Monthly Archives: July 2020

The Moise Palace – From Oblivion to an Incubator of Knowledges and Skills

The Croatian island of Cres is an outstanding place to plan getting lost in while discovering its bays and ports, old towns and narrow paths, chimerical legends, and the cultural heritage dating since the Roman days. In 2020, Cres became even more engaging for the intellectual wanderer due to the opening of the Moise Palace, a 16th-century palace the islanders never knew they had. On July 24th, Rijeka’s daily paper, the Novi list, brought the story of the Moise being “Torn from Oblivion”.

The 500-year-old patrician palace has this year become the University of Rijeka’s educational and research center, prior to which it was a famous ruin, erroneously considered to have been an old residential complex. The reason for its neglect during the 20th century was in its being inhabited by the poor and the outcast in society, so the building got nicknamed “Biafra”, as to indicate the caste it stood for during this time. It was only in the late 2000s that the newest research found the “old ghost house” to in fact be the largest Renaissance palace on the Croatian islands. Build in the mid-1550s, the Moise Palace once belonged to the famous aristocratic family of Petris. Given that the Petris collaborated with the Habsburg Empire, their presence was precarious in the then Venetian Cres, yet the family persevered, leaving traces of their political thought, interests, and education in the shapes of the many symbols and murals found in the palace. The palace was added-on in the 19th century, then belonging to another Croatian-Italian aristocratic line, the Moise, thus inheriting the name. This chimerical legend, a palace standing on a natural water spring in the middle of the old-town Cres, now stands to tell yet another interesting story, one which has just begun.

Today, the Moise Palace is a scientific-educational center, an island hub run by the University of Rijeka, where it’s all about being present, dynamic, informed, connected, and – hybrid. The palace is conceived to stand out both as a place and as a principle: to serve the community whilst charging it with new practices and knowledges, and sharing its own local knowledge with the world in an engaging and intimate (personal) way.

For this reason, two of the University’s centers are running the Moise now: Centre for Advanced Studies Southeast Europe and the Centre for Studies and Lifelong Learning. To make things simple, the job of the one university Centre (CSLL) is to share Cres with the world, while the other Centre (CAS SEE) is to bring the world to Cres, doing so by fulfilling its core activities of coordination and research work of visiting postdoctoral scientists. The CAS SEE also organizes activities that follow the construction of new economic paradigms by developing a business culture focused around the man and his work. So, the Moise is to expect “a flux of persons and goods in the winter period, after the tourists have gone, when the rains start immersing the narrow passages and aqua alta reaches the palace. Questioning the uncomfortable position of “academic tourists” and looking for elements that disturb the setting from inside, our guests can challenge their traveler’s comfort zones and immerse into the urban-cum-natural tissue of Cres, in order to develop both locally and globally meaningful research and artistic responses to the materials and signals in situ” – Sanja Bojanić explained, the Executive Director of the CAS SEE.

The current Moise Program evolves around various and versatile activities: from the Berlin symphony orchestra “No Borders” rehearsing there this summer, across a specter of engaging lectures and workshops, to an exhibition of the old Cres Dock-09, which has been reinvented for contemporary purposes by an architect infatuated with the island. Much more is to be expected from the Moise Palace in the challenging times to come, and much is planned for the scientific treatment and discussion(s) on issues such as internal migration, settlement dynamics and social practices of the post-war periods in Rijeka, but also for the cognitive and ethno-pragmatic models in the relationship between individuals and public, the reform of the common European asylum system and/or linguistic landscapes, thus bringing and exercising new insights into already known concepts, practices, and worlds.

Architecturally resurrected as an incubator of knowledges and skills, the Moise Palace is becoming a venue and forum for various scientific and research activities, a center welcoming visiting students and artists wishing to withdraw for a moment to a serene and inspiring collaboration setting. In fact, the Moise Palace already is a study haven for those whose intentions are to conduct scientific and artistic work while enjoying the island’s pristine nature. It is a place to restore individual and group wellness while mapping the local and advancing new investigative practices.

 

Original article (Croatian) is available as a typesetting version on page1, page2, and page3.

Open-Source Institutions Talks I

July 29-31, 2020

Organized by Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe

The intelligence of the next generation of European institutions hinges on a system of technologically-mediated participatory policy-making and problem-solving.

The Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe (University of Rijeka) is currently developing a project in collaboration with RadicalxChange Foundation, which will test and examine several variants of vTaiwan model for open-source governance in the context of European institutions. For purposes of developing this project, we have organized a series of talks on the relevant contemporary developments in institutional designs that utilize collective intelligence.

The first workshop featured a CAS SEE Weekly Seminar talk by E. Glen Weyl on the work and vision of the RadicalxChange Foundation, which has taken place on July 30th, 2020.

