Jutta Vinzents new book is published: ‚From Space in Modern Art to a Spatial Art History: Reassessing Constructivism Through the Publication Circle, 1937 (Spatiotemporality/Raumzeitlichkeit)‘

The aim of the book series „SpatioTemporality“ is interdisciplinary scholarly exchange pertaining to practices and concepts in the double perspective of space and time.In studies informed by current theoretical approaches. spatiality and temporality are treated as constructs in inextricable correlation with each other in contexts both historical and contemporary. The core concern of the series is the role of space and time in people’s sociocultural and life-world concepts of themselves and in media representations.

This book traces artists’ theories of constructive space in the first half of the twentieth century. Drawing on these concepts and recent theories on space, it develops a methodology termed ‘Spatial Art History’ that conceives of artworks as physical spatio-temporal things, which produce the social, to overcome the reductive understanding of art as a mere mirror or facilitator of society.

For more information: https://www.degruyter.com/view/product/502208

Marcus Döller presents a working paper on ‚What does it mean to resist against the law as law?‘

In the 13. Chapter of the dissertation I am going to show in four steps why Hegel makes an internal connection between the logic of the negative-infinite judgement and the Philosophy of Law. My thesis is, that it is crucial to understand the internal connection between the negative-infinite judgement on the one side and the modern form of the law on the other side in order to think a radical form of non-legal resistance. With non-legal resistance I am going to conceptualise a resistance beyond the law. In this line of thought I distinguish resistance that cannot be punished and resistance that can be punished. The act of the hero cannot be punished because the hero creates a new law. To be a hero means to be a law-giver. Heroes are only possible in antiquity. The act of the criminal, in contrast, can be punished, because the criminal presupposes a law already running up.

Every hero in modernity is in the position of the criminal in transgressing the law. Starting from this distinction, I will show that we have to think non-legal resistance differently in order to understand liberation in social struggles. Because resistance in modernity can just reproduce an order of domination and injustice, if resistance is not able to found an autonomous order of equal participation within social practices. Non-legal resistance takes places if the subject is able to justify action guiding rules only by itself. But the very act of justification of action guiding rules presupposes law like rules and overcomes them at the same time. This conceptualisation allows me to think a non-legal resistance which not just reiterates an order of social domination in the very form of resistance.

Sisi Sung gives a working paper on ‚Breaking the glass ceiling? A cultural and socio-economic study of female managers in China’s modern labor market – A summary of recent fieldwork in China‘

The paper is a preliminary summary of the fieldwork conducted during summer of 2019 in four cities of China: Beijing, Shenzhen, Xi’an and Shanghai. Each of the cities has its historical, economic and social characters distinct from each other. The paper will go into detail of the fieldwork procedure and provide some observations from the interview results.

Sanam Roohi shares insights on the current situation in India

Solidarity protest at University of Erfurt

Against CAA and police brutality on protesting students in India

By Sanam Roohi

On Friday, 20 December 2019 some 40 people including students of University of Erfurt and Fachhochschule Erfurt, members of the Max Weber Kolleg, and other concerned citizens and students from Thuringia gathered in solidarity with the protestors and students of different universities and educational institutes who were protesting against the discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) 2019 and were met with brutal police violence on 15 December 2019. Those gathered unequivocally condemned the highhandedness of the government of India and this police brutality on protesters, in the spirit of solidarity with the students and protestors in India.

Why protest CAA?

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 was passed by the two houses of Indian Parliament and became an Act on 12 December 2019. The Act amends the existing Citizenship Act of 1955 to explicitly make ‘illegal’ migrants from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi, and Christian religions who came to India prior to 2014 as eligible for Indian citizenship. It ostensibly leaves out of its purview persecuted Muslims from these countries, the Rohingyas from Myanmar and Tamils from Sri Lanka. The Act is highly discriminatory and arbitrary at best, violating secular ideals of the Indian constitution. Yet, if taken together with NRC or National Register of Citizen, it will be devastating for the social fabric of the country.

What is NRC?

India’s Home Minister Amit Shah has reiterated time and again that the Citizenship Amendment will be followed by the nationwide implementation of NRC by 2024 to throw out ‘infiltrators’ or illegal immigrants. Once adopted, every person living in India will have to prove with documents that they are a citizen of the country to have their names included in this register. If they do not have requisite documents, they will be deemed living illegally and stripped of their citizenship and thrown in detention camps. We learn this from the limited enrolment of NRC in the North East Indian state of Assam between February 2015 and August 2019 after which almost 1.9 million people failed to get their name registered in the NRC and many were put in camps.

