A person (or object) is admired for his/her/its special, unusual, exceptional or even unique features and the ability to impress, captivate or to spark fascination. Where the exceptional, non-standardized, and perfectible are promoted as cultural ideals (of the self), admiration as both iridescent and problematic (because potentially hierarchizing) social affect and attitude comes to the fore which is created and regulated through different regimes of attention. Thus, admiration is a driving force regarding the dynamics between subjects and objects as well as between modes of self-fashioning, cultural norms, and collective imaginary. By examining the ways in which admiration is evoked, we are interested in shedding light on the culturally and historically contingent practices of staging an admirable self. At the same time, we seek to reveal the strategies of instrumentalizing admiration through practices of overwhelment or surprise, of deceit or fake that capitalize on the creation of wonder in order to uphold or destabilize existing social, political, and cultural orders.
For the conference program, please visit our website: www.staunenprojekt.com.
This interdisciplinary conference is organized by the Sinergia project "The Power of Wonder. The Instrumentalization of Admiration, Astonishment and Surprise in Discourses of Knowledge, Power and Art" and will take place at the University of Zurich (RAA, Aula-G-01, Rämistrasse 59, 8001 Zurich).