Othernesses offers three Reading and Thought workshops, which are announced by a call for an academic year with a focus theme, and comprise small groups of up to 7 participants from different academic and non-academic backgrounds.
The application includes a letter of motivation (max. 1 page) and a short bio (max. 300 characters).
– in Theory&Practice
The workshop Un-Doing Structures in Theory and Practice explores the historical and contemporary forms of un-doing structures; structures that impede access to knowledge and that are often based on and/or produce anti-Semitic and racist mechanisms of exclusion. The aim of the workshop is to make these visible, to trace their historical forms, with the goal of creating awareness in order to overcome forms of exclusion, to think about and begin to shape a forward-looking, inclusive coexistence.
The sessions take place in monthly reading and discussion rounds, under a thematic focus, within an academic year. At the end of the year, a public panel with audience discussion takes place, or a workshop, a podcast or publications in a WorkingPaperSeries, are produced.
TheoryArt & ArtTheory - The workshop explores a specific topic in the field of aesthetics as forms of ethical learning related to art and (as political and aesthetic) thought. It takes place over the course of an academic year in the form of 12 reading and discussion sessions and a public panel discussion with audience talk, a workshop, podcast, or publications in a WorkingPaperSeries.
The theme of the 2023 academic year that begun in March 2023 is the connection between Critical Theory and Postcolonial and Decolonial Thought under the heading "A Sense of Justice - A True Senitment of the HeArts?"
– a Dossier
- mImOsa - touch-me-not-Dossier - is a queer and feminist journal of a different kind that explores different forms of writing as different ways of thinking and understanding. Five academic and artistic participants meet over five evenings and discuss their ideas about a concept based on an artifact or an idea (memory, feeling, narrative, poem). At the end, the five contributors write 5-page essays on their topic, which are published in the mImOsa dossier.
– in Theory&Practice
In this workshop, the marks of academically set and university-political structures that implicitly produce exclusions are (historically) traced in order to find ways to further open up and carefully think about the meanings of 'decolonization' and universities and to initiate other (university) politics in conjunction with the production of ‘knowledge’.
In the process, traces of these histories, that are still effective, like those related to anti-Semitism, are examined and looked at, with view to a different future – this can be done, for example, through discussing unacknowledged and ‘notknown’ (hir-)’stories' and (con-)texts. It aims at focusing on the past, in order not to forget, and to acknowledge the pain and to discuss its possible traces and parallels to today's developments in more depth, including the question of how we want to understand 'critique' as ‘thought’. The question is also how 'knowledge' was and is represented, and that knowledge, also in Europe until today, is and remains strongly shaped by otherness and other, marginalized positions. A central, long-standing goal is also, and especially so in the German context, to prevent marginalized and racialized 'groups' from being discursively played off against each other.
Instead, the aim is to strengthen alliances and other visions that have always been part of the theoretical and artistic reflections of decolonial and critical thinkers in Germany and all over the world.
'Decolonization' is, a term that has recently gained renewed use in scholarly and non-scholarly debates, and that became vocal worldwide and especially in the countries of the global South at least since 2015, such as the Rhodes Must Fall movement and the critique of caste privilege in the education system in India;
however, the term has now become a buzz word, and is in danger of losing its important meaning. To emphasize its interventionist, critical character, some scholars now also speak of anti-colonial approaches instead.
Behind these debates are three interlocking considerations that are central to the further development of ‘universities’ as established knowledge-systems and glocal institutions of knowledge production. These are, first, that universities must confront the legacy of their colonial structures, also within their respective countries and contexts, which are part of their history, teaching, and research. BIPOC and ‘minority’ students, lecturers and researchers are 'traditionally' (historically driven), not least as a consequence of such conditions of neglect and thoughtlessness, relatively underrepresented in universities and other institutions of academic learning. Furthermore, it is important to work towards changing the curricula of the various disciplines in such a way that colonial, anti-Semitic and racist thought patterns and texts are not repeated in them, so that a productive practice of relearning can begin in teaching and research that takes into account as many ambivalences and aporias as possible, and yet is still able to show ways of thought in teaching and research that can act by taking into account other historical and contemporary models of knowledge formation and production – such as the interventions and theorizations of Jewish and Black thinkers, scholars, and intellectuals.
The further, long-term attention of the workshop-Un-Doing-Structures in Theory & Practice, is thus also on the formation of alliances and coalitions, for example with other queer and feminist centers, which can work together, against the background of these considerations, also in the form of small working groups and can go towards change in the formations of theory & practice of ‘knowledge’ and its (institutional) production.
The workshop Un-Doing-Structures in Theory & Practice addresses in particular graduate students, pre-docs, post-docs, post-doctoral researchers, and professors across disciplines who have already engaged with and/or come into contact with these issues and who want to continue to do so within a larger framework that aims at change on a theoretical and practice-oriented level.
The workshop artTheory&theoryArt looks at
1.) theories and philosophical reflections on art,
2.) theories that emanate from the arts, as well as,
3.) theory as art, and
4.) the ways the arts as the other of (alleged) knowledge, and
5.) the arts of the other as the othered of the self are used (and abused) in different (disciplinary, local and global) con-texts.
It thereby discusses and reflects the aporetic instances and paradoxes that any ‘statement’, (en-act(ment), citation, and naming occupies, and tries to find out how these, nevertheless, could be read in productive, reparative and healing rather than extinctive ways, by considering power relations within historical, political, discursive and affective contextualities, and the idea of letting oneself be surprised as a methodological encounter in reading.
While the workshop is open to all disciplines and all disciplines are welcome, it, especially addresses scholars - at any carrier stage - in Comparative literature, Literary Studies, Philosophy, Performance Studies, Music, Dramatic Arts, Performing Arts, InterArt Studies, as well as Area Studies, and of course artists from all the im/possible spectrum.)
mImOsA -“touch-me-not” – a Dossier
“mImOsa” is part of the workshop artTheory&theoryArt but is an independent ‘arrangement’. It is a WORKSHOP of thought and ‘writing’ with a special focus on queer and feminist knowledges and particular attention to literature and lyrics in its widest sense(s) along different languages and/in translations. mImOsA is organized in units around a specific term/metaphor/metonym/concept/image.
Each of its units consists of 5 ½ sessions: a first, short welcome & introductory ½ - evening hour, followed by five 1 ½ h-soirees once a month. Each of its units deals with a ‘specific’ term that will be announced beforehand.
In its 5 ½ sessions the invited five academics/artists will discuss this term by pondering upon and disclosing it along a lyrical text, a poem, a vignette, a novel, a drama, a photography, a piece of music, a film, a memento, a memory, an impression etc. that they will briefly introduce in the first evening hour and present in more depth at one of the following 5 sessions. Until the end of each unit, all participants will produce a 5 page-long text that will become part of the mImOsA-Dossier.
The written texts are understood as critical, interventionist and exploratory texts, at the liminals of (all im/possible) academic/poetic WrItInGs and part of the individual elaborations and workshoping. mImOsA is understood as thinking the humanities&geisteswissenschaften beyond the digital in an earthbound and planetarian sense.