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.
“The research project proposed a comprehensive analysis of a structural flaw in the social sciences and humanities, which is similar to – or even part of – methodologic nationalism. A concept, which is proposed by many scholars of late-modern nationalism studies, migration studies, globalisation studies, global history, historical sociology, comparative literature, and which emerged as a specific form of an analytic problem in research of Central- and Southeast European ethnic minorities as well. Encountered first in the Hungarian minorities in the post-Yugoslav states, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia, the problem is also present in the research on Albanian minorities in Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro; Serbian minorities in Kosovo and Montenegro, the German minority in Italy, or even smaller communities like Czechs in Banat, Croats in Molise or Arbanasi in Zadar, as well as other ethnic or religious groups and metropolitan diasporas throughout the continent. A similar methodological perception can be seen in case of the Armenian, Jewish and Roma communities, as well as in the research of current migration flows and refugees throughout Europe. From the viewpoint of a state’s population, all these types of non-majority communities share a specific perception in research, which is insular, often simplistic and analytically insufficient.
Imagining the inter-state system as a set of bordering containers, the country in which the given minority lives is considered as the elementary frame of research. This way however, neither the findings nor the conclusions did usually not extend beyond state borders, while in most cases, they stayed within the inhabited region of the given minority. Furthermore, this insular (self)perception is hallmarked by a discourse of exclusion, oppression, denial and rejection throughout the 20th century, which in turn is almost without exception understood as a unique signifier of the researched minority. These, and a number of other delimiting circumstances left only the given nation-state as the sole point of reference, moreover as an agent of exclusion from participation, and denial of rights. This resulted in an archipelagic logic of ethnic minorities throughout the 20th century and determined most research trajectories since the early 1920’s, up until contemporary scholarly work. Traditionally, research on ethnic minorities has been mostly done in the fields of history, ethnography and literature, supplemented by sociology, political science, art history and architecture in the past three decades. It addressed folklore, literary production and a number of historical topics, while there is a focus since the 1990’s on demography, European integration and peace-building as well. Nevertheless, this structural flaw can be traced throughout the 20th century until today, and it can be accepted to some degree within the hard inter-state system of borders in the era of modern, industrialised nation-states. It is however more and more questionable in the last decades, when cross-border cooperation, migration and flow of commodities increases, and when the rejections from the side of majorities are rendered irrelevant.
The aim of my research is thus, to point out the deficiencies in the (self)perception of minorities, by which the inter-state system is imagined as a combination of bordering containers, with minorities as secluded subsystems of these societies. Moreover, the inquiry attempts to contest the binary structure of majority-minority, address it beyond methodologic nationalism, and by deconstructing the conventional perceptions of time, space and social realities, lift up the narrow composition of the conceptual imagination in a world, where (various) ethnicities are more interconnected, than ever before. By questioning these routine assumptions, I will tried put them in a historical perspective as well, and define a framework from which research on minorities should be emancipated.”
Oszkár Roginer was born in 1986, in Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, where he studied Hungarian Studies at the University of Novi Sad (Serbia). After receiving his diploma in 2009, he moved to the University of Pécs (Hungary) in order to pursue his PhD in Literary Sciences, and defending his thesis in 2016. In 2014 he started an International Joint Degree MA in Cultural Sociology at the University of Zadar (Croatia) and the Karl Franzens University in Graz (Austria), and obtaining his MA in 2016. He is currently a PhD candidate at the Centre for Southeast European Studies in Graz, where he is working on his thesis on the construction of the Hungarian minority literary field in the post-Habsburg space. Between 2009 and 2014 he worked as a radio journalist and theatre critic in RTV Vojvodina, and in the daily newspaper Magyar Szó in Novi Sad. His most important publications include the monographs A város mint (ellen)érv. [The City as a (counter)argument]. (2015), and A jugoszláviai magyar irodalom terei – A (poszt)jugoszláv magyar irodalom és a téralapú közösségi identitás-konstrukciók viszonya a sajtóban (1945–2010). [Terrains of Hungarian Literature from Yugoslavia – Correlations between (post)Yugoslav Hungarian Literature and the constructions of spatial collective identities in the press (1945–2010)]. (2019) His academic interests lay in Hungarian minority literature, Hungarian press history of Yugoslavia, geocriticism, historical literary sociology, collective identities, memory studies.
