Marcello Barison (Padova – Italy)
Project – title: Types of Spaces. Philosophy of Architecture.
Marcello Barison received his BA and MA at the University of Padua. His thesis (MA dissertation), which then turned into his first book (La Costituzione metafisica del Mondo), concerns the concept of world in the contemporary German thought. From that work, also owing to an annual stay at the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, he explored the twentieth century German philosophy more and more thoroughly, especially devoting his attention to the figure of Martin Heidegger, the thinker on which he then conducted also his doctoral dissertation. He completed his doctoral studies at the Istituto Italiano di Scienze Umane (SUM) in Naples in collaboration with the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. In addition to lectures and publications focusing on 20th century continental philosophy, he has written on contemporary art, literature and architecture.
Project – title: In the Shadow of the Habsburg Empire. Postwar crisis, National Conflicts and New Fascist Order.
Marco Bresciani is a former fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Rijeka. He was educated at the Scuola Normale Superiore and at the University of Pisa, where he obtained his PhD. He was post-doc fellow at the Istituto per la Storia del Movimento di Liberazione Nazionale in Italia, at the Remarque Institute (NYU), at the Centre de Recherches Politiques R. Aron (EHESS). So far, his interests have focused on the global and European history of socialism, antifascism and anti-totalitarianism, with special regard to intellectual networks in Italy, France and US, from the 1930s to the 1970s. His current project deals with the transition from the imperial to the national sovereignty, the subsequent political, social and cultural crisis and conflicts and their persistent legacies in the former Oesterreiches Küstenland, annexed by Italy in 1918.
Project – title: The East European Dissidence in Transnational Perspective
Tamara Caraus is a Researcher at New Europe College, Bucharest, Romania. Her current area of research includes political theory of cosmopolitanism, dissidence, civil disobedience, global resistance, and agonistic/radical democracy. Tamara Caraus has undertaken research projects in political philosophy at Institut fur die Wissenschaften vom Menschen, Vienna, Austria; University of Uppsala, Sweden; University of Groningen, The Netherland; Oxford University, UK; Palacky University of Olomouc, Czech Republic and others. She contributed with articles to various academic journals and edited volumes, published Tzara mea (2001), Ethical Perspectives on the Postmodern Rewriting (2003), Traps of Identity (2011), and co-edited Cosmopolitanism and the Legacy of Dissent (Routledge, 2014).
Project – title: Economic Development and Ethnopolitics. Study of Dependency.
Jan Muś works as an adjunct at the Institute of East-Central Europe (IESW) and as a lecturer at the Catholic University of Lublin. His research interest concerns nationalism and ethnopolitics as well as the contemporary political and social developments in the Southeastern Europe. Jan’s project at the CAS SEE combines economic development and ethnopolitical claims in culturally plural societies of the Hapsburg and the Ottoman empires and in this sense it refers to the critical theory. It aims at further development of theoretical framework on ethnicity and nationalism by studying dependency between economic development and rise of nationalism. By referring to domestic and international economic features, such as dynamics of agro-, trade-, and economic cycles, cultural division of labour within the given society and subsequently existing socio-economic inequalities and their consequences, this project will cast new light on mechanisms and institutions of ethnopolitics.
Adriana Placani completed her PhD in Political Theory at LUISS Guido Carli University of Rome. She has a Master’s Degree in Political Science (Political Theory) from Central European University in Budapest, and a Bachelor’s Degree in International Economic Relations from The Academy of Economic Studies in Bucharest. In 2011, she was a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University Law School in New York.
Project – title: Evolutionary Aesthetics. A bridging discipline between the life and human sciences
Mariagrazia Portera is a former fellow researcher of the Center for Advanced Studies at the University of Rijeka, Croatia. She holds a PhD in Philosophy (Aesthetics) from the University of Florence. Her research interests lie in Aesthetics, History of Philosophy, Evolutionary BIOlogy. She has published papers and book chapters on the evolutionary genesis of human aesthetic attitude, on the origin of the arts, on the epistemology and research methodology of Evolutionary Aesthetics. She has spent several research stays in European Universities, such as in Berlin, London, Vienna, Stuttgart, Freiburg i.B.
