Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg



phone: +49 345 55 24077
fax: +49 345 55 27606

room E 01.1
Research Cluster
Society and Culture in Motion
Reichardtstraße 6
06114 Halle (Saale)

Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker (Convenor)

phone: +49 345 55-24 200

room 206
Reichardtstraße 11
06114 Halle Saale

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A.W. Amo Lecture

A. W. Amo

A. W. Amo

A. W. Amo

Rekontextualisierung der Anton Wilhelm Amo Gedenktafel und der Bronzeplastik "Freies Afrika“

Anlässlich  der offiziellen Enthüllung der neuen  Anton-Wilhelm-Amo-Informationstafel am Universitätsring befassen sich  einige Kurzvideos - u.a. anderem von Prof. Dr. Olaf Zenker (Organisator  der Amo Lecture Series) und Raja-Léon Hamann (Amo-Bündnis Halle &  Doktorand der Ethnologie) - auf der Amo-Website der  Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg mit Anton Wilhelm Amo, der  Bronzeplastik "Freies Afrika" von Gerhard Geyer und der Bedeutung beider  im Lichte der Dekolonialisierungsdebatte in Deutschland.


The A.W. AMO LECTURES are organised  annually since 2013 at the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg by  the Research Cluster "Society and Culture in Motion". They feature  internationally acclaimed scholars presenting their ongoing research on  themes connected to the work of Anton Wilhelm Amo.

An  Africa-born philosopher of the 18th century, Anthon Wilhelm Amo studied  and taught at the University in Halle and Wittenberg before returning  to his native land - present-day Ghana. Through his critique of obscure  and irrational laws and his insistence on the primacy of humanity in  jurisprudence, Anton Wilhelm Amo was a humanist and an early advocate of  human and humane rights.

Amo Lecture 9: Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni - Genealogies of Decolonization and Tasks of Decolonialityin the 21st Century

22th June 2022 – 18:15h

Vor Ort: Hörsaal IV, Ludwig-Wucherer-Str. 2, 06108 Halle (Saale), Germany

Online:     (Passwort: amo-Lecture22)

ANTONIOUS  GVILIELMUS AMO AFER was a pioneering African intellectual  who  endured a  questioned humanity and inevitably his scholarship  picked up  key  existential and epistemological issues which formed  abasis of   decolonization as both an epistemological and political  movement.  These  issues ranged from being human itself, injustices of  enslavement,   the question of being possessed and named by others,  vexed identity   questions, to the broader problems of Eurocentric human  science with  its  Cartesian dualism at the centre. These issues which  troubled the  mind of Afer continue to animate struggles for  decolonization and to  inform the tasks of decoloniality in the 21st  century. Therefore, this  lecture situates Afer’s concerns within the  genealogies of  decolonization as it identifies him as one of the early  African scholars  who laid a foundation for decolonial thinking and  indeed being a giant  on whose shoulders  those pursuing decoloniality  should stand. Through  his intellectual and academic achievements, Afer  directly challenged  Eurocentricand racist notions of black people who  were said to be less  endowed intellectually and who were designated as  naturally slaves. The  life story and intellectual pedigree of Afer is  used here as a departure  point to highlight the genealogies of  decolonization and to delineate  the key tasks of decoloniality of the  21st century. This is necessary  because the modern world is on the cusp  of a resurgent and insurgent  planetary decolonization ranged against  racism, injustices (cognitive,  political, cultural, economic and  social) as well as hegemonic  Eurocentric epistemology and knowledge.
Ankündigung AMO 9.pdf (1.1 MB)  vom 18.05.2022

Amo Lecture 8: Ayelet Shachar - The Shifting Border: Legal Cartographies of Migration and Mobility

The border is one of the most important issues of our times. It is  also one of the least well understood. We think of a border as a static  line, but recent bordering techniques have broken away from the map, as  governments have developed legal tools to limit the rights of migrants  before and after they enter a country’s territory. The detachment of  state power from a fixed geographical marker has created a new paradigm:  the shifting border. This development upsets our assumptions about waning sovereignty, while also revealing the limits of the push for border-refortification.  But while the accelerating mobility of borders cuts against the rights  of those who cross them, it also presents a tremendous opportunity to  rethink states’ responsibilities to migrants. In her Amo Lecture, which  is based on her most recent book, Professor Shachar proposes a new  approach to human mobility in a world where borders, like people, have  the capacity to move.
Poster_Amo Lecture Shachar 2021.pdf (152.9 KB)  vom 17.03.2021

Amo Lecture 7: Emmanuel Didier - Quantitative Marbling: New Conceptual Tools for the Socio-History of Quantification

Socio-history of quantification is not a simple sub-domain of  Science and Technology Studies. On the contrary, it can provide tools  for investigating a wide range of social situations from a new and  interesting perspective. We begin by providing a new definition of  quantification. Next we consider the way numbers permeate society to its  very core, forming rich veins of data for social science research. From  this process, referred to here as “quantitative marbling,” three  distinct categories emerge: data veins produced by governments, those  produced by social activists (often contesting the former), and lastly,  those produced by non-governmental global networks. We conclude by suggesting that social processes aiming to free certain social aggregates of quantitative analysis are also worthy of attention.
7. Amo Lecture final.pdf (10.4 MB)  vom 13.09.2021

