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The workshop “Collective Identities, Nations, and Social Spheres”

The workshop “Collective Identities, Nations, and Social Spheres” is postponed

Dear Members of Academia Europaea, dear scientists and scholars and representatives of the local scientific world, dear friends of Academia Europaea Wroclaw Knowledge Hub,

The Organising Committee of the workshop “Collective Identities, Nations, and Social Spheres” announce that the event, scheduled for May 26 and 27, 2020, has been postponed.

In the course of the present week, the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has dramatically changed the conditions of daily life in Europe and beyond. Thus, the WHO has announced that we are facing a pandemic. In most European countries and at many universities, severe limitations on travel, events, and meetings have been put in place. The consequences of this are manifold.

In this situation, we have, with deep regret, come to the conclusion that we have no choice but to postpone the workshop in Wrocław. Thus, in cooperation with the Hub, we are rescheduling the event next spring. We have been able to raise funding both from the Hubert Curien Fund of Academia Europaea and through the Wrocław Hub from the Municipal Funds of the City of Wrocław.
The preliminary programme of the event can be downloaded here.
We will come back to you in the near future concerning the dates.

Thank you for your kind support and for your unfailing scholarly engagement.

On behalf of the Organising Committee,
Björn Wittrock
Dagmar Coester-Waltjen

Idea and Background:

Concepts of identity have been discussed for decades and have given rise to intellectual debates and controversies across a range of scholarly disciplines. However, recent years have witnessed increasing efforts to systematically relate notions of identity to sets of other societal phenomena. In particular, three such sets have been prominent.

One set refers to a range of phenomena that describe the shifting character of various societal arenas, publics, and bundles of actions that social scientists, from Weber onwards, have labelled social spheres. Another set extends and deepens earlier discussions on fundamental properties of political and constitutional orders and seeks to trace different types of collective identity that tend to emerge and develop in different forms of political order, whether empires, city republics, theocracies, composite monarchies, nation states, or different versions of modern pluralist, revolutionary and fundamentalist political entities. A third field of research interest that has seen intensified research undertakings is examining the study of collective identities relative to economic behaviour, the structure of firms, and communicative patterns on a global scale.

Jointly, these developments entail a need for a re-examination and an articulation of a research agenda that explores linkages across these different scholarly fields. In this respect, Wrocław has been and remains a place that has proved to be conducive to discussions on such topics (for other activities of the Wrocław Hub, see, for instance, “Beyond identity? New avenues for interdisciplinary research on identity”, November 8 – 9, 2019 and Wrocław seminars on “Central Europe and Colonialism”, September 21 – 26, 2016; see also the proposed workshop on “Iconoclasm: Past and Present Issue”, October 5 – 7, 2020).

The focus of this proposed workshop will be on “collective identities”, in particular on (1) nations and (2) territorially, culturally, or religiously concentrated groups of people. Is a nation a territorially concentrated group of people who govern their own collective affairs by using legal and political institutions, norms, values, and beliefs? Must the concept of “nation” be newly defined in the context of the wider challenges for understanding identity? What do social transformations in the context of globalisation mean for national identity? What does history tell us about national identity? Which factors prove essential for long-lasting group identities in the social sphere? Is the concept of different identities in society compatible with the principle of equal protection and non-discrimination? Those questions should be looked at from the different angles of several disciplines, especially from the sociological, anthropological, historical, and legal points of view, taking into account also perceptions from political, social, behavioural, and economic sciences.

Outline of the programme:

The workshop will be organised by the Class of Social and Related Sciences of Academia Europaea and by the Wrocław Hub of Academia Europaea. It will have the form of a two-day event that will allow senior participants as well as early-career scholars to become familiar with cutting-edge research. The sessions will involve lectures by leading senior scholars. In addition, early-career scholars will present their current work.

The workshop will highlight key issues in the study of collective identities and their dependence on and consequences for social spheres and the nature of political order. It aims at stimulating intellectual interaction across disciplinary boundaries and will involve researchers from all sections of the Class of Social and Related Sciences (Class A2). In particular, it will have a format that combines the intense and collaborative character of a scholarly workshop with that of a masterclass which means that it will also be characterised by active participation of early career-scholars from different fields.

The event will be open to all interested scholars. It will not be limited to AE members or YAE members only although most speakers will come from different sections of the Academy and in particular from the Class of Social and Related Sciences. No registration fee will be charged. In order to facilitate scholarly debate only registered participants will have access to all workshop sessions. However, there will also be a panel discussion on the evening of the first day, which will be open to a wider public.

The preliminary programme of the event can be downloaded here.