Project – title: How to Research Like a Dog: Kafka’s New Science
Aaron Schuster received his BA from Amherst College (USA), where he specialized in legal theory, and MA and PhD in Philosophy from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium). His doctoral dissertation, The Trouble With Pleasure: Philosophy and Psychoanalysis, examined the concept of pleasure in the history of philosophy, concluding with Freud and Lacan. He was a researcher at the Jan van Eyck Academie in 2005-2006, and has taught at PARTS (Performing Arts Research Training Studios) in Brussels. He is a currently the theory instructor at the Sandberg Institute, Amsterdam. In addition to lectures and publications focusing on 20th century continental philosophy, he has written on contemporary art and culture for Cabinet, Metropolis M, Frieze, and others, and has collaborated as a writer with artists on a number of projects and performances.
Project – title: The Ties That (un) Bind: Affect and Organization in the Bosnia-Herzegovina Protests, 2014
Giulia Carabelli holds a PhD in sociology at Queen’s University Belfast and a Masters in Research Architecture at Goldsmiths College. Her PhD thesis, developed as part of the “Conflict in Cities and the Contested State” project, examined the process of reconstructing Mostar (Bosnia Herzegovina). Giulia’s research interest is located at the intersection of urban sociology, art practice, and political theory. In particular, she is interested in analysis of urban space production in relation to notions of political resistance, social change, and modes of criticality. Giulia mainly works as an ethnographer in exploring the roles and potential of grassroots movements and civil society actors in the making of urban spaces in contested and politically fragile environments.
Project – title: Rethinking large-scale development projects in Belgrade and Zagreb
Aleksandra Djurasovic obtained her Ph.D. at the Institute for Urban Planning and Regional Development, HafenCity University Hamburg, Germany. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree from the University of California Davis in Landscape Architecture and Psychology and her Graduate degree in Urban Planning from the City College of New York. Born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Djurasovic’s academic interests lie in post-socialist, neoliberal and war-to-peace transition in Southeast Europe, urban planning, urban sustainability, urban division, etc.
Project – title: The Social Organization of Migrant Smuggling from Libya to Italy
Francesco Marone holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Pavia, Italy. He is currently a Research Fellow at the Department of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Pavia, where he is also member of the research group on migration and security. Moreover, he is an Adjunct Lecturer in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University Institute Ciels – Umanitaria in Milan, Italy. Francesco is also a Non-resident Research Associate at the Center for International Studies (CEI) of the University Institute of Lisbon (ISCTE-IUL), Portugal. He was a Visiting Fellow at Aberystwyth University, Wales, and a Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. His research interests include political violence, migration and security, and clandestine organizations. Francesco is author of a monograph and numerous journal articles, book chapters and analyses. His current project deals with the connection between migration flows in the Mediterranean area and security threats.
Project – title: Unmapping Islam in Eastern Europe: Periodization and Muslim Subjectivities in the Balkans
Dr. Piro Rexhepi is a scholar of East European Studies currently teaching at the Center for Global Affairs, New York University. He holds a PhD in Politics from the University of Strathclyde, UK (2013). His research is located in the Queer and Feminist Theories in International Relations with special interest in Islam and Southeastern Europe. He is fluent in Albanian, Macedonian and Serbo-Croatian.
Project – title: Acts of Citizenship from the Margins: Romani Minorities and Social Movements in Southeastern Europe
Julija Sardelic holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Ljubljana and MA in Nationalism Studies with Distinction from the Central European University. She has previously worked as a Research Fellow on a CITSEE Research Project (Europeanisation of Citizenship in the Successor States of the Former Yugoslavia, more info: www.citsee.eu) at the School of Law, University of Edinburgh and is also affiliated with the Max Weber Programme at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. Her research interests encompass broader topics of citizenship and migration, but she is particularly focusing on the position of post-Yugoslav Roma as citizens and migrants. In addition to her academic endeavors, she has more then a decade of experience in working as a civil society activist in different Romani communities in the post-Yugoslav space. As a CAS SEE Fellow, Julija will conduct a research on Romani activists engaging in different protests and movements with their co-citizens in the post-Yugoslav space.
