Cultures of Humanity in Transition - Human Rights and Understandings of the Human in the 21st Century

Oliver Kozlarek's picture
Call for Papers
February 15, 2020
Subject Fields: 
Humanities, Intellectual History, Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology

Cultures of Humanity in Transition - Human Rights and Understandings of the Human in the 21st Century


Date: 13-14 November 2020 - Location: University of Vechta


The critique of humanism, as well as of poststructuralist, posthumanist, system-theoretical and cultural discourses have accelerated in recent decades what Friedrich Tenbruck deplored as the elimination of the human being from our languages. However, concepts of humanity are slowly beginning to play a somewhat greater role again, in both academic discourses, and more generally in social and political discourses.


In view of different problems that are revealed in our societies, and that are taken up in one way or another by the social sciences and humanities, the question of the human being is also being rearticulated. The resurgence of inhuman politics in exactly those countries previously notable for their humanist and democratic traditions; the problematically shifting relations of human beings both to each other and to their non-human environments, which on a global level is visible in terms of increasing human violence and accelerated environmental destruction; the growing importance of identitarian movements--all these crisis phenomena can only be meaningfully analysed if we succeed in counteracting the increasing fragmentation of knowledge and of social forms of life, by developing an orientation and sense of meaning that normatively looks at the human being as a whole once again.


Objectives: This conference is dedicated to this task by trying to collect concepts of the human and humanity that have developed and are developing in different contexts. Historical models will be remembered, but current debates will also be analysed. Whether it is the discussions conducted under the heading of the Anthropocene, the debate on alternative forms of human sociality, aspects of gender and diversity, social norms, cultural imaginations, collective experiences, or the complex cognitive and ethical consequences of information technologies: all these debates are characterized by the fact that the ideas of the human and humanity articulated in them are not anchored in an essentialist anthropology, but rather are being constantly renegotiated.


Our conference aims to highlight those discussions and debates, in which ideas of humanity and the human are renegotiated in such a way that the need for anthropological and humanist orientations in academic and political discourses becomes evident.

Contact Info: 

Procedure: The event is aimed at scholars of all disciplines of historical, cultural and social sciences and encourages the participation of junior researchers. Abstracts with a maximum volume of 500 words and brief biographical notes are requested by 15 February 2020 to and The contributions will be published shortly after the conference. The written contributions of the conference participants are therefore requested by December 31st, 2020. More detailed information on the guidelines for manuscript design will be provided after the selection procedure has been completed at the end of February of next year.