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(Expired) Call for Papers | Visualising Universalisms

International Conference 5 December – 6 December 2024

Deadline: 31 May 2024

News from Apr 15, 2024

Organised by Michail Leivadiotis (EXC 2020) and Roland Betancourt (University of California, Irvine), Research Area 1: "Competing Communities".

Universalism in philosophy, theology, social and political thought is a concept in constant evolution and change. The assumption and the claim that human nature and experience can be reduced to a single principle or truth has historically led to the gradual extension of ideals and rights to all human beings, while, critics have raised objections to a construct that tends to flatten the specificities of minorities and individuals.

Religious conceptions of universalism deal with the problem of salvation and the sharing of a singular truth. Empires construct ideologies and representations of universal power to legitimise their expansion. Kant's idea of the universality of morality in relation to human beings as rational agents and the Enlightenment 'project' of the universal validity of reason, gave impetus to an idea of universalism that has reached into modernity with the self-organisation of digital society and the theoretical discourse of posthumanism.

We examine how political claims (translatio imperii), religious politics (ecumenism, uniatism, translatio sancti) and cultural agency (cultural mobility, translatio studii) create new systems of textual and visual imagery. We consider representations of the self as part of a historical and cultural continuum that are structured by textual and visual programmes that commemorate narratives of common purpose, origin or future.

The conference focuses on the mechanisms of visual representation of universalist narratives of the past and the future. We examine shared narratives of spatial and/or temporal commons, imagined geographies, visual narratives and shared imagery that has emerged as celebratory gestures (or dystopian forebodings) towards a universalist understanding of the world. By searching for a common vocabulary, a shared visual code, we aim to highlight conceptualisations of global perceptions of cultural traditions.

We explore the contact zones between cultures, between dogma and heresy, between the sacred and the monstrous, between the scientific and the imaginary, between the political and the fictional. We explore conceptualisations of spatial and/or temporal entanglements, conceptual representations of commonalities, inter-confessional (or even inter-religious) communities of devotion, the rituality of time and sacred spaces. We trace in-betweenness, hybridity and the uncanny as versions of the imagined global. We see artefacts, images, heirlooms, the press, architecture, cyberspace, layout as a field for exercising different understandings of the commons, imagery communities, visual universalisms.

The conference is convened by Michail Leivadiotis (EXC 2020) and Roland Betancourt (University of California, Irvine) and organised by the Cluster of Excellence "Temporal Communities: Doing Literature in a Global Perspective" at Freie Universität Berlin. The conference language will be English. Proposals should include a short CV, a provisional title and an abstract of no more than 300 words. Please send these documents in one PDF file to Michail Leivadiotis (michail@leivadiotis.eu) by May 31, 2024. Contributions are intended for publication in 2025/2026.

Contact: michail@leivadiotis.eu

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