Project – title: Epistemic Injustice, Prejudice and Inequalities of Social Power
Postdoctoral Fellow Research at the University of Turin, where she works on a project on gender categories and social kinds. She received her Ph.D. in Logic and Epistemology from the University of Rome “La Sapienza” in 2007. Before taking up her post in Turin, she was a Post-doctoral Researcher with the Logos Group at the University of Barcelona. Before that, she was a Postdoctoral Fellow Research at STK (Centre for Gender Research) at the University of Oslo and a Visiting Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Columbia University in New York. She specializes in feminist philosophy, metaphysics of gender, and philosophy of language. She also has research interests in gender biases and the underrepresentation of women in philosophy.
Project – title: Spatial Practices of Muslim Minoritization in Turkey and Croatia
Jeremy F. Walton will join the Centre for Advanced Studies of South Eastern Europe at the University of Rijeka as a research fellow in Autumn 2015. From 2013 to 2015, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the CETREN Transregional Research Network at Georg August University of Göttingen, based in the pilot program, “The Politics of Secularism and the Emergence of New Religiosities.” During the 2012-2013 academic year, he was a Jamal Daniel Levant Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS). Prior to this, he was an Assistant Professor and Faculty Fellow in New York University’s Religious Studies Program (2009-2012). He received his Ph.D. in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2009), and his book manuscript, Siting Islam: Sovereignty, Governmentality, and the Civil Society Effect in Turkey, is currently under review with Oxford University Press.
Project – title: “For the Homeland Ready!” Émigré Croat Separatism and Transnational Political Violence in the Cold War
Mate Nikola Tokić received his Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007 after earning an M.A. from the London School of Economics. Presently, Dr. Tokić is Humanities Visiting Professor in the Department of International Relations at the Central European University (CEU) in Budapest. Prior to coming to the CEU, Dr. Tokić was Assistant Professor of European and East European History at the American University in Cairo. Dr. Tokić has also served as a research fellow at numerous academic institutes, including at the Imre Kertész Kolleg in Jena, Germany, the Institute for Advanced Study at the CEU in Budapest, the Freie Universität’s Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies and at the European University Institute’s Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Study in Florence, where Dr. Tokić was a Jean Monnet Research Fellow. In addition to several articles on political violence and radicalization among émigré Croats, he has worked extensively on the relationship between social memory and political legitimacy in socialist Yugoslavia.
Nuri Ali Tahir
Project – title: Controlling the Borders of “Borderless” Europe in the Age of Migration
Nuri Ali Tahir holds a PhD degree from the University of Trieste, Italy. He obtained his BA and MA degrees in International Relations from Gazi University in Ankara, Turkey. His research interests are minorities, ethnicity and nationalism in Southeast Europe, Cross-border cooperation, Border Studies, Migration and European Integration. He was Marie Curie Early Stage Researcher at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Previously, he has been visiting fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz; Department of Border Region Studies, University of Southern Denmark and visiting scholar at the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies, the University of Texas at Austin.
Project – title: Towards a more just Common European Asylum System: A social choice approach
Ali Emre Benli holds a PhD. in Political Theory from LUISS Guido Carli, Rome. He has obtained his M.A. in Philosophy from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, and B.A. in Philosophy from Bogazici University in Istanbul. His research interests include methodology of contemporary theorizing of justice, theories of global and domestic distributive justice, migration and citizenship. His current project concerns assessing proposals for reforming the Common European Asylum System in terms of contemporary theorizing of justice.
