Qudsiya Contractor gives a working paper on ‚Melancholia of the past‘

In this paper I analyse how the demolition of the Babri mosque by Hindu nationalists and the communal violence in its aftermath (1992-93) is remembered in a predominantly Muslim slum neighbourhood in Mumbai. By drawing on ethnographic fieldwork, I consider how a traumatic event is given meaning through fragmented memories inscribed in urban space. My aim here is to provide a nuanced analysis of the fragmented memories of post-Babri violence in Mumbai (then Bombay) through the recollections of the city’s Muslim poor, who faced the main brunt of the violence within the spatial context of the Muslim neighbourhoods that provide for a safe social backdrop for the expression of an otherwise suppressed memory that was pushed by the official narratives of the past into marginality. I suggest that the silencing of their voices by official versions of the past can lead to the creation of an alternative sociality that addresses community concerns to break the hold of the past and imagine the future of cohabitation.

Reshma Radhakrishnan presents a working paper on ‚‘Strategic Accommodation’ of Diversities: gender norms and identities beyond the norms and identities beyond the binaries‘

This paper engages with the ways and processes through which gender diversities are accommodated. Taking the case of trans women of Kerala, a small South-Indian state known for its high development indices despite low economic growth, the paper discusses the processes which involve different approaches to activism and their varying receptions . The transgender communities in Kerala today, when compared to the rest of the country, at the outset although certainly arguably enjoy a surprisingly respectable status. With exceptions, they are no longer forced to run away to a strange city that does not even speak their language. An emerging trend in this context is the ‘trans marriages’, or the heterosexual conjugality practiced by trans women and trans men. Using excerpts from interviews and interactions with ten trans women who are popular and at the forefront of the present day movement, and other secondary materials to support, the attempt is to understand and analyse the drastic changes and developments that happened within a very short time-span. The relevance of the questions I ask is in the changed social and political context where the law, the state and the civil society are accommodative of and more open and sensitive than before to sexual and gender diversities.

Having done this, the paper goes on to introduce the case of trans men, and proposes to make sense of the articulations of masculinities by the trans men of Kerala as an assignment for the future.

Nancy Alhachem is going to present a working paper on ‚Nazism in the Levant: Resonance Momentum?‘

For my second colloquium I planned on gathering empirical findings and investigating memorials as assumed ‘resonant-spaces’ but since life had other plans, and social gatherings, workshops and field work had to be freezed/postponed… will present this paper, which is part of a bigger chapter on the historical background from which the interviewees come. I had to restrict it to particular cases, for I’m not yet sure which ‘national-backgrounds’ will be included.

I argue in short, that the reception of the Holocaust in the Levant went through four stages, each very complicated and intertwined to be simply dismissed as echoes, or argued as ‘resonant’

Pre-conflict (Israel/Palestine): Sympathy

Post-war (nation-building): Denial

Nationalism and legitimization of totalitarian regimes: copying Nazism?

Post-2011 (Revolution/War/Exile): Empathy?

The first three simplified stages are reviewed here, in order to show that if there was a resonant encounter, it was far from being based on racial ideology. However, its effects had been used by totalitarian regimes, to gain legitimacy and ‘manipulate’ the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for their own aims. The outcome can be traced in how refugees and migrants approach the German Erinnerungkultur and their understanding of the Holocaust.

Tullio Viola presents a working paper on ‚Reflexive Thinking and Cultural Transmission‘

According to a rather widespread view of the relationship between individuals and their socio-cultural context, people articulate their thoughts and normative commitments through expressive tools or conceptual repertoires that are available in their social group. The research project here presented deals with a more specific and hitherto underrated case. I will investigate those cases in which the individual articulation of a thought is not carried out in an explicit manner, but hides behind the transmission of expressive tools that are charged with symbolic value. Those expressive tools may in turn become the object of long traditions that travel in space and time. Some examples: a legend, folktale, or rumor may provide members of a social group with a way to express their inarticulate needs and concerns; a picture, verbal formula or gesture may be resorted to in very different historical and geographical settings in virtue of a seemingly context-transcending expressive power; the memory of a historical event, or of a historical figure, may crystallize into a value-laden paradigm and thus become the object of a stable transmission chain. As I will argue, these apparently heterogenous examples are held together not only by their symbolic nature, but also by a significant overlapping between the act of articulation (i.e., the act by which individuals make explicit to themselves and others their thoughts and normative commitments) and the act of cultural transmission (i.e., the act by which individuals receive and pass on a cultural representation). In exploring the implications of this idea, my study will draw on the theoretical resources that have come out of the nineteenth- and twentieth-century dialogue between philosophy, social sciences, and Kulturwissenschaften. But it will also critically discuss some empirical findings in the field of history and sociology. Aim of this double methodology is to explore new insights about the philosophical puzzles of articulation while suggesting new paths of empirical investigation.