Many poor citizens in India do not have proper documents like birth certificate and because many have not finished school, they do not have their school leaving certificates too. Not only will NRC be an administrative nightmare for the bureaucracy it will create unparalleled fear among Indian citizens. While Hindus too can be excluded from the NRC, the Citizenship amendment act indicates that Hindus will get citizenship even if they are illegal or without documents. But Muslims, unable to prove their citizenship will be deemed illegal!

Taken together with the anti-Muslim sentiments prevalent in India since the ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014 and again in 2019, it has created a lot of fear among the Muslim citizens of the country.

Protests and police brutality

The passing of the bill to an Act was followed by widespread protests from Indian citizens who argued that it goes against the principle of secularism enshrined in the Indian constitution and the Fundamental Rights guaranteed to everyone irrespective of their religion. Students joined in the protest at some universities – prominent among them were Jamia Milia Islamia University in Delhi and Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh. On the night of 15 December, the police stormed into these university campuses, entered canteens, girls and boys hostels, prayer rooms and libraries and physically assaulted students, including those who were not protesting, to instil fear. Students were flushed out and campuses were vacated in the middle of the night, some were arrested and the whereabouts of a few Aligarh students is unknown. These incidents of police brutality inspired other universities across India and abroad to join in the protest. Apart from attacking university spaces, the police in large parts of central and Western Uttar Pradesh, Mangalore in Karnataka and Assam opened fire killing more than 30 people, most of them in the state of Uttar Pradesh within 24 hours between 20-21 December 2019. The state government also arrested more than a thousand protestors to instil fear.

Despite police brutality, the protests have not stopped but spread from one city to another in the last one and a half months. These protests are unprecedented in the history of independent India. It is for the first time Muslim women, many of them wearing hijab have come out to the streets to protest in large numbers, joined in sizeable numbers by anti-right groups, left organisations, student bodies, lawyers groups, Sikh community members and ordinary citizens who stand against the CAA and NRC. Shaheenbagh area in Delhi has become a symbol of this non-violent resistance of the current right-wing government. Women of Shaheenbagh have come out to protest against the CAA and NRC and have shown exemplary spirit in taking care of each other in turns as others sit out to protest. Women of other cities like Kolkata and Mumbai have followed suit.

Meanwhile, the government has not only continued with the CAA, it has also started rolling out NRC in Uttar Pradesh and in Karnataka.

Michael Sauder presents a working paper on ‚A Sociology of Luck‘

Sociology has been curiously silent about the concept of luck. The present article argues that this omission is, in fact, an oversight: an explicit and systematic engagement with luck provides a more accurate portrayal of the social world, opens potentially rich veins of empirical and theoretical inquiry, and offers a compelling alternative for challenging dominant meritocratic frames about inequality and the distribution of rewards. This article develops a framework for studying luck, first by proposing a working definition of luck, examining why sociology has ignored luck in the past, and making the case for why it is valuable to include luck in sociology’s conceptual repertoire. The article then demonstrates the fertile research potential of studying luck by identifying a host of research questions and hypotheses pertaining to the social construction of luck, the real effects of luck, and theoretical interventions related to luck. It concludes by highlighting the distinctive contributions sociology can make to the growing interdisciplinary interest in this topic.

Tullio Viola presents a working paper on ‚The Logic of Historical Inquiry‘

Last semester, my colloquium text was the fifth chapter of my
forthcoming book, Peirce on the Uses of History (De Gruyter 2020).
Now I would like to discuss the seventh and last chapter. This is the only
chapter that is still in a “first draft” form and therefore needs a rather
substantial revision. This applies to both style and content, for both are
still a bit shaky (which I hope makes for a good colloquium text!). The
main idea is simple enough. While the book’s previous chapters deal
with Peirce’s conception of the relation between philosophy and history,
also taking into account his work as a historian of science and culture,
this chapter closes the book by looking at methodological issues about
historiography and about epistemological problems about the very status
of historical inquiry.