Project – title: From the crisis to a “Third Yugoslavia”. The political project of Ante Marković and the Alliance of Reformist Forces (1989-1991)
Alfredo Sasso holds a PhD in Contemporary History from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona; MA and BA in International Relations and Cooperation from the University of Torino. He is fellow at the Research Group in Actual History based in Barcelona (GReHA-UAB) and a co-editor of the academic journal Tiempo Devorado published by the same group. He was a visiting researcher at the Institute for History in Sarajevo in 2012 and 2014, during his PhD studies. The dissertation analysed the role of non-ethnic political actors in late- and post-communist transition in Bosnia-Herzegovina. His current research interests lie in political history of the (post-)Yugoslav area, with special interest in the interrelation between political systems, parties, movements, and the national question.
Project – title: City Partnerships in the Cold War: Twinning Zagreb and Bologna, 1963-1991
Vladimir Unkovski-Korica is Lecturer in Legacies of Communism at the School of Political and Social Sciences of the University of Glasgow. Previously, Vladimir held posts at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the National Research University, Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow. His book, The Economic Struggle for Power in Tito’s Yugoslavia: From World War II to Non-alignment (IB Tauris, forthcoming, summer 2016), is the culmination of many years of research on the complex interactions between ideology, geopolitics, federalism and global political economy which gave rise to Yugoslavia’s unique non-aligned developmental model in the early Cold War. Vladimir has already published several articles dealing with different aspects of this problem in leading journals.
Project – title: From Armed Boots to Polished Suits: A Precarious Predicament for Peacebuilding and Democratization?
Dane Taleski received his PhD in Political Science from the Central European University in Budapest. His research interests are post-conflict democratization, transformation of rebel groups, political parties and ethnic politics, regional cooperation, EU integration and Southeast Europe. His work has been published in Democratization, Ethnopolitics, Suedosteuropa and New Balkan Politics, and various edited volumes. In 2014, he received a Civil Society Scholar Award from Open Society Institute in New York. From October, 2015 he is a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University in Graz, and from March, 2016, he is also a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia.
Project – title: Social Inequalities on the Urban Periphery? Vocational Education, Ultras’ Participation and Cultures of Resistance in the Classroom
“This project seeks to analyse processes of class production as manifest through educational ‘sorting’ mechanisms alongside passive/active forms of resistance present amongst pupils enrolled in vocational education (strukovne škole) on the urban periphery of Zagreb. The aim is to make a unique contribution to anthropological studies of educational ‘failure’ (Willis 1977; Evans 2008) alongside football youth subcultures, drawing on my previous work on all of these topics (Hodges and Stubbs 2016; Hodges 2016; 2015; 2014). Through semi-structured interviews and ethnographic observation, I will examine the relationship between the organised practices of a fan group (the Bad Blue Boys, hereon BBB) supporting the Zagreb based team GNK Dinamo and oppositional cultures of resistance in the classroom. These practices will be examined in the context of pupils’ life trajectories relating to the transition between school and work/unemployment, with a specific focus on class production. The urban peripheral context, where hierarchies associated with urban belonging are contested, adds a further class-related component to the study, as well as a distinctly post-Yugoslav flavour which will be contrasted and compared with the UK focused literature on class, educational failure, and fan practices.”
Project – title: When the Rooftops became Red Again: Post-war Community Dynamics in Bosnia and Herzegovina
“Despite the decline of the interstate, armed conflicts in the last two decades, internal conflicts remain persistent and affect millions of people around the World every year. Existing literature has tended to frame post-war recovery within peace-building and reconciliation frameworks, thus paying less attention to the motivations, agency and nature of the group interactions during the post-war period, particularly at the community level, which compromises our ability to understand to critically engage with “peace” as a social phenomena. Recently emerging literature on the transformative nature of conflicts investigates some of these issues but many areas still lack academic attention. The overall aim of my research project is to fill this gap by developing a novel theoretical framework for understanding post-war dynamics at the micro-level by using concept of community, as a realm of space where daily interactions are frequent. I argue that the experience of violence, it is crucial to understand what types of interactions take place between the post-war community members and what motivates them and how are the new social relations defined? In my research I developed a model postulated according to Hillery’s (1982) model, which understands community as physical and social space, containing five basic elements: interactions, space, activities, sentiment and institutions. It allows for understanding and measuring change taking into consideration actors’ agency, identity and the experience of the violence the project shows that community formation emerges in the power of the ‘everyday’. The project focuses on the Balkans, but these questions are relevant to any other region in the world where ethnic conflict or civil war has taken place.”