Seminar with Oszkár Roginer in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows was held at the University campusin Rijeka on December 6, 2019.
“In the aftermath of Pussy Riot punk prayer, a section on the freedom of conscience in the Russian criminal code has been renewed and the norm appeared aimed at protecting “religious feelings”. This clause, although extremely controversial, indicates the important trend. By granting the right to protection of religious feelings, legislature not merely positively discriminated “believers”, it replaced rationally definable harm with emotional hurt.
The talk focused on the growing role of emotions both in decisions that affect human rights and on possible the re-conceptualization of the freedom of religion in a situation when, as O. Roy puts it, “freedom of religion is both defined as a Human right and is perceived as a threat to Human rights”.”
Andrey Menshikov graduated in Philosophy from the Ural State University (Ekaterinburg, Russia) and Medieval Studies from Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). He defended his PhD dissertation on Nicolas of Cusa’s theory of toleration at the Ural State University (2006). He was a fellow at Boston University (2004), University of California Berkeley (2007), Swedish Collegium for Advanced Study (2007-8) and is now involved in research projects on political philosophy (religious freedom) and intellectual history (philosophical reflection on war and collective violence) supported by the Russian Science Foundation.
Seminar with Andrey Menshikov was held in dialogue with UNIRI CAS SEE fellows at the University campus in Rijeka on December 6, 2019.
Digitalization of the Marketplace of (Reactionary) Ideas: The Alt-Right as a Political Ideology, Social Movement, and Counter-Culture
“The seminar explores the emerging phenomenon of the alternative right, or the “Alt-Right”, as a multidimensional phenomenon – that is, as a political ideology, social movement, and counter-culture. By taking a position of critical sociology, this seminar presents preliminary findings on how the digital has molded and steered the political towards the right on social media platforms. This occurs at the level of various reactionary ideas, through networking of diverse right-wing collectives, as well as through the spread of novel cultural practices of “fighting the PC culture and SJWs”. The focus is specifically on how the digitalization of the public sphere – fostered by the rapid rise of new technologies and social networking platforms – has increased and shaped political engagement of the reactionary segments of global civil society.”
Bojan Baća is an Ernst Mach Postdoctoral Fellow at the Center for Southeast European Studies, University of Graz and a Junior Research Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe at the University of Rijeka. He received his PhD in Sociology from York University, to which he still remains affiliated as an external research associate in the Global Digital Citizenship Lab. In 2015–2016, he was a Swedish Institute Visiting Doctoral Fellow at the University of Gothenburg, specializing in post-socialist civil society and social movement research. Baća continues to explore the relationship between socio-economic/political transformation and civic engagement in post-socialist societies and, more broadly, the role of activist citizenship and contentious politics in democratization processes. His recent work on the topic was published in academic journals such as Antipode and Europe-Asia Studies, as well as in two edited volumes: Changing Youth Values in Southeast Europe: Beyond Ethnicity (Routledge, 2017) and The Democratic Potential of Emerging Social Movements in Southeastern Europe (Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, 2017). As a fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies, Baća is conducting a research project that focuses on English-speaking digital public sphere in the “post-truth era”, in which he explores how digitalization of the “marketplace of ideas” is articulating, mobilizing, and legitimizing political ideas, social actors, and cultural practices that are spreading disinformation and promoting anti-democratic sentiments.
The seminar was held on May 15, 2019 at the University of Rijeka Campus, Sveučilišni odjeli building (Ul. Radmile Matejčić 2, 51000 Rijeka).
Vulnerability, Precarising Discourses, and Collective Political Responses
This lecture addressed Judith Butler’s stances on precarising discourses. Her analysis on precariousness and precarity are key nowadays, when we are witnessing an unsettling and dangerous rise of fascistic discourses. Vulnerability is, then, a key concept for this project. Cano Abadia reflected on it within the tension that its riskiness implies: on the one hand, it connects us to our fragility; on the other hand, it is related to our power to act, to our political agency, and it allows us to share a powerful bond that enables political stances and transformative actions.
Mónica Cano Abadía obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophical Studies at the University of Zaragoza (Spain) with a Thesis Dissertation on Judith Butler entitled “Identities at Risk of Exclusion. Subversive Strategies of Social Transformation.” She is currently working as an Assistant Professor at the Section of Political Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy (University of Graz, Austria) and is a member of the Research Group “Justice, Citizenship, and Vulnerability” (University of La Laguna, Spain). She has been a fellow at the CAS SEE since September 2017, where she has conducted her research on the project “The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking: Toward a Global Social Justice with Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler.” In addition to lectures and publications focusing on queer theory, she has written on new materialisms, global justice, and posthuman critical theory.
The seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on January 28th, 2019.
Metamorphosis of Labour. The Movement for a Basic Income in the Light of the Modern Paradigm of Labour
Seminar held at the University of Rijeka on May 11, 2018.
“In my talk I will discuss a social and political movement active at an international level, which engages in developing a new paradigm of welfare through the proposal of a universal basic income (UBI). This movement has created an international network – Basic Income Earth Network (BIEN) – it has fostered a huge debate and it is advocating a new, radical practice of democracy, social integration and post industrial solidarity. The goal of UBI is mainly to guarantee social rights to whoever lives in a digital society and not only to people who work.
In my talk, on the one hand, I will illustrate the historical origins and the development of this movement within the European framework; on the other hand, I will discuss the ideology which is behind UBI within the contemporary emerging and global metamorphosis of labor (precariousness, flexibility, total mobilization, polarization, inequality, deindustrialization, end of work). In particular, I will try to discuss UBI on the basis of a long term representation of labor and the constitutive ambiguity which exists at the core of the modern notion of work. For its widespread and traumatic consequences, the metamorphosis of labor challenges democracy differently and it has been analyzed in various fields of studies: economics, law, sociology and political science, but also in artistic, philosophical, and literary studies. The increasing interdisciplinary approaches to this topic are a clear signal of the complexity and the relevance of this human experience. Scholars in the humanities engaged with labor issues because the transformation reflects on the everyday life of ordinary people and on their interior world. In particular, the metamorphosis of labor seems to have lost the traditional connection between work and citizenship due to the modern notion of labor. Modern work is a paid activity that allows an individual to participate actively in the social life of his community. The modern conception of labor is based on the idea that only workers belong to social communities; it is based on the idea that labor is the centre of the democratic process of socialization. To work in a modern society means to participate in the public sphere, to be recognized by others and therefore to own a social identity. Personal growth and social integration characterize the ideal horizon of a long series of struggles and social conflicts and in particular the fights for decent working conditions pursued by labor movements, the idea of class and intellectual engagement and the protections and guarantees that the labor law has built since the industrial revolution. The contemporary emerging crisis of labor relations deals on the contrary with: social disintegration, fragmentation, isolation, risk, increasing unemployment, anxious, poverty, confusion. The transformation that we are living obstacles “vita activa” unveiling a new anthropological mutation characterized by the decline of work as the traditional instrument of the Bildung of the self. The idea of “the end of work” is probably the most emblematic consequence of such a crisis.
In this framework, I will focus on the relation between work and social identity and I will analyze the symbolic impact of the Universal Basic Income on this relation and on the notion of social identity. In order to do that I will adopt a humanistic perspective in the belief that we cannot reduce work to an economic or legal relation. I will also take into account the Basic Income Network Italia (BIN Italia), an organization which has been created in 2016 by an interdisciplinary group of scholars and social activists (http://www.bin-italia.org/).”
Tiziano Toracca graduated in Law (Pisa, 2005) and in Italian Language and Literature (Pisa, 2011). He got a Joint PhD in Italian Studies, Comparative Literature and Literary Studies (Perugia-Ghent, 2017).
He coordinated the Jean Monnet Project I work therefore I am European (http://www.iworkthereforeiam.eu/) at the Department of Philosophy and Education Sciences of the University of Torino. Currently he is research fellow at CAS SEE in Rijeka with a project on the universal basic income in relation with the conception and representation of modern labour. His research focuses on the Italian contemporary narrative, Modernism and Neomodernism, Law and Literature with specific attention to the issue of Labour. He is member of the Center for European Modernism Studies and of the Italian Society for Law and Literature and he is editor of «Allegoria». Since 2012 he teaches humanities in the high school and a course of creative writing in a psychiatric center.
Emancipatory Learning: Reframing Situatedness and the new Cartographies of Belonging
Seminar was held at the University of Rijeka on May 10, 2018.
