CfP: Workshop in Augsburg zu „Tragic conflict or political mediation”

Marcus Llanque und Katja Sarkowsky laden zu einem politiktheoretisch-amerikanistischen Workshop am 18. und 19. Juni nach Augsburg zum Thema “Tragic conflict or political mediation” ein – Vortragsvorschläge sind willkommen bis zum 15. April, alle weiteren Infos finden sich nach dem Klick.

Classical Greek tragedies are shaped by conflicts that appear as both inevitable and
irresolvable. They address conflicts of immense impact and scope, which explains
the intensity of the struggle, and they cannot be resolved by simple compromise.
These conflicts, their resolution attempts, and their tragic outcomes have generated
an extensive reception and treatment in political theory as well as in literature and
literary studies up to the present.
One prominent example of such a tragedy is Sophocles’ Antigone. Its conflict
appears irresolvable, at least to the opponents. They are either determined to carry
out the conflict to its bitter end, without compromise; or they have passed the point of
a potentially successful settlement and a mutually beneficial solution, their will to
resolve the conflict being insufficient to the task. In this regard, Antigone is a tragedy
par excellence, its central conflict seemingly both inevitable and irresolvable. At the
same time, there are substantial attempts to settle the conflict, not by the opponents
themselves but by other agents, such as relatives, citizens, or those called upon for
arbitration. The outcome of the play not withstanding, Sophocles’ Antigone thus also
addresses the question of how and under which circumstances a tragic conflict can
be transformed into one accessible to political mediation.
In this workshop, Sophocles’ Antigone serves as a backdrop, an incitation, a potential
reference point for its central question regarding the connection between tragic
conflict and political mediation, while the overall textual focus of this workshop is
broader to encompass any engagement with conflicts (theoretical or literary) that
explores tragedy and the transmission of classical models of the tragic into
contemporary settings and forms to ask how ‘tragic’ tragedy is and how much space
it leaves for political mediation. Does tragedy begin when mediation is bound fail?
Tragedy can be seen as a particular ‘mode’ of dealing with substantial conflicts;
propelled by overwhelming and seemingly inescapable conflict dynamics, tragedy
nevertheless explores the possibilities of pacification, arbitration, compromise, or
even settlement.
This workshop thus sets out to focus on how political theory and literature address
functions of tragedy as a mode of addressing conflicts. Questions include but are not
limited to the following: Which concrete topics are chosen for the analysis of the
relation of tragic conflict and political mediation? Is the will of the agents central, or is
it the conflict structure? Are conflicts open to redefinition? Does their potential
settlement depend on agents other than the primary opponents? Are there
alternatives to the juxtaposition of tragic conflict and political mediation?
This is intended to be a small workshop and we aim at a discussion-oriented
atmosphere. Participants will be asked to explore relevant terms, works, or authors in
5-page working papers (to be circulated and read in advance) and to present their
ideas in short input presentations of 10-15 minutes to stimulate a hopefully intense
debate of the topic. We welcome explorative considerations and work-in-progress as
well as results of completed studies. The organizers will cover participants’ travel and
accommodation costs.
Prospective participants are asked to please submit a 1-page exposé and a short
outline of their academic background by April 15, 2020, to the organizers at
politische.theorie@phil.uni-augsburg.de and sekretariat.amerikanistik@philhist.uniaugsburg.
de.

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