Project – title: Industrial Urban Spaces: after Yugoslavia
“The first aim of this project is to anthropologically explore how people encounter urban infrastructure in two different post-Yugoslav industrial towns – in copper processing town of Bor (Serbia) and in industrial town of Rijeka (Croatia). The study will focus on people’s encounters with district heating in both towns (which rapidly expanded during self-managed socialism) to explore how moral economy, relationship with post-socialist state, industrial heritage and neoliberal discourses are embedded in people’s encounters with such urban infrastructure. I will explore how such encounters reproduce inequalities based on gender, age, generation and occupation.
The second aim is to raise academic interest into research of industrial urban spaces across former Yugoslavia and develop fruitful collaboration on the regional and international level. The aim is to encourage public discussions around the relationship between post-socialist industrial development and everyday lives in urban industrial spaces, which have had and still have a great social importance for the region (and Europe).”
Project – title: The Slovene Reaction to the European Migrant Crisis: Class and Ideology at the edge of Schengen
“The European response to the 2015 migrant crisis was initially featured by warm welcome expressions from the European elites, especially from EU institutions and the German government. However, it quickly evolved into the enhancement of extremist positions and the “Fortress Europe” pretension. The opposition to the limited European Commission’s relocation and resettlement plan – initially led by the Czech Republic, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia – ended up in the conclusion of an agreement with Turkey for the return of asylum-seekers to that country. Along this process, governments, mainstream political parties and new far-right organizations have shaped cultural-related and seemingly technical discursive lines for rationalizing the exclusion and rejection of migrants. In the case of the Slovene elites, the justification for the closure of the “Balkan route” of refugees in September 2015 relied in the assumption of their responsibility to protect the Schengen external border and in the intention of remaining in the core of an eventual multi-speed Europe.
This project aims to define the state of the ideology within the Slovene ruling class during the migrant crisis, considering that ideological trends do not solely respond to agency, but also to structural relations, which take place inside polities and at the transnational level. The peripheral position of Slovenia within the EU and the consequences of the European economic crisis are departing points for assessing the existence of a contagion in the region after the arrival of migrants.”
Project – title: It’s Not the Thought that Counts: The Irrelevance of Intentions to the Moral Blameworthiness of Actions
“Some philosophers argue that intentions with which we act are non-derivatively irrelevant to the moral permissibility of our actions: in particular, intentions to harm or to do that which, in some relevant respect, is close to harm do not, or perhaps even cannot, render otherwise morally permissible actions impermissible or already impermissible actions more wrong. Most of those philosophers also argue that intentions are similarly relevant to the moral responsibility of actions, in the sense of their blameworthiness and praiseworthiness. Bad intentions of a kind just mentioned render blameless actions blameworthy and blameworthy actions more blameworthy. On the other hand, some defenders of the relevance of intentions suggest that, even if we accept the arguments of the critics and, in general, the conclusion that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility, it does not follow that some well-known principles which stress the relevance of intentions, such as the Doctrine of Double Effect (DDE), are false, because those principles are concerned with moral blameworthiness rather than with moral permissibility. On their view, the DDE states that it is, other things being equal, more blameworthy to cause or to allow harm with intention to harm, as a means to an end or as an end, than to cause or to allow it as a foreseen but unintended side effect, even if it is equally permissible (or impermissible) to do either. Most people, then, find it intuitively compelling that intending harm, in itself, makes us open to blame. But that intuition is, I believe, false. The aim of my project is to demonstrate that intentions in acting are non-derivatively irrelevant to the blameworthiness of actions. In particular, I shall argue that if intentions are irrelevant to moral permissibility, they are irrelevant to blameworthiness, and for similar reasons. Since my PhD thesis defended the view that intentions are irrelevant to permissibility, in my project I plan to develop the arguments I expounded in the thesis.”
