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.