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Bewilderment as an Opportunity for Learning

International Conference at the Martin-Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Research Cluster and Graduate School “Society and Culture in Motion”

July 6, 2013 (new date for the conference which has been postponed because of the critical flood situation in Halle)

Organizers: PD Dr. Ralph Buchenhorst, Dr. Daniele Cantini, Dr. James Thompson

One of the most profound experiences of globalization is the permanently changing entanglement of different ontological and normative convictions, religious beliefs and political expectations in the context of the migration of human beings and the circulation of ideas and technologies. While these entanglements are sometimes irritatingly classified as “clashes”, we believe it more promising to understand them as an impetus for translation, focusing particularly on the epistemic value of the bewilderment that often goes along with these translations. Thus, this conference takes the German philosopher Bernhard Waldenfels’ expression of the “thorn of strangeness” (“Stachel des Fremden”) as a reference for discussion and holds the conviction that strangeness, alienation and bewilderment are neither exclusively a psychical or social construction nor an anthropological constant.

The conference’s general interest does not aim at streamlining  possible conflicts arising from these entanglements, but rather wants to  highlight contradictions and creative forces in the process of  translation. It seeks to explore conditions and effects of bewilderment  emerging from situations of disintegration with regard to our common  structures of knowledge, web of beliefs and citizenship practices. As a  projected outcome, we intend to open up future perspectives for research  and action focusing on encounters with otherness as an important  catalyst for self-reflection as well as the construction of  identity. The event is open both to historical and contemporary topics  and wants to approach its subject from a range of disciplines as diverse  as Social Anthropology, Philosophy, Literary Studies, Sociology,  Education Studies, Colonial Studies, Historiography, Law, Jewish and  Middle Eastern studies.

Conference Program with information on conference registration
Tagungsprogramm_Bewilderment_neu_(Standard).pdf (externe Datei)

Conference Announcement
Announcement_Conference_Bewilderment_en_new.pdf (externe Datei)