CfP MANCEPT-Workshops 2018

Von der Rechtfertigung politischer Herrschaft über den Umgang mit dem Klimawandel oder mit Migration bis hin zu Markt und Moral, von ‚Nudging‘ über Theorien öffentlicher Vernunft bis zum Verhältnis von Liberalismus und Religion oder Wahrheit und Wissen reichen die Themen, die vom 10. bis zum 12. September 2018 bei den diesjährigen MANCEPT-Workshops in Manchester diskutiert werden. Einen Überblick über alle Panels gibt es online. Nach dem Klick weisen wir auf zwei Ausschreibungen zu Demokratie und Ästhetik sowie zu Unabhängigkeit, Selbstbestimmung und Sezession gesondert hin.

Democracy and Aesthetics: Performance, Perception and Representation (PDF) – Frist 28. Mai 2018

Convenor: Dr Michael Räber (University of Zurich)

The aim of the workshop is to develop knowledge of the role of aesthetics, broadly conceived as sensation or perception, as a vehicle for exploring the nature of democratic action and reflection.

A prevalent contention in contemporary democratic theory is that appearances are detrimental to normative political ideals. All forms of aesthetic objects and appearance are reducible to mere consumption, so it seems, and thus democratic theory and practice needs to be skeptical about these things and should be overcome by critical thinking; all surfaces must be plumbed so as to get at the truth of the matter. If we do not do that, it seems, democratic theory ends up with a bad endorsement of political seduction and moral shallowness.

However, perhaps aesthetics cannot so easily be placed in dichotomy with democracy, both as an existing practice as well as a normative ideal. Perhaps aesthetics is an integral component of—rather than an obstacle to—democratic politics, as democratic politics inevitably involves aesthetic moments (involving appearances and perceptions, actors and audiences). Instead of eschewing them in our democratic theories as generally undesirable and ideally inexistent, we should try to understand their meaning. Rather than condemning democracy for its aesthetic elements or simply eschewing aesthetics as part of democracy, those interested in promoting democracy should carefully examine the conceivable relations of democracy and aesthetics.

What matters is the fashion and modality of how democratic politics gets aestheticized, viz. how political actors present themselves and political issues, how and where they talk and perform, how people relate to what they perceive as political, etc.

While aesthetics and democratic politics have only sparsely been considered theoretically, conceiving a link between aesthetics and politics has been a recurring idea in the history of political thought. In recent years, philosophers and political theorists have started to pay more attention to the topic. This workshop aims to carry on the discussion and take another step toward the development of an aesthetic account of democracy.

This workshop seeks papers in political philosophy/political theory, which can contribute to a theoretical discussion of these issues:

  • What does it mean to turn to aesthetics to make sense of democratic politics? In what sense is democratic politics aesthetic?
  • Faced with current political crises, both cognitive and all-too-concrete, what would the advantages and disadvantages be of an ‘aesthetic turn’ for democratic theory?
  • What does or should it mean to appear as a political actor in a democracy? What is the democratic function of political actors – elected politicians, protesters on the street, etc. – to appear and perform in front of an audience?
  • What are the relations between political events/pseudo-events/spectacles in democracies and democratic ideals like equality, liberty and autonomy?
  • How should spectators be conceptualized as a democratic people that are empowered and engaged citizens, and not just as mere passive and detached spectators?
  • How should aesthetic representation of the people (symbolical or political) be conceptualized?

Please submit a 500-word abstract for your proposed paper by the end of the day on 28th of May. I will aim to respond to these within a week. All abstracts and enquiries about the workshop and should be sent to:

Please be aware that to participate you will also need to register for the MANCEPT workshops. This year’s fees are £230.00 for academics and £135.00 for graduate students and retirees. You may be eligible for a bursary to cover registration costs. The details for these will be available on the MANCEPT website:


Independence, Self-Determination and Secession (PDF) Frist 27. Mai 2018

Convenors: Dr Adam Fusco (University of York, UK) & Dr Anna Meine (University of Siegen, Germany)

At present the status of Catalonia, Scotland and the East of Ukraine are in question, the dispute concerning a Kurdish state is increasingly turning violent, and Brexit engages politicians and publics in all member states of the EU. Around the world, movements are making claims for self-determination and independence, and in cases have not ruled out unilateral acts of secession. However, groups who make these claims or exert their existing rights, often find them frustrated by political, legal, economic and (neo-)colonial forms of power. Against this background, theoretical inquiry into these issues is timely and important. This workshop aims to bring together scholars from different strands of academic discussion and theoretical and normative perspectives for an examination and critical discussion of the interrelated concepts of independence, self-determination and secession. It seeks to stimulate debate and new scholarship concerning the meaning and value of these concepts, as well as debate on the political validity and desirability of claims for these ideas at different times as well as in different contexts.

National and/or democratic selfdetermination is widely accepted as a basis for legitimate government. However, debates proliferate on the grounds of claims to self-determination, the groups holding these claims, as well as the significance of boundaries for this right. They are especially timely regarding post- and neo-colonial contexts, where these concepts are receiving significant discussion.

Claims to secession vary in terms of the nature of the group, the political unit groups are seceding from, as well as the historical context and the reasons provided for the claim. We are also interested in research on the forms and procedures of seceding, as well as in debates about secession and its alternatives. Normative scrutiny is required to determine whether claims to secession have validity and if cases can be treated differently depending on specific constellations they exhibit.

Independence as a political idea has shaped domestic as well as international developments for centuries. Historical as well as contemporary movements have aimed for independence in imperial, colonial and relatively just or democratic settings. In an increasingly interdependent and post-sovereign world, claims for independence are being made in a context where states are facing increasing pressure to assert their authority against competing sources of power, from sources such as the global market or supranational institutions.

To stimulate debate and scholarship on these issues we invite submissions on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Decolonisation, neo-colonialism, self-determination, and the critique of empire
  • The meaning of ‘independence’ in the history of ideas as well as in today’s increasingly post-sovereign world
  • Theoretical reflections on Brexit, Scotland, Catalonia, etc.
  • Beyond rights violations: domination-based and new approaches to secession
  • Secession from democracies: unilateral vs. negotiated secession
  • Self-determination and the people: is self-determination possible without the nation?
  • Self-determination and territorial rights
  • Historical approaches to independence, self-determination and secession
  • Federalism, regional autonomy or secession-rights: How should competing claims for self-determination be managed?

Please send an abstract of no more than 500 words as well as your contact information to Adam Fusco ( & Anna Meine ( by 27th May 2018. Accepted participants will be notified by 3rd June.

Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have further questions.

Additional Information: The general deadline for bursary applications for the MANCEP-Workshops (available to current graduate students/early-career researchers and retirees only) will be the 23rd June, and successful applicants will be informed by the 25th June. Please refer to the MANCEPT-Homepage for more information. Please note there is an attendance fee of £230.00 for academics and £135.00 for graduate students and retirees.

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