7.11.2014 / 8:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
PFL Culture Centre,Peterstraße 3. Oldenburg, Germany
Organized by the Center for Migration, Education and Cultural Studies at the University of Oldenburg
RESISTANCE. SUBJECTS, REPRESENTATIONS, CONTEXTS
International and Interdisciplinary Conference
A number of recent events in different parts of the world, such as the uprisings in Ukraine, Occupy Gezi, and the protests in Northern Africa, have brought back the issue of ‘resistance’ to both public and scholarly attention. As manifold as the forms that resistance takes at the beginning of the 21st century are the explanations for these phenomena: In western societies, the crisis of global capitalism, along with a general loss of trust in institutionalized politics, is often made responsible for the recent emergence of new movements of protests and resistance. By contrast, in regions such as Northern Africa, political uprisings have commonly been regarded as a reaction long overdue to totalitarian regimes and their infrastructures of oppression and control. With the disclosure of practices of surveillance through national secret services such as the NSA, then, similar mechanisms of power have been made visible in western societies, which, in turn, are said to have enhanced tendencies towards civil disobedience and resistance.
Not least because of its 40th anniversary and the commemoration of the host University’s name patron, Carl von Ossietzky, the conference takes these developments as a starting point to explore phenomena of resistance in different historical and contemporary contexts from an interdisciplinary and transcultural perspective in order to add to a theoretical debate on the term and concept(s) of resistance. The conference will be framed by three major questions: 1. What is ‘resistance’? 2. On which normative grounds do forms of resistance work, how are they justified? 3. Who uses the term/concept of ‘resistance’? When, where, and for what purposes? In order to approach these questions, the conference takes a distinctly comparative view on the various notions of resistance in different disciplinary as well as social and/or cultural contexts in order to discuss whether ‘resistance’ is an exclusively ‘western’ concept, or whether there are concepts of resistance that are not based on or refer to western intellectual, political, or ideological traditions.
By opening up an interdisciplinary and international dialogue, the conference’s goal is to disclose the specific contextual preconditions, aesthetic forms, and political/ideological implications of both past and present forms of resistance. Through these context-specific approaches to historical and current phenomena and concepts of resistance, then, the conference also contributes to uncovering the highly ethical dimension inscribed into public and scholarly debates on resistance on the one hand and into acts of resistance (or what is designated as acts of resistance, respectively) on the other. In this way, the conference may help discuss the normative references that lie at the heart of both practices and discourses of resistance, but which are only rarely made explicit.