“In this paper we will discuss the first part of The Emancipatory Learning Project, a long-term art-based-research-journey I have embarked within decolonial (Mignolo, Souza Santos, do Mar Castro Varela, Spivak, Vasquez) and post-anthropocentric discourses (Abram, Haraway, Shiva, Braidotti) – while searching for transformative and emancipatory pathways towards the ambitions notion of Earth Citizenship. This research has identified a variety of learning spaces that are playing a decisive role in the construction of a post-colonialist, post-patriarchy, post-capitalism and post-anthropocentric society: learning communities of thinking-feeling and thinking-acting grounded in a deeper notion of Buen Vivir (living in plenitude), that are cross-fertilizing in the globe. The long list includes free- and anti-universities, ecoversities, communities of concern and communities of care, eco-villages, grass-roots social and educational enterprises, socially-engaged artistic projects, happy labs, open platforms, collaborative networks, “autonomous zones” and so on and so on.
In this paper we will discuss how some of these spaces are transforming coexistence and belonging through empowering practices and inclusion. This paper is therefore divided in three sections: The first is a general reframing of emancipation within epistemic diversity, by highlighting the concepts of response-ability and situatedness (Haraway); the second is a definition of dis-othering and unlearning as basic movements towards a form of radical openness that can enable societal transition; and the third section is an examination of these Living Learning Environments as the (new) schools or flourishing habitats where new forms of belonging – emancipated from biological and cultural separations among native and invasive species, re-imagined beyond identity politics within selective inclusions and exclusions – is taking place. A variety of counter-hegemonic gestures of resistance and/or liberation that are enabling small shifts for social change: towards relational and responsive forms of belonging within a more-than-human world.”
Daniela Brasil has initiated and coordinated various transdisciplinary and participatory projects that use playfulness and radical imagination as exercises for active citizenship and tools for people’s empowerment. Her research interests lie mainly on pedagogic, artistic and spatial practices that focus on horizontal forms of exchanging/creating knowledge and know-how; while searching for ways to (un)learn colonized thoughts, behaviours and representations. She studied Architecture and Urbanism in Rio de Janeiro, Environmental Urban Design in Lisbon and Barcelona, Social Sculpture in Oxford and received her PhD and her Master of Fine Arts in Public Art and New Artistic Strategies at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. For the past 6 years, she was Assistant Professor and Researcher at the Institute of Contemporary Art, Graz University of Technology, and from 2011-14 she was a member of the ADRIART consortium for the creation of the Master of Media Arts and Practices in the Universities of Rijeka, Croatia and of Nova Gorica, Slovenia. Daniela is based in Graz, Austria, where she works as an artist and researcher in collaborative settings, especially with the Daily Rhythms Collective on feminist actions and with Studio Magic on experimental architecture since 2013.
The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking. Toward a Global Social Justice with Judith Butler and Rosi Braidotti
“The research project The Re-Radicalization of Critical Thinking: Toward a Global Social Justice intends to carry out a diffractive reading on Rosi Braidotti and Judith Butler. A diffractive reading is a methodology that tries to read important insights though one another. What Braidotti has called the ‘transatlantic disconnection’ shows that they belong to different traditions within post-structuralist feminist philosophy. Nonetheless, I would say that their (dis)connections can be seen more as a fruitful exchange –as Butler proposes in Undoing Gender– and an interesting overlapping of perspectives that enables thinking about social justice.
Several are the differences between Butler and Braidotti, and both have addressed them in many occasions. In this presentation, I will diffractively outline some of the points of friction that are of the most importance for me in order to think –with and through them– about global social justice –namely, questions about the decentering of the humanist subject, negativity and lack, vulnerability, agency, relationality, or activism.
Both highlight the necessity of calling for action towards social transformation. Thus, I will argue that their recent scripts are of the most importance to analyze the agents of new thinking within a contemporary Critical Theory beyond neoliberalism.”
Mónica Cano Abadía, current CAS SEE fellow,obtained her Ph.D. in Philosophical Studies at the University of Zaragoza. She wrote a Thesis Dissertation on Judith Butler entitled “Identities at Risk of Exclusion. Subversive Strategies of Social Transformation”. She has been an Assistant Professor at the University of Zaragoza (Spain), and is a member of the Research Group Justice, Citizenship, and Vulnerability (University of La Laguna, Spain). In addition to lectures and publications focusing on queer theory, she has written on new materialisms, global justice and posthuman critical theory.