The second workshop was led by Anne de Zeeuw, who presented the work of Netwerk Democratie, an organization dedicated to building technologically-assisted participatory democracy.

Finally, the third workshop introduced Aleksandar Šušnjar from the University of Rijeka, who presented the Young Universities for the Future of Europe network. This is meant to enable a conversation about the development of the project in the context of new European universities as the test site for the next generation of intelligent institutions in Europe.

The workshop ended with the presentation of the project rationale and methodology draft by CAS SEE researchers developing the project.

PROGRAM:

29. 7.  

 

Anne de Zeeuw: Netwerk Democratie

Aleksandar Šušnjar (University of Rijeka):

Young Universities for the Future of Europe

30. 7. CAS SEE Weekly Seminars /

E. Glen Weyl: RadicalxChange

31. 7. Sanja Bojanić, Kristina Stojanović-Čehajić, Marko-Luka Zubčić, Vladan Šutanovac
(Center for Advanced Studies South East Europe):
Towards Open-source Institutions in Europe – The Rationale and the Method

 

(The workshop is a part of the “AI and Democracy” program, funded by the University of Rijeka.)

“Evenings at the Moise”: The Forgotten Cornel

The Moise Palace on Cres again hosted an interesting lecture dedicated to health and the knowledges forgotten, when it comes to preserving it. On Thursday, July 16th, 2020, the Moise audience found out about the cornel (Cornus mas L.), on a lecture entitled “Searching for the Super Fruit of our Parts: The Forgotten Cornel”. The project, funded by the “27 Neighbourhoods” program is conceived to present the “Neighbourhood Kampus” as a part of the “Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture” project; and those citizens who attended the lecture at the Palace, have been presented with the results of chemical analysis of the cornel gathered around Rijeka (including the cornel collected on Cres). The analysis of the “forgotten cornel” was conducted at the Department of Biotechnology, University of Rijeka, and the lecture was accompanied by a practical introduction to aromas.

 

The healthy properties of the cornel have been known since the dawn of time and thanks to the conducted chemical analysis, we are now familiar with the scientific basis of the general claims praising the many benefits of consuming cornel. The best ways of preparing cornel have also been presented, in order to maximally preserve its useful properties. This was an opportunity to compare the scientifically proven facts about cornel with the practical experiences of the citizens of Cres and other Moise visitors. The lecture was held by an expert on aromas, M.Sc.Land.Arch. Tomislav Pavlešić, who introduced the term “aroma” before taking the audience on a sensory exploration. Under his guidance, the audience tried a multitude of samples of various flavors after the lecture, which was held according to the Croatian epidemiological standards and proscriptions.

 

CAS SEE Seminars with Guests – Bonnie Honig

On Thursday, July 23rd, 2020, the CAS SEE Seminars with Guests continued with questioning the (nature/s of certain) politics in the Arendtian fashion, introducing Professor Bonnie Honig, who was presented by our fellow Valentina Moro. The seminar took place at 4 PM CET due to different time-zones.

Saidiya Hartman’s “Fabulation” is an important concept in Black Studies, connoting the effort to supplement and amplify archives that erase rather than preserve the joy and freedom of Black life. Critics worry about fabulation’s departures from “facts” though we might well note fabulation’s commitment to the archives, with which Hartman always begins. In this paper, Bonnie Honig asks: How might Hartman’s “fabulation” be illuminated by Hannah Arendt’s idea of story-telling? And what sort of politics is postulated by each of these thinkers? The Bacchae, Euripides’ 5th-century tragedy of women refusing or rising up, and its reception history, is used as an example of how archives are shaped and facts established for the future. In the play, truths are established rather than discovered. And so, toward the end of the play, when the women return to the city, we may see this as a move in the agon over facticity.  The women demand glory for their refusal. That they fail need not mean we have nothing to learn from them. Quite the opposite.

Bonnie Honig is Nancy Duke Lewis Professor of Modern Culture and Media and Political Science at Brown University. She is the author of Political Theory and the Displacement of Politics (Cornell, 1993, Scripps Prize for Best First Book), Democracy and the Foreigner (Princeton, 2001), Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy (Princeton, 2009, David Easton Prize), Antigone, Interrupted. (Cambridge University Press, 2013) and Public Things: Democracy in Disrepair (Fordham, 2017). She has edited or co-edited several collections, including Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt (Penn State, 1995) and Politics, Theory, and Film: Critical Encounters with Lars von Trier (Oxford, 2016).  Her articles have appeared in the journals ‘Arethusa’, ‘New Literary History’, ‘Political Theory’, ‘theory&event’, ‘Social Text’, ‘differences’, the ‘American Political Science Review’, and more. Her forthcoming book, based on her 2017 Flexner Lectures, deals with “a feminist theory of refusal”.

CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 Seminars – Federica Porcheddu and Valentina Moro

The ending of this year’s Spring Fellowship has digitally “happened” on July 7th, 2020, with two philosophical questions: one on food sovereignty and the other inquiring on the legacy of feminist movements.

Firstly, the relationship between human society and nature has been viewed through the lens of the more general process of commodification by Federica Porcheddu, our fellow and the Italian referent for the Cahiers d’études lévinassiennes, with areas of interest such as intersubjectivity, community, ethics, and politics.
Porcheddu’s project introduces a conception of nature according to which, far from being considered as an essential element for the survival of human beings, is instead conceived as a means to be exploited in order to guarantee the greatest profit possible, without any consideration for the high environmental costs that this entails. One of the most negative aspects of this process concerns in particular the commodification of food, a determining factor of the current global food crisis.
Challenging this view, Porcheddu takes the concept of food sovereignty as a possible alternative to reformulate the relationship between human society and nature. For her, food sovereignty opens up a perspective of global food justice which focuses on the importance of food as a fundamental human right, while highlighting the impact that human activity has on the environment.

In the second part of our meeting, Valentina Moro asked: How is it possible to act together and to mobilize by calling into question the entire paradigm of sovereign nation-states and its economic model? This political strategy needs to go beyond the denounce of an emergency (the financial crisis, or the environmental emergency) and requires a structural critique of the system that produced it. Moro‘s research focuses on feminist movements, the aim of which is to rethink the patriarchal forms of domination, that are embodied in the structure of liberal democracies and that entail hierarchies and inequalities.
In the first part of the research, she posed a question upon the way in which several theorists discussed the topic of the “body” – both individual and collective – as the core of a feminist reconsideration of the political relationship between human society and nature. The second part of her research explores the way in which the new wave of feminist mobilizations drew attention on the necessity of regaining control of one’s own body and boosted the challenge to reorganize within a collective body – a community, a group, a movement. From a theoretical perspective, assembly and organization are the key-words of the second part of the research. Valentina Moro is our fellow from the University of Padua who in 2019 obtained her first fellowship at the CAS SEE. Her research intersects the fields of political theory, classics, and feminist studies. She collaborates with the Hannah Arendt research center in Verona.

CAS SEE Seminars with Guests – Giovanni Maddalena

On Thursday, July 16th, 2020, the CAS SEE Seminar with Giovanni Maddalena, presented by our fellow Alessandra Scotti has taken place on Zoom. The seminar was dedicated to the presentation of Maddalena’s new book – The History and Theory of Post-Truth Communication.

Giovanni Maddalena is an Associate Professor of History of Philosophy and Philosophy of Political Communication at the University of Molise. His academic work focuses on American Philosophy, especially on Charles S. Peirce and classical pragmatists. He is Senior Fellow of the Institute of American Thought (IUPUI, Indianapolis) and Member of the Scientific Board of the Philosophy Department at École Normale Supérieure (Paris). He is the founder and executive editor of the Journal European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy. He is the author of The Philosophy of Gesture, Montreal, McGill-Queen’s University Press (2015).

In The History and Theory of Post-Truth Communication, Palgrave 2020, co-written with Guido Gili, Maddalena explores the notion of Post-Truth, its history, and meaning for human beings. Philosophy, as it is understood and practiced in the West, is and has been generally considered to be the search for truth. Nevertheless in the history of “a-philosophy”, conceived as the historical attempt to reverse the “official philosophy”, from Nietzsche’s idea of truth as “a mobile army of metaphors” to Foucault’s investigations of the nexus of truth, subjectivity, and discourse, many have attempted to deconstruct ‘Western’ claims to objective and universal truth. If these are the roots of Post-Truth, what is behind the current rise in interest and alarm about the concept?

Chosen by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘word of the year’ in 2016, post-truth has entered both journalistic and common languages. There is, however, much confusion and suffocating rhetoric about what it is, how it became such a powerful force, and its positive or perverse effects.

Discussing philosophical concepts, sociological theories, communication strategies, and original interpretations of historical events from the birth of mass media until today, we did our best to better understand current times and what is going on in our politics and society.

Watch us on Zoom:

 

Discussion on Democracy – “Evenings at the Moise”

Thursday, July 2nd, 2020, was at the Moise Palace on Cres Island reserved for an evening of (re)thinking democracy. The cycle of lectures for citizens continued in the scientific and educational center of the University of Rijeka, in line with the (then) upcoming parliamentary elections. The title of the public discussion held was “How Can We Improve Our Democracy?”

