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W(h)ither Identity - Positioning the Self and Transforming the Social

W(h)ither Identity - Positioning the Self and Transforming the Social

RA 6: Cultural Identities and the International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)
Justus Liebig University Giessen
Vom - Bis
23.01.2014 - 24.01.2014
International Graduate Centre for the Study of Culture (GCSC)

Identity, both as a whole and in relation to categories of social difference including, but not limited to, race, class, ability, sex/gender, sexuality, indigeneity, citizenship, etc., has been an increasingly contested concept in academic criticism, aesthetic practice, and political activism over the past quarter century – longer, if we consider experimental creative texts or the poststructuralist challenge to the subject. In political contexts, identity is framed, at times, as potentially reductivist and, at others, as necessary for self-positioning within networks of oppressive power and privilege. In aesthetic and performance practices, identity is divergently approached as crucial for interpellating potentially marginalized subjects into a sense of community/recognition and criticized as, again, reductive, insular, and/or tied to a dated notion of subjective coherence. Variously dismissed, within the academy, as critically and/or politically unproductive and defended as at least prospectively necessary or useful as an always partial locus, mixed with disidentificatory practices, but never fully discardable, identity sits at the nexus of debates about formulations of the self, community, and the self’s position within social formations.
This conference asks whither identity has gone. Is it still a critically, personally, aesthetically, socially, and/or politically useful concept? Or is it withering? If so, should we let it? Is it necessary to community, the social, and/or transformative social and/or artistic/performative/performance practices? Or can these functions be (potentially better) accomplished without it? We are especially interested in questions of the relationship between identity, disidentity, and/or non-identitarian formulations and sociality and/or social transformation.

Are processes of identification empirically and/or normatively necessary to establishing (political, aesthetic, affective, etc.) community? To what extent do processes of identitarian social formation inherently entail practices of exclusion? Does identity wither without (political, social, legal etc.) recognition? Is a non-identitarian process of community formation/social transformation possible? What might one look like? What do processes of disidentification (from a community, social category, etc) entail, and what are their political, social, aesthetic, and/or subjective effects? How do place and space factor into dis/non-/identificatory processes? How does language? Is it possible to disentangle the perceived link between identity and the body in performance or the represented body? If so, how and to what end? What is the importance, if any, of the distinction between self-attributed identities and ones that are externally imposed for (marginalized) subjects and communities in lived experience and in aesthetic production? To what extent do contemporary identity discourses, which are spread out in diverse media, proceed, modify, or reapprove historical discursive knowledge?


Conference Programme
Thursday, 23rd January 2014

9:30 Natalija Ivanusa (Giessen):
Welcome and Introduction

10:00 Keynote lecture
Manuela Bojadžijev (Berlin)
Identity - Fortress or paradoxical space?

Chair: Regina Kreide

11:00 Coffee break

11:30 Panel 1: Migration – Nation – Diaspora
Chair: Alesya Krit
GCSC Room 1

Joy Owen (Grahamstown):
Transcending Congolese national identity – Expressions of self in a place of others

Kerstin Meißner, Olga Gerstenberger (Berlin):
Re:Imagine Belonging - Critical media and education perspectives on Identity, Culture and
Migration" Screening and Presentation of the Initiative with WINGS and ROOTS (USA/Germany)

Gal Engelhard (Haifa):
Anxiety and Identity in German-Jewish ‚Root Trips‘

Panel 2: Economy – Resistance – Collusion
Chair: Jens Kugele
Philosophicum I, Building B Room 29

Simon Goebel (Eichstätt-Ingolstadt/ Villingen-Schwenningen):
Identity and Economy – Dominant discursive merges and their counter strategies in political talk shows about the Arab spring

Rosemarie Brucher (Graz):
The Narrative of the Dissociative Identity Disorder in the Context of Economic Imperatives

David Scheller (Giessen):
Gentrification and Stereotypes: Beyond the Construction of ‘The Hipster’

1:30 Lunch Break

3:00 Panel 3: Disembodied Identities
Chair: Philipp Schulte
GCSC Room 1

Bettina Wuttig (Marburg):
Traumatic Identities: Crossing Intensive Body Zones in Contact Improvisation?

Garry Robson and Christian Olavarria (Krakow):
Creating and Broadcasting Disembodied Identities on Social Media

Cristina Balma-Tivola (Turin):
Embodiments of ‘cultural identity’ off and on stage in Italian multicultural theatre

Panel 4: Non-Identitarian Political and Activist Practices
Chair: Christine Schwanecke
Philosophicum I, Building B Room 29

Marcel Wrzesinski (Giessen):
"BITCH is composed of BITCHES" (1968). Negotiating Female Identities in Post-War Radical Feminist Manifestos

Katharina Kühn (Giessen):
Breasts as Weapon – When it Becomes Necessary to Fight as a Woman

Petra Rostock (Berlin/Potsdam):
Resisting 'identity'? On the im/possibilities of a theory and practice of non-identitarian strategies of political action.

4:30 Coffee Break

5:00 A Tribute to José E. Muñoz
Research Area 6: Cultural Identities (Giessen), Henriette Gunkel (Bayreuth), Elahe Haschemi Yekani (Konstanz)
Chair: Beatrice Michaelis

6:00 Departure for the Performance

6:30 Performance
Annabel Guérédrat/Artincidence (Martinique)
A freak show for S.

7:15 Departure for Joint Dinner

Friday, 24th January 2014
9:30 Natalija Ivanusa (Giessen):

9:45 Panel 5: Recognition of Self and Other
Chair: Doris Bachmann-Medick
GCSC Room 1

Steffen Neumann (Victoria):
On the Interplay of Recognition, Status, and Identity. A Bourdieuian Critique of Charles Taylor’s and Nancy Fraser’s Account

Aljoscha Merk (Aachen):
Identity, Culture, Politics: Towards a Stable Theory of Culture beyond Essentialism

Raul Gschrey (Giessen):
Identifying Identity? // Who are we? – Show me your face! Identification and Typification in 19th Century and the Formation of 21st Century Identities

Panel 6: Locating Identity
Chair: Franziska Ochs
Philosophicum I, Building B Room 29

Nouzha Baba (Leiden):
Caught in a Space of Dislocation: Positioning the Self, Transforming Identity in Tahar Ben Jelloun’s Narrative

Ahmet Görgen (Giessen):
Is a Non-Identitarian Process of Community Formation/Social Transformation Possible? What Might One Look Like? Social Transformation in Modern Turkey: An Analysis on the Role of Public Intellectuals in the Post-1980s

Tobias Schwarz (Cologne):
Identity from above? The ‘Misión Identidad’ in Venezuela, 2004-2012

11:15 Coffee Break

11:45 Keynote lecture
Oliver Marchart (Düsseldorf)
The groundless ground of identity. Political implications of social and cultural identity
Chair: Andreas Langenohl

12:45 Lunch Break

2:15 Panel 7: Challenging Difference
Chair: Beatrice Michaelis
GCSC Room 1

Nina Hagel (Berkeley):
Productive Fictions: Revisiting Foucault’s Critique of Authenticity

Nina Elena Eggers (Duisburg-Essen):
Politics between Identification and Subjectification - On Rancière's Community of Equals

Stefan Apostolou-Hölscher (Giessen):
To subjectivize oneself in order to get rid of identity: Jacques Rancière's thinking of disidentification

Panel 8: Contested Collective Identities
Chair: Silke Schmidt
Philosophicum I, Building B Room 29

Michael Annoff (Berlin):
Multitudinous Movements: Socio-Spatial Practices of Queer Activists in Berlin

Anne Dippel (Berlin):
Austria: Encore. The Relationship between Constructing Collective Identity and Writer’s Selves

Cora Rok (Bonn):
Contemporary Identities - About the conditions of (Self-)Alienation

3:45 Coffee Break

4:15 Final Discussion
Danae Gallo González, Veronika Zink, Johanna Fernández, Andrea Härtel, Franziska Ochs (Giessen)
Chair: Beatrice Michaelis
5:00 End of Conference



Alter Steinbacher Weg 38, 35394 Giessen