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2016/2017


Conference: For What It’s Worth: Nostalgia, Sustainability and the Values of the Present

28 - 30 April 2016
Giessen, International Graduate Centre for te Study of Culture (GCSC)

An Interdisciplinary Graduate Conference at Justus Liebig University, Giessen, to be held on 28-30 April 2016, with Keynote Lectures by Prof. Mita Banerjee (Johannes Gutenberg University, Mainz) and Prof. Nicholas Brown (University of Illinois, Chicago)
The aim of the conference is to investigate the implications of sustainability as a cultural concept. In particular, the conference will explore the complex temporality of seeking to protect past values for the future, and will attempt to answer the question: how do we decide which aspects of culture should be sustained, and which should give way to change and development?

Organizer: Sonja Schillings


Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/gcsc/gcsc/events/semesteroverview/summer-term-2016/conferences-symposia/sustainability-nostalgia


Tagung: Nach der Hybridität III - Medien und Politiken der Transplantation

23 - 24 June 2016
Giessen, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC

Bei der dritten Tagung der Reihe Nach der Hybridität stehen die medialen Rahmenbedingungen der verschiedenen Techniken und Praktiken des Transplantierens im Mittelpunkt.

Der Begriff der Transplantation kann sich, dies war eine der Einsichten der letzten Tagung, nicht aus dem konnotativen Geflecht seiner biologischen Wurzeln befreien – selbst wenn er als Metapher für kulturelle Wanderungs- und Übersetzungsprozesse verwendet wird. Zugleich ruft er eine Vorstellung des „Organologischen“ als funktionales Gefüge auf, die, wie Gilbert Simondon gezeigt hat, all unseren Konzepten von der Existenzweise technischer Objekte zugrunde liegt. Gemeint ist damit ein technisches Prinzip der "Übersetzung", das sich etwa dann zeigt, wenn die Funktion natürlicher Organe durch Prothesen ersetzt, ergänzt und erweitert wird.

Im Rahmen der Tagung soll neben den medialen Implikationen, die bei diesen technischen Übersetzungs- und Verpflanzungsleistungen eine Rolle spielen, vor allem den politischen und ethischen Implikationen nachgegangen werden: Dies betrifft zunächst einmal die medizinischen Aspekte der Cyborg-Ontologie: Angefangen von den Prothesen, die einfache Organfunktionen übernehmen und dabei als Quasi-Pfropfreiser die Integrität eines versehrten Körpers wieder herstellen, bis hin zu den lebenserhaltenden Maschinen ist die moderne Medizin voll von „couplings between organism and machine“ (Haraway). Schließlich wird aber auch der gesamte Komplex der Medienpraktiken, etwa Collage-Techniken und Verfahren des ‚Cut and Paste‘ thematisiert, die sich auf Modelle der Transplantation und der Pfropfung beziehen: Auch hier hat man es mit ‚Chimärischen Konfigurationen‘ zu tun, die verschiedene Materialien und Medien zu einem neuen Gefüge verkoppeln.

 

Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/gcsc/newsboard/tagung-nach-der-hybriditat-iii-medien-und-politiken-der-transplantation


Anniversary Symposium “Futures of the Study of Culture”

7 - 8 July 2016
Alte Gießerei, Giessen

2016 marks the ten-year anniversary of the GCSC and the fifteen-year anniversary of the GGK. We envision this conference as featuring critical perspectives on the developments in the Study of Culture by internationally established scholars. In addition to these presentations, a roundtable discussion with some of our distinguished Principal Investigators will allow us to continue the exchange with our audience. We will discuss socially crucial issues and tendencies in contemporary public discourse that influence the framework of the academic Study of Culture and the research profiles of the GCSC and GGK. We will also consider possible risks and controversies underlying these processes.

The anniversary symposium will feature presentations by internationally renowned scholars, such as Nicole Anderson (Macquarie University, Sydney), Peter Galison (Harvard University, Cambridge MA), Isabel Gil (Catholic University of Portugal, Lisbon), Richard Grusin (University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee), Ursula Heise (University of California, Los Angeles), Andreas Reckwitz (Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder), Silke Schicktanz (University of Göttingen), and Frederik Tygstrup (University of Copenhagen). Interactive roundtable discussions with some of our Principal Investigators will allow us to continue the exchange with our audience.