Amo Lecture 6: Achille Mbembe - The Capacity for Truth: Of 'Restitution' in African Systems of Thought

The lecture explores some of the meanings attached to the concept and practice of restitution in precolonial African systems of thought. It dwells in particular on those traditions that considered the most damaging wrongs as those causing harm to one’s ‘vital force’. We elicit the juridical underpinnings of the right to restitution and revisit the relation between ‘persons’ and ‘objects’ it presupposed.
MbembeWilde Objekte_final.pdf (351.7 KB)  vom 31.08.2020

Amo Lecture 5: Werner Schiffauer - Ethos und Wissensproduktion bei Sicherheitsbürokratien

The text discusses the production of security knowledge relating to Islamism in the German internal secret service, the Verfassungsschutz, (literally: office for the protection of the constitution). This knowledge is constitutive for the design of the German "Islampolitik". The text discusses the interrelation of the particular ethos of the office with knowledge production and policy development. The focus is on the construction of a classificatory system with which Islamism is made legible and thus presumably controllable and governable. The text discusses the epistemic assumptions underlying the construction of such a classificatory system. What happens in particular when the classificatory system is applied, i.e. when communities and groups are fitted into to classifications by means of indicators? My hypothesis is that the classificatory system systematically neglects the complexity and dynamism of the field and leads to non-intended consequences when it is translated into governmental strategies. This happens regularly when biopolitical governance is demanded which requires a different type of knowledge. Taking the example of de-radicalization politics I show how governmental strategies become self-contradictory.
Schiffhauer print.pdf (517.3 KB)  vom 11.09.2018

Amo Lecture 4: Souleymane Bachir Diagne - Decolonizing the history of philosophy

In order to decolonize the history of philosophy against the fabrication of translatio studiorum as the unilinear path connecting Greek thought and sciences to medieval European Christianity, we need to pluralize that history. And to manifest in our textbooks that translatio studiorum is not just Jerusalem-AthensRome-Paris or London or Heidelberg … but, as well: Athens-Nishapur-Bagdad-Cordoba-Fez-Timbuktu …. To decolonize the history of philosophy is also to take into account the plurality of languages, in order to consider the perspectives introduced by tongues other than European, and thus undo the “ontological nationalism” upon which rests the assumption that philosophical exercise is intrinsically tied to certain (European) languages
Diagne_final_print.pdf (203.9 KB)  vom 26.06.2018

Amo Lecture 3: Arjun Appadurai - The precarious future of national sovereignty

National sovereignty today operates in changed ecology. The primary reason for this is the erosion of national borders by the flows of ideas, people, technologies and money across national boundaries which has accelerated since the late 1980’s, in what is usually referred to as the period of globalization. In addition, as national economies have become increasingly fictions due to the realities of global finance, nation-states and political elites have had to invent other justifi-cations for their existence and this accounts for the global shift to right-wing ideologies of soil, blood and ethnos. Finally, as the tension between universal human rights and the plight of refugees and other undocumented aliens increas-es, especially in Europe, we see the emergence of a deep divide about the mean-ing of national sovereignty, and a gap between ethnonational views and those of a more liberal variety, which stress inclusion, diversity and hospitality. More than three centuries after the Treaty of Westphalia, Europe (and the world) are in dire need of a new narrative of sovereignty.
Amo_3_Appadurai_final.pdf (141.4 KB)  vom 26.06.2018

Amo Lecture 2: Hans Jörg Sandkühler - Recht, Staat und Demokratie in menschenrechtlicher Perspektive

The question has been often posed concerning the post-1945 human rights, which developed out of the experience of injustice, whether these rights are in need of an “ethical foundation”. Moral claims, which are directed against the violation of human rights, and which owing to moral intuition are held to be good and just, have further contributed to their emergence. Yet, “the” legitimate and universally valid morality does not exist in a pluralistic society, beyond perhaps the general form of legal equality. Thus, the positively conceived human rights have come to have their meaning as a universally binding commitment grounded in the protection of human dignity. Their legal validity is grounded in what has been negotiated in the Covenants on Human Rights, as well as in the universal principle of ius cogens, which is considered “compelling law” in all states. Moral claims are politically transformed in the sphere of neutrally-bound states into positive law, to the extent that they are generalizable. The “charging” of constitutional law with specific ethical opinions or philosophical speculations along the lines of natural law must be avoided in constitutional democracy.
Amo_2_Sandkühler.pdf (299.9 KB)  vom 26.06.2018

Amo Lecture 1: Michael Hutter - Übersetzung und Dissonanz. Innovationsmuster in der Kreativindustrie

Die Zweige der kulturellen und kreativen Industrie bringen einen zunehmenden Strom neuer Produkte und Dienstleistungen hervor. Bei der Produktion dieser Neuheiten lassen sich zwei grundlegende Muster erkennen. Ein Disney-Film dient dazu zu zeigen, wie Formen der Bedeutung, die erfolgreich darin sind, emotionale Erlebnisse beim Publikum auszulösen, auf neuen Inhalt übertragen werden, und ein Beatles-Song dient dazu zu zeigen, wie neue Unterschiede zwischen Welten der Wertschätzung in neue Produkte verwandelt werden.
Amo_1_Michael_Hutter_Druck.pdf (2.4 MB)  vom 26.06.2018