14 Sep 2016



Appearances of the Political 3/6 Winter Symposium: February 24-26, 2017, Wrocław, Poland,
in collaboration with the University of Wrocław

We invite scholars, students, artists and third sector agents to study together the forms, appearances and the aesthetic functions of the political. These can be discussed in social, artistic, aesthetic and cultural terms and with any method which is able to shine light on the problematics. We aspire to articulate the ideological forces underlying today’s political thinking. We also want to inaugurate a debate on the role of cultural approaches in political analysis. We wish to break new paths in connecting the cultural humanities and the political sciences and invite participants to bravely explore new ways of studying these issues. We believe that experimentation is crucial for rethinking the political.

Theme of the Symposium

What kind of objects (flags, megaphones) do we use in demonstrations and what is their actual role? What is the material culture of party politics – besides suits, microphones, soup kettles at marketplaces where politicians meet the people and the big black cars, which take the politicians from place to place? What is the material culture of administration, or has it all just become embedded in the computer screens?

What are the aesthetic orders and material resources of the human rights, human catastrophes and the warfare producing them - and how are these issues tackled in art? What is the future of the role of these orders and resources?

How do neoliberal and capitalist forces occupy spaces with material culture? In what ways do they embody certain political ideas, not the least ideas anchored to the free market and the consumer society. Benches are not anymore good for sitting, in many places, as many want the people to just walk and shop.

Design in general contributes to forming physical space in accordance with ideologies and intentions and plays a role in how we view space: how it is accessible, hierarchies, limitation of certain actions. Design is also used for changing actions like forming social and environmental sustainability.
And how are Western democracies constructing physical answers to migration and refugees? When borders are made again visible, camps for refugees established and also different forms of personal appearances such as dress codes become battlefields for ideologies.

The symposium is hosted by the University of Wrocław and will be organized together with the NSU-circles Understanding Migration in Nordic and Baltic Countries, Crisis and Crisis Scenarios and International Relations and Human Rights. There will be joint sessions shared by all circles.
About the Study Group The intention of Appearances of the Political is to create a platform for future collaborations and applications, and to exchange knowledge and share common interest. It is important for the group to consult a variety of fields as broad as possible including political theory, philosophy, communication, social sciences and cultural studies, and we hope that scholars from all areas of interest would join us. Participating in this third meeting of the group does not imply any obligation for participating in future meetings or participation in previous meetings. We hope, however, that participants will be involved in building a strong community on this topic for future activities reflecting the diversity of interests in the community.

Format(s) of the presentations

We encourage people to do both traditional and non-traditional presentations:
1) Oral presentation of ideas:
We strongly encourage giving a free oral presentation rather than reading a paper. We wish to facilitate open debates for sharing and ask for presentations creating platforms for debate. A presentation cannot exceed 20 min. but we encourage very short presentations (5-10 min.) of an idea and motivation making space for creating a discussion around this idea.
2) Performance, object or alternative forms:
You can present ideas, examples or reflections through other formats including inviting the participants to engage in experiments, situations, or individual and group activities. Please indicate the optimal time for this form of presentation, however there is a maximum of 30 min including time for feedback.

Please submit via email to the coordinators:

A written proposal (max. 350 words) with a title. This text should include your presentation proposal, its format, its duration, and technology and/or facilities you may need as well as a short bio (max. 100 words)

If you would like to attend the symposium without presenting, please email a short bio. Participants with presentations will be given priority.

The study circle provides a space for theoretical experimentation and the cross-fertilization of methodologies. It aims at developing insights that can be used in further research. We invite you for exchange and debates in an open environment of people with different backgrounds.
The deadline to submit proposals is December 15, 2016. Notification about acceptance will be given before 31 December. A preliminary program will be announced on January 15, 2017 on http://nordic.university/study-circles/2-appearances-of-the-political/appearances-of-the-political/ where you can also find more information about NSU. Applicants will be informed by e-mail.

Registration and fee

Professors, lecturers and other professional scholars 50€
Students, unemployed, freelancers and participants from Baltic countries and Poland: 30 € Fee covers expenses for lunch Saturday and Sunday, coffee breaks and reception Friday evening The fee should be paid ABSOLUTELY NO LATER THAN JANUARY 10. The letter of acceptance will contain a bank account. NOTE: Bank fees are at the charge of the participant. Please notice that fee or other costs will not be reimbursed if the participant cancels.

The Nordic Summer University (NSU) is a Nordic network for research and interdisciplinary studies.
NSU is a nomadic, academic institution, which organises workshop-seminars across disciplinary and national borders. Since it was established in 1950, NSU has organised forums for cultural and intellectual debate in the Nordic and Baltic region, involving students, academics, politicians, and intellectuals from this region and beyond.

Decisions about the content and the organisational form of the NSU lay with its participants. The backbone of the activities in the NSU consists of its thematic study circles. In the study circles researchers, students and professionals from different backgrounds collaborate in scholarly investigations distributed regularly in summer and winter symposia during a three-year period.

For more information www.nordic.university

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