The coming year will mark three decades since the publication of Immanuel Wallerstein’s and Etienne Balibar’s seminal work Race, Nation, Class: Ambiguous Identities. The book, characterized by a specific ”dialogical” structure, has become influential in the study of racism and in the interdisciplinary school of cultural studies. The publication of the work was preceded by a series of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s debates at the Maison des sciences de l’homme in Paris between 1985 and 1987. In the course of these encounters, the two authors developed the unique dialogical method, the ”practice-of-theory”, which consisted in the gradual elaboration and intertwining of the three fundamental concepts – race, nation and class – through simultaneous historical-empirical and theoretical analyses.
Wallerstein and Balibar formulate in this study a complex analysis of the roles that the classificatory schemes of race, nation and class played in the process of the genesis and global spreading of capitalism, above all their role in legitimizing the extreme social inequalities that capitalism produces and deepens. Upon the analysis, the authors’ central theoretical claim is that one can identify fissures, ruptures and contradictions in the fabric of the conceptual and empirical inter-imbrication of the three categories, suggesting that any strategy of resistance to forms of social domination grounded in the race-nation-class nexus must identify and exploit these contradictions. The authors finally draw our attention to the fact that the race-nation-class constellation is constantly being reinforced in global capitalism, which also requires constant reflection about new strategies of resistance.
The seminar at the Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory aims to comprehensively reflect on the relevance and heuristic value of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s study for the present day. Within its temporal limits, the seminar will try to employ the ”practice-of-theory” method of the book in its analysis and attempts at re-actualization. The participants are invited to engage in forms of critical reconstruction, either of particular aspects of the book or its whole, and to explore avenues for the possible application of Wallerstein’s and Balibar’s perspective in analyzing manifold ways in which the fundamental categories of race, class and nation are (individually or synthetically) today used to legitimize or challenge capitalism, globally as well as in the region of former Yugoslavia.
Time: December 18th 2017 at 14:30
Venue: Belgrade, Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory (address: Kraljice Natalije 45, 4th Floor)
14:30 – 14:40 | Welcome Word – Petar Bojanić (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)
14:40 – 15:00 | Introductory Remarks – Manuela Bojadžijev (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin/Berliner Institut für empirische Integrations-und Migrationsforschung, BIM)
15:00 – 15:20 | Regional Reception – Marjan Ivković i Djurdja Trajković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)
15:20 – 15:35 | Coffee break
15:40 – 19:00 | Reflections on the Book
Rastko Močnik (University of Ljubljana and Faculty for Media and Communication, Singidunum University, Slovenia and Serbia), Gordan Maslov (Center for Social and Humanities Research, Croatia), Valida Repovac Nikšić (Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina), Nataša Sardžoska (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Vedran Džihić (University of Vienna, Austria; Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Petar Bojanić (IFDT), Marjan Ivković (IFDT), Srdjan Prodanović (IFDT), Djurdja Trajković (IFDT), Jelena Vasiljević (IFDT), Adriana Zaharijević (IFDT), Carlo Burelli (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Mónica Cano (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia), Davide Pala (Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe at the University of Rijeka, Croatia)
Petar Bojanić (Center for Ethics, Law and Applied Philosophy; Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)
Djurdja Trajković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)
Marjan Ivković (Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade)
Institute for Philosophy and Social Theory, University of Belgrade
Center for Advanced Studies of Southeastern Europe (CAS SEE), University of Rijeka
Seminar is supported by Haus der Kulturen der Welt (HKV), Berlin
Robert D. Kaplan visited Center for Advanced Studies – South East Europe on April 21, 2017 and gave a talk about how technology is making geography and geopolitics smaller, more anxious and claustrophobic, so that all of Eurasia is coming together as a single conflict system, even while Europe divides from within. Precisely because globalization leads to integration, it also leads to increased interactions across regions and this intensifies conflict and instability. Kaplan also reflected on the European crisis, in all its aspects, with thoughts and questions about how it looks from the viewpoint of Rijeka, Central Europe, and the former Yugoslavia. Robert D. Kaplan was joined in discussion with Giacomo Scotti, Vanni d’Alessio and Ervin Dubrović.
Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of seventeen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including Earning the Rockies, In Europe’s Shadow, Asia’s Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, The Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts.
He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a senior advisor at Eurasia Group. For three decades he reported on foreign affairs for The Atlantic. He held the national security chair at the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board. Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”