Hörsaal Orangerie, Institute for European Global Studies
International Workshop on "The Philosophy and Global Politics of Concept Travel"
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 aimed to reflect on two broad questions. The first question investigated 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 explored the ways in which concepts and conceptual travel are understood in recent scholarship theorizing and challenging inequality in global knowledge production.
The workshop primarily addressed doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers.
The event was 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.
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