/ Events

How Do Concepts Travel? Workshop at the Institute for European Global Studies

Workshop "The Philosophy and Global Politics of Concept Travel"

Picture: "The Traveler". Sculpture in Oviedo, Spain, by Astur / Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

Do concepts change when traveling to different contexts and if so, how? How is this process discussed in scholarship on inequality in global knowledge production? These are the guiding questions of a workshop at the Institute for European Global Studies on June 17, 2022. At the event, talks by renowned experts will explore "The Philosophy and Global Politics of Concept Travel". The workshop primarily addresses doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers who can register via email to europa@unibas.ch.

The Workshop Topic

Questions surrounding the nature of concepts and concept travel have received a lot of scholarly attention in the humanities and social sciences. Concepts – their nature, how they work and how they can be engineered – are important objects of study in philosophy. At the same time, the notion of concept travel between and across different geographical and disciplinary domains has growing popularity in discussions about fostering interdisciplinarity and broader debates about addressing inequality in global knowledge production. For example: the integration and adoption of concepts from marginalized epistemic communities is touted by some as a crucial part of decolonizing global knowledge production and challenging Eurocentrism in global knowledge production.

This workshop aims to reflect on two broad questions. The first question investigates the link between concept travel and concept engineering. Do concepts change in traveling to different domains? What is the nature of this change, and can it be understood as a form of conceptual engineering? The second question explores the ways in which concepts and conceptual travel are understood in recent scholarship theorizing and challenging inequality in global knowledge production.

About the Speakers

Prof. Dr. Peter Ronald deSouza is Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), New Delhi, India. He was the Director of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, where he served two terms from 2007 until 2013. Before that, he was with the Department of Political Science of Goa University from 1987 to 2003. His area of research is on democratic politics in South Asia.

Prof. Dr. Katrin Meyer is titular professor at the University of Basel. She studied Philosophy, German Literature and Church History in Basel, Berlin and Paris. In 1997, she graduated with a PhD on the works of Friedrich Nietzsche. From 2002-2005, she was a research assistant in Philosophy at the University of St. Gallen and from 2005-2017, she was the coordinator of the Swiss Gender Studies Network in Basel. She teaches Philosophy at the University of Basel and Gender Studies at the Unversity of Zurich.

Prof. Dr. Veli Mitova is Professor in Philosophy and Director of the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science, the South African team leader for "The Geography of Philosophy Project", and a co-PI for the "Epistemic Injustice, Reasons, and Agency" project funded by a Newton Advanced Fellowship. She works at the intersection of epistemology, metaethics and the philosophy of action. At the moment, she is thinking about epistemic injustice and decolonising knowledge.

Dr. Manuel Gustavo Isaacs is a Research Fellow of the Swiss National Science Foundation in the Departement of Philosophy at the University of Zurich. After obtaining a PhD in historical epistemology at Paris Sorbonne Universities, he conducted as PI four postdoctoral research projects funded by prestigious fellowships and grants in Amsterdam (ILLC), Barcelona (LOGOS), St Andrews (ARCHÉ), and Zurich. His work ranges from the history and philosophy of logic and mathematics to metaphilosophy and philosophical methods via the philosophies of language and mind.

About the Organizers

The event is organized in the context of the SNSF-project “Reversing the Gaze” and in collaboration with the African Centre for Epistemology and Philosophy of Science at the University of Johannesburg. "Reversing the Gaze" uses a "conceptual laboratory" to take a critical theoretical approach by deploying concepts developed in the Global South to the North. It tests the analytic purchase of three mid-level concepts – "re-tribalisation", "political society" and "the cunning state" – on political crisis phenomena in Europe against the background of a careful inquiry into the methodological scope of comparison.


The workshop "The Philosophy and Global Politics of Concept Travel" is meant primarily as a way for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers to engage with current debates on concept travel. Anyone interested in participating is kindly asked to register via email to europa@clutterunibas.ch.

Further Information: