangam in Tamil Nadu
Paroma Chatterjee: Urbanity and Religion in the Chronicle of John Malalas (6th century): Coexistence and/or Conflict?
Respondent: Harriet Rudolph
Joint Discussion
11.00-11.30: Coffee Break

Panel 4 11.30-12.50
Chair: Emiliano Rubens Urciuoli
Pralay Kanungo: Conceptualizing the Urban Religioscape
Mariachiara Giorda: From Urban Geometry to Religious Urbanity
Respondent: Martin Christ
Joint Discussion
13.00-14.30: Lunch

Panel 5 14.30-16.30
Chair: Susanne Rau
Rubina Raja: Religion and the Urban: Network Evolutions as a Lens
Benno Werlen: The Constitution of Geographical and Urban Realities. An Interpretive Approach to Geographical Urban Research
Respondent: Markus Vinzent
Joint Discussion
16.10-16.30: Coffee Break

Panel 6 16.30-18.30
Chair: Jörg Rüpke
Qudsiya Contractor: Between Community and Alienation? – Muslim Women and the Urban Experience of Religiosity in Mumbai
Martin Fuchs: Precarious Belonging: Religious Options and Engagements with the World in a Metropolitan Context. The case of Dalits in Dharavi (Mumbai)
Nora Lafi: Conceptualizing Urbanity, Practicing Coexistence: The Relationship between Religion and the Civic Sphere in Cities of the Middle East and North-Africa between the Middle Ages and Ottoman Times
Respondent: Sunil Kumar
Joint Discussion
19.00: Dinner

Thursday, 8th of November 2018

Panel 7 09.00-11.00
Chair: Beatrice Renzi
Onno van Nijf / Chr. Williamson: Festivals and Urban Placemaking in the Greek city of the Hellenistic and Roman periods
Cristiana Facchini: Seeing Cities in Travelogues and Missionary Texts in the Early Modern Period
Supriya Chaudhuri: Spaces of the Sacred: Religious Practice in Urban Interstices
Respondent: Asuman Lätzer-Lasar
Joint Discussion
11.00-11.15: Coffee Break

Panel 8 11.15-13.15
Chair: Martin Christ
Miri Rubin: Difference and Urbanity in the Age of Religion
Rana P. Behal: Religion, Religiosity and the Urban World: Everyday Lives of People in Amritsar City, Punjab, India
Beatrice Renzi: Religion at the crossroads of rural-urban life-worlds: Systems of relatedness in transition
Respondent: Zoe Opacic
Joint Discussion
13.15-14.00: Lunch
Final discussion 14.00-15.00
Guided tour of Erfurt 15.15-17.00

If you are interested and would like to attend, please send an email to

More information:

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Rimi Tadu and Juhi Tyagi being interviewed by the Max Weber Stiftung

“I Aim to Ask Big Questions: About Inequality, Injustice, and Power Structures” — 5in10 with Juhi Tyagi
See the complete interview: 

“Oral Communities Are Rich in Their Traditions and Knowledge About the Past” – 5in10 with Rimi Tadu
See the complete interview:

Felipe Torres is going to present a working paper on 'Time as Regime'

Since social sciences and humanities have been deeply concerned with understanding temporality and its connections with historic-political dimensions, they have produced, for one side, macro-theoretical arguments to explain what has happened with temporality and its order within the onset of general patterns, particularly about Modern and Contemporary Times in the case of social sciences. In that vein, Paul Virilio and Hartmut Rosa have written extensively about long-tendencies toward the acceleration and high-speed of social process, whereas David Harvey and Anthony Giddens suggests the concept of “space-time compression” to explain what happens to structures and experiences in the modern world. On the other side, theorists such as François Hartog, Reinhart Koselleck and Helge Jordheim6, have emphasized the diversity and plurality of simultaneous times in the contemporary world, providing an overview of the modern experience, yet from an angle that captures the variability of this experience under the concept of a “regime of historicity” (Hartog) or “contemporaneousness of the non-contemporaneous” (Koselleck, and Jordheim following Koselleck). In the same vein comes Johannes Fabian’s germinal work, which uses anthropological perspectives to indicate the different areas that highlight how time is used to construct borders and cultural differences (such as advanced vs. delayed societies, developed vs. underdeveloped, evolved vs. primitives). In this framework, one can also locate empirical research on practices, uses and conceptions about time that are structured according to gender, social class, biography, etc. [CITAR PAPERS] in synthesis; for these approaches there is not just one temporal pattern (high-speed, acceleration or space-time compression) but several temporalities coming from the constitutive fragmentarity and diversity of the social. Then, according to the main analysis about time, there are two main opposed theses about temporality: time is constituted by general tendencies from economics and politics, to one standardized clock conception that supports process of acceleration and high-speed societies, constituting a macro-theoretical approach that methodologically conceives time as a one dimensional and homogeneous tendency. On the other hand, descriptions can be observed that support a conception of time as multiple, highlighting the variability and diversity that demands more complex understanding of socio-historical time conceptions and their characteristics. During the process of research, I realized that no theoretical perspective has dealt in a proper manner with that difference, having only produced insufficient tools for grasping the complexity of how temporal perspectives works in current societies. As such, it is interesting to note the lack of dialogue between these two approaches-explanations limiting the understanding of social theory of contemporary times to a paradoxical phenomenon that deserves to be clarified. More precisely, this apparent contradiction leads us to ask if both homogenization (macro-theoretical and general tendencies) and heterogenization (simultaneity and no-synchronicity of multiple times) are two faces from the very same kernel or, conversely, responds to different phenomena. In order to clarify this, we propose to use the concept of regimes of temporality to best interpret socio-temporal patterns as well as their frictions, complementarities and parallel manifestations. In other words, multidimensional experiences of time, as well as stable and dominant ones, need to be put into a framework that can provide explanations about their coexistence. The process through which, on the one hand, old spatiotemporal barriers are narrowed by technical mechanisms (internet, flights, cars, cultural and technical devices in general) and, on the other hand, multicultural encounters for decentralized, pluriverse and diversified times (cultural rhythms, non-standardized clock time, sacred times) deserve further investigation to explain their main characteristics, interconnections and rubbings. Considering this, this paper will demonstrate that the notion of regimes of temporality enables an historical address of linearity or circularity, progressive and regressive time, evolutive as well as scientific measures of time and its objectivity; where in all these cases several epistemologies, knowledges, politics and philosophical conceptions involve temporal perspectives, using temporal dimensions to explain, justify and legitimate social orders. That means that general temporal structures coexist with temporal forms that are not included in them. To approximate what might be denominated as the previously mentioned “regimes of temporality”, the theoretical framework analysis is subdivided as follows: i) the relevance of the notion “regime”; ii) regimes of temporalities; and iii) characteristics of some regimes of temporality (progress, acceleration, presentism-futurism).

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Ilaria Ramelli gives a working paper on 'Philosophical Exegesis of Scripture: Origen, ‘Pagan’ Platonists, and Jews'

This chapter will address Origen’s polemics against some ‘pagan’ intellectuals about the allegoresis of Scripture and will argue for the role of Origen’s allegoresis as a philosophical task (as it was in Stoicism and Middle Platonism), and how this relates to the notion of Scripture as embodiment of Christ-Logos. Structural continuities will be pointed out between Origen and the Stoic allegorical tradition, as well as the struggle with Middle-Platonic allegorists for the definition of which authoritative traditions were to be allegorised. Scriptural allegoresis was a heritage of Philo, although ‘pagan’ Platonists such as Celsus and Porphyry failed—or refused—to recognize this, while Origen, as will be pointed out, acknowledged his debt to Jewish Hellenistic allegorists. Indeed, it will be suggested that Origen’s attitude toward Jewish exegesis was less ambivalent, or even hostile, than generally represented.

Markus Vinzent presents a working paper on 'Precarious times, precarious spaces'

 Last year I presented first ideas of a retrospective historiography, tested in several case studies from early Christianity, a project which is now in press at Cambridge University Press, and in a further Werkstattbericht I have laid out the foundations of this kind of historiography.
In a book, commissioned by Herderverlag, Freiburg i.Br., I am now writing a retrospective history of the various constructions of the beginnings of Christianity, as we can find them in the formative writers from the fifth century back to the first century by equally showing, what contemporary writing of the beginning of Christianity has embodied from these constructions. As a result, one will discover that much of what we teach today goes back to these constructions, and, that beyond the constructions of the late to mid-second century we can hardly go.
In the introduction I am giving the rationale for the project and develop in the first chapter the construction of the first formative author, chosen, here, namely Orosius, a student of Augustine.