Project – title: Walls and bodies: a philosophical research on the material government of human mobility
“My projects aims to provide the conceptual foundation for a philosophical research on the dialectic between migration flows and tools, instruments, devices that striate space – in particular the Eurozone – such as walls, frontiers, barriers of barbed-wire, customs. My main objective is to analyze the social and material conditions of this dialectic between mobiliy and statis, providing a philosophical conceptualization of the migrant as the political, juridical and theoretical issue of our time. I will develop and defend – from a philosophical perspective – the argument that human mobility is one of the primary conditions in order to produce an equal and inclusive political form of life, while contemporary strategies of spatial government aim at producing a social hierarchy of human beings grounded on different regimes of mobility.”
Gregor Moder (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Project – title: Truth in Politics
“According to Spinoza, rights of individuals or groups are identical to their physical or psychical capabilities. If contemporary theory, including in its Marxist variations, explains political and social relations as the relations of power and domination, of ideology and hegemony, then one could say that it follows the basic 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 assumption of the proposed project is that this is not the case, and that one must indeed study not only power relations, but also a category which we shall call the truth. One cannot explain contemporary phenomena in politics without an explicit theory of truth. Let us take a typical proposition of the day, “We will build a wall and Mexico will pay for it”. It is obviously an untrue proposition. No one is fooled by it. How come, then, that it is politically successful? What if the obvious falseness of this claim is precisely that which makes it so effective? What if the fact that everyone immediately recognizes it as a lie is precisely the precondition of its success?”
Gruia Bădescu (Oxford University, UK)
Project – title: Spatializing Cultural Policies and Activism in Croatia and Romania: A Comparative, Transnational Study
“For decades now, many European cities have embraced a repertoire of cultural policies thought to stimulate spatial development —such as the cultural mega-event or the Bilbao-emulating contemporary art museum — and democratic practice— including diverse processes, ranging from the spatial memorialization of public crimes to an opening to citizen participation and inclusion. Participation and inclusiveness in city-making have been packaged in EU documents as a “European best practice”. Exported through various EU channels in new member states, these policies intersected –and at times clashed- with a strong local activism and grassroots organization calling in particular for more inclusive, participatory practices. My project will explore in a comparative and transnational frame the spatialisation and democratization of cultural policy in two such contexts, Croatia and Romania. It will examine the entanglements of various actors at the local scale, as well as similarities, differences and links between urban activism and policies in the two countries, often researched separately because of language limitations, historical differentiations, as well as narratives and imaginaries of exceptionalism. Aiming to understand the wider region as a space of flows of ideas and practices, and using the lens of comparative urbanism, I will explore how two particular themes in cultural policy and activism have been included in debates of spatial development and inclusiveness: the cultural mega-event and the process of memorialization. First, I will scrutinize the role of European Capital of Culture bids in spatial development and inclusive city-making, with a particular focus on how the theme of participation has been mobilized in the bids for capital of culture in Rijeka, Zagreb, Timisoara and Bucharest. Second, I will build on my current research as part of the AHRC-Labex research project “Criminalization of Dictatorial Pasts in Europe and Latin America in Global Perspective” to investigate the spatialisation of memory policies and politics and the entanglements between actors, both locally and transnationally.”
Marek Szilvasi (Budapest, Hungary)
Project – title: Between Commodity and Common Public Good: Access to Water and its Relevance for Roma People in Europe
“Management of water resources and water services, especially in the regions threatened by droughts and climate change, have been increasingly elevated to the centre of governmental and corporate private sector attention. Water scarcity has gradually become a topic of public scrutiny and various anti-capitalism and anti-globalisation social movements have adopted water supply among their agenda.
The research will examine how the perspective of Roma living in socially excluded neighbourhoods at the outskirts of selected towns in Croatia, Slovenia and Montenegro confronts and informs the agenda of water privatisation and water municipalisation interest groups. It will examine the aspects of the contemporary debates on recognising water as public good and human right in three selected countries and analyse how is the advocates relate to the situation of socially excluded Roma.
