23–24 May 2024
ICI Berlin
In English

Organized by B Camminga, Ruth Ramsden-Karelse, Natascia Tosel

Constitution as a viable social subject is dependent on being recognized by others as such, whether that recognition takes the form of an ethical gesture, a political objective, or a legal instrument. The desire for recognition is therefore often assumed to be universal. For many activists and theorists, recognition of rights and identities has been at the heart of social justice movements, particularly since the 1980s. This is reflected, for example, in the ‘gay rights’ slogan, ‘recognize our relationships’. Yet, appeals to recognize what certain groups have in common tend to be made at the expense of more widely expanding the range of lives that might be acknowledged as possible and worthy of protection. Moreover, the identificatory categories through which rights claims can be made often fail to map onto the actual lived experiences of those they purport to describe, suggesting that becoming socially legible as part of a group can come at the expense of true recognition as an individual. In such ways and more, the demand for recognition is inherently intertwined with a dimension of conflict and often manifests as a struggle.

  • What are the potential gains and losses when historically marginalized groups attain social, political, or legal visibility or legibility?
  • How might language facilitate and, at the same time, fail to translate calls for recognition?
  • To what degree do typical models of recognition and — the constellation of concepts with which recognition is usually thought, such as redistribution, ideology, and emancipation — perpetuate exclusionary patterns and injustices?
  • Conversely, to what extent can new models of recognition effectively address and rectify conflicts, repairing injustices and accommodating more diverse forms of life?
  • What critical approaches to recognition might facilitate a dismantling of the logics that uphold oppressive structures such as white supremacy and anthropocentrism?
  • What marginalized forms of recognition are currently being produced through practices of co-existence?
  • And how might constraints imposed by the norms governing recognizability, to make possible new forms of care, intimacy, and belonging be reimagined?

Taking up such questions, this symposium aims to develop critical approaches to the concept of recognition. The focus lies in delving into the multifaceted ramifications of recognition as a phenomenon, particularly in the contemporary socio-political landscape. The organizers welcome contributions from fields including but not limited to literature and the arts, cultural studies, post- and decolonial studies, migration studies, animal studies, political theory, critical legal theory, critical theory and philosophy, and feminist, transgender, and queer theory. Responses from scholars with a focus on the Global South are particularly encouraged.

Please send 300-word abstracts for 15 to 20minute papers to natascia.tosel@ici-berlin.org

Deadline: 15 January 2024

Funding: Participants with limited funding to attend the workshop can apply to receive a lump sum towards travel and accommodation costs.

Image Credit © Claudia Peppel

Posted on 19 December 2023