Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg

SAI - News

Report: Doctoral Students Workshop "Hierarchy and Emancipation"

On Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th of February, the department of History of South Asia (SAI, Heidelberg) conducted a workshop for young academics on the topic of “Hierarchy and Emancipation” in the premises of the South Asia Institute. The comparably open choice of two topics with such deeply differing normative connotations could only be coherent regarding the decided claim towards interdisciplinarity, under which the whole event had been set up. This claim was seized on and integrated in their own research by the participating PhD-students, themselves originating from different backgrounds within the multiple branches of the humanities.

On Friday, Prof. Martin Furchs (Max-Weber-Kolleg, Erfurt) in an opening lecture presented important findings of his highly influential research on Dalit movements in India: following the title - “Autonomy, Acceptance and Self-transcendence: Marginality and the project of social transformation” - Fuchs, premising action-theoretical approaches such as Axel Honneth’s  recognition theorem, pointed to the semantic ambiguity of the concepts “Hierarchy and Emancipation” as well as the difficulty within their theoretical and methodological functionalization .

During the second part of the workshop on Saturday, seven PhD-students  (Livia Loosen/Erfurt, Sebastian Pampuch/Berlin, Paromita Das Gupta/Zürich, Anna Ewers, Thomas Kuhn/both Frankfurt, Kai Fürstenberg, Milinda Banerjee/both Heidelberg) presented their research and empirical contexts, each from his/her own academical background. The different insights, developed from historical, psychological, sociological, anthropological and political science perspectives, were then brought together with the theoretical implications offered by the theme of the workshop.   

The discussions that followed the presentations facilitated a highly productive exchange that transcended the borders of the individual disciplines and could only be possible on the grounds of interdisciplinarity. The workshop could also be attended by students; an opportunity that was made use of by both graduates and undergraduates.

(Text: Rafael Klöber)

15 Feb 2011
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