Due to the persistent situation of social exclusion and ethnic discrimination, Roma across Europe find it difficult to have their voice heard and their situation considered by either one of these interest groups.”
Marija Ott Franolić (Zagreb, Croatia)
Project – title: Read, Think, Act
“In an unstable and shifting world with growing social injustices, the ability to think critically and creatively, as well as to show solidarity with others, could be a path to social change. The aim of my research is to interdisciplinary connect Adorno’s concept of education for “general enlightenment” to the act of critical and creative reading. The questions are: can the merging of critical and literary theory give us some answers on how to enhance critical thinking? Can reading fiction encourage the development of open-minded, solidary people ready for change?
I shall define and analyze the connection between reading literature and becoming an autonomous subject. I will connect Adorno’s views to literary theory and phenomenology, in order to inspect how creative and critical reading of literature can heighten our empathy, along the lines of the theory of Martha Nussbaum. In the light of Marx’s claim that one should educate the educators, I will implement my theoretical findings at the critical reading workshop with the students of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences at the University of Rijeka. We will read creatively and try to imagine alternative, better ways of living.”
Mateja Kurir (Ljubljana, Slovenia)
Project – title: Architecture as ideology: The perspectives of critical theory from modernism to the present
“A basic entry point to reflect on architecture, which has always been deeply connected with ideology, in the realm of critical theory is explicated by Fredric Jameson in Political Unconscious:
“How is it possible for a cultural text that fulfils a demonstrably ideological function, as a hegemonic work whose formal categories as well as its content secure the legitimation of this or that form of class domination – how is it possible for such a text to embody a properly utopian impulse, or to resonate a universal value inconsistent with the narrower limits of class privilege that inform its more immediate ideological vocation?”
The ideological function of architecture is the key focus of this project. Architecture will be held here as a prominent theoretical ground for the spatial formation of ideology as such. Critical theory has largely elaborated on the formation and understanding of ideology within architecture during the age of modernism (Benjamin, Adorno) and postmodernism (Tafuri, Jameson), as well as in neoliberalism.
The aim of the project is to prepare an article outlining the basic reception of architecture in critical theory from modernism to the present, in order to reflect on architecture as a spatial formation of ideology in the age of neoliberalism, where architecture is established as one of the prominent battle fields of capitalism.”
Natasha Sardžoska (Skopje, Macedonia)
Project – title: Mapping of Spatial Memory in Limitrophe Cities: Border-Landscapes and Border-Bodies
“The project draws on political meanings of borders which are perpetually blurred and shifted in tidal geography of continuous phenomenological evolution undergoing cultural mummification and erasure of preexisting maps. In the societal porosity context, where we are witnessing a revival of “quick sand” cultural boundaries, I shall focus on the production of new map of borders, flows of non-targeted displacements and dislocations, indeterminate journeys and nostalgia for a lost space instigated by the political shattering of urban zones. The corpus of my research are social actors and artists inhabiting Istria region who are disintegrating, misplacing, reinventing and questioning invisible boundaries in urban landscapes and the interstice of artistic, nominal and liminal interpretations. I plan to elaborate interventions reflecting space, new monuments, mapping of memory, mental landscapes, re-formed urban spaces. The larger context remains in the European border politics emerged from spatial reconfigurations. I draw on Italian, Slovenian and Croatians artists inhabiting Istria arguing forms of belonging, artistic exile and self-definition that unveil interrelations of cultural mutation processes from common spatial memory towards transitory emotional memory. The goal is to rethink the interconnected mapping and bordering meanings, which have become marginalized, detached, diasporic but at the same time a center and a nucleus of creativity, ontological uncertainty, cognitive anxiety, diversifying identifications and proliferating movements and unpredictable trajectories in a city. The question I am tackling is: is it so important to draw boundaries, charts and maps when the world has turned culturally liminal, flow and creolizing?”