Ranjeeta Dutta is going to present a working paper on ‚‘Temple Town’ as a Typology for Understanding Religion and Urbanity: The Case of Srirangam in Early Modern South India‘

This paper will first discuss the category of ‘temple town’ and ‘temple
urbanism and temple urbanization’ in South India as presented in the historical research and try to understand the viability of such phrases/terms as typologies for understanding religion and urbanity. Secondly, it will explore the development of Srirangam as an urban centre around a single cultic focus of the Ranganathasvami temple. An attempt will be made to analyse the processes through which the temple became the centre of diffusion not only for religious ideas and Srivaishnava community identities, but also of societal and political aspects of urbanism and urbanity that influenced its character and settlement patterns in the early modern period, from the fourteenth to eighteenth century CE.

Qudsiya Contractor gives a working paper on ‚The teacher and the aalim – Religious imagination in the making of public Muslims in a Mumbai slum‘

This paper looks at how the objectification of religious imagination
influences Muslim’s coping of their changing worldly realities. It looks at
the role of new religious intellectuals in addressing the shrinking Muslim
presence in the public sphere in urban India through newer styles of
religious leadership embedded in a broader understanding of the religious
imagination itself. These new religious intellectuals among the Muslim
poor I argue see the role of secular education coupled with a religious
imagination as essential in order to protect one’s self interests as a Muslim
yet be integral to a larger and diverse public. Islamic knowledge and
behavioural conduct combined with secular education is hence seen as a
way of fashioning the lives of the modern Muslim subject. In other words,
embracing modernity with Islamic values is seen as a way of refashioning
the Muslim self.

Malka Wijeratne is going to present a working paper on ‚What’s in a name?: A study of the names Gaius Julius Caesar Divi Filius and name Imperator Caesar Augustus Divi Filius‘

The topic of Augustus’ connection to Mos maiorum is one that has already been well analysed. However less is understood on why the Roman people accepted the connections he was making to such ancient traditions and also significant historical figures in Rome. The project proposes that their pre-existing, emotional connections to Mos maiorum and the resonance they felt with it – particularly those built on previous habitualisation through ritual – allowed them to appreciate and understand the importance Augustus placed on these values. It would additionally have prompted them to view him as a champion of Roman values and Roman tradition, despite several aspects of Augustus’ ascent to power going against the values on morality and democracy that are embraced within the concept of Mos maiorum. This paper aims to demonstrate the overall argument by using two of the names Augustus used since 44BC, as an example of how he linked himself to these traditions. It will, in each case, analyse why he needed to change his name and which aspects of Mos maiorum he was channeling with each of the two names. Afterward, the paper will also investigate if an emotional connection could have existed between the ritual or tradition in question and if this could then have allowed them to understand Augustus’ message. Furthermore, in each instance, the paper will also question if each of the names would have meant something different to the Aristocracy and the masses.

The overall hypothesis of the paper, is that the support garnered for Augustus’ association with Mos maiorum was created through the Romans’ existing emotional connection to the traditions and rituals associated with it and their ability to resonate with these traditions and rituals. However, this paper, and the project overall will take into account the possibility of this support being created through ulterior motives, rather than as a consequence of strong emotional connection and resonance towards Mos maiorum. While emotional links to the rituals – especially those linked strongly with a sense of identity – could certainly have moved people to become devoted to Augustus, it should be noted that the Late Republican period saw the rise of numerous powerful Roman personalities, all vying for some form of power and frequently turning against each other to ensure that this power was obtained. It is perfectly possible, that in some instances, ambition triumphed over emotion.

Matteo Santarelli presents a working paper on ‚Values, concepts, and contingency: re-assessing Joas’ theory of values‘

This paper is part of the introduction to the Italian edition of Hans Joas’s
book Die Entstehung der Werte. This paper aims at discussing and
reassessing Joas’ theses from the standpoint of nowadays scientific,
political and cultural debates.
In the first section of the paper, I will briefly reconstruct Joas’ definition of
values as the articulation of experiences of self-formation and selftranscendence.
In the second section of the paper, I will try to develop Joas’ theory of values presented in his 1997 essay from a theoretical point of view. As an outcome of this discussion, two supplementary theses will be introduced and discussed: values have an abstract (or more precisely, vague) conceptual content; moral judgments and feelings exceed the conceptual content of values. In the third section of the paper I will try to apply this theoretical reelaboration of Joas’ theory to discuss a contemporary issue, that is the role that values play in contemporary political and social life. Specifically, I will try to show how limited is an understanding of western contemporary societies in terms of total loss of values. The critical focus of this discussion will be Wendy Brown´s nihilistic interpretation of the contemporary conservative reactivation of traditional values.