 

Please visit the conference site for further information: https://anniversarysymposium.wordpress.com/


 

IGHERT conference: Indigeneities: Territories, Spaces and Conceptual Mapping

15 November 2016

The category of indigeneity has been met with rising interest and awareness in the humanities and the social sciences over the last few decades. This has to do with various developments in the rearticulation and reshuffling of fields of study in research and study programs likewise, but also with various political, social and cultural processes. Taken together, these processes have turned the category of indigeneity into a highly disputed object of academic reflection – that is, into a concept – but also into an arena of, and a vehicle in, struggles for political, social and cultural recognition. Moreover, academic agendas cannot be clearly separated from the social, political and cultural realm, as the introduction of ‘Indigenous Studies’ and adjacent fields of study has been announced and received as an intervention into structures of canonicity in the humanities and the social sciences. For instance, Indigenous Studies in part challenges the ways that disciplines like Cultural Anthropology or Comparative Literature have become historically institutionalized, exposing the complicity of these discourses in projects of imperial subjugation of communities and populations. Indigeneity thus inescapably moves between ambitions to be established as a concept meeting academic venerability and invocations of the political, social, cultural and academic context-specificities that have given rise to the prominence of the category in the first place.

This plurality of indigeneities is mostly spelled out in terms of different understandings of specific historical connections between communities and territories, which then often translate into conflicts over rights to territories, spaces, and places. Invariably, thus, indigeneity refers to different spatio-historical configurations not only among former settler colonies turned into nation-states, but also between them and postcolonial states in Africa and Asia, or the supranational framework of the European Union. Given this mingling of two specificities – that of different understandings and valorizations of indigeneity and that of different spatio-historical configurations –, what is at stake for the humanities and social sciences is an exercise that would relate the category of indigeneity, in all its variegated conceptualizations, to the different understandings of territorialities and spatialities that inspire the invocation of that category.


Giessen, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen
Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/gcsc/gcsc/events/conferences-symposia-summer-schools/conference-sites/ighert-conference-indigeneities-territories-spaces-and-conceptual-mappings


 

Conference: Modelle öffentlicher Wissenschaftskommunikation

24 November 2016
Giessen, International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture, Giessen


The GCSC has identified as one of its main goals the further dissemination of scholarship and the knowledge produced at the center to a wider off-campus audience. We want to connect the study of culture to larger public discourses. The conference is not designed as a traditional academic conference, but rather aims at furthering the communication between academic scholars and practitioners in the fields of culture and journalism about the public perception and relevance of the study of culture. The symposium will feature a variety of different formats and will also give space to a number of student-led science communication projects. Everyone interested in the topic of science communication is welcome to join the conference. Further registration is not necessary.


Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/gcsc/gcsc/events/conferences-symposia-summer-schools/conference-sites/conference-modelle-offentlicher-wissenschaftskommunikation

 

Symposium: Literature and Institutions

Giessen University, GCSC

June 20-21, 2017

Literature is inevitably embedded in an institutional context – one may even argue that, in a sense, literature only exists within and because of institutions.  Already in the process of its production, writers of literature are aware of institutional reception and influence, and react to this by obeying or undermining the rules through writing strategies, argument and style. What we define and read as “literature” in a given culture at a given moment in time is indeed determined by a number of institutional factors. These may be economic and political regimes that steer circulation and control access, or may appear as the cultural institutions of criticism that distinguish certain texts as literary (rather than non-literary) in the first place, and develop standards for particularly “good” literature.

This two-day symposium investigates the relationship between literature and institutions across cultures and centuries. The first day’s keynote lecture by Prof. Mark McGurl (Stanford University), who is one of the leading researchers on literature and institutions today, also forms part of the GCSC keynote lecture series.

The first day traces the Western institutional contexts of literature diachronically. From early modern court drama and the transformation of drama with the rise of printing, to the role of literature in the understanding of nineteenth-century statehood and the public sphere, to literature as a sphere of criticism in the twentieth century, and culminating in the discussion of digital regimes of distribution in the twenty-first century, the day offers a series of dialogic lectures that comparatively address the role of institutions in different cultural contexts.

The second day features a workshop offered by Mark McGurl to registered participants of the symposium, and continues with two public panels zooming in on central issues pertaining to the relation of literature and institutions. The panels are entitled “Organizing Principles: Forms, Context, Canons” and “Literature and Media Change.” The symposium concludes with a panel discussion.

