DIGNITY AS A HISTORICAL CONCEPT AND AS A KEY CATEGORY OF OUR TIME
Moscow, June 2-4, 2017
deadline: 31 march 2017
Кeynote speaker: Professor Homi Bhabha Director of Mahindra Humanities Center at Harvard University
The “New Literary Observer” journal and the European University at St. Petersburg are pleased to announce a call for papers for the second conference within the framework of their joint program
“The Anthropological Turn in the Humanities and Social Sciences”.
Appealing to dignity as a serious argument in public debate has become a hallmark of modern
international public discourse. For example, politicians routinely speak about the dignity and/or
humiliation of a country or state. Suffice it to recall the rhetoric of Russia “getting up off its knees”
or Donald Trump’s calls to restore the dignity and greatness of America. Furthermore, some social
groups are even more likely to refer to the humiliation of human dignity, as illustrated by the
protesting “angry urbanites” in Russia in late 2011– early 2012, as well as all kinds of “offended
believers”, and demonstrations against anti-immigrant xenophobia, to list but a few examples.
More than 20 years ago, the Israeli philosopher Avishai Margalit wrote a book dedicated to
philosophical reflections on the concepts of dignity, honor, and humiliation in contemporary
collective and individual consciousness (Avishai Margalit, The Decent Society, 1995). Since then,
the global academic literature (primarily in English) has witnessed a sharp increase in research on
dignity, which demonstrates the significance of the concept for explaining fundamental social
transformation and the critical points of the modern era.
The concept of dignity has also become an important object in the analysis of Western thought with
regards to historical perspectives. Essentially, it is the evolution of perceptions about the personal,
corporate, state, and/or national dignity under the influence of various sociocultural factors that
often led to shifting civilizational paradigms.
We suggest that the participants of the conference discuss the concept of dignity (and the related
categories of honor, valor, humiliation, desecration, etc.) as a historical category and as an
underlying factor of social contention in the modern world.
The organizers of the conference would like to approach the problematization of the historical
concept of dignity from various points of view: philosophical, cultural, linguistic (including the
legacy of the classical languages), political, and social.
The organizers of the conference would like to approach the problematization of the historical concept of dignity from various points of view: philosophical, cultural, linguistic (including the legacy of the classical languages), political, and social. Applications for participation should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org no later than March 31, 2017. The organizing committee reserves the right to select the applications received. Travel grants and accommodation in Moscow will be available for participants.