Democracy: Advantages, Disadvantages, Traps, and How We Could Contribute to Its Improvement

After a short introduction in the theory of democracy and a review of the basic forms of government, by dr. sc. Marko-Luka Zubčić, the discussion aimed at questioning democracy and today’s democratic principles and practices took off. It developed into a lively exchange of views with the audience attending the discussion. Is democracy the best form of government? What are its advantages, disadvantages, but also its traps and snares? Are we really well informed and what can we do about it? As people of various professions were present in the audience, the proscribed distance was kept in a non-proscribed discussion, enriched with arguments and opinions from various aspects of the immediate social body.

CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 Seminars – Alessandra Scotti and Xenia Chiaramonte

As the CAS SEE Spring Fellowship 2020 is coming to an end, we realize that it has been one of the most interesting fellowships so far: we have extended our work into our private spaces instead of leaving them to meet each other in the Moise Palace, to say the least. Because of this reason, of the private and the professional, the “formal” and the “natural” being so interwoven, last Thursday’s lectures felt “on spot”.

On July 2nd, 2020 we heard from Alessandra Scotti, Professor of Bioethics at the Department of Humanities of University of Naples who began her presentation with what she calls “a forceful division between the human subject and natural objects”, stressing out that “the current environmental crisis requires a new reflection on the human relationship with Earth, one that can find valuable support in phenomenological thinking”. She went on to give us insight into “how Merleau-Ponty’s philosophy of nature and his notion of flesh can offer important support, both methodological and ontological, to ethical studies on the environment and the ecological crisis”. Scotti’s project consists of “a theoretical inquiry involving the rethinking of the problem from an ethical and political point of view, through an ontology of the visible. Its purpose is to contribute to: a) a new centrality of the corporeality; b) the building-up of a bodily ecology as a way to an environmental ethic; c) the analysis of social phenomena through the concept of visible”.

After Scotti’s “ecological thinking”, our next Fellow presenter, Xenia Chiaramonte, a jurist and a sociologist of law, took over in the most natural fashion and sense, beginning her presentation with a question about the economy of nature and its legal context. “In most cases”, Chiaramonte pointed out, “law is used against grassroots movements, and protests are criminalized. Ecological struggles are widespread around the world, but they are discouraged from employing the law to advance their rights, as the law seems to be a tool for the ‘Haves’ rather than an instrument for ‘First Players’. Yet, people mobilize and they ask for climate justice. Admittedly, the most recent studies on law and social movements demonstrate the positive influence of strategic use of the law to advance the rights of nature and populations, especially when they are subject to a restriction”. Reminding us of the fact that “law is a technique, a means, and as such, it can serve several masters”, Chiaramonte proposes to explore “the instituent ability of legal means and apply it to the rights of nature”. Xenia Chiaramonte teaches Critical Criminology at the University of Padua and Bologna.

CAS SEE Weekly Seminars with Guests – Mauro Carbone

In the aftermath of the first global pandemic, some of us are facing far more screen-time than usual, is considered healthy, others… Screens are evolving rapidly to complement our bodies and senses, while the virtuality of life (online vs. offline version of life) is being legitimized around the world, inviting new standards regardless of our being prepared for them. On July 9th, 2020 at 10:00 AM we have discussed the philosophy of this phenomenon with Mauro Carbone, the author of “Philosophy-Screens”, presented to us by our fellow Alessandra Scotti.

Mauro Carbone is Professor of Aesthetics at the Department of Philosophy, University of Jean Moulin Lyon 3, and an Honorary Member of the Institut Universitaire de France. He is the founder and co-editor of the journal Chiasmi International. Trilingual Studies concerning Merleau-Ponty’s Thought. Among his books translated into English: An Unprecedented Deformation: Marcel Proust and the Sensible Ideas, Suny Press 2010; The Flesh of Images. Merleau-Ponty between Painting and Cinema, Suny Press 2015. In Philosophy-Screens: From Cinema to the Digital Revolution, Suny Press 2019, Carbone intertwines continental philosophy and phenomenological studies with contemporary media and visual studies.

Since Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, philosophers have been struggling with the issue of screens: according to the tradition, if screens are an expression of illusion, then philosophy’s duty is to overcome their deceiving power. Carbone engages in a dialogue with several scholars such as Henri Bergson, Jean-Paul Sartre, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, Jean-François Lyotard, and Gilles Deleuze, and ends up reversing the Western main philosophical paradigm that opposes real and ideal or virtual, and states the primacy of stable identities with respect to relationships. This reversal is carried out through a series of notions like those of arche-screen, sensible ideas, quasi-prosthesis, and dividualization, which provide new criteria for considering our present condition starting from a new conceptualization of screens and its implications. Indeed, if screen experiences change over time as much as our way of conceptualizing them, how have our relationships with screens changed in these times of pandemic (or post-pandemic)? And how does a “Philosophy-Screens” sound like in this light?

Watch us on Zoom!