The event is organized by the IPP in cooperation with the GCSC.

Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/gcsc/gcsc/events/conferences-symposia-summer-schools/conference-sites/symposium-literature-and-institutions


Conference: Online Vitriol

Giessen University, GCSC

June 29 - July 01, 2017

Social media have become inescapable, and they have an overwhelming impact on sociality and public life. Platforms such as Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram give rise to a diverse range of discourses and communication styles. This conference wants to understand the power of social media, not only – as it has often been perceived – as democratizing, but also as powerful vehicles for politically driven bullying and violence. Relevant to people, organizations, and other agents across twenty-first-century society, this topic is increasingly studied from a range of disciplines and perspectives. Virtually everyone has to deal with social media and the discourses it enables and produces. But while the technology exists and seems at first sight intuitively accessible, the agency, dynamics and ethics of social media platforms are not yet well-understood.

‘Trolls for Trump’, online virus ‘scares’, fake news – social media discourse has become a formidable, yet elusive, political force. This conference wants to begin to address some of the issues around the power of online vitriol, by studying discourses, metaphors, media dynamics, and framing on social media.

What is it? How does it work? What does it do? And how can it be addressed or countered?

To fruitfully question the political impact of contemporary communication structures and discourses, the conference goes beyond the traditional presenter/audience dichotomy. Instead, it works towards producing a book for academics and professionals confronted with social media violence, provisionally titled “A Rough Guide to Online Vitriol: Dealing with Violence and Advocacy on Social Media in Theory and Practice”. The conference combines academic theorizing with perspectives from professionals active in media, communication, the public sector and journalism, so as to arrive at conceptually rigorous and useful conclusions to guide our own and our organizations’ use of social media.

Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/faculties/gcsc/gcsc/events/semesteroverview/archive/Summer%20Term%202017/conferences-symposia/online-vitriol-advocacy-violence-and-the-transforming-power-of-social-media


Conference "Surveillance Cultures"

Giessen University, GCSC

July 06-07, 2017

Surveillance has grown into such a ubiquitous part of our private and professional lives within just a few years that many of its practices as well as its various functions seem to have gone unnoticed or at least unproblematized. Privacy groups do not tire to warn us of the immense cultural-political and social consequences of this landslide shift. Attempts to evade or disrupt the omnipresent technologies of surveillance that surround us, however, seem utterly futile in the face of today’s lived realities. Communication has become as unimaginable without the option of constant traceability as have global trade and private consumption. And while globally operating corporations invest ever more money into the development of new data mining techniques to optimize the predictivity of consumer behavior, security and safety discourses avail themselves of the full ideological force connected to issues of surveillance and security to help push agendas all across the political spectrum.

At the same time, while technological and political developments have facilitated a rapid increase in the expedition as well as the scope of every-day surveillance practices, surveillance is anything but a new phenomenon of the 21st century. Earlier forms of government surveillance, systemic structures designed towards the control of specific social groups, the tacit yet effective policing of certain behaviors, and strategic market and consumer manipulation have been a staple of many cultures across the globe for centuries.

This symposium offers a platform to address the political-cultural dimension of surveillance practices and surveillance techniques within our current empirical realities as well as the historical contexts from which they arose. It will also look into the ways in which cultural representations of surveillance in various media grant insight into the particular experiences generated through exposure to and effecting of surveillance. We are aiming for an interactive format, combining research paper presentations with workshops and a poster exhibition. Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following areas:

  • Technologies of surveillance (private and public)
  • Neo-liberal discourses of self-surveillance and self-optimization
  • Surveillance in the context of safety and securitization discourses
  • History/Histories of surveillance and observation
  • Surveillance and punishment/criminalization
  • Surveillance as a means of control and oppression
  • Representations of surveillance (in literature, film, television, video games, journalism, etc.)
  • De-centralized surveillance and Big Data
  • Resistance against surveillance and anti-surveillance activism

Keynote speakers: Richard Grusin (Milwaukee), Jörn Ahrens (Giessen)

Workshops by Dietmar Kammerer (Marburg) and Sebastian Herrmann (Leipzig)

Please visit the conference site for further information: https://www.uni-giessen.de/fbz/faculties/gcsc/surveillance-cultures