Daily Archives: June 6, 2017

MARIJA OTT FRANOLIĆ

READ, THINK, FEEL, ACT: Can reading literature be a path to becoming empathic and critical individuals, ready for social change?

“Fiction enhances our vocabulary and imagination, gives us tools to describe and understand our lives, to make sense of the world. Reading fiction also offers readers a way to identify with the characters and imagine different worlds, experience new challenges, to put oneself in the shoes of the other and maybe even feel empathy with him, her or it.

In the light of rising xenophobia all over the world, and keeping in mind Adorno’s claim that the inability to identify with others led to Auschwitz, it is important to question whether identification with literary characters can be a fertile ground to identification with people in real life, those leading different lives. Can fiction, and especially fiction that disturbs us, offer readers a way to broaden their horizons, to stop seeing the “limited knowledge as truth” (Horkheimer & Adorno) and become empathic subjects ready to embrace societal changes? Or is this notion just wishful thinking?” 


Marija Ott Franolić is an independent researcher and currently a fellow at CAS SEE in Rijeka. She completed her PhD studies at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb, with the thesis dedicated to exploring women’s everyday lives, based on their diaries and autobiographies. She is actively involved in the projects of the NGO Blaberon, aimed at encouraging reading and critical thinking. Her interests include the development of reading habits in younger children, the connection between reading and critical thinking, the influence of reading on our personality, feminism, women’s history, cultural studies, and women’s literature. She is the author of several scientific and popular articles, and has published the book Dnevnik ustremljen nedostižnom (A Diary of the Unattainable) about women’s everyday lives and their autobiographical texts.

GREGOR MODER

Truth in Politics

According to Spinoza, rights of individuals or groups are identical to their physical or psychical capabilities. If contemporary theory, including its Marxist variations, Althusser and Foucault, explains political and social relations as the relations of power and domination, of ideology and hegemony, then one could say that it follows the premises of Spinoza’s Political Treatise. However, while there is little doubt that power relations are a required condition of any sensible political theory, do they also constitute its sufficient condition? The panelists will argue this is not the case, and that one must indeed study not only power relations, but also a category which we can call the truth.


Kolenc, Komel and Moder are members of the Aufhebung International Hegelian Association based in Ljubljana, Slovenia. Dr. Bara Kolenc, philosopher and artist, winner of the Theatertreffen Stueckemarkt Commission of Work 2016 award, is the author of Repetition and Enactment: Kierkegaard, Psychoanalysis, Theatre (DTP, 2014). Dr. Mirt Komel, writer and philosopher, is the author of Discourse and Violence (DTP, 2012), The Socratic Touches (FDV, 2015) and The Attempt of a Touch (FDV, 2008). Dr. Gregor Moder, currently a fellow at CAS SEE Rijeka, teaches philosophy of art at the University of Ljubljana and is the author of Hegel and Spinoza: Substance and Negativity (Northwestern University Press, 2017).