The workshop seeks to reconstruct the intellectual origins of a human and social vision rooted in the belief that even in a secular age we are blessed with the capacity to distinguish between right and wrong and good and evil through exercising our power of judgment. Many intellectuals were concerned with moral individualism, which is both transcendental and of this world. Some of these voices stress the sanctity and the autonomy of the individual as one of the fundamental principles of modern society. In their view, this was the true expression of modernity. The particular world of devout Jewry was no longer sufficient to cope with the challenges of modernity. Thus, they were looking for universal guidelines, both within and outside the state. This becomes true even more strikingly after the Holocaust.
The workshop will focus on the works and legacies of one of the most exciting thinkers of the 20th Century, namely Hannah Arendt. Arendt was constantly concerned with universal responsibility and its relation to the concept of humanity, which she sees as part of the Jewish tradition. Thus, the choice of Arendt is not arbitrary. Perhaps more than that of any other thinker of the twentieth century, the urgency of her writing on totalitarianism, democracy, critical judgment, and evil is now more urgent than ever. Her engagement with the fate of the Jews, her work with Jewish and Zionist organisations, her engagement with Jewish history and politics on a theoretical and on a practical level – all of these things make her a good fit with the subject of this workshop. Her experiences during World War II, and what would later be called the Holocaust fed her theoretical interest in the relationship between universalism and particularism.
The workshop, organised by the Vienna Wiesenthal Institute for Holocaust Studies and IFK International Research Center for Cultural Studies/University of Art and Design Linz, will take place in Vienna 22/23 June 2017. You are invited to submit either an individual contribution or a complete panel (up to a maximum of four panellists). Workshop languages are both English and German.
The organisers will cover accommodation fees and are also endeavouring to find separate funding for travel costs.
Applications should be written in English or German and include an outline of the topic in no more than 600 words as well as a short CV and a list of publications.
Please send your application by e-mail with the subject “Workshop 2017” to firstname.lastname@example.org by 15 January 2017 at the latest.
A publication is planned.
Bettina Stangneth is invited to deliver a keynote on 21 June 2017.
Concept: Natan Sznaider, The Academic College of Tel-Aviv YAFO