Sisi Sung is going to present a working paper on ‚Theorizing women in management in Chinese organizational context‘

This paper provides a review of previous studies regarding gender and organization, women in management in both Western and Chinese contexts. The paper aims to develop an analytical framework for understanding the empirical data collected from interviews with managers in Chinese private and state-owned enterprises.

Javier Francisco presents a working paper on ‚Imperial House of Cards: Europe’s Friction-Based Rule in the Americas‘

This text excerpt is part of my manuscript which is progressing well. The main argumentative purpose of my investigation is to explain the longevity of Europe’s empires in the Americas from the 16th till 19th century. Herein, I provide theory formation based on a new concept which I’m developing: friction-based cohesion. It describes empires which were engaged in structural friction and thus created domestic coherence. Structural friction, then, refers to competition, which was often based on ideas of zero-sum thinking, exclusivity, monopolies and conflicts in many sections such as politics, military, religion and trade.  In the following text I concentrate on the Greater Caribbean and provide a new temporal classification which accounts for all European empires throughout the centuries as well as a classification of inter-imperial interactions resulting in 3 major geostrategic options: expansion, defense and stalemate.

Winfried Kumpitsch presents a working paper on ‚Warrior Saints and Warrior Ideal‘

The following paper tries to investigate the possibility of a connection between warrior saints and a Christian warrior ideal. For this purpose I present seven work in progress case studies with which I investigate the connection creatd within the text´s themselves between military service and faith, and the information we can gather about their cult.

Ranjeeta Dutta gives a working paper on ‚Unequal Spaces, Equal Access: Negotiating Religion in the Temple Town of Srirangam in Early Modern South India‘

The present paper will examine the ways in which sacrality and urbanism provide the basis of relations of social dominance influenced by caste, occupational hierarchies and ritual rankings of the social groups. On the basis of a case study of the craftsmen at Srirangam, the paper will discuss the ways in which unequal social spaces were created within the city reflected in the existence of different streets around the temple, the distance of each of which from the temple was directly proportional to the social status of the inhabitants residing in those streets. Various religious groups associated with the temple interacted with this hierarchical urban morphology and developed followings by creating spaces of ‘equal’ access through inclusivistic ritual activities within the temple. While these ritual spaces had a semblance of equal access, in many ways the social hierarchy of caste was still maintained within the temple. In many ways, the temple provided an arena of competitive control of resources and followers for different religious groups. These religious groups dovetailed between social hierarchies and fluidity of the city boundaries lending dynamism to religion and urbanity.

Devmini Malka Wijeratne presents a working paper on ‚ Bedazzling the city of brick: Why did Augustus renovate and reconstruct existing temples, rather than add new temples to the landscape?‘

The previous chapter focused on Augustus‘ use of his names to imply that he was somehow a saviour and preserver of ancient traditions. This chapter will focus on how he demonstrated this physically. Essentially, this chapter will argue that his restoration and preservation of the decaying temples showed his desire to restore and preserve Roman traditions. It will also argue that prior to building these temples -and then throughout his political carer – Augustus glorified Rome’s past and particularly exaggerated how the city’s adherence to its traditions and rituals were the reason for its success. It will imply that, having little memory of how frequently these practices were observed by older generations, the Roman people would have felt more guilt and grief over the loss of this imagined, glorious past. This in turn would have created greater appreciation for Augustus and his supporters, and their contribution to the revival of the temples and also their traditions. It will also point out that some other reasons for his decision to reconstruct may also have existed. However, while these would not directly have involved some manipulation of sentiments towards old traditions, the reasons behind them were still very political and were still carried out with the intention of maintaining Augustus‘ image of being a moral leader who had the peoples‘ best interests at heart.

Gabriel Malli presents a working paper on ‚Religious subjectivity in new social media: the discursive construction of the modest self‘

The following paper addresses the construction of moral subject positions – understood as normative templates for “proper” religious conduct and self-understanding – in Islamic Web 2.0 discourse. In the first section, I discuss four distinctive features of online based social media (participatory potentials, community building, multisensory character, technical infrastructure) with regard to their consequences for the production and reception of religious discursive knowledge. Acknowledging that also purist and fundamentalist Islamic agents make use of Web 2.0 potentials, in the second part of the paper I present empirical findings from certain positions of Islamic gender discourse on YouTube, labelled as religious-authoritative. In their discursive practice they produce strictly binary moral codes of gendered con-duct based on certain conceptions of a God-willed order. Relating to every-day situations of a mostly young audience, they constitute a certain model of subjectivity – the modest self – characterized by self-disciplination and rigid gender practice.